116 Bulcock to Department of Commerce and Agriculture

Cablegram 5334 LONDON [1], 13 September 1946, 1.01 p.m.


The F.A.O. Committee will recommend to the Plenary Session that a Special Commission to examine the World Food Board proposal [2] be set up with headquarters in Washington consisting of sixteen member nations plus the Soviet Union and Argentina and appropriate International Organisations including I.T.O. Preparatory Commission. These latter will take part in discussion but will have no vote nor shall they sign the report which will be transmitted to the Director-General of F.A.O. who shall forward copies of the report to Governments for consideration and comment following which a special meeting of F.A.O. will be called and finally the reports shall be submitted to the Economic and Social Council and U.N.O. This arrangement was previously discussed by us with the United Kingdom and other Dominions and agreed to.

We sought and were successful in obtaining a seat on the Food Commission. [3] We endeavoured to locate the Commission in London but were not successful. Recommendation to the Plenary Session will be that all countries elected to the Commission shall have a representative and an alternate and shall be entitled to send experts. Countries not on the Commission shall be entitled to send observers.

It is generally considered here that the Commission will have a colossal task and the Australian Delegation is of opinion that our interests will have to be very closely watched and safeguarded.

The Commission's work will be of an agricultural and economic character but in final analysis will be largely political.

In terms of the resolution the Commission shall meet not later than 15th October. At this juncture I am unable to state what experts will be required or duration of enquiry but the Commission will be instructed to proceed expeditiously.

In view of the extraordinary importance of the work of the Commission to Australia and the obvious necessity of closest possible attention being given to its work particularly in the early stages during which I conclude that principles governing the enquiry will be established I would be pleased to be informed if it is desired that I should proceed to Washington to take part in discussions particularly in the early stages. I assume if this were done Brigden, Garside, Richardson and Munro would be available for consultation. As I propose to leave London for Australia, unless otherwise instructed, I would be pleased to receive a reply as soon as possible. I would suggest that all appropriate documents likely to be of use in Washington be forwarded for use of the Australian representative on the Commission. We have moved for suggested alteration of the Constitution and in accordance with Dr. Evatt's request are taking such steps as are possible and constitutional to secure a seat on the Executive of the F.A.O. [4] It is anticipated that F.A.O.

meeting will conclude on Saturday-we are leaving for London Sunday. So far no decisions likely to prove embarrassing have been taken.

1 Bulcock was in Copenhagen. The cablegram was dispatched through the High Commissioner's Office in London.

2 See Document 65, note 1.

3 The appointment of S. M. Bruce as Chairman of the Commission was announced on 8 October.

4 Bulcock had been instructed in cablegram 599 of 10 September to seek election to the Executive Committee and, since it would be impracticable for an Australian representative at the conference regularly to attend the committee, to seek amendment to Article V of the constitution for members to be appointed as representatives of their governments, for provision of alternates and for the possibility of nominations from persons not attending the conference. This matter remained unresolved pending the findings of the Preparatory Commission on the World Food Board.

[AA:A1067, ER46/4/16]