The Purpose

Conversations Chinese delegates
Leading members of the Chinese delegation at the opening of the second phase of the Dumbarton Oaks Conversations, September 29, 1944, together with the American and British delegations. Left to right: Dr. Wei Tao-ming; Dr. V.K. Wellington Koo; Dr. H.H. Kung; Cordell Hull; the Earl of Halifax; Sir Alexander Cadogan; Edward R. Stettinius, Jr. (photo: National Archives, Washington, D.C.) Informal meeting in the Study at Dumbarton Oaks. Seated (left to right): Peter Loxley; Sir Alexander Cadogan; Edward R. Stettinius, Jr.; Andrei A. Gromyko; Arkadii A. Sobolev; Valentin M. Berezhkov. Standing (left to right): James Clement Dunn and Leo Pasvolsky (photo: National Archives, Washington, D.C.)

The stated purposes of the proposed international organization were

  • To maintain international peace and security; and to that end to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace and the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means adjustment or settlement of international disputes which may lead to a breach of the peace
  • To develop friendly relations among nations and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace
  • To achieve international co-operation in the solution of international economic, social and other humanitarian problem
  • To afford a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in the achievement of these common ends

The delegates agreed on a tentative proposal to meet these goals on October 7, 1944. In his Witness to History, 1929–1969 (New York, 1973, 159), C.E. Bohlen observes that Dumbarton Oaks settled all but two issues regarding the organization of the United Nations-the voting procedure in the Security Council and the Soviet pressure for the admission of all sixteen of the Soviet republics to the General Assembly. It took the conference at Yalta, plus further negotiations with Moscow, before the issues were solved.

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