The Dumbarton Oaks Conference was a conference that had the purpose of creating an international organization for maintaining peace and safety and was held from August 21st to October 7th, 1944. The representatives of the Conference formed a proposal, and it resulted in the San Francisco Conference that established voting rules for the Security Council.


The Dumbarton Oaks Conference is also called the Washington Conversations on International Peace, or Security Organization was an international conference where the United Nations was established. The United Nations was the second multipurpose international organization that aimed to maintain peace and security, as well as develop relationships among countries, based on equal rights and respect. The Conference took place in Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. Representatives of China, Soviet Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom attended the Conference, and they formulated a proposal for the world organization.

The Conference was held in two phases due to the Japan and China conflict as Moscow feared that Tokyo might break non-aggression pact. Therefore, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union got together during the first phase that lasted for seven days. Representatives of the Republic of China, the United States, and the United Kingdom convened during the second phase. “Proposals for the Establishment of a General International Organization” has been established during the first phase, which constituted almost complete charter for the United Nations.

The Dumbarton Oaks Conference established a proposal for the structure of the world organization. The plan included four principal bodies that would constitute the United Nations. The General Assembly would be composed of all the members, and they would choose members for the Security Council. Security Council would be composed of eleven members, and five of them should be permanent at their positions. The International Court of Justice was the third body, and Secretariat was the fourth.

Each of the bodies served a specific function to contribute to the United Nations’ primary goal. Security Council was responsible for preventing the war, the General Assembly had to educated society regarding international cooperation and dealt with situations that could interfere with welfare. The International Court of Justice and Secretariat served supportive actions, assisting in legal cases.

The United States spread the details of the proposal and developed radio programs, films, speeches to promote the organization and explain its primary purpose. Several governments criticized the plan, which helped the Allied countries to identify their weaknesses. Despite criticism, the government recognized an improvement compared to the Covenant of the League of Nations, as they put armed forces at the disposal of the Security Council.

Even though functions were defined and distributed among the principal bodies, the actual method of voting was not discovered. Hence, the Dumbarton Oaks proposal was not satisfactory by all means as it failed to provide an appropriate plan for the United Nations. Therefore, representatives were not able to agree on the Security Council’s voting system. The issue was resolved during the Yalta Conference that occurred in February 1945. Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt attended the Conference and decided to meet at San Francisco in the United States to prepare a charter for an institution to maintain peace and security and to resolve the existent issue. Even though President Roosevelt died, the Conference still occurred on the appointed date, which is considered to be an outcome of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference.