Following the signature of the Roerich Pact by the American States in 1935 attempts were undertaken to draft a more comprehensive convention for the protection of monuments and works of art in time of war. In 1939, a draft convention, elaborated under the auspices of the International Museums Office, was presented to governments by the Netherlands. On account of the outbreak of World War II no further steps could be taken. After the war, a new proposal was submitted to UNESCO by the Netherlands in 1948. The General Conference of UNESCO in 1951 decided to convene a committee of government experts to draft a convention. This committee met in 1952 and thereafter submitted its drafts to the General Conference. The revised drafts were then transmitted to governments for advice. The intergovernmental Conference which drew up and adopted the Convention and the further Acts took place at The Hague from 21 April to 14 May 1954. 56 States were represented.
The Final Act has no force of law.