United Nations

Harold E. Stassen with John Foster Dulles and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Location no. por 11915 p32The United Nations is an international organization of world nations. First envisioned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain in the Atlantic Charter of 1941, the United Nations was created at the end of World War II. Patterned after the League of Nations, its predecessor, which was formed after World War I, its purpose, as set forth in the Preamble of the United Nations Charter, is to end the "scourge of war, reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, maintain international law, and promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom." Structured as a parliamentary system, the United Nations consists of six principal units: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the International Court of Justice, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, and the Secretariat. The United Nations headquarters are located in New York City.

During the process of planning the United Nations, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Harold Stassen, former governor of Minnesota, to represent the United States in those deliberations.

In late June 1945, the final charter was completed and signed by the member nations. One month later, in July 1945, the United States Senate voted to ratify it. Three months later, on October 24, 1945, after its ratification by the Big Four Powers and the prescribed parliamentary majority of member countries, the United Nations became official and, in commemoration, October 24 is observed as United Nations Day.


  • Eugenie Anderson Papers.
    This archival collection (1945-1973) consists of correspondence, office files, speeches, reports, clippings, and miscellaneous papers documenting Anderson's career, including being a member of the U.S. delegation of the United Nations (1965-1968).
    MHS call number: See the green Manuscripts Alpha Notebooks—filed under Anderson, Eugenie—for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 19 boxes), or use an electronic version of the inventory.
  • Pierce Butler Papers.
    This archival collection (1944-1957) contains correspondence, statements, reports, speeches, clippings, and printed materials of Butler, a St. Paul lawyer, concerned almost entirely with the activities of the United World Federalists (UWF) during his service on its executive council and its various committees. The organization was dedicated to strengthening the United Nations (UN) into a world federation with powers over armaments and aggression.
    MHS call number: P760; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks—filed under P760—for a detailed list of boxes (there are 6 boxes).
  • York Langton Papers.
    This archival collection (1960-1989) consists of correspondence and transcripts of speeches of a Minneapolis businessman and peace activist, relating to his activities in the United Nations Association and other organizations devoted to world peace and disarmament. The correspondence is largely in the form of subject files containing much information on Langton's associations with many local, national, and international personages including Frances Humphrey Howard, Max Kampelman, Ann Landers, Harold E. Stassen, and Thomas J. Watson, with information on the United Nations, world peace, and disarmament. Of special interest are seven folders of minutes, correspondence, and programs of United Nations Rally, Inc., a yearly affair that brought many speakers of note to the Twin Cities (1979-1985). At the end of the collection is a small group of Langton's speeches to a number of Minnesota groups revealing his feelings toward the United Nations, peace, disarmament, and human rights.
    MHS call number: See the green Manuscripts Alpha Notebooks—filed alphabetically under Langton, York—for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 2 boxes), or use an electronic version of the inventory.
  • The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
    New York: Random House, 1938-[1950].
    MHS call number: E 806 .R749.
  • Harold Stassen
    • Harold Stassen Papers document the life and career of a former Minnesota governor, presidential contender, naval officer, United Nations charter delegate, and Eisenhower cabinet member. During his Naval service Stassen was selected by President Roosevelt as a delegate to the United Nations charter conference in San Francisco (April-June1945). Papers related to Stassen's involvement in the development of the United Nations charter illustrate his role in fostering international cooperation, his efforts at forwarding the position of the United States as a global leader, and his emergence as a negotiator in international relations. Although the bulk of the collection relates to Stassen's career prior to leaving the Eisenhower Administration in 1958, the remaining papers, though not as extensive, provide documentation of his continued work in politics and internationalism throughout the second half of the century. He remained outspoken in his views regarding contemporary public policy issues and events, including the evolving role of the United Nations.
      MHS call number: See the green Manuscripts Alpha Notebooks—filed under Stassen, Harold—for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 215 boxes of material, but not all relate to this topic), or use an electronic version of the inventory.
    • Harold Stassen Photograph Collection, ca. 1940-1948.
      This archival collection (ca. 1940-1948) consists of views of Harold Stassen, his wife Esther, and their children, Kathleen and Glen. Includes views of him speaking, with members of South St. Paul's Hook Em Cow Club, and his boyhood home at 1777 Thompson, South St. Paul.
      MHS call number: I.167 (in the A-V Collection).
    • "Harold Stassen: A Bridge of Ideas."
      Minneapolis, Minn.: United Nations Association of Minnesota, c1994.
      A video biography of former Minnesota governor Harold Stassen, emphasizing his work in the founding of the United Nations. Stassen discusses what could be done to restructure the organization.
      MHS call number: Videotape no. 653 (in the A-V Collection).
    • "Oral History Interview with Harold E. Stassen, 1991 June."
      Stassen discusses his governorship of the state of Minnesota, the state's relationship with the mining industry, and he refutes the label from the 1940s that Minnesota was an isolationist state. He details his decision to resign as governor of Minnesota to join the United States Navy in 1943 and describes his service in the Navy. He lists his accomplishments at the University of Pennsylvania and talks about his own personal politics and political life.
      MHS call number: OH 6 (in the Oral History Collection); see the blue Oral History Notebooks for description sheets (there are 9 60-minute cassettes).
    • Speech: "American World Policy for Peace and Progress."
      [Minnesota United Nations Committee, 1945].
      MHS call number: D 815 .S767 1945.
  • Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Minnesota Branch Records.
    This collection consists of the records of local and Minnesota state-level branches, of an international women's organization that works for world peace. The Minnesota branch was founded in 1922. The branch addressed itself to a wide variety of issues including war, imperialism, racial discrimination, women's rights, the United Nations, civil liberties, and militarism. The collection includes eight folders of subject files on the United Nations, and national WILPF publications on the United Nations.
    MHS call number: See the green Manuscripts Alpha Notebooks—filed under Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Minnesota Branch—for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 42 boxes of material and 1 oversize folder, but not all relate to this topic), or use an electronic version of the inventory.
  • World Federalist Association, Minnesota Chapter Records.
    This archival collection (1935-1995) contains records of the Minnesota Chapter, which was organized in 1947 and worked closely with the United Nations and its citizen supporters, lobbying extensively for peace legislation on the state and national levels. After 1975 it ceased its lobbying efforts and became an educational organization. The collection contains information on routine organizational matters, on the chapter's relationship to the United Nations, and its lobbying and educational efforts on behalf of peace and world government.
    MHS call number: See the green Manuscripts Notebooks—filed alphabetically under World Federalist Association (U.S.)—for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 3 boxes and 1 oversize folder), or use an electronic version of the inventory.
  • Newsletter Collection of the United World Federalists, Minnesota Branch, and Successor Organizations, 1956-1989.
    Includes the following organizations: United World Federalists, Minnesota Branch, Minneapolis and St. Paul chapters; World Federalists, USA, Minnesota Branch; World Federalists Association, Minnesota Branch; World Federalist Association, Minnesota Branch; World Federalist Association, Minnesota Chapter.
    MHS call number: Microfiche 957.
  • Newspapers that may be useful for this topic:
    • Minneapolis Star
    • Minneapolis Tribune
    • St. Paul Dispatch
    • St. Paul Pioneer Press
  • Check the library catalog for other materials.