If the world needed a new start, it needed a new world body. To this end, representatives of 50 states, 45 of whom had signed the UN Declaration of January 1942, met in San Francisco from 25 April to 26 June 1945 to determine the ‘International Organization’ of the future. They drew together earlier proposals and sought to resolve contentious points. ‘The world’ had never before been considered so comprehensively. The ‘United Nations’ was obviously the successor to the ‘League of Nations’, but that lineage required careful handling. The League had ‘failed’, however that failure was explained. Simply to replicate the League, therefore, would carry the stigma of past failure. The wartime discussion, as we have seen, therefore emphasized ‘realism’. The Great Powers could not be wished away. The new Security Council (China, France, the UK, USA and USSR, plus six temporary members) recognized that fact. These were apparently the only states that really mattered. When an issue was before the Security Council, the General Assembly could not also consider it. Ideally, the permanent members would be in accord, but the veto each possessed recognized that this could not be guaranteed. It was ‘realism’ to accept that the world could not be ‘policed’ in the teeth of opposition from a Great Power, though it was realized that constant use of the veto might render the Security Council ineffective. It came to be accepted that abstaining, in relation to a resolution, was different from vetoing it. In the decade up to 1955 the veto was used once by China, twice by France and 75 times by the Soviet Union. Neither the UK nor the USA used it.
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