By BRIAN KRAPF
This four-inch square paper decal features the Big Three and is a rare surviving souvenir of the 1945 conference, which formed the organization we know today as the United Nations. Initially, the idea of having a permanent world organization was discussed by representatives of the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and China at a business meeting on October 7, 1944 at Dumbarton Oaks, a mansion in Washington, DC that had been donated to Harvard University.
Per the Dumbarton Oaks discussions, an organization to be known as the United Nations would consist of four principal bodies, the General Assembly, the Security Council, the International Court of Justice and the Secretariat. Much discussion ensued amongst the allied nations, culminating in a declaration on February 11, 1945 at the Yalta Conference that a Conference of the United Nations would meet on April 25 in San Francisco, California to integrate the Dumbarton Oaks proposals into a formal charter.
The conference did convene on 25 April as planned, but without one of its principals, President Franklin Roosevelt. FDR had died on 12 April, just a few weeks prior. However, President Harry Truman, his successor, recognized the vital role the United Nations would play in the postwar world and insisted that the conference not be postponed. The new president spoke in person during the opening session, which duly took place in San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House.
Brian Krapf’s book We Want Winston!—A Treasury of Churchill Memorabilia will be published by Pen and Sword later this year.