Volume #12 - 336.|
Ambassador in United States|
to secretary of State for External Affairs
January 31st, 1946|
Our WA-470 of January 26th† concerning discussion in the UNRRA Committee on Supplies relating to wheat, rice, fats, etc.
The sub-Committee referred to in that teletype had an all-day meeting yesterday at which the United States, United Kingdom and Canadian executive officers of the Combined Food Board were present in an advisory capacity. At that meeting the following recommendation was proposed:
"That the decision taken in mid-1945 to remove wheat and flour from formal International Allocation recommendations should be rescinded forthwith".
As our discussion previous to the meeting made it clear that not only the receiving countries but also the United States would support this recommendation, and in fact that Canada (and possibly Australia and the United Kingdom although their positions were not made clear) would be virtually alone in opposing the proposed recommendation, we suggested the following as an alternative recommendation:
"That, the Administration having represented that the placing of wheat and flour under formal International Allocation would contribute to an improvement in the availability of supplies to UNRRA, the Governments concerned be urged to reconsider most urgently the decision taken in mid-1945 to remove wheat and flour from International Allocation".
This alternative proposal was adopted as a recommendation by the sub-Committee. It is clear from the language of the recommendation and from the discussion at the meeting that the sub-Committee intended to express no judgment as to the probable results of the re-institution of an International Allocation arrangement and that the recommendation was not to be taken as necessarily implying any particular outcome of the proposed reconsideration of the mid-1945 decision.
The recommendation, if adopted by the Committee on Supplies, does of course imply that member Governments concerned would be prepared to undertake such a re-examination or reconsideration. I should be grateful for guidance from you as to the position which we should take on this recommendation in further discussion either in the sub-Committee or in the Committee on Supplies.
A further recommendation relating to wheat was adopted by the sub-Committee in the following terms:
"That the exporting countries and the Cereals Committee of the Combined Food Board take into consideration in making allocations or in programming exports of wheat and flour, the extent to which the claimants for wheat and flour have followed the example set by UNRRA and made the maximum substitution practically possible of other cereals for wheat in both their import requirements and in the utilization of the indigenous grain resources."
I should be grateful for guidance on this recommendation as well.
Poland, China, Yugoslavia and the U.S.S.R. proposed a further recommendation, relating to rice, fats and other foodstuffs as well as to wheat, which would have required the allocating agencies and the supplying Governments to give a first priority to UNRRA's requirements ahead of all other claimants (on the grounds that UNRRA's customers are Allied belligerent countries which suffered the greatest devastation during the war, that the requirements originally stated by the Governments had been drastically screened by UNRRA before submission to the Boards, and that UNRRA is an Organization of the United Nations). The precise language of the proposed recommendation was:
"That UNRRA's stated requirements, alter screening the requests of the receiving UNRRA Governments, be accepted by the Combined Food Board as a final determination of the quantities to be allocated to UNRRA and that no reduction be made in these quantities except by the Heads of the Governments of the countries represented on the Combined Food Board after considering the views of both UNRRA and the C.F.B."
In the sub-Committee this recommendation was voted down by the United States, United Kingdom, France, Australia and Canada, who proposed a form of words which would have drawn attention to the dire needs of the UNRRA countries and would have urged that the requirements be met to the maximum extent consistent with the essential needs of other United Nations and consistent with the requirements of Germany and Japan as defined in the Potsdam Declaration or in decisions of the Far Eastern Commission. Our alternative recommendation was of course unsatisfactory to the UNRRA receiving countries and the Polish representative indicated his intention to press his original recommendation before the Full Committee on Supplies.
The Polish representative proposed further that the inability of the receiving countries to secure adequate supplies through UNRRA be brought formally to the attention of the United Nations Organization in order that account might be taken there of the political implications in the situation and that effective recommendations to meet the situation might be developed.
The sub-Committee is to meet again on the afternoon of Friday, February 1st and the Full Committee on Supplies is to meet for formal consideration of these recommendations at 3 p.m., Tuesday, February 5th. I should be grateful to receive instructions concerning the first two recommendations, together with any observations concerning the other recommendations.
I should be grateful also to learn from you whether any action is in process to implement the willingness expressed in your EX-217 of January 24th-1 to fore go rice (except for the Oriental population in Canada) provided similar action is taken in the United States. If no action is underway is it your desire that we report this willingness to the United States authorities? In this connection could you let us know to what extent steps which have already been taken to procure and distribute our 1946 allocation of rice would make it impossible for us to release rice in excess of the requirements for our Oriental population even if the United States were to indicate a willingness to do likewise.
Mr. Lewis1 requests that the sense of this message be reported to Dr. Barton in the Department of Agriculture.
1J. W. Lewis, officier exécutif adjoint du Canada à la Commission mixte de l'alimentalion.
1J. W. Lewis, Assistant Executive Officer for Canada, Combined Food Board.