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149 Australian Delegation, United Nations, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram UN492 NEW YORK, 20 October 1946, 11.41 p.m.



Your UNY.237. [1] Australia was to-day elected to the Economic and
Employment, Human Rights, Status of Women and Population
Commission[s] with 15, 17, 17 and 15 votes respectively. Other
commissions elected were transport, social, statistical and

(2) Other members of the Economic and Employment Commission are
Belgium, Byelorussia, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia,
France, India, Norway, Poland, United Kingdom, United States and

(3) Canada also secured a place on four commissions, New Zealand
was elected to the Fiscal and Social. Belgium secured three,
Netherlands four, India six, the Big Five eight.

(4) Attempt to limit nominations to an agreed list equal to the
number of positions on each commission failed and balloting was

(5) To-morrow the terms of office are to be decided by lot. [2]
The procedure provides that with view to securing balanced
representation in the various fields covered by the commissions,
the Secretary General shall consult the governments selected
before the representatives from members are finally nominated by
governments and confirmed by the Council. We shall advise later
details of steps proposed and also endeavour to answer your 252.

[3] In the meantime no one can say how often the commissions will
meet. Secretariat opinion is twice yearly for a fortnight each
occasion. We should think that the Economic Commission might need
three meetings and the Population possibly one.

(6) We mention for your guidance that as stated in our previous
reports emphasis in Council discussions has been on the
appointment of experts and avoidance of the use of substitutes for
nominated representative except where unavoidable (see our report
on second session of Council). [4]

(7) Tange will inform Coombs concerning the Economic and

1 See Document 101, note 1.

2 The terms of office drawn by Australia on the commissions were:

Economic and Employment, 4 years; Human Rights, 4 years; Status of
Women, 2 years; Population, 3 years.

3 Dispatched 1 October. It asked for an estimate of the annual
period of service for any Australian representatives on the
commissions. Australia's representatives were: Economic and
Employment Commission-Roland Wilson; Human Rights Commission-W. R.

Hodgson; Commission on Status of Women-Jessie Street; Population
Commission-W. D. Forsyth.

4 Dated 9 August. Some members, especially the United States and
the United Kingdom, had argued that representation of governments
on commissions could threaten the commissions' independent expert
status. It was eventually resolved that commission members would
represent governments, individual governments being free to
nominate either government employees or outside experts, but that
a change of representation would only be permitted in emergencies
such as illness or death.

[AA:A1067, ER46/3/16]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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