207 Department of External Affairs to Bulcock,

McCarthy, Cutler

Cablegrams 1580, 6194, 422 CANBERRA, 11 November 1946

Your 1528-World Food Board. [1]

1. Policy of Australian Government as set out in instructions to delegation at New York, repeated in House last week by Minister for External Affairs [2], is that there should be no further growth of independent or in any respect separate organisations. It is not enough that the proposed Board is attached to F.A.0. and in that way related to Economic and Social Council. [3]

2. At Hot Springs Australian delegation had provision inserted giving F.A.0. power to recommend conventions (see Article IV Section 3 of the Constitution). F.A.0. also has power to consider commodity arrangements (Article 1 Section 2(f)). In the Minister's second reading speech he said 'There are ... implied obligations which will arise out of the powers of the organisations to make recommendations and to refer conventions to Governments. The success of international organisations such as ... this proposed Food and Agriculture organisation depends on the intention of Governments to make them work by carrying out wherever possible their recommendations and conventions.' [4]

3. This procedure of recording conventions is one we desire to see adopted. F.A.0. is controlling body and particular administration set up to assist carry out convention if adopted is matter for F.A.0. Thus there is no need for separate organisation of any description.

4. You should press this point of view at this stage. Australia is not member of Economic and Social Council and consequently will have no opportunity of putting view there.

5. Please pass copy of this telegram to Tange with whom you should consult. [5]

1 Dispatched 6 November. it emphasised that the work of the World Food Board Preparatory Commission, meeting in Washington from 28 October, would be referred to appropriate U.N. bodies, including the Economic and Social Council, and that a body independent of F.A.0., itself an organ of the United Nations, had not been contemplated. It requested elaboration of the significance of Cablegram 1547 (Document 99).

2 On 8 November. See Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, vol. 189, P.103.

3 See Document 199.

4 On 27 September 1944. See Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, vol. 180, P.1585.

5 The Commission sat until late January 1947. It proposed tackling the food problem through existing agencies, recommending, inter alia, that a World Food Council replace F.A.O.'s Executive Committee, with broader functions of review and co-ordination, and that schemes for famine reserves, buffer stocks and disposal of surpluses be arranged through existing commodity organisations.

[AA:A1067, ER46/4/19]