Volume #16 - 402.|
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND CONFERENCES
UNITED NATIONS SPECIALIZED AGENCIES
INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE ORGANIZATION
Secretary of State for External Affairs|
to Ambassador in Greece
February 28th, 1950|
I wish to confirm your appointment as Head of the Canadian Delegation to the Fifth Session of the General Council of the International Refugee Organization and to the Seventh Session of the Executive Committee of the same organization which meets in Geneva on March 8, 1950.
Mr. J.H. Warren of the Office of the High Commissioner in London has been named to assist you from this Department and Mr. N.F.H. Berlis has been included in the Delegation so that he may attend IRO meetings, whenever possible. Messrs. O. Cormier and R. Lamarre of the Departments of Citizenship and Immigration and of Labour respectively, have also been included in the Delegation as representatives of their Departments.
I am enclosing a commentary in five copies for your use with respect to those items on the agenda for this session which seem of particular importance. If the commentary is not entirely clear, or if you desire further information on a particular point, you may wish to seek instructions by telegram.
I shall look forward with interest to receiving your report on the action taken by the International Refugee Organization at these sessions.
I have, etc.,
Note de la Direction des Nations Unies
Memorandum by United Nations DivisionOttawa, February 28, 1950
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CANADIAN DELEGATION TO THE FIFTH SESSION OF THE GENERAL COUNCIL OF THE INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE ORGANIZATION AND TO THE SEVENTH SESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF IRO COMMENCING ON MARCH 8, 1950
The Provisional Agendas for the Fifth Session of the General Council and of the Seventh Session of the Executive Committee are attached as Annex 1. t Items 7 and 12 of the former agenda are considered the principal points which will arise at the meetings, and commentaries on them follow:
The Problem of Residual Cases
2. Item 7 of the Provisional Agenda of the Fifth Session of the General Council of IRO relates to refugees who are considered permanently unfit for resettlement on account of age, disability, disease or other causes. In the middle of 1949 it was estimated that there might be as many as 175,000 members of this category still residing in IRO camps in Germany, Austria, the Levant, East Africa and the Philippines. As IRO ceased to accept further refugees in its camps after October, 1949, the number of residual or `hard core' cases has doubtless declined considerably because many countries, including Canada, have allowed some of them to come forward as close relatives or as destined to particularly favourable settlement arrangements.
3. The Canadian Delegation should insist that IRO continue to assume responsibility for the `hard core' cases until the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is prepared to take over the task.
4. However, at the same time the importance of reducing expenditures of IRO to a minimum should be stressed: the maximum possible number of residual cases, as of D.P.'s in general, should be settled in permanent homes. In this regard Canada should continue to support the efforts made by IRO to negotiate with local authorities, voluntary agencies and interested Governments, for the permanent care of particular categories of `hard core' persons (e.g. the Scandinavian countries' acceptance of chronic T.B. cases who will live in village settlements).
5. The Delegation should also press for the practising of every possible economy by IRO in its administration so that costs of care and maintenance of D.P.'s are reduced to a minimum. In this regard it is considered essential that the expenses visualized in the plan of expenditure for the period 1950/51 should not be exceeded.
Plan of Expenditure for the Supplementary Period
6. The Plan of Expenditure for the supplementary period July 1, 1950 March 31, 1951 was approved in principle by the Fourth Session of the General Council in October, 1949. However, as noted in IRO document G.C./135, para. 41, "the Council considered the Director General's budget submission to be a statement of the amounts he estimated to be necessary to effect a substantial resolution of the problem which the Organization had been set up to solve and reserved its right to examine the details of allocations between the various items of expenditure when the Plan of Expenditure would be placed before it at its next Session."
7. Particular items in the Plan of Expenditure should therefore be examined carefully to ensure that the best use is made by IRO of all the resources available. This is closely linked with the need to deal with the problem of residual cases by keeping costs of care and maintenance to a minimum: every precaution should be taken to ensure that the expenses foreseen in the Plan of Expenditure are not exceeded.
8. If the budget plan of expenditure remains at the level anticipated last October ($55,165,446 U.S.), on the question of devaluation of currencies the Delegation should support the position that where countries arrange to pay their assessments in local currencies rather than in U.S. funds, the payment ought to be made at postdevaluation rates. For those countries which have devaluated since September, 1949, this position would involve the payment of a larger sum in local currencies than before September.
9. During the visit of Sir Arthur Rucker to Ottawa in February, it was proposed that the Canadian Government pay its 1949/50 contribution in the proportion of two million dollars in Canadian currency and the balance ($3,396,117) in U.S. dollars. The question of the form of Canada's contribution assessed at $1,916,287 U.S. for the Supplementary Period was left over for negotiation at a later date. The Minister of Finance has since indicated that Canada's contribution to the IRO for the year 1949 50 will in fact be comprised of three million Canadian dollars and the balance ($2,396,117) in U.S. funds from Canada's limited gold and dollar reserves. The Minister declined to accept the earlier tentative arrangement which had been discussed with Sir Arthur Rucker 2 million Canadian dollars and the balance, $3,396,117, in U.S. funds on the grounds that Canada would not be justified in reducing its gold and dollar reserves by this proportion under the circumstances described by the IRO. It has been decided to leave open for negotiation the form of Canada's contribution for the Supplementary Period but it should be understood that it will be wholly in Canadian dollars.
Volksdeutsche and Political Refugees
10. It is possible that a question may be raised concerning the desirability of bringing within IRO's mandate (a) Volksdeutsche and (b) political refugees from "iron curtain" countries.
11. With regard to the Volksdeutsche it is estimated that there may be as many as two million in Western Germany. However, it has been found extremely difficult in practice to distinguish between Volksdeutsche and the refugees from former German territory east of the Oder Neisse line and the Soviet zone. We might take the position therefore that the Volksdeutsche are likely to be absorbed more satisfactorily in Western Germany than in any other country.
12. The continuing stream of refugees from behind the "iron curtain" presents an even greater problem since the IRO camps in Europe admitted no farther refugees after October, 1949. If consideration is given to the matter it would seem preferable not to extend IRO's responsibilities to cover what is evidently a continuing problem. It might be suggested that the problem be left in abeyance until the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has taken office at the end of the year. Provision can then be made by the United Nations to deal with "iron curtain" refugees on a continuing basis.
13. The remaining items on the agenda appear to be clear cut and do not call for special comment or instructions. However, if any subject is discussed on which the Delegation desires guidance, reference may be made to the Department by telegram.