Magazine article UN Chronicle

Golden Anniversary of UN Celebrated in City of Its Birth

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Golden Anniversary of UN Celebrated in City of Its Birth

Article excerpt

On 26 June 1995, half a century after United States President Harry Truman called on delegates from 50 war-weary nations to "be the architects of a better world", an array of dignitaries from around the globe gathered at the San Francisco Veterans War Memorial Building's Herbst Theatre to celebrate the golden anniversary of the United Nations.

"The blueprint for the world Organization was drawn here in San Francisco 50 years ago", said Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali from the stage of the historic theatre where, on the same date in 1945, the UN Charter was signed and the world Organization was born. "The Charter created here is more than a document of history; it is the foundation stone of international relations."

Since 1945, a new reality of global cooperation has taken shape, based on the Charter, said Mr. Boutros-Ghali, standing before a vibrant blue backdrop adorned with the United Nations seal, which is little changed from the original symbol designed for the founding conference five decades ago. "We are the custodians of the dream of global cooperation. We will not let it perish. As long as people seek national identities; as long as people seek protection from aggression; and as long as people yearn for a better world for their children, the United Nations will endure, and it will succeed."

At the podium, in front of which was displayed in a lighted case the original copy of the UN Charter. United States President Bill Clinton gave a resounding "Yes, to the dream of the United Nations", but also asserted: "Today's UN must be ready to handle tomorrow's problems."

"We must all remember that the United Nations is a reflection of the world it represents. Therefore, it will remain far from perfect. It will not be able to solve all problems, but even those it cannot solve it may well be able to limit in terms of the scope and reach of the problem, and it may well be able to limit the loss of human life until the time for solution comes", Mr. Clinton stressed to the gathering.

Among the dignitaries assembled were the 185 current Ambassadors to the UN, Poland's President Lech Walesa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and some original members of delegation to the 1945 conference.

"So I say especially to the opponents of the United Nations here in the United States, turning our back on the UN and going it alone will lead to far more economic, political and military burdens on our people in the future and would ignore the lessons of our own history", said Mr. Clinton, whose speech concluded the commemoration ceremony. "Instead, on this 50th anniversary of the Charter's signing, let us renew our vow to live together as good neighbours."

Creating the Charter

That vow had been at the heart of the drive for collective security which resulted in the convening of the original United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO) on 25 April 1945. Over the following two months, in an atmosphere shadowed by the tail-end of the Second World War and the recent death of United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, UNCIO delegates spent hundreds of hours hammering out agreements which culminated in the unanimous approval of the United Nations Charter on 26 June 1945, including the Preamble, drafted by American poet Archibald MacLeish, among others.

That day, said General Assembly President Amara Essy of Cote d'Ivoire in his address to the anniversary celebration, "was a day of hope. The world was rising from the long night of war. The veterans of that war were gathered in this room. Today, too, is a day of hope. We ourselves are veterans of another war, the cold war. We too must be the architects of a better world. Fifty years on, the future is once again in our hands."

The UN Charter, "conceived at Saint James' Palace in London, nourished out on the high seas, shaped in Washington, Moscow, Teheran, Dumbarton Oaks and Yalta, and given final form in San Francisco, was designed to usher in a peaceful, just and prosperous world, a world founded no longer on force but on law", Mr. …

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