Zuckerman Archive: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1187 SZ/Unesco
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1 box; two files; 1.5 linear feet

Scope and Content

File SZ/UNESCO/1 contains a small quantity of correspondence, conference programme, list of delegates, draft and final texts of conference resolutions, and copies of some of the papers presented, together with MS notes by Solly Zuckerman and a briefing paper [from the Lord President's Office]. This briefing paper [by Max Nicholson?], dated 13 August 1949, sets out HM Government's position, and explains Zuckerman's role with regard to the UNESCO/IUPN conference: our first commitment must be to set up our own Nature Conservancy ... Little, if anything, can be done in international protection, except on the basis of practical measures of education, legislation and organisation in at least some of the leading countries concerned. It went on to argue that neither the UNESCO conference nor UNSCCUR need ever have been held ... the persons attending seem rather to represent those who are most anxious to take part in international conferences than those who can contribute most to an understanding of the subject matter. Britain sent neither official nor unofficial delegates to the UNESCO/IUPN Conference, but Professor S. Zuckerman, C.B., F.R.S., Vice-Chairman of the British Delegation to UNSCCUR, and Dr. W.A. Macfarlane, Head of the United Kingdom Scientific Mission in Washington, have been notified through the secretariat as delegates who will represent His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom [op. cit.].

File SZ/UNESCO/2 relates to an informal study group set up to consider a proposal to establish an International Institute of the Arid Zone. The proposal had the endorsement of the International Unions of Geodesy and Geophysics, Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, and Biological Sciences. Zuckerman was not a member of the Study Group but, as Deputy Chairman of the UK Delegation to UNSCCUR, was sent a report on its meeting together with associated papers by the UK delegate, V.K.Maitland of the British Middle East Office (BMEO) of the Foreign Office. Maitland indicated that BMEO favoured the establishment of the Institute over which it anticipated exerting some influence.

Series SZ/UNSCCUR is complementary to this series.

Administrative / Biographical History

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the embryonic International Union for the Protection of Nature (IUPN) came into being at approximately the same time, 1946. The latter, however, was not formally constituted until 1948 by which time UNESCO was already planning a technical conference on the conservation of nature, to be held in 1949 in New York. IUPN was brought under the wing of UNESCO and charged with preparing the agenda for the Conference. Meanwhile the UN was planning a conference on the utilisation of natural resources (UNSCCUR) - scheduled to take place in New York concurrently - the remit of which was extended to cover the protection of nature.


  • SZ/UNESCO/1 UNESCO/International Union for the Protection of Nature Conference on the Protection of Nature, August-September 1949, 1948-49
  • SZ/UNESCO/2 UNESCO International Institute of the Arid Zone Study Group, 1949

Access Information

Please refer to the fonds-level description for GB 1187 SZ.



Other Finding Aids

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Conditions Governing Use

Please refer to the fonds-level description for GB 1187 SZ.