75 Cabinet Submission by Chifley and Evatt

Agendum 695D CANBERRA, [10 May 1947]



Reference is made to Cabinet Agendum No. 695C on 'Post-UNRRA Relief' and to Cabinet Agendum No. 1322, on 'Australian Participation in the International Refugee Organisation'. Cabinet considered these Agenda on 16th April, 1947, when it was decided to refer both matters to Cabinet Sub-Committees.

2. In accordance with this decision, a joint meeting of the Sub- Committees was held on 8th May, 1947, at which the Treasurer, and the Ministers for External Affairs, Supply and Shipping, Commerce and Agriculture, Post-War Reconstruction and Immigration, were present.

3. The Committees agreed that Australia should- (a) join the international Refugee Organisation, and (b) contribute to Post-UNRRA Relief, including the International Children's Emergency Fund and the UNESCO Educational Relief Fund.

4. It was further agreed that an amount of A4,000,000 should be appropriated for these purposes in 1947. This contribution on a national income basis would be comparable to the relief contributions the United States is expected to make. Our contributions would be slightly less, proportionately, than those proposed by Canada.

5. An Australian contribution on this scale would enable Australia to continue to play the important role in all forms of Post-UNRRA Relief that, as the fourth largest contributor, she has played in UNRRA. It would mean, in addition, that we would play a major part in vital international humanitarian services and assist in promoting the political, social and economic stabilisation of Europe and Asia.

6. In particular, speedy action by Australia in joining the International Refugee Organisation would be widely acclaimed as our joining now would mean that the I.R.O. would come into being.

Fourteen out of the fifteen signatures required have already been received, and the Australian contribution would be sufficient to bring the aggregate contributions over the 75% laid down as the minimum necessary to commence operations.

7. Immediately on signing, Australia would become a member of the Preparatory Commission of the Organisation and take a full part in the planning and operative work of the I.R.O. Participation would not involve us in commitments to take refugees into the country, our freedom in this regard being unimpaired.

8. No attempt has been made to allocate the A4,000,000 in detail, but the figure was arrived at on the following basis:-

(1) I.R.O. commitments for the first year amount to approximately 860,000 (This commitment is based on contributions of 1.97% of A1,600,000 administrative expenses and 1.76% of A50,353,000 operational expenses.) (2)An Australian contribution to Post-UNRRA Relief 2,750,000 (3) Bearing in mind that at least 250,000 is likely to be available for the Children's Emergency Fund from UNRRA residuals, a reasonable additional contribution would be 250,000 (4) Details of the contributions required by UNESCO for educational relief and rehabilitation are not yet known, but would be adequately covered by the balancing figure of 140,000 TOTAL 4,000,000

9. The Committees agreed that an inter-Departmental Committee, consisting of representatives of the Treasury, External Affairs, Supply and Shipping, Commerce and Agriculture and Post-War Reconstruction should work out a detailed supply programme for relief, recommend allocations among Post-UNRRA Relief, the International Children's Emergency Fund and UNESCO, recommend on allocations among countries requiring relief, and recommend suitable conditions which might be attached to the Australian relief contribution. This Committee would also report on means of organising voluntary contributions.

10. IT is RECOMMENDED THAT Cabinet confirm the recommendations of the Sub-Committees:-

1. That Australia join the International Refugee Organisation.

2. That Australia contribute to Post-UNRRA Relief.

3. That legislation appropriating 4,000,000 for these purposes be introduced immediately.

4. That an inter-Departmental Committee consisting of representatives of the Departments of the Treasury, External Affairs, Supply and Shipping, Commerce and Agriculture and Post- War Reconstruction be directed to report on:

(a) Details of the Australian relief supply programme.

(b) Allocation of supplies among the various relief projects.

(c) Allocation of relief supplies among recipient countries.

(d) The conditions, if any, to be attached to the Australian relief contributions.

(e) The means of organising voluntary contributions. [1]

(J. B. CHIFLEY) Treasurer

(H. V. EVATT) Minister for External Affairs

1 On 12 May Cabinet approved the recommendations on condition that the Department of Immigration be included in the inter- departmental committee. The committee's recommendations (Agendum 695E) were approved by Cabinet on 12 January 1948.

[AA : A2700, VOL.11]