266 Australian Delegation, World Health Assembly[1], to Australian Government

Cablegram WHO4, GENEVA, 30 June 1948, 9.30 a.m.

Reference your 2222.[2] India has submitted to Assembly a formal resolution under Article 44 of Constitution that a Regional Organisation be established as soon as possible with headquarters in India. Resolution adds that this Organisation might serve countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Burma, Ceylon, Malaya, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and such other countries in South East Asia as might be willing to join Organisation.

2. Last night, during informal talk with Indian Delegation on this aspect, the following points emerged:-

(a) India tentatively proposes site for a regional Bureau at Mysore.

(b) India envisages initially a small local staff, say six professional and ten clerical which would call in expert field teams from WHO as required.

(c) An initial allocation of 150,000 dollars from General Budget will probably be suggested.

(d) Minister of Health and all members of Delegation stressed that presence of Regional Bureau would give considerable moral stimulus to National Health Service[3] region.

(e) India has no wish to alter present functions of Singapore station.

3. In debate on Interim Commission's report both Pakistan and China also mentioned need of some regional organisation for Asia.

4. As India is working hard for immediate institution of Regional Organisation proposed, we shall be glad if you will amplify your views on this subject and state specifically, (a) Whether Australia would join temporarily or otherwise a regional organisation as envisaged by Indian draft resolution.

(b) If not, should we support Indian proposal with such alteration of limits of areas as you indicate.

(c) Whether your views would be influenced if India suggested that countries concerned should eventually meet additional expenses of Regional Bureau under Article 50 (B) of Constitution.

5. Generally, in debate on Interim Commission's report, U.S.S.R. and other countries of Eastern Europe, while not dismissing Regional Organisations have emphasised need for while [sic] to help small countries devastated by war, and also colonial people. Albania has already asked WHO for direct material aid in form of drugs.

6. It is quite possible that agreement to Indian proposal would be followed by similar request from China.[4]

[1] The first World Health Assembly was held at Geneva from 24 June to 24 July 1948. Australia was represented by Dr G.M. Redshaw, chief delegate; B.C. Ballard and W.G.A. Landale, alternates.

[2] Cablegram 2222, dispatched 22 June 1948, reported the Indian approach for support and conveyed the text of the reply (see paragraphs (1) to (3) in Document 265).

[3] The text contains a symbol here without explanation. It appears to indicate word(s) missing.

[4] The Government replied in the affirmative to the questions in paragraph 4 (a) and (b) and referred the delegation to paragraph 3 of the reply to the Indian proposal (see Document 265).

[AA : A1838, 383/1/2/1, III]