- 1945-1947 (Creation)
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The Conference of the Establishment of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation adopted on 16 November 1945 not only the UNESCO Constitution but also an Instrument establishing a Preparatory Educational, Scientific and Cultural Commission. During the year 1946, the commission held six sessions.
In the first plenary meeting of the Commission Ellen Wilkinson, Minister of Education of Great Britain, was elected as the President of the Commission and the post of the Executive Secretary was held from 1 March 1946 by Julian Huxley until he was elected first Director-General of UNESCO on 6 December 1946.
On 4 November, Greece became the twentieth country to ratify the Constitution of UNESCO and by this act the organisation come legally into being. The first session of the General Conference opened on 20 November in Paris and worked until 10 December. Upon the election of the Director General on 6 December, the mandate of the Preparatory Commission expired and the Commission was dissolved, but its staff continued to work as the Secretariat of UNESCO under its chief administrative officer, the Director General.
The records as transferred to the UNESCO Archives were checked, listed and bound under the supervision of Mr. Jan Opocensky, a former Delegate of the Commission, then Member of the Executive Board from 1946-1948, and the Archivist of UNESCO from 1949-1957.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Fonds consists of official documents and correspondence files produced by the Preparatory Commission in the course of its activities. The fonds is arranged into two series: Documents and Correspondence files.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
No further accruals expected.
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Physical characteristics and technical requirements
- AG 3/1: Prep.Com. Inventory of archives: The inventory contains detailed lists of documents and files.
- AG 3/2: Name and subject index of the correspondence files: card-index which refers firstly to the correspondence of the Commission (governments, institutions, organizations and individual persons) and secondly to subject matters dealt with in the correspondence; references are to individual letters.
- AG 3/4: Mail register: chronological register-book of letters received between 21 March and 17 December 1946; letters after that date should, in principle, be filed in the Unesco Secretariat files (registry files); file numbers of individual letters indicated.
- AG 3/4: Card-index of documents.
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
All original documents are kept in the UNESCO archives.
Existence and location of copies
The copies of the documents should also be available in the Archives of the Member Governments of those years.
Related units of description
Huxley, Julian: Unesco, its purpose and its philosophy. London, Preparatory Commission of Unesco, 1946.
Opocensky, Jan: The Beginnings of Unesco I-II 1942-1948. Paris 1949-1950. Non published manuscript in the UNESCO Archives; Vol. I: Survey of the first years; Vol. II treats the constitution.
The official working languages of the Commission were English and French and therefore, most of the documents, including meeting records, exist in both languages. There are, however, fewer documents in French than in English.
Documents in English have been reproduced on microfiche: in all 70 fiches.
In addition, the working documents containing the proposals for the programme and budget of the new organization submitted to the first General Conference exist on microfiche.
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Dates of creation revision deletion
Created by Julia Pohle, June 2009. Revised AWT 12/04/2011.