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Historical documents

101 Department of External Affairs to Evatt Submission CANBERRA, 3 September 1946


At its second session the Economic and Social Council took steps
to establish the following permanent commissions and sub-

(a) Commission on Human Rights (eighteen members) authorised to
establish sub-commissions on Freedom of Information and of the
Press, the Protection of Minorities, and the Prevention of

(b) Social Commission (eighteen members).

(c) Commission on the Status of Women (fifteen members).

(d) Statistical Commission (twelve members) authorised to
establish a sub-commission on Statistical Sampling.

(e) Transport and Communications Commission (fifteen members).

(f) Economic and Employment Commission (fifteen members) with a
sub-commission on the Economic Reconstruction of Devastated Areas
and others to be finalised at the third session of the Council.

2. The Council decided that members of these Commissions should be
representatives of governments. Prior to nomination of
representatives the Secretary-General is to consult with
governments elected to the Commission with a view to securing a
balanced representation in the various fields covered by each
Commission. The Australian Delegation to the United Nations
emphasises that governments cannot change their representatives at
will during the term of office, but only in the case of
emergencies such as sickness or death.

3. Considering the fact that Australia is not at present a member
of the Economic and Social Council and that Australia contributed
prominently to the formulation of the Council's functions, this
country is reasonably entitled to effective participation in the
work of the Council's Commissions and Sub-Commissions.

4. You are aware that Australia has already actively sought
membership of the Economic and Employment Commission. The
Australian Delegation, New York, has advised that it may be
possible to gain membership of the Statistical Commission.

Australia is already a member of the Sub-Commission on the
Reconstruction of Devastated Areas.

5. Apart from the Economic Commissions the most appropriate for
possible Australian representation appear to be:

(a) Commission on Human Rights:

(Functions in brief. the preparation of an international bill of
rights, the preparation of international conventions on civil
liberties, freedom of information and similar matters, the
protection of minorities etc.)
(b) Commission on the Status of Women:

(Functions in brief. the promotion of women's rights in political,
economic, social and educational fields, and the examination of
urgent problems relating to women's rights.)
(c) Sub-Commission on Freedom of Information and of the Press:

(Functions in brief: the examination of the concept of freedom of
information and the formulation of issues which may arise from
such examination.)
6. The Department of Information has expressed interest in
Australian representation on the Sub-Commission on Freedom of
Information and the Press. You may wish to consider the name of
Mrs. Jessie Street should it be decided to press for Australian
representation on the Commission on the Status of Women.

7. A draft telegram to the Australian Delegation to the United
Nations is attached for your consideration. [1]

1 In cablegram 237, dispatched 23 September, the delegation was
advised that Evatt desired Australian membership of three
commissions, to be sought from the following order of preference:

Economic and Employment; Human Rights; Status of Women;


[AA:A1067, ER46/3/6]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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