In 1964 the Swedish Prime Minister, Tage Erlander, put forward the idea of establishing a peace research institute to commemorate Sweden's 150 years of unbroken peace. A Swedish Royal Commission chaired by Alva Myrdal proposed in its 1966 report that such an institute be established.
The institute, which became Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), was to seek to contribute to 'the understanding of the preconditions for a stable peace and for peaceful solutions of international conflicts' and the Commission recommended that research be concentrated on armaments, their limitation and reduction, and arms control. The Commission also recommended that SIPRI's work be of 'an applied research character directed towards practical-political questions [which] should be carried on in a constant interchange with research of a more theoretical kind'.
The Swedish Parliament decided that the Institute be established on 1 July 1966 with the legal status of an independent foundation. Since then, SIPRI has built its reputation and standing on competence, professional skills, and the collection of hard data and precise facts, rendering accessible impartial information on weapon developments, arms transfers and production, military expenditure, as well as on arms limitations, reductions and disarmament.
The task of the Institute is to conduct 'scientific research on questions of conflict and cooperation of importance for international peace and security with the aim of contributing to an understanding of the conditions for peaceful solution of international conflicts and for a stable peace'.