26 June 1945 – Australia signs the UN Charter

26 June 1945 – Australia signs the UN Charter

Friday, 28 June 2019

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

On 26 June 1945, Australia was one of 50 nations which signed the United Nations Charter at a conference in San Francisco. This led to the formation of the United Nations a few months later on 24 October.

United States President Harry Truman addressed the final session of the conference on 26 June.

‘The Charter of the United Nations which you have just signed is a solid structure upon which we can build a better world.’

‘History will honour you for it. Between the victory in Europe and the final victory in Japan, in this most destructive of all wars, you have won a victory against war itself.’

The term ‘United Nations’ had previously described 26 nation states who, on 1 January 1942, had agreed to prosecute the Second World War as a group and not seek peace as individual entities.

In 1945, representatives from these 26 states and others from nations which had declared war on Germany or Japan no later than 1 March 1945 assembled in San Francisco for the historic conference.

The total of nations represented at that time, including Australia, was 50. The United Nations now comprises 193 Member States.

Its mission and work is ‘guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter.’

‘Due to the powers vested in its Charter and its unique international character, the United Nations can take action on the issues confronting humanity in the 21st century, such as peace and security, climate change, sustainable development, human rights, disarmament, terrorism, humanitarian and health emergencies, gender equality, governance, food production, and more.’

Australia can be proud of its contribution to the establishment of the United Nations and its continuing charter driven role in establishing peace and prosperity throughout the world.

Read more of the history of the Charter and the United Nations.