Kofi Annan - Center of the Storm


1941: FDR and Churchill call for "wider" intl. security system.
1944: Debate over United Nations
1945: UN Charter signed
1946: UN starts work in London.

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Yalta Conference Yalta Conference: The UN hangs on the veto issue. The unsettled issues were taken up again at Yalta, most importantly, the issue of the all-important Security Council veto. China and France were given permanent places on the Security Council and the five permanent members would have the right to veto anything other than procedural issues, but would abstain from voting on peaceful matters that concerned them. Having secured the Soviet Union's agreement, FDR then accepted that the USSR be given three votes in the UN's General Assembly -- one for the USSR itself and one each for the Soviet republics of Ukraine and Belorussia.

An American interpreter at Yalta observed that without the veto resolution "there would hardly have been a United Nations."

The UN Charter signed at San Francisco Conference. Although most of the critical issues had been decided in the lead up to the San Francisco Conference, it still took two months to draft the charter. Delegates of 50 nations signed the UN Charter on 26 June. President Harry Truman addressed the delegates, charging them with keeping the world "free from the fear of war."

Learn more: UN UN Charter
The full text of the UN's founding document
UN charter at San Francisco The United Nations is born. The United Nations became official on October 24 -- the first United Nations Day -- when the charter came into force after ratification by all of The Big Five -- the US, the USSR, the UK, China and France -- and a majority of the other conference attendees. The US was the first to ratify the document on August 8.

Learn more: UN UN Day
Find out about annual celebrations of the UN's anniversary.
General Assembly and Security Council meet for the first time in London.
General Assembly adopts its first resolution on Jan. 24. Its main focus: peaceful uses of atomic energy and the elimination of atomic and other weapons of mass destruction.
Trygve Lie Trygve Lie of Norway becomes first UN Secretary General.

Learn more: UN Trygve Lie Biography
Details from the UN on its first Secretary-General

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