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Nobel Peace Prize - United Nations

The UN and its General-Secretary's joint award came on the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of the Peace Prize, and represented the Nobel Committee's belief that "the only negotiable route to global peace and cooperation goes by way of the United Nations". In this, the Committee was reflecting upon over half a century of UN efforts to mediate in conflict situations and to encourage peaceful relations between the nations of the world. As heir to the work of its predecessor, the League of Nations, the UN created a bureaucracy which strove to obtain peace in the increasingly forbidding atmosphere of the Cold War. Its efforts are fully documented in the large number of books, reports, agendas, minutes, and conference proceedings which it has published.

 

The UN is a prolific publisher, and makes the fruits of its research and its deliberations available to the public through its depository libraries scheme, in which designated libraries within those countries making up the United Nations receive free of charge a substantial part of the UN's publishing output (publications going back to 1993 are now available free in full text on the organisation's website via its Optical Disk system).

The newly-formed United Nations had many practical problems to solve, not least of these being where to base its main headquarters. After some deliberation, a Permanent Headquarters Committee was set up to consider the dilemma. It was given four terms of reference when making its choice of city: proximity to the greatest number of countries; absence of race discrimination; adequate distance from Washington and reasonable proximity to a metropolitan centre. This report gives details of the sometimes controversial debate (the city of New York was eventually chosen).

United Nations, Official Record of the First Part of the First Session of the General Assembly

United Nations, Official Record of the First Part of the First Session of the General Assembly, UN.30 © The British Library Board

The task of winding up the League of Nations and transferring its assets fell to the UN's League of Nations Committee. Three main principles were enjoined upon it: that the final settlement should be "a clean sweep" eliminating the possibility of any complications arising at a later time; that "a definite and final settlement" should be sought; and that the settlement should be "just and convenient". Numerous details had to be taken into account, not least an enumeration of the League of Nations' office furniture. Exhaustive inventories were published and appeared in the official records.

United Nations, Official Record of the First Part of the First Session of the General Assembly

United Nations, Official Record of the First Part of the First Session of the General Assembly, UN.30 © The British Library Board