74 Cabinet Submission by Chifley and Evatt

Agendum 695C CANBERRA, 9 April 1947



Cessation of UNRRA

Apart from special arrangements to complete programmes already in hand, UNRRA was due to cease operations on 31st March, 1947 in Europe and 30th June, 1947, in the Far East. Completion of the Australian programme will involve shipments at least until the third quarter of this year, and in special case of locomotives for China, deliveries may continue until the end of 1948.

2. The decision to close down UNRRA was taken because the United States, which has contributed more than 70% of UNRRA's funds, was opposed to further contributions for relief on an international basis. The U.S. stressed:

1. The impossibility of continuing contributions on the original scale; and 2. That future financing of relief supplies could be made unilaterally by loans and gifts as occasion might arise.

Americans were influenced by two major considerations:

1. A dislike of continuing governmental or intergovernmental procurement, and a desire for the world to get back to commercial business.

2. A desire to make relief contributions contingent upon economic and political interests which involved discrimination against eastern European countries of the Russian Bloc in favour of countries such as Greece, Italy and Austria.

3. One consequence of the termination of UNRRA is that with some exceptions future relief is likely to be given directly to needy countries under bilateral arrangements.

Post-UNRRA Arrangements

4. The question of post-UNRRA relief was considered at the meeting of the General Assembly held at the close of last year, when it was decided:

1. To establish a technical committee of experts, comprising representatives of 10 nations to study the needs of war-devastated countries, and to estimate the amount of relief assistance necessary to meet these needs.

2. To direct the Secretary-General to consider ways of coordinating relief programmes, and to report on the results to Member Governments, and the Economic and Social Council, at the earliest possible date.

Relief Needs

5. The technical committee of experts has now completed its deliberations. The committee estimated that a total amount of $553 million would be necessary to meet minimum relief needs during 1947. The countries affected are Austria, Greece, Italy, Poland, Yugoslavia and Hungary. The committee was unable to form any conclusions as to China's ability to finance minimum relief needs.

Information about Korea and Albania was also incomplete. The relief needs are basic essential items, primarily under the headings of food, medicine and agriculture.

6. It has been suggested that if generous contributions are forthcoming this year, Austria may be the only country requiring assistance in 1948.

Relief Proposals

7. On the basis of the General Assembly's resolution that the Secretary-General should consider ways and means of collecting funds equivalent to one day's earnings throughout the world, the total value of Australian government and non-government contributions for 1947 would be about A4,000,000. Before considering a further Australian contribution to general relief, however, it is necessary to consider other relief schemes in which Australia will be expected to participate.

Other Relief Organizations

8. The International Children's Emergency Fund, which is to be financed by Government contributions, voluntary contributions and from any residuals available after the termination of UNRRA, has been set up to assist children who have suffered as a result of war devastation.

9. As a first estimate, the outside assistance required to provide supplementary food aid for European Children will amount to about $200 million, apart from external assistance which may be required for other general relief purposes.

10. Telegram No. U.N.289 from the Australian United Nations Delegation, New York, attached as Appendix A, suggests the pressing need for assistance to children in war-devastated areas and gives an indication of the attitude of various governments, especially the United States, to the raising of funds. One suggestion that has been made is that contributions for the Fund should also be on the basis of the equivalent of one day's earnings throughout the world. There is likely to be little support for this proposal. If carried into effect, however, it would involve a request on Australia for a further A4,000,000.

11. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has proposed a relief fund of $100,000,000 for educational, scientific and cultural reconstruction of war- devastated areas. The fund is to be financed mainly from contributions of voluntary organizations, but governments may also be asked to help. No information is available regarding the scale of contributions proposed by governments.

12. Apart from the foregoing, Australia is represented on the inter-governmental Committee on Refugees, and has participated in discussions on the formation of an International Refugee Organization. Australia has not yet joined this organization, but should we do so, our contribution to both organizations for the first 12 months would amount to almost A1,000,000 (see separate Agendum [1]).

Requests on Australia

13. It is not possible to assess accurately the full extent of the requests that may be made on Australia for relief in 1947, nor to distinguish between requests for government contributions and for voluntary private contributions. The following is a preliminary estimate of possible totals on the basis of information at present available.

General Relief A4,000,000 Children's Fund A4,000,000 Educational, Scientific and Cultural Relief & Rehabilitation A 50,000 A8,050,000

14. Australia's possible contributions of about A1,000,000 to refugee organizations have not been included in the above tabulation of requirements for this year because they are likely to involve a recurring expense over a number of years, and can be considered more appropriately in a separate submission.

Action by Other Countries

15. At an informal meeting called by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 28th February, some countries were able to give an indication of the relief programmes they intend to adopt in 1947. Denmark will provide $4 million food relief, and Norway a small unspecified amount. The U.S. has asked Congress for $350 million to be supplied mainly as foodstuffs, although the Bill contains authority for expenditure of some funds outside the U.S.

New Zealand and France have also offered contributions. In view of economic circumstances the U.K. contributions will probably be limited to the granting of Stg10 million to Austria, and the cancellation of certain Greek debts. Australia's representative at the meeting was instructed not to commit the Government in any way, but to obtain all possible information.

16. Canada has confidentially mentioned a tentative figure of $25 million for all post-UNRRA relief purposes, but it has been suggested that a relatively large proportion of any relief contributions by Canada might go to the Children's Fund.

17. Telegrams U.N.275 and U.N.302 from the Australian United Nations Delegation, New York, giving an indication of the attitude to post-UNRRA relief of the countries mentioned above, are attached as Appendices B and C respectively.

Australian Interest

18. Australia's political and economic interests in assisting needy countries in Europe and the Far East include:

(a) Economic recovery and stability, and therefore political security depend upon meeting the essential minimum relief requirements of Europe and Asia.

(b) The U.S. and the U.K., which have been the principal contributors to relief in the past have, while opposing continuation of UNRRA, shown willingness to make a substantial contribution to meeting relief needs, although the exact form or amount of the assistance has not been decided.

(c) Economic recovery of Europe is of the highest importance to recovery in the U.K. The U.K.'s willingness to provide 'substantial contributions to relief', despite very great financial difficulties, is indicative of this importance.

(d) Apart from long term and general advantages, Australia's contributions could be devised so as to promote goodwill and other political and economic advantages in the countries assisted. The countries could be chosen according to their importance to Australia.

Decisions Required

19. The Secretary-General of the United Nations has asked urgently for a general indication of national relief policies. He has already initiated discussions with the various national delegations at the United Nations, New York, and our representatives have requested instructions as to Australia's intentions.

20. Decisions are therefore required on the following matters:

(a) Is Australia prepared to make any further relief contributions? (b) If so, up to what amount, to what countries, and on what conditions? (c) Is Australia prepared to permit the promotion of public relief appeals and private voluntary contributions? 21. One possible course of action would be as follows:

(a) To determine a figure of, say, A4,000,000 as the maximum contribution by the Australian Government to all post-UNRRA relief purposes (other than the Refugee Organization-see separate Agendum).

(b) To appoint a Sub-Committee of the Treasurer and Ministers for External Affairs, Supply and Shipping, Commerce and Agriculture, and Post-War Reconstruction, to determine- (i) to what extent Australia is in a position to supply goods and services for relief purposes within the ceiling figures approved;

(ii) the allocation to be made over the various relief activities and countries requiring relief, and (iii) the conditions, if any, to be attached to any Australian relief contributions.

Submitted for consideration. [2]

J. B. CHIFLEY Treasurer

H. V. EVATT Minister for External Affairs

1 Cabinet Agendum 1322, dated 11 April.

2 Cabinet approved the appointment of the Sub-Committee which was directed to consider the matter and report back to Cabinet.

[AA : A2700, V0L.11]