As the windy afternoon of 1 November 1993 swirled into night, the General Assembly convened in a special plenary session to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of the Four Nations on General Security, adopted in Moscow on 30 October 1943.
The Permanent Representatives of the Russian Federation, the United States, the United Kingdom and China came in turn to the podium of the Assembly Hall and spoke briefly about the importance of the 1943 Moscow Declaration as a major step towards the founding of the UN. They remembered the difficult past and spoke of the challenges facing the Organization.
For nearly two weeks - from the middle of October into early November 1943 - the Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom, the United States and the USSR had met in Moscow to promote further cooperation between their Governments to bring the Second World War to an end and to plan for a future peace. The draft of what become the "Declaration of the Four Nations on General Security" had been brought from Washington by United States Secretary of State Cordell Hull.
The Moscow Declaration was significant for several reasons. It recognized, among other things, China's role in both waging the war and making the desired peace. By the Declaration, the four Governments publicly committed themselves to continue the fight against Germany, Italy and Japan until the Axis Powers "laid down their arms on the basis of unconditional surrender".
Looking to the future, the four nations declared "the necessity of establishing at the earliest practicable date a general international Organization, based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all peace-loving States, and open to membership by all such States, large and small, for the maintenance of international peace and security".
Preparing for peace
Behind the commitment to create an organization for "the maintenance of international peace and security" lay four years of intense research, analysis and planning. In September 1939, only days after the outbreak of war in Europe, the United States Department of State began the process of developing policies for dealing with future problems of peace and reconstruction. …