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304 Evatt to Dixon

Cablegram 1278/81 CANBERRA, 21 October 1943

1. Your 1175. [1] I have informed the American Legation of our
intention to accept Relief Agreement. You will sign on behalf of
the Australian Government and represent us at first meeting of
Council. [2]

2. Committee work on rules and regulations and general policy
obviously requires attention of someone with general rather than
economic qualifications and I think you should be present yourself
at all these discussions.

3. Stirling is being brought from London to Canberra for
consultation and on way out will act as one of delegation to
Conference. Suggest others should be McCarthy and McDougall.

4. General policy on relief is indicated in my recent statement on
Foreign Affairs:

'While in the United States members of the Mission took part in
conversations relating to the proposed Relief and Rehabilitation
Agreement. Last July the text of a draft agreement for this
purpose was published and the Prime Minister then publicly
announced that the Australian Government welcomed the proposal and
would do its share to assist in supplying relief to those peoples
who were in need. This first text has since been revised in the
light of comments and criticisms made upon it by various
governments, including the Australian Government. The main
obligation which the agreement casts upon signatories is to
contribute towards "the relief of victims of war in any area under
the control of any of the United Nations through the provision of
food, fuel, clothing, shelter, and other basic necessities,
medical and other essential services".

I would feel far happier if Australia was a permanent member of
the Central Committee of the new organisation which is to comprise
representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States, the
Soviet Union, and China. At the same time the Central Committee is
ultimately subordinate to the Council which is composed of all
signatories. Australia cannot refuse the duty of active
collaboration with such a body, especially as this country has
always been to the fore in similar measures of relief wherever
disasters have caused famine or want in other countries. We have
therefore informed the United States Government that we will sign
the agreement and will be represented at the first meeting of the
Council on 10th November next in the United States.' [3]

5. It is most important that we have representation at least on
both Committees of Supplies and Far Eastern Region.

1 Dispatched 11 October (FA:A3195, 1943, 1.41857).

2 The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration
Agreement was signed by the representatives of forty-four nations
at Washington on 9 November. The first meeting of the UNRRA
Council was held at Atlantic City, New Jersey, from 10 November
until 1 December.

3 See Department of External Affairs, Current Notes on
International Affairs, vol. 14, no. 8, 15 October 1943, pp. 260-1.

[AA:A989, 43/735/751/5]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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