Volume #22 - 372.|
UNITED NATIONS AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
TWENTY-SECOND SESSION, GENEVA, JULY 9-AUGUST 10, 1956
Memorandum from Secretary of State for External Affairs|
CABINET DOCUMENT NO. 139-56|
July 3rd, 1956|
GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS TO THE CANADIAN DELEGATION TO THE|
22ND SESSION OF ECOSOC - GENEVA, JULY 9 TO AUGUST 10, 195673
General instructions to the Canadian Delegation at the 21st Session of ECOSOC (memorandum approved by Cabinet on April 12, 1956)74 were to continue Canadian policy of endeavouring (1) to improve relations between the less developed countries and the more industrialized countries of the free world. In carrying out this objective the Delegation was instructed (2) to play as practical and constructive a role as possible even on proposals which it might eventually have to oppose. The Delegation was also (3) urged to keep in mind the necessity of close co-ordination with the United Kingdom and United States Delegations and (4) to keep in mind the financial limitations on Canadian support generally applicable to U.N. programmes. Finally, the Delegation (5) was instructed to avoid propaganda debates but to reply as necessary to the Soviet Delegation if East-West differences emerged.
2. In carrying out these instructions the Delegation was successful in developing close contact with the less developed countries and in proving the thesis that a constructive contribution to the work of the Council can be made without necessarily incurring heavy financial commitments.
3. The 22nd Session of ECOSOC will be a heavy and delicate one. From our participation in the past session, it has become clear that the major issue with which we are faced in the economic and social field is that of making existing and potential resources satisfy the impatience of the less developed countries for economic advance. On the one hand we have to operate within fairly strict constitutional and financial limitations; on the other, we face a developing Soviet bloc campaign to increase communist influence wherever possible and the impatience of less developed countries which in some cases have recently become independent and are determined to achieve quick economic and social progress. This central struggle has been taken into account in the detailed guidance on particular items at the end of this memorandum.
4. The Delegation should continue to point out that the reputation of the U.N. and the support which it can command for larger and more vital projects could be damaged out of all proportion if it were to duplicate the work of other organizations or was engaging in activities the value of which was not readily apparent even though the money and number of personnel involved might be very small. The Delegation should not hesitate to point to specific instances of duplication which might arise out of the proposals for extending the activities of the U.N. which are put before the Council. Whenever possible, the various proposals arising from the agenda have been examined in relation to one another rather than each one separately, in order to ensure that the Delegation has an overall picture of the issues before the Council, and also to help it in establishing the relative merits and priorities of the various proposals and in discerning those areas where it might show some flexibility.
5. It is recognized that, even with careful and scrupulous attention to priorities, the activities and responsibilities of the United Nations may be expected to grow somewhat from year to year, and the Delegation should take this into account. It is not possible, from the point of view of finance, administration or personnel, to accept all the proposals, even the worthy and constructive proposals, that are put forward in the Council from many quarters, but carefully calculated concessions, or even initiatives may prove wise, both politically and financially. In this regard the Delegation must use its own discretion, within the guidance laid down in this memorandum, and seek further instructions if important departures seem to be required.
6. As mentioned above, Soviet tactics in relation to less developed countries will be particularly important. In the social field, the Soviet bloc will probably continue to go along with such requests as are made by the less developed countries. For Canada, for constitutional reasons these requests are not easy to handle, but it is clear that mere abstention is inadequate. Whenever possible, the Delegation should explain in detail the Canadian position, even if in the end Canadian participation is unlikely. In such cases it may yet be possible for the Delegation to make a useful contribution on some aspects of the discussion, either in a positive fashion or in advocating the removal or revision of any objectionable features. The Delegation can do much to increase its influence if it is in a position to display appreciation for the problems and the objectives of the countries which are directly concerned. It may well be also that in certain cases constructive alternatives acceptable to Canada can be devised. In this field careful planning may yield interesting dividends and Canada and the other Western countries are in no position to miss any opportunities which may present themselves for protecting and improving their position.
7. In the economic field Soviet representatives follow a more cautious but nonetheless successful course. They manage to give the impression that they understand the problems of the less developed countries, that they have a special contribution to make and that their resources and know-how will be brought to bear to assist. Compared to Western contributions the Soviet effort is much smaller, and yet the communist countries are almost suggesting that they have invented the idea of assistance and that their operations nearly match those of the West. While a cold war contest on this issue is not intended, the Delegation should, if the occasion arises, put things in their true perspective and underline whenever appropriate the creative character of Western economic development methods.
8. Obviously Canadian and Western tactics in coping with the Soviet approach to economic and financial issues will be more effective if they are developed against a background of understanding and friendly relations with the delegations of the less developed countries and particularly if Canada and the West generally can take a positive attitude concerning some of the agenda items in which these countries are more particularly interested. In any case, it is most important that the Soviet bloc should not succeed in its aim of persuading the less developed countries that their interests are better understood and protected by the Soviet bloc, that the Soviet bloc is and will be doing more for them and that the Communist methods are more effective.
9. There is thus no change in policy, but rather a continuation of the policy and tactics followed by the Delegation at the 21st session. Nor is it anticipated that at the 22nd session there will be decisions called for which have heavy financial implications. The following paragraphs deal briefly with some items of a relatively contentious or important nature.
Communist Membership Problems
10. The Delegation should oppose the participation of non-member Communist régimes in U.N. bodies or activities. Should technical grounds be brought forward which warrant special consideration, instructions should be sought from Ottawa.
United Nations Refugee Fund Executive Committee
11. The UNREF Executive Committee, a standing committee of the Council, is composed of 20 elected members. As we have made a sizeable contribution and the meetings could be covered by our delegation in Geneva, we would be very willing, if other members so desired, to serve on the Committee whenever a vacancy occurs. The Delegation has been instructed to mention this in its statement during the debate on the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Canadian Chairmanship of Co-ordination Committee
12. The Co-ordination Committee is a sessional committee of the Council consisting of representatives of all ECOSOC members. A proposal made by the United States State Department and supported by the United Kingdom Permanent Mission in New York that Dr. G.F. Davidson, Deputy Minister of Welfare and member of the Canadian Delegation, should stand for election to the chairmanship of the Committee appears to be receiving general support. Despite the extra burden it will involve, it was held desirable that we take on this chairmanship, in that it will enable us to play a more active role in influencing the work of this important Committee. It was agreed that Dr. Davidson's name be brought forward in the absence of any other agreed candidate, and the support of all members of ECOSOC has been sought. The United States Delegation will propose, and the Pakistani Delegation will probably second his nomination.
13. The Delegation will support a gradual approach towards the creation of a corps of international experts to serve for long periods in the technical assistance field within the present structure and arrangements of the United Nations technical assistance programme. Reference to the desirability of considering the creation of an international technical and professional civil service have been made by the Secretary of State for External Affairs and Mr. Hammarsjköld and others. The Delegation will indicate its continuing support for the present kind of technical assistance programme which has been increasingly proving its value to the under-developed countries and to relations between them and the rest of the world. The Delegation would be in a position to intimate at its discretion that, if an appreciable number of major contributors (other than the U.S.A. which is already well out in front) indicate between now and the General Assembly their willingness to increase their contributions, it will be prepared to consider recommending to the Canadian Government that its contribution towards the present kind of programme be increased.
14. The less developed countries have been calling for greater emphasis in United Nations Assistance Programmes on industrial development. Following a lengthy debate on this subject at the last Session of ECOSOC, the Secretary-General has proposed that the forthcoming Session authorize some minor staff increases and the employment of consultants so that the Secretariat could produce some studies of problems of industrialization in less developed countries. Although the Secretary-General's proposals involve relatively modest expenditures, his plans are not altogether satisfactory and the Delegation will endeavour to have them altered to avoid duplication of work already being done in this field by other international organizations, including private groups, and to make sure that the work done by the Secretariat will be of practical benefit to the less developed countries.
15. The United States is still withholding its consent to participate in a multilateral United Nations programme to provide capital for assistance to less developed countries through the proposed Special United Nations Fund for Economic Development (SUNFED). The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand are holding back as well, although most of the western European countries are favouring the plan. It is doubtful, in these circumstances whether ECOSOC will be able to take any important further steps toward bringing SUNFED into existence at this Session. There is a danger, however, that the less developed countries may try to force the pace at this Session, although it seems certain that the United States will not change its position before the presidential elections next fall. The Delegation has been authorized to state, in any debate on this matter, that the Canadian position remains as described in our answer to a United Nations questionnaire in early May. This reply, which was approved by Cabinet,75 stated that Canadian participation in SUNFED would depend in large measure on whether the organizational arrangements made for it were such as to lead to efficient operation, and on whether the Fund would command sufficient support for it to operate effectively.76