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Charter of the United Nations

Charter of the United Nations: Together with Scholarly Commentaries and Essential Historical Documents

Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Charter of the United Nations
    Book Description:

    This volume contains the full text of the United Nations Charter and the Statute of the International Court of Justice, as well as related historical documents. They are accompanied by ten original essays on the Charter and its legacy by distinguished scholars and former high-level UN officials. The commentaries illuminate the early and ongoing roles of the United Nations in responding to international crises, debates about the UN's architecture and its reform, and its role in global governance, climate change, peacekeeping, and development. A concise and accessible introduction to the UN for students, this collection also offers important new scholarship that will be of interest to experts.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18253-8
    Subjects: Political Science, Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-xx)
    Ian Shapiro and Joseph Lampert

    The Charter of the United Nations was agreed to in April 1945 at a founding conference attended by delegations from fifty nations and held at the San Francisco Opera House, and was subsequently signed on June 26, 1945. Enacted in the wake of the horrors of World War II, the result of negotiations begun in the midst of the fight, the Charter and the body it created aimed to secure lasting peace and security after the second cataclysmic war of the twentieth century. To do so would require achieving and maintaining consensus among the great powers, which, while keen to...

  4. Documents

      (pp. 3-4)

      We are resolved upon the earliest possible establishment with our allies of a general international organization to maintain peace and security. We believe that this is essential, both to prevent aggression and to remove the political, economic, and social causes of war through the close and continuing collaboration of all peace-loving peoples.

      The foundations were laid at Dumbarton Oaks. On the important question of voting procedure, however, agreement was not there reached. The present Conference has been able to resolve this difficulty.

      We have agreed that a conference of United Nations should be called to meet at San Francisco in...

      (pp. 5-9)

      I come from the Crimea Conference with a firm belief that we have made a good start on the road to a world of peace.

      There were two main purposes in this Crimea Conference. The first was to bring defeat to Germany with the greatest possible speed, and the smallest possible loss of Allied men.

      The second purpose was to continue to build the foundation for an international accord that would bring order and security after the chaos of the war, that would give some assurance of lasting peace among the Nations of the world.

      Toward that goal also, a...

      (pp. 10-13)

      Delegates to the United Nations Conference on International Organization:

      The world has experienced a revival of an old faith in the everlasting moral force of justice. At no time in history has there been a more important Conference, nor a more necessary meeting, than this one in San Francisco, which you are opening today.

      On behalf of the American people, I extend to you a most hearty welcome.

      President Roosevelt appointed an able delegation to represent the United States. I have complete confidence in its Chairman, Secretary of State Stettinius, and in his distinguished colleagues, former Secretary Cordell Hull, Senator...

      (pp. 14-45)

      We the peoples of the united nations determined

      to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and

      to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and

      to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and

      to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

      to practice tolerance and...

      (pp. 46-64)

      The International Court of Justice established by the Charter of the United Nations as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations shall be constituted and shall function in accordance with the provisions of the present Statute.

      The Court shall be composed of a body of independent judges, elected regardless of their nationality from among persons of high moral character, who possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices, or are jurisconsults of recognized competence in international law.

      1. The Court shall consist of fifteen members, no two of whom may be nationals...

  5. Part I The United Nations Charter:: Structure, Origins, and Institutional Change

    • Chapter 1 The UN Charter: A Global Constitution?
      (pp. 67-90)
      Michael W. Doyle

      How constitutional is the global order? The countries of the globe are increasingly interdependent, but do they together have a coherent legal order, assigning authority to decide rights and responsibilities? Few would choose the description “coherent” for the global order, if that connotes centralized. But even as a decentralized legal order, the global international system has no single constitution. The closest candidate to a global constitution is the UN Charter. Thus it is worth exploring how constitutional the Charter is in theory and practice. Sixty plus years into its evolution we can see two dominant features.

      First, we can see...

    • Chapter 2 Lost in Transition? The League of Nations and the United Nations
      (pp. 91-106)
      M. Patrick Cottrell

      At the final League of Nations Assembly in April 1946, Lord Robert Cecil proclaimed, “The League is dead; long live the United Nations!” This proclamation suggests a dynastic relationship between the two landmark institutions whereby part of the DNA of the League of Nations was passed on to its progeny. However, the connections between the United Nations and its institutional predecessor are largely downplayed in the modern international relations literature, in part because the League has been so widely discredited as a failure. But relegating the League of Nations to the proverbial dustbin of history would be a mistake, particularly...

    • Chapter 3 Has the UN Lived Up to Its Charter?
      (pp. 107-120)
      Stephen Schlesinger

      Global security was the central issue that brought fifty nations together in San Francisco to draft the UN Charter in the spring of 1945. After suffering two catastrophic world wars within just twenty or so years, the three leaders of the anti-Nazi alliance—Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Josef Stalin—all agreed, along with the heads of some forty-seven other nations, to form a body that would bring an end to global violence and protect all states from future aggression. The organization would be designed as a universal one to assure common security around the globe. The single-minded focus of...

    • Chapter 4 Change and the United Nations Charter
      (pp. 121-140)
      Edward C. Luck

      The United Nations has had a complicated, even uneasy, relationship with change. At times and on some subjects, it has been a prime promoter of change. At other times and on other matters, it has clung to the status quo with remarkable tenacity. Much of the micro explanation, of course, lies with the political winds of the moment. But what of the macro picture: what were the larger strategic assumptions and intentions that framed the establishment of the United Nations system more than six decades ago? What did the founders have in mind and how were their intentions expressed in...

  6. Part II Early Impact and State Formation

    • Chapter 5 The United Nations and the Emergence of Independent India
      (pp. 143-156)
      Srinath Raghavan

      The relationship between independent India and the United Nations is usually viewed through the prism of the Kashmir dispute. This is not surprising, for Kashmir was one of the earliest international disputes that came up for consideration by the Security Council. Resolutions adopted by the Security Council remain unfulfilled, and the dispute rages on more than six decades after it was first brought to the UN. The chronic character of the problem apart, there is another reason why Kashmir tends to dominate discussions of India and the UN. Independent India’s ostensible refusal to abide by the Security Council resolutions adopted...

    • Chapter 6 Palestine and Israel at the United Nations: Partition, Recognition, and Membership
      (pp. 157-173)
      Debra Shushan

      The histories and legacies of Israel, Palestine, and the United Nations are deeply enmeshed. The UN played a crucial role in the attempted partition of Palestine and the recognition of Israeli independence. This early test of its authority and efficacy helped shape the nascent international organization. Throughout the duration of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the UN’s role in determining the disposition of this disputed land has been underappreciated.¹ In this essay I begin with a look at the origins of the Arab-Jewish struggle in Palestine, and then demonstrate the impact the UN had by tracing its effect on Palestine’s fortunes from...

    • Chapter 7 Namibian Independence: A UN Success Story
      (pp. 174-192)
      Jean Krasno

      The independence of Namibia from South Africa in 1989–90 is often cited as a United Nations success, and it indeed set a precedent for later peace operations. Many aspects of the Namibia case were repeated in later UN efforts to assist countries transitioning to democracy, activities not possible during the Cold War. Although there were many useful lessons learned from the UN Namibia operation, several features of the Namibia-UN experience make it unique and difficult to replicate. The UN began the frustrating process of seeking, and then demanding, independence for Namibia as far back as 1949. Four decades later,...

  7. Part III The United Nations in the Contemporary World

    • Chapter 8 A History of UN Peacekeeping
      (pp. 195-209)
      James Dobbins

      Peacekeeping has become the United Nations’ lead product, making the largest claim on the organization’s budget, employing the largest number of its personnel, and occasioning the most public attention, debates in the General Assembly and Security Council aside. This emphasis on keeping the peace is consistent with the founders’ hopes for this organization, but the manner in which these activities have evolved has diverged considerably from that original vision.

      The United Nations Charter provides for a Military Committee made up of senior officers from the five permanent members of the Security Council. The expectation in 1945 was that these powers...

    • Chapter 9 Fighting the Last War: The United Nations Charter in the Age of the War on Terror
      (pp. 210-224)
      Oona A. Hathaway

      We the Peoples of the United Nations Determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind . . . do hereby establish an international organization to be known as the United Nations.”¹ These are the words with which the United Nations Charter begins. When they were penned in the spring of 1945, the world was struggling to emerge from the second devastating global conflagration in several decades. Over 50 million people were dead, and countless cities lay in ruins.

      The delegates who gathered in San Francisco to finalize...

    • Chapter 10 Science and Politics on a Warming Planet: The IPCC and the Representation of Future Generations
      (pp. 225-242)
      Joseph Lampert

      The first line of the UN Charter frames the project as the international community—“We the Peoples of the United Nations”—committing to the well-being of “succeeding generations.” While that line focuses on avoiding “the scourge of war,” the Charter did not simply establish a peacekeeping organization. Indeed, a significant legacy of the Charter is the creation of a world body that provides an institutional framework within which member states and nongovernmental organizations can respond to concerns not contemplated by its founders and engage in the kinds of activities that might make good on the idea of promoting “social progress...

  8. List of Contributors
    (pp. 243-244)
  9. Index
    (pp. 245-255)