Volume #17 - 291.|
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND CONFERENCES
UNITED NATIONS SPECIALIZED AGENCIES
UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION
Memorandum from UnderSecretary of State for External Affairs|
to Secretary of State for External Affairs
May 29th, 1951|
SIXTH SESSION OF THE GENERAL CONFERENCE OF UNESCO, JUNE 18JULY 11, 1951 GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CANADIAN DELEGATION8|
The instructions for the Canadian delegation to the Paris Conference are now being prepared in the form of a commentary. Considerations underlying them are as follows:
2. In the field of organization and finance the Organization faces a serious situation in the cash deficit caused by the nonpayment of contributions by some Member States. A draft amendment to paragraph C.8.b. of Article IV of the Constitution, intended to remedy the situation, will accordingly come before the Procedure Committee of the General Conference for consideration. The Canadian delegation will be instructed to support this amendment.
3. On the other hand, the accounts and estimates have been presented by the Secretariat with great care, and the administrative management and budgeting staff of the Organization may be commended in this respect for their diligence, efficiency and accuracy.
Economy in the Operations of UNESCO
4. The extent to which the Secretariat of UNESCO is exercising the administrative economies called for by the General Conference is satisfactory. The Programme of UNESCO is approved by the General Conference, and once it goes to the Secretariat for implementation, the sum placed at the disposal of UNESCO for each Item of the Programme is usually properly expended. It is therefore not in the execution of the Programme as much as in its preparation that savings could be effected. The Canadian delegation will accordingly be instructed to stress the importance of limiting the expansion of UNESCO operations in new fields, in order that more attention may be devoted to the projects already under way. In this connection, the Canadian delegation will also be instructed to bear in mind that the establishment by the General Conference of a budget ceiling for the ensuing year would considerably reduce this risk of dispersion and diffuseness noticeable in the Programme. Substantial saving may be effected moreover through a more adequate use of the facilities of wellestablished, private, international agencies which are pursuing aims similar to those of UNESCO.
Concentration of Purpose
5. From UNESCO's inception, the annual programme has been open to Canadian criticisms on the ground that the resources of the Organization were spread over a relatively large number of activities instead of being concentrated on a few projects of major importance. Progress is now being made in setting programme priorities, in such a way that attention is focused on essential projects and emphasis may be shifted from year to year according to the urgency of particular items.
6. You will recall that the Canadian delegation at the Fifth Session introduced a proposal on "the selection of central UNESCO themes" which was designed to invest the DirectorGeneral with authority to determine an order of priorities among the various projects singled for discussion. It is therefore of interest to note the inclusion on the Agenda of the Programme and the Official and External Relations Committees of the General Conference, of an item respecting the criteria adopted by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations for the establishment of priorities in the progranunes of the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies. The Canadian delegation will be instructed to press for the adoption of these criteria.
Coordination with the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies
7. During 1950, stress was again given by the General Assembly and by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, to the proper coordination of the activities of the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies. A perusal of the working documents prepared on this subject by the Secretariat of UNESCO show that some encouraging steps in the right direction have already been taken by the Organization. The Canadian delegation will therefore be instructed to support measures intended to ensure at all times the fullest collaboration of UNESCO with the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies in the elaboration or clarification of its Programme.
UNESCO and the Threat to Peace
8. It will be recalled that at the Fifth Session of the General Conference, the United States delegation raised the question of the extent to which UNESCO's programme activities could contribute more directly to the furtherance of world peace. The impression was gained by several delegations that the United States wished to see UNESCO become the propaganda arm of the United Nations.
9. Subsequently this question was given prominence as a result of communist aggression in Korea. The United States representative on the Executive Board, in August 1950, put forward the suggestion that, as a result of the United Nations decision to take military action in Korea, UNESCO should be asked to provide relief and reconstruction facilities in that country, and also to justify the United Nations action in Korea against the aggressor.
10. In any discussion which may arise on this subject I would suggest, if you approve, that the Canadian delegation be guided in their attitude by the following remarks which I addressed to the Canadian Minister in Berne on August 25, 1950:
"You will have seen, I imagine, the perceptive article on `Theory and Practice of UNESCO' by Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, which appeared in the February issue of International Organization. After praising a great number of the projects which UNESCO had undertaken, Dr. Niebuhr argued that `the error of UNESCO lies in its claim that its various forms of cultural cooperation are of immediate political significance in resolving overt conflicts in the world community'. We are inclined to agree with him that UNESCO must find its justification in the contribution it makes to the gradual integration of the emergent world community rather than its supposed, but usually illusory contributions to `peace'.
"It would be wrong, of course, for UNESCO to attempt to divorce itself from the present political circumstances in which its activities must be conducted. In particular, I think, it would be mistaken for our participation in UNESCO to result in any weakening of our resistance, both in the realms of action and of doctrine, to the programme of Soviet Communism. On the other hand, it is of importance that there should be bodies primarily concerned with such measures as may be taken to ease the adjustments which are necessary between the various civilizations in the world today. UNESCO is one such body; and its usefulness in the long run might be seriously jeopardized if it were to be harnessed too closely now to the action which the United States and other countries are taking in Korea under the auspices of the United Nations. Under present circumstances total diplomacy is no doubt a necessity. But you would agree, I imagine, that we should take care to see that it stops short of totalitarianism.
"You might like to consider whether it would not be wise for the Executive Committee in a matter of this importance to postpone a decision until the United States proposals could be studied by national governments."
11. This attitude finds support in the words of one of the founders of UNESCO, Archibald MacLeish, spoken before the United States National Commission for UNESCO on May 10, 1951:
"It is not the province of the Organization to act as a propaganda agency of the West in the current EastWest conflict . ... Peace is not won by emphasis on a split world."
It is further borne out by the following remarks made by the United Kingdom delegation in its report on the Fifth Session of the General Conference:
"It is true that some educational, scientific and cultural activities can have some immediate bearing upon political affairs but most of them have not, for they depend for their effective realization upon the free growth of the human mind. Any question of their employment for political ends would therefore call for the most careful consideration first of all on political grounds by the United Nations before they were considered by UNESCO. Attempts upon totalitarian lines to indoctrinate whole peoples rapidly according to preconceived political patterns, however worthy in themselves, are not only contrary to the spirit of UNESCO's Constitution, but strike at the very root of the concept of the intrinsic worth of the individual and of a free society which was the inspiration of that Constitution itself."
12. I should be grateful if you would indicate whether you approve of instructions being prepared for our Delegation to the forthcoming session of the General Conference of UNESCO on the basis of the above mentioned considerations.9
8 Le chef de la délégation était Victor Dore, ministre en Suisse.
9 Note marginale :/Marginal note: OK L.B.P[earson].