275 Bulcock to Scully

Cablegram 675 WASHINGTON, 28 May 1946, 6.24 p.m.


The F.A.0. Conference terminated yesterday with all nations represented in complete accord with decisions subject to the approval of the Governments [1] I am forwarding copies of reports and comments. Our chief mission was to present Australia's case, modify resolutions to fit in with our particular circumstances and to block mischievous resolutions sponsored by some importing countries. I think we achieved these requirements. There appears to be a great lack of understanding of the problems of the southern hemisphere agriculture and some northern hemisphere resolutions, if adopted, would have embarrassed us. We are already carrying out many of the requirements set out in the resolutions, such as a central collection agency for wheat and control of distribution. The proposal to extend the Combined Food Board originated with the original members of the board. Our danger is that the new organisation may desire to cut across our food contracts with the United Kingdom but such claims as the one adopted dealing with the preservation of existing trade channels proved a preliminary safeguard, though this matter will have to be closely watched when the new organisation is established.

The first meeting of the new organisation will take place here in the immediate future and I propose to attend when the central committee will be elected and no doubt broad lines of policy discussed. I think it essential that we should be strongly represented at this meeting. We will, of course, endeavour to secure representation on the central committee. [2]

The highlights of the conference were production collection, distribution and utilisation of foodstuffs. Extraction rates for wheat were discussed. We intimated that many factors governed this matter and the resolution adopted amply protects the position. The same qualifications apply as far as we are concerned to other major resolutions, such as livestock feeding, utilisation of available supplies and prevention of waste. This conference dealt particularly with the present emergency but yesterday it was determined to call the annual conference of F.A.0. in Copenhagen on 2nd September. It is generally accepted that the Copenhagen meeting will deal with the future policy of F.A.0. as a permanent world Organisation and Australia will be vitally interested in the matters likely to arise. Consequently I would appreciate your instructions as to whether you desire me to return home via Copenhagen and attend the conference en route. Such an arrangement would postpone my return to Australia by about three weeks on present indications and I think continuity of representation is essential. Officers associated with me, namely, Brigden, Garside, Richardson, Day, Munro [3] have been consulted regarding the contents of this cable and fully concur. I desire to express to you my appreciation of the whole hearted co-operation given me by these gentlemen.

1 See Document 271.

2 In cablegram 717, dispatched 5 June from Washington, Evatt reported the invitation to Australia and twenty other countries to attend the initial meeting on 20 June. He approved Australian endorsement of recommendations of the F.A.0. Conference as to the constitution and functions of the new body, and urged again that Australia must secure membership of the Central Committee.

3 J. U. Garside, J. F. Richardson and A. J. Day were officers of the Commerce and Agriculture Dept. Brigden and Munro were attached to the Legation in Washington.

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