259 Walker to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 154, GENEVA, 16 August 1949, 10.15 p.m.


1. ECOSOC Plenary Session adopted the resolution on technical assistance embodying many minor amendments. Australia voted for this resolution after making a statement that the resolution contained only proposals submitted to Assembly for decision and that Australian Government was not satisfied with all parts of the resolution and reserved the right to adjust its position after more detailed examination of the problems raised therein. The debate which lasted three days was remarkable for the degree of agreement on most points and for the constructive co-operative attitude of the Soviet Group who secured several minor amendments in the draft resolution.

2. Copies of the resolution despatched by ordinary air mail. The resolution requests the Secretary-General subject to the approval by the General Assembly of the whole plan, to invite A.C.C.[1] to set up a technical assistance board (T.A.B.) consisting of Executive Heads of United Nations and participating specialised Agencies. Within T.A.B. there will be full consultation and exchange of information and T.A.B. will in effect be the principal executive machinery.

3. ECOSOC will establish the standing technical assistance committee of the Council (T.A.C.O.C.) with the following functions;

1. Make critical examinations for the Council of the activities undertaken and results achieved.

2. Examine each year's programme submitted by T.A.B. and report on it to the Council with recommendations.

3. Interpret the present resolution and decide any conflicts or questions submitted by T.A.B.

4. Further progress reports from T.A.B. on the activities and use made of funds.

5. Review working relationships between participating organisations and effectiveness of co-ordination of technical assistance and make recommendations.

6. Such other functions as assigned by ECOSOC. You will note that although T.A.B. is to be established by A.C.C. nevertheless T.A.B. reports direct to T.A.C.O.C.

4. T.A.B. is required to inform T.A.C.O.C. of all requests for technical assistance received by T.A.B. so that T.A.C.O.C. shall always be in possession [of] the list of projects under consideration. T.A.B. is also required to make periodic reports on the activities undertaken, results achieved and funds received and committed. E.C.O.S.O.C. rejected a Polish amendment supported by Australia authorising T.A.C.O.C. to express opinions on requests which are under consideration by T.A.B.

5. The resolution recommends to the General Assembly to authorise the Secretary-General to establish a special account for technical assistance. The following proposals on allocations will be considered by the Technical Assistance Conference to be held during or after the Assembly including all members of the United Nations Specialised Agencies participating in the programme:

(A) First 10 million dollars to be distributed in accordance with the following percentages already cabled:-

United Nations 23 I.L.O. 11 F.A.O. 29 UNESCO 14 ICAO 1 WHO 22 (B) Of the second 10 million dollars 70 percent to be so distributed. Balance together with contributions in excess of 20 million dollars to be allocated by T.A.B. Council rejected amendment providing for allocation of balance by T.A.C.O.C. Voting 7 for 10 against on abstention. Also New Zealand, Lebanon, India and the Soviet Bloc voted for.

6. Proposed technical assistance conference is to ascertain total amount of contributions above allocations and financial arrangements.

7. All participating organisations are to be guided by the principles set out in a six page annex.

8. Australia drew attention to two further issues which there was not time to examine but should be considered by the Assembly namely:

1. Which countries are entitled to request assistance, e.g. can a member of the United Nations which is not a member of the particular specialised agency apply for assistance in that field.

2. Is not formal agreement with specialised agencies needed.

9. The Council adopted a resolution on co-operation with regional organisations which keeps the door open for South Pacific Commission. The text appears on page 15 of E/1526.

[1] Administrative Committee on Co-ordination.

[AA : A1838, 716/1/1, III]