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54 Cabinet Submission by Scully and Makin

Agendum 728B [CANBERRA, 6 August 1946]


The Second Session of the Conference of F.A.0. will open on 2nd September, 1946, in Copenhagen. The Agenda includes the following items:

1. Consideration of report of special May meeting on Urgent Food Problems.

2. Appraisal of world food situation at date of conference.

3. Development plan for forestry and forest products.

4. Relationship of F.A.0. with United Nations and other intergovernmental organisations and co-operation with non- governmental bodies.

5. Assumption of functions and property of International Institute of Agriculture, and of Committee International du Bois.

6. Periodic reports of member Governments.

7. Financial and Budget arrangements.

8. Amendment of F.A.0. constitution.

9. Appointment of new members of Executive Committee.

2. The coming Session is likely to be critical, not only because of the current world wide food shortage, which will focus considerable attention on its deliberations but also because of its responsibility of determining the future activities of F.A.0.

These are of special significance to Australia. In particular, the Conference will be called upon to consider findings to be submitted by the Director-General of F.A.0. at the instance of the recent Special Meetings on Urgent Food Problems, regarding the extension of functions of existing organisations and the establishment of new bodies specially designed to overcome the long-term problems of food production, distribution and consumption, including the risk of accumulating surpluses. Its conclusions will be referred to the General Assembly of the United Nations.

3. Australia's special interest in these matters, as an important agricultural country, has been enhanced by our recent election to the Central Committee of the new International Emergency Food Council which has greatly increased our international responsibilities in this field. It is most important, therefore, that the Australian delegation should be as strong and well qualified as possible. Cabinet will recollect that F.A.0. is the first of the new permanent international organizations to be set up by the United Nations. The recent special Meeting on Urgent Food Problems in Washington at which the International Emergency Food Council was set up allotted a number of very important functions to F.A.0. After the Quebec Conference of F.A.0. in 1945, the Australian delegates reported that they were considerably handicapped by their limited numbers in not being able to cover the work of all the committees in which Australia had a direct interest.

4. The precise number and nature of the Committees at the coming Copenhagen Conference, cannot be fully foreseen at present, but the technical work of the Conference is mainly covered by six standing committees on:-

(a) Nutrition and Food Management (b) Agriculture (c) Forestry and Forest Products (d) Fisheries (e) Marketing (f) Statistics.

5. The Director-General of F.A.0. has specially requested that experts in forestry and fisheries be sent to the Conference. While it is not thought that Australia's interest in fisheries is sufficient to warrant the attendance of a fisheries expert, it is considered that a forestry officer should be present, and it is recommended that G. J. Rodger, Director-General of the Forestry and Timber Bureau should attend in this capacity.

6. It is considered that Australia's other special interests could be covered by the attendance of the Director-General of Agriculture, Mr. F. W. Bulcock, who is at present abroad and who represented Australia at the Special Meeting on Urgent Food Problems as an agricultural scientist for the planning of research programmes, a nutrition expert, and Australian officials who are already in Europe. Dr. F. W. Clements, Director of the Institute of Anatomy, will be in Copenhagen at the time of the Conference.

He has been invited to attend a meeting of the Standing Advisory Committee of F.A.0. commencing 23rd August at the expense of F.A.O., and he could proceed to the main Conference. The C.S.I.R.

have nominated Dr. B. T. Dickson, President of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Director of Division of Plant Industry. The suggested composition of the Delegation would thus necessitate only two officers making special journeys.

IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT (a) Australian delegation give general support to expansion of F.A.0. activities along lines of objectives set out in constitution; detailed instructions to be a matter for the Ministers concerned.

(b) The Australian Delegation consist of the following members:

Mr. E. W. Bulcock (Director-General of Agriculture).

Mr. C. J. Rodger, Director-General of the Forestry and Timber Bureau.

Dr. B. T. Dickson, President of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Director of Division of Plant Industry, or a substitute nomination by C.S. & I.R.

Dr. F. W. Clements, Director of the Institute of Anatomy (Senior Medical Officer, Canberra), Department of Health. [1]

W. J. SCULLY, Minister for Commerce & Agriculture

N. J. 0. MAKIN, Acting Minister for External Affairs

1 Cabinet approved the recommendation on 7 August, subject to deletion of the words 'or a substitute nomination by C.S. & I.R.' from recommendation (b).

[AA:A2700, VOL. 12, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History