149 Australian Delegation, United Nations, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram UN492 NEW YORK, 20 October 1946, 11.41 p.m.

IMMEDIATE SECRET

ESC.60.

Your UNY.237. [1] Australia was to-day elected to the Economic and Employment, Human Rights, Status of Women and Population Commission[s] with 15, 17, 17 and 15 votes respectively. Other commissions elected were transport, social, statistical and fiscal.

(2) Other members of the Economic and Employment Commission are Belgium, Byelorussia, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, India, Norway, Poland, United Kingdom, United States and U.S.S.R.

(3) Canada also secured a place on four commissions, New Zealand was elected to the Fiscal and Social. Belgium secured three, Netherlands four, India six, the Big Five eight.

(4) Attempt to limit nominations to an agreed list equal to the number of positions on each commission failed and balloting was necessary.

(5) To-morrow the terms of office are to be decided by lot. [2] The procedure provides that with view to securing balanced representation in the various fields covered by the commissions, the Secretary General shall consult the governments selected before the representatives from members are finally nominated by governments and confirmed by the Council. We shall advise later details of steps proposed and also endeavour to answer your 252.

[3] In the meantime no one can say how often the commissions will meet. Secretariat opinion is twice yearly for a fortnight each occasion. We should think that the Economic Commission might need three meetings and the Population possibly one.

(6) We mention for your guidance that as stated in our previous reports emphasis in Council discussions has been on the appointment of experts and avoidance of the use of substitutes for nominated representative except where unavoidable (see our report on second session of Council). [4]

(7) Tange will inform Coombs concerning the Economic and Employment.

1 See Document 101, note 1.

2 The terms of office drawn by Australia on the commissions were:

Economic and Employment, 4 years; Human Rights, 4 years; Status of Women, 2 years; Population, 3 years.

3 Dispatched 1 October. It asked for an estimate of the annual period of service for any Australian representatives on the commissions. Australia's representatives were: Economic and Employment Commission-Roland Wilson; Human Rights Commission-W. R.

Hodgson; Commission on Status of Women-Jessie Street; Population Commission-W. D. Forsyth.

4 Dated 9 August. Some members, especially the United States and the United Kingdom, had argued that representation of governments on commissions could threaten the commissions' independent expert status. It was eventually resolved that commission members would represent governments, individual governments being free to nominate either government employees or outside experts, but that a change of representation would only be permitted in emergencies such as illness or death.

[AA:A1067, ER46/3/16]