248 Burton to Coombs

Cablegram 6471 CANBERRA, 26 November 1946

Understand question has arisen as to whether F.A.O. or I.T.O.

should be responsible for Commodity Agreements.

advantages in agricultural and non-agricultural arrangements being commonly administered the argument is not strong from Australian point of view. Our main interests are not in logical arrangements but in favourable administration of commodity schemes affecting primary industries.

3. The following points are relevant:

(a) F.A.O. is only body of U.N. not dominated by big powers or affected by special voting rights. We fought at Hot Springs [1] for power of convention to give it authority. Its majority vote in favour of schemes in interests of undeveloped countries and exporters of primary products. My fear is that attempts are being made to sidetrack F.A.O. for this reason and at present at Washington proposals are being discussed for organisations in relation to food control in which importing countries will have main say.

(b) I.T.O. may eventually have weighted voting but in any case will tend to be dominated by main trading countries. While F.A.O.

would place emphasis on increasing consumption as objective and means to achieve stability I.T.O. would be preoccupied with stability as an objective and tend to favour restrictive schemes.

4. It should be possible to give F.A.O. primary responsibility in consultation with I.T.O. Australian interests in long run maybe better served by an effective F.A.O. than I.T.O. and we should not be party to persistent attempts to stultify F.A.O. development.

5. Reference suggested discussions on allocation between various agencies of functions related to employment etc. New York has been instructed regarding Government's policy to resist new organisations and splitting up of existing agencies and commissions. If discussing allocation important from point of view of Australian interests to have in mind nature of organisations voting procedures etc. rather than logical pattern.

[AA:A1067, ER46/1/28]

1 The United Nations Food and Agriculture Conference, Hot Springs, Virginia, 18 May - 3 June 1943, established an Interim Commission to draw up detailed plans for an international food and agriculture organisation.

[2.] Opinion here is divided. In my view, while there might be