At San Francisco, delegates from fifty nations hammered out an agreement, creating the UN Charter. The Charter declared against wars of aggression and against wars that violated international agreements. The Charter declared against war crimes and crimes against humanity: genocide, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts. Articles 42 and 43 authorized the use of armed force to maintain international peace and security. Article 51 acknowledged the right of members to join together for self-defense -- an issue in support of regionalism that had been advocated by Latin American countries that feared the spread of communism. Articles 55 and 56 required that "all members pledge themselves to take joint and separate action" to promote "universal respect for, and observance and protection of, all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all."
The charter envisaged the regular military force available to the Security Council that had been advocated by Roosevelt. The Charter could be amended by a two-thirds majority vote in the UN's General Assembly. The General Assembly was to be a place for discussion and the making of "recommendations" regarding the maintenance of international peace and security. Responsibility to implementation was to be with the Security Council. And members of the United Nations were required to pay dues.
The United Nations sought collective agreement, but on the Security Council national sovereignty was reinforced by a requirement of unanimity -- first agreed to at the Yalta Conference. Any one Security Council member could veto a decision made by other members of council. This was a provision insisted upon by the Soviet Union, which wanted protection from the capitalist powers ganging up against it. The other Security Council members were concerned about their own sovereignty and accepted it as a worthy idea. That it weakened United Nations was also accepted. Sovereignty was most important to them.
The UN was to be administered by a Secretary General, appointed by the General Assembly on recommendation of the Security Council, for a term of five years. He was to sit in on sessions of the General Assembly and to be able to bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion threatened international peace and security.
Ceremonies for the signing of the UN Charter took place at San Francisco on June 26. President Truman flew in and spoke to the gathering, saying that he would use the United Nations as a central instrument in foreign policy. He renounced great-power dominations. Strong nations, he said, should lead the way to international justice "by their own example." Let us not fail to grasp "this supreme chance," he said, "to establish a worldwide rule of reason." Ratification of the Charter by member nations was completed on October 24, 1945, and October 24 was designated as United Nations Day.
In November, a UN General Conference in London created the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Its constitution claimed that "...since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed." It described World War II as having been "made possible by the denial of the democratic principles of the dignity, equality and mutual respect of men, and by the propagation, in their place, through ignorance and prejudice, of the doctrine of the inequality of men and races." The solution, according to the document was education.
Members of the Security Council failed to agree concerning the creation of a regular armed force for the UN, and no such force was created. The sense of urgency and common purpose that had existed in 1941 in Europe had slackened during the peace that followed the war in Europe.