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Historical documents

248 Burton to Coombs

Cablegram 6471 CANBERRA, 26 November 1946

Understand question has arisen as to whether F.A.O. or I.T.O.

should be responsible for Commodity Agreements.

advantages in agricultural and non-agricultural arrangements being
commonly administered the argument is not strong from Australian
point of view. Our main interests are not in logical arrangements
but in favourable administration of commodity schemes affecting
primary industries.

3. The following points are relevant:

(a) F.A.O. is only body of U.N. not dominated by big powers or
affected by special voting rights. We fought at Hot Springs [1]
for power of convention to give it authority. Its majority vote in
favour of schemes in interests of undeveloped countries and
exporters of primary products. My fear is that attempts are being
made to sidetrack F.A.O. for this reason and at present at
Washington proposals are being discussed for organisations in
relation to food control in which importing countries will have
main say.

(b) I.T.O. may eventually have weighted voting but in any case
will tend to be dominated by main trading countries. While F.A.O.

would place emphasis on increasing consumption as objective and
means to achieve stability I.T.O. would be preoccupied with
stability as an objective and tend to favour restrictive schemes.

4. It should be possible to give F.A.O. primary responsibility in
consultation with I.T.O. Australian interests in long run maybe
better served by an effective F.A.O. than I.T.O. and we should not
be party to persistent attempts to stultify F.A.O. development.

5. Reference suggested discussions on allocation between various
agencies of functions related to employment etc. New York has been
instructed regarding Government's policy to resist new
organisations and splitting up of existing agencies and
commissions. If discussing allocation important from point of view
of Australian interests to have in mind nature of organisations
voting procedures etc. rather than logical pattern.

[AA:A1067, ER46/1/28]

1 The United Nations Food and Agriculture Conference, Hot Springs,
Virginia, 18 May - 3 June 1943, established an Interim Commission
to draw up detailed plans for an international food and
agriculture organisation.

[2.] Opinion here is divided. In my view, while there might be
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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