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101 Department of External Affairs to Evatt Submission CANBERRA, 3 September 1946


At its second session the Economic and Social Council took steps to establish the following permanent commissions and sub- commissions.

(a) Commission on Human Rights (eighteen members) authorised to establish sub-commissions on Freedom of Information and of the Press, the Protection of Minorities, and the Prevention of Discrimination.

(b) Social Commission (eighteen members).

(c) Commission on the Status of Women (fifteen members).

(d) Statistical Commission (twelve members) authorised to establish a sub-commission on Statistical Sampling.

(e) Transport and Communications Commission (fifteen members).

(f) Economic and Employment Commission (fifteen members) with a sub-commission on the Economic Reconstruction of Devastated Areas and others to be finalised at the third session of the Council.

2. The Council decided that members of these Commissions should be representatives of governments. Prior to nomination of representatives the Secretary-General is to consult with governments elected to the Commission with a view to securing a balanced representation in the various fields covered by each Commission. The Australian Delegation to the United Nations emphasises that governments cannot change their representatives at will during the term of office, but only in the case of emergencies such as sickness or death.

3. Considering the fact that Australia is not at present a member of the Economic and Social Council and that Australia contributed prominently to the formulation of the Council's functions, this country is reasonably entitled to effective participation in the work of the Council's Commissions and Sub-Commissions.

4. You are aware that Australia has already actively sought membership of the Economic and Employment Commission. The Australian Delegation, New York, has advised that it may be possible to gain membership of the Statistical Commission.

Australia is already a member of the Sub-Commission on the Reconstruction of Devastated Areas.

5. Apart from the Economic Commissions the most appropriate for possible Australian representation appear to be:

(a) Commission on Human Rights:

(Functions in brief. the preparation of an international bill of rights, the preparation of international conventions on civil liberties, freedom of information and similar matters, the protection of minorities etc.) (b) Commission on the Status of Women:

(Functions in brief. the promotion of women's rights in political, economic, social and educational fields, and the examination of urgent problems relating to women's rights.) (c) Sub-Commission on Freedom of Information and of the Press:

(Functions in brief: the examination of the concept of freedom of information and the formulation of issues which may arise from such examination.) 6. The Department of Information has expressed interest in possible Australian representation on the Sub-Commission on Freedom of Information and the Press. You may wish to consider the name of Mrs. Jessie Street should it be decided to press for Australian representation on the Commission on the Status of Women.

7. A draft telegram to the Australian Delegation to the United Nations is attached for your consideration. [1]

1 In cablegram 237, dispatched 23 September, the delegation was advised that Evatt desired Australian membership of three commissions, to be sought from the following order of preference:

Economic and Employment; Human Rights; Status of Women;


[AA:A1067, ER46/3/6]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History