Volume #12 - 419.|
FIRST SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
(JANUARY 10-FEBRUARY 14)
Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs|
to Prime Minister
December 5th, 1946|
1. Reports received from Wilgress (especially his telegram No. 3548 of December 3rd)† show that it is necessary to give consideration at once to the composition of the Canadian delegation to the first General Assembly of the United Nations. It is virtually certain that the Assembly will open during the first week of January and perhaps on January 1st. It is expected that it will adjourn after taking the steps necessary to get the Organization into operation and reconvene in the spring.
2. The first part of the session will be a highly important international occasion—more important than seemed likely a month ago. At it there will be elected members of the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and the Court of International Justice and also the Secretary General. It will be called upon to consider recommendations from the Preparatory Commission on a wide range of questions of organization. It will establish certain committees to develop further plans for consideration at the second part of the Assembly. In addition, it is now very likely that the Washington proposal for a special Commission on atomic questions will be brought for-ward at this meeting of the Assembly. Finally, President Truman has publicly stated his belief that the United Nations Organization should at once assume many of the responsibilities hitherto undertaken by the three great powers. There will doubtless be an unusual gathering of foreign ministers and other high dignitaries at the opening meeting and also a great concentration of press and radio reporters and commentators.
3. In framing our delegation we should bear in mind (1) the possibility that Canada will be elected to the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council and that a strong delegation will increase our chances of election, (2) that Canada should certainly be represented on the special Com-mission on atomic questions, and (3) that Canada is likely to be asked to provide one of the important officers of the Assembly. We should also bear in mind that the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and perhaps the special Commission on atomic questions may begin their meetings while the Assembly is still sitting and are all likely to continue meeting during the interval between the first and second parts of the Assembly's session. We should, therefore, be in a position to be adequately represented on these bodies if we are elected to them.
4. It seems very desirable that the senior delegates should be members of the Government and it would be appropriate if you and Mr. St. Laurent as the signatories of the Charter were able to attend. If three Ministers could be present, including perhaps one especially interested in the economic and social side, so much the better. In addition, I would suggest that the practice inaugurated at San Francisco and followed at the Preparatory Commission should be continued and that the Leaders or leading members of Opposition parties should be invited to accompany the delegation. If the representation of the Senate is felt to be desirable, it is likely that there would be little difficulty over the designation of a single Senator to represent that Chamber.
5. We are limited by the Charter to five delegates and it maybe unwise to seek to keep the Parliamentary representation within this figure. In that event I would suggest that only the members of the Government be named as delegates and that other Parliamentarians be designated alternate delegates. I think that there should in any event be not less than two French-speaking Canadians among the delegates and alternates.
6. Among senior officials several of those who were at San Francisco are ruled out by the demands of their present positions. This would exclude Pearson, Chipman, Désy and General Pope. I assume that you will wish one of Wrong or myself to go, and I think if possible Read should go from Ottawa as well. Wilgress might be asked to stay in London for the first part of the session although he should not be away from Moscow beyond the end of January. Dupuy would, I think, be a useful addition to the delegation. A military adviser is probably not necessary at this stage although one would be desirable if we are elected to the Security Council. I should be glad to see Dean Mackenzie included in the list as I feel we shall need his advice on atomic problems among others.
7. It is essential that we should have an expert on the economic and social side and Rasminsky, who has made a fine name for himself at San Francisco, would be the most useful man. I would strongly recommend the inclusion of Ritchie who is very familiar with the problems that will come up and did valuable work at San Francisco. It is intended that Escott Reid should stay in London for the meeting as he is more competent than any other Canadian on the whole range of problems of organization.
8. Someone should also go from Ottawa to work with Campbell Moodie as Press Officer of the delegation since it is apparent that there will be more duties in this field than Moodie alone could accomplish.
9. We are making enquiries in London about hotel accommodation and are also looking into the question of transportation by sea and air. The premises formerly occupied by the Legation to the Allied Governments in Berkeley Street will be available for office purposes although they are too small to meet all the needs of a delegation of the size which seems necessary.
10. To sum up the suggestions in this note on the composition of the delegation, the following list is appended:
This sounds formidable but when one considers the work to be done and the number of committees on which we shall be represented and the possibility of election to the Councils, I do not see how we can get along with a smaller group than between fifteen and twenty, plus a stenographic, cyphering and accounting staff. Wilgress has reported that he has been told in confidence that the U.S. delegation will be more than fifty with subordinate staff in addition.