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Circular memorandum CANBERRA, 9 November 1948


The Second Session of the South Pacific Commission was held in Sydney from 25th October to 2nd November, 1948. The general atmosphere at the session was encouraging, particularly the unanimous desire of representatives to get on with the work of the Commission as soon as possible so as to prevent the organisation from becoming a mere paper mill. In all discussions the United States Commissioners played a most constructive and helpful part.

The French, Netherlands and United Kingdom Commissioners were also most co-operative. The Australian and New Zealand Commissioners took the initiative in bringing forward at the Public Session the views of respective local administrators on work projects.

Mr. W. D. Forsyth was appointed Secretary-General of the Commission and Mr. Baas-Becking of the Netherlands, Deputy Chairman of the Research Council. His nomination was warmly supported by United States Commissioners acting upon the advice of Pacific Science bodies in Washington. Three full-time Research Officers were also appointed: in the field of health, M. Massal (France); in the field of economic development, Mr. McMillan (United States) and in the field of social development, Mr.

Davidson, (New Zealand). Thirteen part-time members of the Research Council were also appointed, including three Australians.

The full Research Council will meet in April immediately prior to the third session of the Commission.

In the meantime, the Secretary-General will proceed with the carrying out of projects not requiring the expert views of the Research Council members, e.g. quarantine and communications surveys. All full-time Research Officers with the Secretary- General will make an early tour of the area to discuss projects with the local administration specialists. They will also attend a Pacific Science Congress in Auckland early in February.

The Australian Commissioners voted with the majority in favour of Noumea as a site for the Commission's headquarters primarily because the availability of accommodation makes an early commencement of work by the Commission practicable. It is hoped to transfer to Noumea in February. Local feeling in Noumea is enthusiastic and there is every hope of the utmost co-operation from the local administration.

The first South Pacific Conference consisting of representatives of sixteen territories in the area will meet at Suva in April, 1950.

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