72 Burton to Bulcock

Memorandum CANBERRA, 12 August 1947


The following are the views of the Department of External Affairs on the agenda items for the forthcoming session of the Conference [1]:-

1. Admission of New Members

The application of Siam should be supported. We see no reason to oppose Finland and Austria.

2. Permanent Sites of F.A.O

New York should be supported.

3. Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges

There is no objection to agreement with the proposed convention but our position should be made clear on the taxation question.

The Department of Taxation has indicated that exemption from taxation cannot be granted to Australian citizens employed by the United Nations or its specialised agencies, resident in Australia and deriving their incomes from within Australia.

4. Agreement between F.A.O. and other International Organisations

No objection is raised to the proposed agreement with U.N.E.S.C.O.

and I.L.O.

5. Amendments Constitution

It is agreed that- (a) A Council of F.A.O. should be set up;

(b) Australia should seek membership;

(c) Our delegation should support the Australian amendments in preference to the immediate adoption of the American proposal; [2]

(d) A Council should replace the amended Executive as soon as practicable;

(e) In the event of failure to amend the proposed Executive along the lines proposed in the Australian amendments, the delegation should support the United States proposal. [3]

6. Appointment of Director-General

Of the people at present being considered (Louwes [4], McDougall [5], Bruce, Fitzgerald [6], Myers [7]) you should vote for McDougall. [8] Full information on other people being considered should be forwarded to this Department immediately.

7. Election of Executive Committee Members

We have no strong desire to be represented, though this is largely a matter for the Department of Commerce and Agriculture.

1 Held at Geneva from 25 August to 11 September.

2 The Australian amendment proposed altering the Constitution so that members of the Executive Committee were selected on the basis of national representation instead of the existing basis of personal membership. Similar amendments were submitted by the United States and the United Kingdom.

3 The Australian, UK and US amendments were amalgamated in a joint resolution, as a result of which the Executive Committee was replaced by an Executive Council comprising representatives of member governments. Australia was elected to the Council and Viscount Bruce of Melbourne, former Prime Minister (1923-29) and High Commissioner in London (1933-45), was elected chairman.

4 H. D. Louwes, Vice-President of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers.

5 F.L. McDougall, Counsellor, FAO; Economic Adviser at the Australian High Commission, London, until November 1945.

6 D.A. Fitzgerald, Secretary-General of the International Emergency Food Council.

7 W.I. Myers, member of President Truman's Committee on Foreign Aid.

8 The Conference decided that no suitable candidate was available and Sir John Orr agreed to continue as Director-General for the time being.

[AA : A1068, ER47/4/6]