The BIPM was created by the Metre Convention, which was signed on 20 May 1875, before the development of law of intergovernmental organizations. The signatories of the Metre Convention did not use the term "international organization", which was not commonly used when the treaty one of the first constituent treaties was drafted. However, the text of the Metre Convention is indeed focused on the creation of an international organization: the BIPM. All the legal components of such an organization can be found in the Metre Convention:
- The First Article (1875) of the Metre Convention provides that: "[t]he High Contracting Parties undertake to create and maintain, at their common expense, a scientific and permanent International Bureau of Weights and Measures with its headquarters in Paris", is uniquely concerned with the creation of the BIPM and establishes its intergovernmental multilateral basis and its permanent nature;
- Article 3 (1875) of the Metre Convention, which provides that "[t]he International Bureau shall operate under the exclusive direction and supervision of an International Committee for Weights and Measures, itself placed under the authority of a General Conference on Weights and Measures, consisting of the delegates of all contracting Governments", establishes the BIPM's organs; and
- Articles 6 (1875) and 7 (1921) of the Metre Convention provide for the international mission attributed to the BIPM.
Therefore, by virtue of the Metre Convention, the BIPM is an intergovernmental organization. States that have ratified the Metre Convention in accordance with their national procedures are States Parties to the Metre Convention and therefore Member States of the BIPM.