187 Halligan to Burton
Memorandum CANBERRA, 29 March 1949
SOUTH PACIFIC COMMISSION SECOND SESSION REPORT OF THE AUSTRALIAN COMMISSIONERS
I am attaching a copy of the Report of the Australian Commissioners who attended the Second Session of the Commission.
The Rev. Dr. Burton has the original of the Report and will doubtlessly submit it through the normal channels. In the meantime I am forwarding this copy for your information.
V. WORK PROGRAMME Nothing was more enheartening in the Second Session than the dominant conviction that the real work of the Commission-the welfare and development of the peoples resident within the area- must be entered upon with the least avoidable delay. With this in view the Commission divided its projects into three categories:-
A. Those that could be proceeded with immediately without waiting for the formation of the Research Council e.g. the collection of information regarding existing air and sea transport, with investigation into further needs and improvements, the supply of essential goods from areas having a surplus to areas in need; the review of human quarantine measures and the prompt exchange of epidemiological information; the mechanization of the copra industry and the study of byproducts; the collection and dissemination of information on the control and eradication of plant and animal pests and diseases; health problems, particularly infant and maternal welfare; fisheries research in order to improve the nutrition of local inhabitants; surveys of food potentials with the object of raising dietary standards and of increasing exports; and the pooling of information generally.
B. Subjects which call for early action but which cannot be completed for some time, e.g. contact with agencies doing experimental work in agriculture and in industries; collection and dissemination of information on the technical and professional training of islanders; development of an adequate library on the South Pacific; preparation of a file of scientists and of research organisations having relation to Pacific problems; investigation of radio-broadcasting and visual aids in the education of dependent peoples; studies in vulcanology and seismology;
improvements in pasture land, especially research into fodder grasses and weed control; research into main objects listed in the agreement and the convening of a conference of educationists to give urgent attention to the needs of Pacific peoples.
C. Subjects which can be placed for the time being in a lower category of urgency, e.g. problems associated with the nutrition of resident populations; problems of conservation, including local reserves for indigenous flora and fauna; preservation of archaeological sites etc.; problems arising from the impact of modern civilization upon indigenous culture; publication of a periodic bulletin; and study of labour conditions within the territories with a view to improvement.
VII. VOTING PROCEDURES This subject had caused much discussion. Both the French and United Kingdom Senior Commissioners had previously taken what some thought to be a somewhat restricted and legalistic interpretation of the 'two-thirds majority' and had limited its application to ordinary budgetary expenditure. The opposed points of view were thoroughly discussed in Committee and a happy solution agreed upon. This is so important a question that we quote the resolution in full:
'WHEREAS the Commission has found it necessary to clarify the meaning of Clause We) and (d) the Agreement creating the Commission and Rule 14 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission in implementation thereof, by adding an interpretive subdivision, therefore
BE IT RESOLVED that Rule 14 of the Rules of Procedure be amended by adding a subdivision (f) thereof which shall read as follows:
(f) For the purpose of this rule, the annual administrative budget shall include provision for all necessary administrative functions and needs of the Commission, the Research Council, the Secretariat and the South Pacific Conference, and shall include expenditure not exceeding Stg.5,000 on research undertakings, conferences of experts, and special projects, which have not already been included in a supplementary budget covering such undertakings, conferences and projects. Expenditure on each separate undertaking, conferences, or project under this rule shall not normally exceed the sum of Stg.500.'