68 Report by Heyward

Extracts [NEW YORK, June 1947] [1]



Report by the Australian Alternate

1. The official report to the Council [2] on the Second Session was approved by the Commission, and is accurate so far as it goes.

I believe that the decisions taken were generally in accord with Australian interests. This report does not cover matters adequately treated in the official report, but rather those that, in the nature of things, could not be said officially.


2. The Commission elected its sub-commissions on Employment and Economic Stability and Economic Development (including L. G.

Melville [3] on the former) and considered three matters on instruction from the Economic and Social Council:

(a) On economic stability and full employment it passed a pious resolution in effect asking the U.S. to keep on importing and lending, and the devastated countries to work harder. The long- term aspects were passed over to the Sub-Commission for report back in February, 1948.

(b) On economic development there was an inconclusive discussion and the whole matter was passed over to the Sub-Commission for report back in February, 1948.

(c) On regular reports to the Council on world economic conditions and trends, the Secretariat was asked to present a summary to each session of the Council as soon as possible. Technical discussion of the nature of contents was left to the Sub-Commission.

Broadly the Commission failed to make a successful transition from procedural to real work. This might be improved slowly by nations changing the type of their representation and by the Secretariat undertaking more adequate preparation together with the Specialized Agencies. This involves more staff and more funds.

Even if these things are done the Commission will not fulfil the possibilities that exist for fostering full employment through international economic collaboration. It therefore needs supplementing by additional consultations within the British Commonwealth and with the U.S., and possibly with other countries of Northern and Western Europe.


This Commission is generally regarded as the most important of the functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council as its terms of reference require it to coordinate economic aspects of the work of other Commissions and Specialized Agencies. It was also the first ESC commission to hold a second session and thus face the most difficult stage of its growth, when it has to go beyond procedural matters (to which all can contribute) and lay the basis for real achievements. In general the Commission failed to rise to this opportunity. An analysis of the failure may help us to improve the economic work of the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies in the future.

The Members did not represent the appropriate activities of their Governments

5. It should be the function of this Commission to bring together Government representatives concerned with economic planning in their respective countries, so that the Commission could be a centre for harmonising the international relations of national economic policies as far as possible. Out of 15 member nations, 5 have chosen representatives whose permanent position fits them for this task; they are the U.K., whose representative, R.L. Hall, is becoming head of the Cabinet Economic Offices, Australia, Canada (Mr. Deutsch is Director of Economic Relations in the Department of Finance) and China and Poland whose representatives are Deputy Directors of their country's central planning boards. [4] It is very unfortunate that the U.S.A. does not fall in this list. Her representative, Dr. I. Lubin, as a prominent Roosevelt man is drifting further away from his Government, is connected with the Americans for Democratic Action movement, and earns his living as economic adviser to 10 motion-picture corporations. At this Session he sometimes disregarded the advice of his senior adviser from the State Department.

Norway and France come reasonably close to what is desired with teaching or research economists who also advise their Governments.

6. The representatives of Czechoslovakia and India come from the Economic Division of their Foreign Affairs Departments and this is approximately the position of the representative of Brazil (Guimaraes) who as head of the Research Department of the Bank of Brazil attends many international economic conferences for his Government.

7. The members for the U.S.S.R., Byelorussia, Belgium, and Cuba, are permanent representatives to the United Nations, mostly with a background in the economic work of their foreign affairs departments. Permanent U.N. representatives cannot provide effective discussion and coordination of matters so closely concerned with domestic affairs (though it is useful to have on the Commission people who are accustomed to U.N. procedures).

Composed so heterogeneously and with so many alternates, the Commission seemed incapable of discussing other than trivial matters. None of the four papers presented by members, the two by the Secretariat, and the many presented by the Specialized Agencies provoked any discussion.

8. Possible Remedies

(a) So far as membership of the Commission is concerned an opportunity could be made when the Economic and Social Council is proceeding to the election of members of the Economic and Employment Commission to discuss the type of representative wanted. The Economic and Employment Commission had a very useful discussion of this nature before proceeding to the election of its sub-commissions.

(b) Even if governments chose the right representatives, national economies are too dissimilar and the ways of thought of their representatives too far apart for effective collaboration in achieving full employment in an organisation representing the whole world. The problem is how those who have similar economies and a similar sense of business can get together without giving a set-back to the development of wider collaboration through the United Nations.

Obviously the British Commonwealth could get together without adverse comment, and the exchange of staff between Australia and the U.K. Cabinet Economic Offices may naturally lead to closer collaboration on policy. U.K.'s R.L. Hall is thinking of visiting the U.S. regularly for consultations with them.

Others who might be of like mind are Scandinavia and the Low Countries and France. Hall asked privately whether Canberra would think all these should get together. This is a very tentative idea owing to the difficulties of expanding official consultations beyond the British Commonwealth and outside the U.N. On the other hand, bilateral conversations through diplomatic representatives not intimately concerned with these matters would not be likely to achieve the purpose.

[matter omitted]

Regular Reports on World Economic Conditions and Trends

32. I put in a paper (E/CN 1/39) in an attempt to get the Commission down to practical details but it suffered the common fate of not being discussed. The Commission was equally supine, however, when I had voted into the appropriate sections of the report a few sentences promising us what we want as soon as the Secretariat has the staff to do it (including the sentence 'in particular the Commission hopes that the Secretariat will soon be in a position to place before the Council at each Session a summary of current conditions and trends for the Council's information in dealing with particular issues of economic importance on its agenda'). [5]

[matter omitted]

1 The document is undated.

2 i.e. the Economic and Social Council.

3 Economic Adviser to the Commonwealth Bank.

4 Heyward added a footnote here to the effect that representatives were replaced by alternates at this session in respect of Australia, Canada, China, Poland, Norway, Czechoslovakia, Belgium and Cuba. He commented that the alternates were generally 'less closely connected than the members with work on national economic policies'.

5 A resolution authorising the Secretariat to provide these services was adopted by the General Assembly on 31 October.

[AA : A1838, 856/10, iii]