SUMMARY RECORD OF THE ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVENTH MEETING
held in New York on Monday
14 November 1949, at 3.30 p.m.
The CHAIRMAN invited the comments of Mr. Hill on the preliminary report of the Economic Survey Mission.
Mr. HILL had four observations to make with regard to the report. First, he drew attention to the recommendation that the number of rations distributed should be reduced from 940,000 to 652,000 by 1 January 1950; this recommendation had been made in guarded terms, and it had been intimated in a footnote that the reduction might be made over the period 1 January—1 April, or not until April. Mr. Hill pointed out that such a reduction would be impossible if the relief agencies were to continue operating until April, as they had agreed to do, for the reason that the Secretary-General, in making his appeal to the agencies, had undertaken not to enforce any reduction in rations but to continue basing the number of rations upon the number of registrations submitted. Those registrations had recently been reduced from 940,000 to slightly over 900,000 through the efforts of the American Friends Service Committee, and the agencies had agreed to continue their efforts to make further reductions.
In reply to a question from Mr. PALMER concerning the discrepancy between the Clapp programme and the present one, Mr. Hill explained that the difference would probably not be as great as might be expected; the Secretary-General considered Mr. Clapp’s figures for reduced rations as too high, and felt that the agencies could continue to feed 900,000 with the funds provided for. He pointed out that the monthly costs for July had been about $1,600,000, or slightly over $1 per refugee. It was difficult to determine whether Mr. Clapp had considered only the official UNRPR budget, or all types of aid contributed; it was possible also that he had counted on certain items, such as fuel, clothing, etc., which it had been impossible to furnish to the agencies. Mr. Hill admitted that it was not clear upon what data the Clapp report had been based and that further clarification was necessary on certain points. It was hoped that a member of the Economic Survey Mission would arrive in New York within a few days to furnish such explanations.
Mr. PALMER agreed that the matter should be clarified before the Member Governments were asked to contribute further funds. He pointed out that Mr. Gardner, an adviser on the Mission, was at present in Washington and suggested that he might be consulted.
The CHAIRMAN and Mr. de BOISANGER agreed that it would not be practical to effect a sharp or sudden reduction in the number of rations; such a reduction should be effected gradually over a period of time, according to a planned programme,
Mr. HILL submitted the draft text of a paragraph on the subject which the Commission, if it desired, might insert in the text of the covering letter which it would send to the Secretary-General with the report.
Mr. Hill’s second observation concerned the date on which the new organisation to be set up would take over the functions of the relief agencies. It was expected that the agencies would terminate their work on 1 April; it was highly desirable, therefore, that the new organ should be constituted by the first of January, in order that it might be able to make the necessary arrangements with the relief agencies to avoid any lapse or break in the programme.
In reply to a question from Mr. de BOISANGER, Mr. Hill said that the agencies had not categorically refused to continue after 1 April; there were certain indications that the American Friends Service Committee at least, might continue for a time after that date.
Mr. Hill’s third comment related to the fact that the report made no mention of the contribution of UNICEF and the importance of its being continued. He pointed out that more than one-quarter of the total aid contributed had been furnished by UNICEF, which would consider favorably a request to continue its collaboration during the first three months of 1950. Mr. Hill suggested that a request to that effect from the Commission, when it submitted the report, would be helpful.
Fourthly, Mr. Hill remarked that considerable doubt existed as to the eventual structure of the new Organ to be created, its exact relationship with the United Nations and the Secretary-General, and the degree of autonomy it would possess. The political aspect of the question must be considered; care must be taken not to prejudice relations between the United Nations and the areas which would later be receiving assistance under the United Nations programme of technical aid. The Commission might wish to indicate its desire that the new organ should keep in close contact with the Secretary-General in order to fit in with the future technical aid programme. It might also, while making such comments as it considered appropriate, invite the Secretary-General, in submitting the report to the General Assembly, to make his own suggestions regarding technical aid and administrative structure and procedure.
Mr. de BOISANGER pointed out that the submission of the report involved the Commission in the discussion of questions which had heretofore been outside its competence, such as the question of refugee relief. In the circumstances, however, he considered it necessary that the Commission should aid the Secretary-General in so far as possible by inviting his suggestions. He further remarked that although the present report dealt only with aid to the refugees, the economic aid to be furnished eventually must be handled by a different organisation, in order to avoid antagonising the Arab States.
Mr. HILL pointed out that the works projects contemplated in the report would fall within the framework of the long-term economic development of the countries concerned.
In reply to a question from Mr. PALMER concerning the United Nations technical aid programme, Mr. Hill explained that according to present indications the programme would probably commence the following year. The greater Part of the funds would be contributed by the United States, although there were preliminary indications that a number of countries would support the programme. The funds available would probably amount to between 15 and 20 million dollars for the entire programme; that sum would cover only the sending of technical experts to assist the Governments with special projects.
Observations sur le rapport de la Mission économique d'étude: réduction des rations, organismes de secours, contribution de l'UNICEF, création de l'UNRWA - 111e seance de l'UNCCP - Compte rendu Français