Volume #17 - 344.|
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND CONFERENCES
BRUSSELS CONFERENCE ON MIGRATION, NOVEMBER 26 - DECEMBER 4, 1951
Memorandum from Chairman, Interdepartmental Committee on|
Immigration, to Cabinet
CABINET DOCUMENT NO. 30651|
November 21st, 1951|
BRUSSELS CONFERENCE ON MIGRATION; INSTRUCTIONS TO THE CANADIAN DELEGATION29|
1. The International Refugee Organization is expected to wind up its operations on December 31, 1951. Unless arrangements are made to the contrary, the twelve converted ships which have been used by IRO for the transport of migrants will be returned to their owners and will likely be lost for international migration purposes. The United States State Department has circulated a draft plan for an interim operating agency to facilitate the migration of surplus populations from countries of Western Europe and Greece to countries affording resettlement opportunities overseas. The Belgium government has issued invitations to interested countries to attend a conference in Brussels, commencing on November 26, at which the United States plan will be discussed.30
2. The main purpose of the United States plan, which is intended to be on an ad hoc basis and renewable from year to year, is to provide a means whereby available IRO facilities, particularly the ships, can continue to be used for moving emigrants from Europe. The proposed facilities include location, selection, documentation, movement, reception, transportation and medical assistance services for migrants, including new arrivals from Eastern Europe. However, these proposed ancillary facilities, over and above transportation, will be subject to negotiation and agreement at the Brussels conference. The potential movement objective for one year of operations is assumed to be approximately 115,000 migrants and refugees with origins and destinations tentatively established as follows:
3. It is estimated that the movement of approximately 115,000 migrants and refugees during a year of operations, following generally the distribution given above, could be accomplished at an overall cost of approximately $34 million. A general breakdown of this overall budget envisaged by the plan shows:
The United States had a $10 million congressional appropriation to get the plan under way, over and above the contributions they would make to the Organization as reimbursements for actual services rendered in the movement of the U.S. quota of 25,000 migrants for the first year's operations. Out of this $10 million, the United States propose to contribute $1 million towards administration costs and $9 million towards a proposed Operating Fund of from $12 to $14 million. Other participating countries would contribute towards the Administrative Budget and the Operating Fund on a basis to be negotiated at Brussels. The Operating Fund would finance operations pending reimbursement by member governments for services rendered, and also provide subsidies to special migration projects and to the movement of refugees from ironcurtain countries.
4. The Interdepartmental Advisory Committee on Immigration, after considering the various implications of the plan, felt that the scheme generally would be of benefit to Canada since it would allow the continuance in operation for European migration purposes of the twelve ships now operated by IRO and would further permit good use to be made of the $10 million appropriation which has been specifically earmarked by Congress for migration scheme on an international basis. On the other hand, the Committee felt that the proposal put forward by the U.S. State Department was perhaps conceived on too elaborate a scale and that in its present form it provided for ancillary services which would duplicate existing Canadian services.
5. In view of the above and keeping in mind present and prospective Canadian immigration requirements, the Interdepartmental Committee recommends:
(a) that Canada participate in the forthcoming Brussels Conference on Imnugration;
(b) that the Canadian delegation make it clear that, in any circumstances and regardless of the nature of the organization, Canada will retain complete control in respect of selection standards and numbers of immigrants;
(c) that Canada would probably wish to use only the embarkation and shipping facilities of the organization and that Canada would not be prepared to have included in the project additional services and facilities unless there is clear evidence that such services are essential to the success of a practical scheme;
(d) that the delegation make every effort to obtain a substantial reduction in the administrative budget by the adoption of more economical policies, particularly in respect of personnel and salaries (the delegation should aim at a reduction of 50% or more);
(e) that the delegation should urge that, in assessing the administrative budget of the organization, full account be taken of the contributions member governments are already making toward the solution of the European migration problem;
(f) that Canada should be prepared to make an advance contribution to the Operating Fund in order to help get the plan under way. This advance payment would be drawn upon as required to pay on a cost basis for services rendered by the organization to Canada, on the understanding that the Canadian government would recover all or part of such expenditures from the immigrants after landing. In addition, Canada should agree to make a reasonable nonrecoverable contribution to the Operating Fund for practical measures to facilitate the emigration of refugees from Eastern Europe, provided that other countries make a proportionate contribution; and
(g) that the delegation be authorized to commit Canada in principle to joining the proposed organization, provided that the principles set above were met.
6. The Committee wish to point out, with reference to the recommendations outlined above, that the refugee problem, which is included in the proposed scheme, is one that can hardly be treated in the same manner as the normal Western European immigration movements that are to be carried out under the plan. Insofar as the movement of nationals from Western European countries is concerned, the new scheme will, in essence, be an extension on an international plane of the revolving fund principle now in operation in Canada on a national basis. It should therefore be possible to recover from the immigrants, once they have landed in Canada, a good portion if not all of the monies expended on their behalf out of Canada's contribution to the international Operating Fund. In respect of refugees, the amounts recoverable will be substantially smaller and in many cases recovery may be impossible. It is for this reason that, in paragraph (f) above, it is suggested that a special Canadian contribution to the Operating Fund should be earmarked for the movement of refugees. The exact amount of this special refugee credit should be determined in advance to ensure that Canada is not committed to a liability disproportionately greater than that which other countries are willing to assume on this score. The Committee suggests, for the delegation's guidance, that Canada's initial recoverable contribution to the Fund might be $500,000 subject to review and renewal when exhausted. It should be made clear, however, that the Canadian contribution to the Fund in respect of refugees for one year's operations should not be more than is required to move a predetermined percentage of Canada's total quota which has tentatively been fixed at 40,000. Based on this year's total intake of immigrants, including refugees, into Canada, an acceptable percentage might be 8, 10 or 12% depending on what other receiving countries are prepared to do in this respect.
7. The Committee also felt that the present draft of the U.S. plan stressed unduly the fact that the scheme was designed to relief the "surplus population" problem in Western European countries. The Canadian delegation to the Brussels conference might usefully be instructed to underplay the "surplus population" theme and to suggest that the U.S. proposal is primarily designed to salvage IRO shipping facilities for the purpose of continuing and concluding, on an ad hoc and somewhat expanded basis, the resettlement job necessitated by the last war. An international migration scheme based on premises of this character would be much more acceptable to Canada and, no doubt, to many other participating countries.
8. The Committee recommends that instructions based on the above recommendations, if approved, be forwarded immediately to the Canadian delegation to the. Brussels conference on migration.31
29Pour les événements précédents, voir le document 277./For earlier developments, see Document 277.
30 Le chef de la délégation était C.E.S. Smith, le directeur de l'Immigration.
31Approuvé par le Cabinet, le 22 novembre 1951./Approved by Cabinet, November 22, 1951.