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Special Delivery to UN General Assembly

First page of the United Nations Charter; June 26, 1945; General Records of the United States Government, 1778-1992; Record Group 11; National Archives.

On June 21 in New York City, the United Nations General Assembly reappointed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to a second consecutive five-year term. As he took the oath of office, his left hand was placed on the cover of the original United Nations Charter.

At the request of the Secretary General, the National Archives made arrangements to have the original charter brought to New York City.

At the General Assembly, NARA staff set up the document on the stage prior to the ceremony. Afterward, the Secretary-General and his senior staff were among a group of officials treated to a special viewing of the Charter, courtesy of the National Archives.

In compliance with Article 111 of the Charter, the document is permanently held by the National Archives of the United States:

“The present Charter, of which the Chinese, French, Russian, English, and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall remain deposited in the archives of the Government of the United States of America. Duly certified copies thereof shall be transmitted by that Government to the Governments of the other signatory states.”

First signed by 50 member countries on June 26, 1945, in San Francisco, the Charter is the foundational treaty of the United Nations. It entered into effect later in that year, after being ratified by the five permanent members of the Security Council.

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Update from the Archivist: The Secretary General called yesterday afternoon to thank the National Archives for fulfilling his dream of being sworn in for his second term with his hand on the original Charter. He wanted to remind the membership of the original commitments to the mission of the United Nations and it was important to him to have the document in evidence.

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