Volume #21 - 99.|
NATIONS UNIES ET AUTRES ORGANISATIONS INTERNATIONALES
CONTRIBUTIONS AUX PROGRAMMES EXTRA-BUDGÉTAIRES
Projet d'une note du secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures|
pour le Cabinet
le 28 septembre 1955|
CONTRIBUTIONS TO UNITED NATIONS EXTRA-BUDGETARY PROGRAMMES|
This submission is concerned with Canadian participation in the following programmes:
United Nations Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance to
Under-Developed Countries (ETAP)
United Nations' Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance to Under-Developed Countries (ETAP)
2. The multilateral technical assistance programme is an important part of the activities of the United Nations and enjoys broad public support throughout the world. It offers one of the best means of effectively assisting the economically less well developed countries with their problems and, in this respect, supplements and fits in well with our own Colombo Plan activities. It also aids appreciably in better understanding among peoples and governments and provides a continuing expression of concerted international cooperation to raise the standards of living of the less well developed countries.
3. In 1954 a record number of countries contributed a total of $24.5 million. In that year Canada's contribution was raised to $1.5 million. In 1955 our contribution was maintained at that figure while total contributions reached the gratifying level of $27.9 million.
4. It had been agreed, when the Cabinet authorized the 1955 contribution of $1.5 million, that the amount of that contribution might be reconsidered if it became apparent that total contributions would be appreciably in excess of the amount then anticipated ($25.0 million). On the basis of the relationship of our original pledge to the total then envisaged (i.e. the ratio of $1.5 million to $25.0 million) an increase of the order of some $200,000.00 in respect of 1955 might seem appropriate. It has been felt, however, that it would be preferable not to consider a supplementary contribution for this year but rather to take account of the unexpectedly high total for 1955 in arriving at a decision regarding the appropriate size of Canada's contribution in 1956.
5. In spite of the larger total contributions made in 1954 and 1955, and the economies effected in administrative arrangements, the need for funds continues to rise. This is due, in part, to the increasing awareness of the recipient countries of the benefits which stem from such assistance programs and to the development and growth of projects embarked upon in the earlier years of the program. To carry out the increased program, which seems justified by present needs, and which has been suggested as a target for pledges next year, a 20 percent increase in the level of contributions would be needed.
6. We have received an intimation that the United Kingdom Government will recommend a modest increase in their contributions. It is also indicated that The Netherlands has already decided to increase its contribution. The United States has committed $15.5 million to the program for 1956, which represents a further increase over their 1955 appropriation, despite the fact that in that year they were financing over 50 percent of the program. There is, however, a strong feeling in the United States that other governments should bear a somewhat larger proportionate share of the cost. The Executive Branch has made a firm commitment to Congress that their contribution for 1956 will not exceed 50 percent of the total contributions from all governments. It will, therefore, be necessary for the contributions of other governments to reach a total of $15.5 million. Also, if the full amount of the American contribution were to be taken out, this would mean that such other governments would have to increase their pledges by a total of $2.5 million, or approximately 20 percent over the figures for 1955.
7. A moderate increase in the size of the Canadian contribution, in the order of 20 percent over last year, would, therefore, seem to be desirable in order to:
(a) take account of the extent to which the performance of others last year exceeded our expectations (a consideration which by itself might seem to justify an increase of 15 or 20 percent);
(b) help meet the greater needs of the program this year, both directly and also indirectly through the effect which our action would have on the contributions of others (an effect which would be automatic in the case of the U.S. and probably no less influential on others who value our example);
(c) reflect the widespread interest and support in Canada for this worthwhile activity of the United Nations.
8. It has become apparent that for the most effective operation of the program the Technical Assistance Board must have a more dependable basis upon which to plan its projects in advance. In the face of the necessity to be prudent and not exceed the funds in hand, the Board has had no alternative but to reduce the level of technical assistance below what would have been possible and desirable had they had a more definite budget upon which to plan the program fully over a whole year or for a period of years. By its very nature, for the program to be effective, it is essential that it be planned on a long term basis. Under the present arrangements whereby funds are only forthcoming for a period of one year and then not on an early and reliable basis, it is rarely possible to undertake other than relatively short-term projects, whereas some of the most fruitful undertakings suggested to the Board would require finance and execution over a period of years.
9. It is also difficult to arrange realistic priorities within the present fiscal arrangement. An answer to the problem would be for contributing governments to guarantee definite contributions for several years ahead and to pay them at the beginning of each year. If that is not possible, an assurance of at least minimum contributions would be helpful. A commitment of this kind would go a long way to assist the agencies in their planning and also to improve the morale of those involved in these activities by reducing any uncertainty that their operations may be terminated at short notice. Such action by some of the more responsible countries would also encourage other countries to maintain their contributions and, by so giving an assured life, make it less likely that some under-developed countries would press for substitute arrangements which would be more unsatisfactory from our point of view (e.g. a scheme for internationally determined assessments towards technical assistance programs, precipitated action on SUNFED, etc.).
10. At the recent session of ECOSOC a number of delegations, led by those of The Netherlands and the United Kingdom, announced that their governments were prepared to guarantee certain minimum contributions for each of the next three years, subject to annual parliamentary approval. The United States have gone as far as they deem it possible to go at the present time by budgeting 18 months in advance. This is felt to be a not insignificant development on the part of the United States in view of the reluctance shown by them in the past to make advance commitments towards multilateral or even bilateral programs. Administrative officials believe they have been able to impress members of Congress with the need for making advance appropriations for the United Nations' program and the Special Senate Committee which is studying technical assistance programs in which the United States participates has in particular shown sympathetic appreciation of the necessity for long range planning of United Nations technical assistance activities. There is a possibility that they will recommend that the United States should consider authorizing contributions on a long term scale. The American authorities feel if a reasonable number of responsible countries follow the United Kingdom and The Netherlands lead in pledging three years in advance, the Administration's advocacy of this policy for the United States will be greatly strengthened.
11. In view of the experience gained over the years and the prospect of increased efficiency and support which would result from such an announcement, it is suggested that it be announced that it is the intention of the Canadian Government, subject to the annual approval of Parliament, to make contributions to the program for 1957 and 1958 at least on the order of those of recent years as an indication of continued support and in the interests of effective administration and on the condition that the program will continue with the broad support of other countries.
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
12. UNICEF was created in 1947 under the name of the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund in order to help children from war-devastated countries. In 1950 the Fund was authorized to undertake for a period of three years ending December 31, 1953, long-range welfare projects for needy children in under-developed countries.138 On October 8, 1953, the General Assembly provided by a unanimous vote for the contribution of the Fund for an indefinite period.139
13. UNICEF is regarded as a well-administered organ whose programmes are carried out effectively. There is no doubt that the Fund has made a substantial contribution towards enhancing the prestige of the United Nations. However, the Fund's budget target of $20 million has never been reached. It is desirable for the Fund to reach this target in order to derive maximum results from its present establishment which cannot be reduced since it represents the minimum permissible for an organization of its kind operating on a world-wide basis. Additional contributions are also required to enable the Fund to utilize in full the United States contribution which should not exceed 57.5 per cent of total payments in 1956. Each year, legitimate requests for assistance on the part of under-developed countries have to be refused as a result of lack of funds.
14. Both the number of contributors to the Fund and the amount of contributions other than those of the United States have consistently increased since 1950 as shown in the following table:
15. Except for last year there has also been a steady increase in United States contributions since 1950. The United States Congress has just given final approval to a contribution of $9 million for 1955 and of $9.7 million for 1956. As of July 21 last, 51 Governments had contributed or pledged $9,370,000 for 1955 and the number of additional contributors during the remaining months is expected to bring the total of contributors to about 70 for this year. Fourteen governments have so far increased their contributions or pledges over those of 1954 and in seven cases the increase amounts to 50 per cent or more. The French have increased their contribution this year from $500,000 to $785,000 and we are told that the Australians will contribute $550,000. The U.S.S.R. has made its first contribution ($500,000) to the Fund during the current year.
16. The Canadian Government has contributed $9,333,634.00 (U.S.) to the United Nations Children's Fund since its inception. In addition the Fund has received over $1.5 million from private sources in Canada. The Canadian Government has contributed $500,000 annually for the last five years. In the light of the above, a substantial increase in the Canadian contribution appears desirable. Bearing in mind the nature of UNICEF programmes and the amount of Canadian contributions to the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance, it seems reasonable to suggest that the Canadian contribution for 1956 be increased so as to represent approximately 1/15 of the United States contribution of $9.7 million for that year, i.e., $650,000.
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)
17. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was established by the General Assembly in December, 1949 (Resolution 302 (IV)).140 It was asked to "carry out in collaboration with local Governments direct relief and works programmes" for the benefit of the odd 950,000 Arab refugees who had fled Palestine in 1948 following the establishment of the State of Israel.
18. It was hoped that refugees would be either repatriated or resettled in the areas where they took refuge in a relatively short time. Very little progress was made, however, during the first years of the Agency's operations and on January 26, 1952, the Assembly endorsed the so-called Blandford Plan which recommended a three-year programme as follows:
This programme was approved without prejudice to the rights of repatriation or compensation recognized in paragraph 11 of Resolution 194.
2. By the end of the fiscal year 1953-1954, there were still some 800,000 refugees on relief roles so that at its ninth session the Assembly extended the mandate for five years, ending June 30, 1960. This decision was taken again without prejudice to the rights of the refugees to repatriation or compensation.
20. The Canadian Government voted in favour of the establishment of the Agency and also in favour of the extensions of its mandate authorized at the ninth session.141
21. In the past the Canadian Government made the following contributions to Palestine refugee programmes under UNRWA and its predecessor UNRPR (United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees) which operated between December 1948 and April 1950:
22. As of June 30, 1955, Canada was the fourth largest contributor to these programmes, the other major contributors among non-Arab states being the United States ($137,000,000), United Kingdom ($38,000,000), France ($11,000,000), Australia ($1,500,000), and New Zealand ($950,000). The Arab states have made contributions to UNRPR and UNRWA of $4,800,000. The Arab governments have also made each year substantial contributions in kind direct to refugees, the total amount of such contributions for the fiscal year 1954-1955 being approximately $2,300,000.
23. Although the report of the Director-General of the Agency is not yet available it can be assumed that the number of Palestine refugees is still in the neighbourhood of 850,000 judging from the provisional relief estimate of 28.1 million for 1955-56.
24. During the last 12 months the Agency has nevertheless been actively engaged in preparing the way for the implementation of one of its two major projects in the Sinai Peninsula. Progress on the other major project in the Yarmuk River Valley depends largely upon the outcome of negotiations on the Johnston Plan. In the meantime the Agency is performing a most useful function by carrying out an energetic educational programme among the refugees within the limits of its resources.
25. The success of the Agency's resettlement programme is of course dependent on the progress made in stabilising the political situation in the area. The first hopeful prospect of long-term co-operation between Israel and its neighbours on matters of substances occurred last year when agreement was reached in principle on the Johnston Plan for the unified development of water resources in the area.142 Although final agreement has not yet been reached, the points of difference have been reduced to a minimum.
26. In addition to this encouraging development, there has been a hopeful improvement in Arab-Israel relations in recent months. UNTSO has been largely successful in its efforts to stabilize the situation on the Israel-Jordan border. A local Commander's agreement has been concluded in the trouble spot of Jerusalem and negotiations are now taking place to make similar arrangements along the entire line of demarcation between the two countries. Incidents on the borders of Lebanon and Syria have been reduced to a minimum. A similar situation is now hoped for in the relations between Israel-Egypt notwithstanding the sharply increased tension earlier this year along the Gaza strip. Major General E.L.M. Burns of Canada with his reputation for impartiality has played a significant role in these developments.
27. In a statement on the Palestine question which he made on August 26, 1955 and which has been endorsed by the United Kingdom, Mr. Dulles suggested that an international loan be made to the State of Israel with a view to enabling it to pay compensation to Palestine refugees.143 United States proposals were accompanied by suggestions for the guaranteeing of present frontiers with some rectifications. The official attitude of the Arab states to the Dulles proposals has been non-committal and public criticism was more restrained than had been expected. Israeli officials indicated that they regarded the Dulles suggestions as constructive proposals though they had some misgivings about some of its features. In the light of the progress made on the Johnson Plan and Mr. Dulles' suggestion for an overall settlement of the Palestine issue, it is hoped that some headway will be made in the settlement of the refugee problem in the relatively near future.
28. The refugee issue has become the hub of the Palestine problem. The maintenance of refugees at their present subsistence level (at the low cost of $27 per head per year) is an essential condition of any further improvement in Israel-Arab relations and of maintaining law and order in the border areas. The refugees are of course the kind of political tinder upon which political opportunists of all shades in the Middle East thrive.
29. The maintenance of these Palestine refugees on a reasonably satisfactory basis is an important element in ensuring continuing peace in the Middle East: the financial burden involved must be shared by the members of the United Nations as their contribution to the maintenance of peace. Canada being generally regarded as a relatively wealthy member of the international community particularly by the Asian people, is expected to contribute to UNRWA expenses on a fairly substantial basis.
30. For these reasons and in the light of the continued support of the Agency by Western countries during 1954-55 (United States: $13 million; United Kingdom $4.5 million; France: $557,000; New Zealand $140,000), it is suggested that Canada should continue in the year 1955-56 the financial support given to UNRWA in 1953-54 and 1954-55, i.e., $500,00.
United Nations Refugee Fund (UNREF)
31. The High Commissioner for Refugees has under his mandate 300,000 refugees in Europe whose problems remain unsolved and of whom 75,000 are still living in camps. In addition, there are among the European refugees in China 900 in Shanghai alone who are totally dependent on United Nations' aid until they can be resettled in other countries. With a view to achieving a permanent solution to the problem, the High Commissioner submitted to the ninth session of the General Assembly a four-year programme (1955-58). The General Assembly authorized him to undertake this programme and member governments were asked to contribute for the first year's operations. The cost of the programme was estimated at sixteen million dollars for a four-year period and the target figure for 1955 was set at 4.2 million dollars. The main portion of the funds is to be used to finance projects leading to the integration of refugees in their present countries of residence and a smaller portion for continued emergency aid.
32. In 1954, Canada contributed $50,000 to the United Nations Refugees Fund specifically for emergency aid to the European refugees in China. In view of the broader and more comprehensive programme envisaged in 1955, the Cabinet approved in principle the grant to UNREF at its meeting on May 5, 1955. It was later agreed between the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration that Canada's contribution for 1955 would be $125,000.
33. In deciding on Canada's contribution for 1956 it would seem appropriate that we should repeat our 1955 contribution of $125,000. The High Commissioner's programme is directed mainly at helping refugees, many of whom would like to immigrate to Canada but who are not acceptable as immigrants. Since there is a continuing pressure on Canada to take in at least some of these refugees, $125,000 would not seem to be too high a price to pay for "other solutions". Moreover, very little financial support for UNREF is likely to be forthcoming from the non-European Members of the United Nations, since European refugees only are involved. Thus the main burden of financing the programme necessarily falls on the Western European Members and on the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, etc. The European, United States and Australian contributions to UNREF are additional to what they are spending each year on their own national programmes for refugees. The Canadian contribution to the solution of the refugee problem, on the other hand, is limited almost exclusively to a financial grant to UNREF and the sum of $125,000 does not seem to be more than our fair share.
IT IS THEREFORE RECOMMENDED:
(1) that Canada contribute $1.8 million to the United Nations Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance in 1956, and
(2) that the Canadian Government undertake, subject to the annual voting of funds by Parliament, to make contributions to the programme for 1957 and 1958 as well, at least in the order of those of recent years on the condition that the programme continues to receive the broad support of other member countries of the United Nations;
(3) that authorization be given to announce the Government's intention to seek parliamentary approval for a contribution to the United Nations Children's Fund for the fiscal year 1956-67 of $650,000; and
(4) that the Fund be encouraged to continue its favourable record of purchases in Canada;
(5) that authorization be given to announce the Government's intention to seek parliamentary approval for a contribution of $500,000 to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees relief programme for its financial year 1955-56; and
(6) that payment of the Canadian contribution be made subject to informal assurances by UNRWA that this contribution will be used as far as practicable for the procurement in Canada of commodities required by the Agency for its operations;
(7) that authorization be given to announce the Government's intention to seek parliamentary approval for a contribution of $125,000 to the United Nations Refugee Fund for expenditure on the 1956 programme of the High Commissioner for Refugees.144