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Circular memorandum CANBERRA, 9 November 1948


The Second Session of the South Pacific Commission was held in
Sydney from 25th October to 2nd November, 1948. The general
atmosphere at the session was encouraging, particularly the
unanimous desire of representatives to get on with the work of the
Commission as soon as possible so as to prevent the organisation
from becoming a mere paper mill. In all discussions the United
States Commissioners played a most constructive and helpful part.

The French, Netherlands and United Kingdom Commissioners were also
most co-operative. The Australian and New Zealand Commissioners
took the initiative in bringing forward at the Public Session the
views of respective local administrators on work projects.

Mr. W. D. Forsyth was appointed Secretary-General of the
Commission and Mr. Baas-Becking of the Netherlands, Deputy
Chairman of the Research Council. His nomination was warmly
supported by United States Commissioners acting upon the advice of
Pacific Science bodies in Washington. Three full-time Research
Officers were also appointed: in the field of health, M. Massal
(France); in the field of economic development, Mr. McMillan
(United States) and in the field of social development, Mr.

Davidson, (New Zealand). Thirteen part-time members of the
Research Council were also appointed, including three Australians.

The full Research Council will meet in April immediately prior to
the third session of the Commission.

In the meantime, the Secretary-General will proceed with the
carrying out of projects not requiring the expert views of the
Research Council members, e.g. quarantine and communications
surveys. All full-time Research Officers with the Secretary-
General will make an early tour of the area to discuss projects
with the local administration specialists. They will also attend a
Pacific Science Congress in Auckland early in February.

The Australian Commissioners voted with the majority in favour of
Noumea as a site for the Commission's headquarters primarily
because the availability of accommodation makes an early
commencement of work by the Commission practicable. It is hoped to
transfer to Noumea in February. Local feeling in Noumea is
enthusiastic and there is every hope of the utmost co-operation
from the local administration.

The first South Pacific Conference consisting of representatives
of sixteen territories in the area will meet at Suva in April,

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Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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