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The Preamble introduces the Charter. It seeks to strike the keynotes of the Organization. In general language it expresses the common intentions, the common ideals which brought the United Nations together in conference at San Francisco and inspired their work.

No preamble was drafted at Dumbarton Oaks. The participating nations felt that it was not feasible to prepare a preamble until after the provisions of the Charter for the general international organization were generally agreed upon with the other nations concerned. It was felt that a meaningful preamble expressing the real intentions and controlling motives that brought all the peoples of the United Nations together to establish the Organization could emerge only from discussions among representatives of those nations.

At the beginning of the San Francisco Conference Field Marshal Smuts of Sonth Africa proposed that there should be a preamble to the Charter and submitted a draft which is the basis of the text finally adopted. The draft included a declaration of human rights and of the common faith which sustained the peoples of the United Nations in their bitter and prolonged struggle for the vindication of those rights and of that faith. It expressed the thought that our war had been for the eternal values which sustain the spirit of men and that we should affirm our faith not only as our high consideration and guiding spirit in the war but also as our objective for the future.

The opening words of the Preamble, and therefore of the Charter, are modelled upon the opening words of the Constitution of the United States—We the peoples of the United Nations”. The Delegation of the United States proposed these words which in our history express the democratic basis on which government is founded. These words also express our concern for the welfare of the peoples of the world and our confidence that they are coming into their own". Although no other treaty among nations had thus sought to speak for the peoples of the world instead of merely for their governments, the proposal of the United States Delegation was received with general satisfaction. This was in a very real sense a peoples' conference but the peoples of the world act through governInents and the Preamble closes with the statement that the respective governments, through their representatives assembled in San Francisco, have agreed to this Charter.

The committee of the Conference charged with the formulation of the Preamble and with the chapters stating the Purposes and the Principles of the United Nations, found some difficulty in distributing among these three sections of the Charter the basic ideas upon which it is founded. The Preamble is an integral part of the Charter but the obligations of the Members are to be found in other portions of the text. Although the legal force to be attributed to a preamble of a legal instrument differs in different systems of law, the Conference did not doubt that the statements expressed in the Preamble constitute valid evidence on the basis of which the Charter may hereafter be interpreted.

The words of the Preamble need no special analysis here. The thoughts behind them from the appeal to save the future from the scourge of war, through references to respect for obligations arising from treaties, on to the establishment of institutions to translate ideals into realities-all these run through and inspire the succeeding chapters of the Charter.


(Chapter I)


Article 1 gives the Purposes of the Organization; it defines the objectives. The Purposes, as the report of a Committee of the Conference says, "are the aggregation of the common ends” on which the minds of the delegates met. Hence, they are “the cause and object of the Charter to which member states collectively and severally subscribe.” The Purposes are binding on the Organization, its organs and its agencies, indicating the direction their activities should take and the limitations within which their activities should proceed.

The first purpose of the Organzation is: "To maintain international peace and security". It was set out originally in the Moscow Declaration of October 30, 1943, and continuously asserted throughout the preparations that led up to the San Francisco Conference. That purpose, repeated in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, stands unchanged in the Charter that emerged from San Francisco. There are no conditions and no qualifications. The United States feels and has maintained that without international peace and security the peoples of the world could not be free from fear or free from want—that the fundamental freedoms could be enjoyed only if international peace and security were assured. The events of the past decade bear tragic testimony to the correctness of this point of view.

In the maintenance of international peace and security the Organization is authorized to proceed along three broad lines.

First, the Organization is authorized to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, the adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.

Second, it is empowered to take effective collective measures to prevent and to remove threats to the peace. The Organization is expected to inform itself of potentially dangerous situations in advance of the actual outbreak of violence and to employ appropriate measures to deal with them.

Third, the Organization is empowered to take effective collective measures to suppress acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace. We in the United States have long held that unless an international organization has force available, to be used if necessary, the organization can never be effective. The attitude of the people of the United States on this subject was expressed in 1943, when, by overwhelming nonpartisan majorities, the Fulbright Resolution passed the House of Representatives and the Connally Resolution was adopted by the Senate of the United States.

These three procedures for maintaining international peace and security have been supported by the United States since the beginning of its studies in connection with the establishment of a general international organization. They were embodied in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals and were incorporated in the Charter substantially as they

were drafted in the Proposals. An exception is the addition of the phrase “in conformity with the principles of justice and international law", which was added at San Francisco to meet the wishes of those who felt that the reference to law and justice should be explicit rather than implicit as in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals.

The purpose to maintain international peace and security is not wholly expressed, however, in the procedures for pacific settlement, preventive action and enforcement measures. The Organization also has the purpose and is empowered to take positive and affirmative action to assist in bringing about the conditions essential for peace throughout the world and for its enjoyment. The Dumbarton Oaks Proposals included such a positive purpose for the Organization. Following the pattern set in those Proposals, there is stated in Article 1 the purpose of the Organization to achieve cooperation among nations in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character. At San Francisco a number of delegations favored even further enumeration of the types of problems with which the Organization would have inevitably to concern itself in its efforts to promote conditions conducive to peace. Following discussion, however, it was considered preferable to rely on the broad statement of purposes in general terms that would cover the appropriate problems.

The Dumbarton Oaks Proposals contained a statement in the Chapter on Economie and Social Cooperation that the Organization should promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Many people in this country and throughout the world expressed the hope that this purpose of the Organization could be given more emphasis and be spelled out more completely in the Charter. It was therefore proposed at San Francisco by the four Sponsoring Powers-the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and China—and it was agreed by the Conference, that the reference to human rights should be brought forward and stated prominently in the first Chapter among the purposes of the Organization. It was also agreed, on the suggestion of the Sponsoring Powers, that the statement with respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Dumbarton Oaks text should be amplified to provide that the Organization would seek to achieve international cooperation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion”.

As in the case of the economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian problems with which the Organization may deal, "human rights and fundamental freedoms” are not enumerated or spelled out. The United States Delegation has, however, made clear its understanding that the "fundamental freedoms” include freedom of speech and that freedom of speech involves, in international relationships, freedom of exchange of information.

The Sponsoring Powers also proposed that it should be the purpose of the United Nations to develop friendly relations among nations on the basis of “respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples”.

This purpose has a prominent place in the Atlantic Charter. It corresponds also to the desire of people everywhere. Its inclusion in the Charter expressed the wishes not of the Sponsoring Powers alone but of other nations as well.

A final purpose of the United Nations is "to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends”. This purpose was stated in substantially the same terms in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals and was not the subject of controversy at San Francisco. Whether the term "center" be thought of in geographical or in spiritual terms, it symbolizes the thought that the common efforts of the member states are to be focused in the Organization.

As finally drafted, the Charter thus expresses an overriding and unqualified purpose to maintain international peace and security, not only by taking appropriate measures to settle disputes and to prevent or suppress acts of aggression, but also by creating conditions favorable to the preservation of peace through the solution of economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems and through the promotion of respect for human rights and freedoms including the equal rights and self-determination of peoples.


Article 2 sets forth in one place in the Charter the chief obligations of a general nature assumed by Members of the United Nations and the basic principles on which the Organization is founded. The Principles stated in this Chapter are binding on the Members. The organs of the United Nations are equally bound to respect them in performance of their particular functions. The Charter speaks for itself: "The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles”. The plan of having a body of fundamental principles brought together in one chapter at the opening of the Charter was conceived at Dumbarton Oaks, and, with some additions, Article 2 remains in large part as it was drafted in Chapter II of the Proposals.

The first principle states that the Organization “is based on the sovereign equality of all its Members." The expression “sovereign equality” is taken from the Moscow Four-Nation Declaration of October 30, 1943. Mr. Cordell Hull, who signed this Declaration on behalf of the United States, explained in an address to the Congress that the principle of the sovereign equality of all peace-loving states, large and small, as partners in a future system of general security, would be the foundation stone upon which the proposed general international organization would be constructed. Mr. Hull explained further that the adoption of this principle was particularly welcome to the United States; that nowhere has the conception of sovereign equality been applied more widely than in the American family of nations.

The expression "sovereign equality" was understood to mean that states are juridically equal and that they enjoy the rights inherent in their full sovereignty. It was further understood that this principle involves respect for the personality of a state and for its territorial integrity and political independence, an understanding which is strengthened by the fourth principle.

The second principle provides that all Members of the United Nations shall fulfill "in good faith" the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the Charter in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership in the Organization. The wording adopted varies only slightly from that agreed to at Dum

barton Oaks. It was used to indicate as clearly as possible that the enjoyment of rights and benefits of membership depends upon the fulfillment of obligations. This principle, however, does not mean merely that if a Member fulfills its obligation, it may then exercise certain rights; it implies also that, unless all Members of the Organization carry out in good faith their obligations, none of the Members can receive the full benefits of membership in the Organization. The fulfillment of duties and obligations by all member states will alone assure the effectiveness of the Organization. It was thought necessary to include this principle among those on which the Organization is founded in view of past experience when nations have tended to emphasize their rights and to neglect their duties and have subscribed to obligations which, in time of international crisis, they ignored.

The third principle provides that all Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace, security, and justice are not endangered. Except for the insertion of the words "international" and "justice", this principle is in the form in which it was written at Dumbarton Oaks. At San Francisco, on the initiative of the Sponsoring Powers, the word "international” was added to make it perfectly clear that the Organization would concern itself only with disputes among the nations, a conclusion stated more explicitly in the seventh principle. At the request of a number of nations who wished to make it clear that the settlement of international disputes should be consonant with the principles of justice, the Conference accepted the addition of the word “justice”. It was understood that this principle does not obligate the Members to settle all their international disputes. Some disputes, if they do not endanger international peace and security, may be left in a quiescent state, although means are provided to have them brought before the Organization at any time. The substance of the clause is that peaceful means shall be the one method by which international disputes will be settled and furthermore the settlement itself shall not be such as to endanger either international peace and security, or justice.

The fourth principle provides that all Members of the United Nations shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. Except for the reference to territorial integrity and political independence, this principle was also included in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals. Under this principle Members undertake to refrain from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the Organization. This means that force may be used in an organized manner under the authority of the United Nations to prevent and to remove threats to the peace and to suppress acts of aggression. The whole scheme of the Charter is based on this conception of collective force made available to the Organization for the maintenance of international peace and security. Under Article 51 force may also be used in self-defense before the machinery of the Organization can be brought into action, since self-defense against aggression would be consistent with the purposes of the Organization.

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