9 Department of External Affairs to Watt

Cablegram 23 CANBERRA, 6 January 1946


Reference Dominions Office telegrams D.2065, D.284 and D.366. [1] International Health Organisation.

1. We feel United Kingdom proposals for formation proposed health organisation raise similar uncertainties as to its status as in case of their approach to U.N.E.S.C.O., namely whether a specialized agency is intended or a subsidiary organ either of Assembly or Economic and Social Council. Procedure for establishing new specialized agencies is defined in Article 59 [2] and we do not see how they can be established by direct resolution of Assembly.

2. If in view of technical character and volume of activities a specialised agency is preferable we think United States proposal for conference convened by Economic and Social Council at which constitution would be agreed on subject to governmental ratification is acceptable. Provision would need to be made for closest possible administrative and budgetary tie-up with United Nations.

3. On the other hand we strongly favour the United Kingdom purpose of securing maximum integration with United Nations Organisation and it is possible that subsidiary organ of Assembly or Commission of Economic and Social Council is most appropriate, though United States is apparently determined on specialised agency. Has attention been given to role and character of subsidiary organs under Article 22? [3]

4. Would appreciate views of those concerned with this problem on Preparatory Commission. As you know question is to be raised during Assembly meeting. We have not yet commented on Dominions Office telegrams. [4]

1 Dispatched 5 and 23 November and 21 December 1945 respectively.

They reported U.K.-U.S. exchanges concerning procedures for establishing an international health organisation. The U.K. Govt proposed that the U.N. General Assembly should call a conference of experts, whose plans should be submitted first to the Economic and Social Council, then ratified by the General Assembly. The U.S. Govt had argued that, as under Article 57 of the U.N. Charter a specialised agency was to be established by intergovernmental agreement, meetings of experts might precede the Assembly summoning a conference, and that proposals drafted by the conference should be submitted directly to the Assembly. Cablegram D366 reported a later U.S. suggestion that the General Assembly prescribe rules by which the Economic and Social Council might call conferences on matters within its competence; the Council would then summon a health conference.

2 Article 59 of the U.N. Charter states simply that the organization should 'where appropriate, initiate negotiations among the states concerned for the creation of any new specialised agencies.' 3 Article 22 of the U.N. Charter provides for establishment by the General Assembly of 'subsidiary organs it deems necessary for the performance of its functions.

4 In cablegram 601 of 26 January, the delegation commented: 'All major fields are tending to be taken beyond (the United Nations Organization's] reach in the sense that separate organisations have been set up or contemplated and only roundabout processes of recommendations are available to the Economic and Social Council if it wants to make its influence felt'. It argued that the Assembly and Council had a clear responsibility for health, that it would be consistent with the U.N. Charter for the Economic and Social Council to take the initiative, and suggested Australia urge the United Kingdom to sponsor a resolution before the Council to initiate planning for establishment of an organ of the Assembly under Article 22 of the U.N. Charter.

[AA:A1067, ER46/3/5]