840.50 UNRRA/7–1544

The Secretary of State to the Director General of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (Lehman)

My Dear Governor Lehman: I acknowledge the receipt of your letter of July 15, 1944 with which you submitted to this Government for its consideration two draft agreements (entitled, respectively, Emergency International Sanitary Aerial Agreement, 1944, and [Page 340] Emergency International Sanitary Maritime Agreement, 1944) prepared by committees of the Council of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration as a first step toward carrying out the recommendation of the Council set forth in paragraph two of Resolution 8 of its first session. You express the hope of the committees of the Council which participated in the preparation of these proposals that member governments may be in a position to become signatories of the agreements at the time of the second session or shortly thereafter. You request that any questions or suggestions that this Government may have with respect to these drafts be transmitted to you by August 26 so that they may be promptly placed before the Standing Technical Committee on Health and, in particular, you ask to be informed as soon as possible as to the action which this Government will be prepared to take concerning the proposed agreements.

I wish to advise you at the outset that this Government is, in general, in agreement with the purposes and provisions of the draft agreements and that, subject to the comments made below, it is prepared to become a party to them in due course. These comments are as follows:

As to the form that the proposed agreements should take, this Government believes that it is desirable that the agreements should be in the form of international sanitary conventions (maritime and aerial, respectively) modifying the existing conventions in the respects, in general, proposed by the committees of the Council of UNRRA. In other words, it is the view of this Government that it would be desirable to revert to the form of the conventions recommended by the Expert Commission on Quarantine considered by the Standing Technical Committee on Health at its third meeting on June 19, 1944 (i.e., the draft conventions contained in document THE (44) 12–THE/E(44)13 revised). This Government feels that from the standpoint of convenience and orderly procedure it would be preferable to proceed with this matter through conventions amending the existing conventions in the respective fields rather than through entirely new emergency agreements in the form transmitted with your letter of July 15.
With reference to the proposed modifying conventions in the form considered by the Standing Technical Committee on Health as aforesaid (giving effect to the corrections of the typographical errors referred to in paragraph VI of the Minutes of the Meeting of the Health Committee of June 19), this Government has certain suggestions to make as set forth in the enclosed memorandum.24 You will note that the only change requiring comment which this Government is proposing is that the substitution of UNRRA for the International Office of Public Health in each of the conventions should be limited initially to two years. This Government feels that this change is appropriate because of the emergency character of the other functions of [Page 341] UNRRA and because of the probability that the International Office of Public Health or some other corresponding organization will be in a position, within two years, to undertake permanently the particular functions conferred upon UNRRA by the proposed conventions. This Government also believes that, in the interest of clarity, the sequence of certain of the provisions of the proposed conventions might well be recast. Dr. Thomas Parran, Surgeon General, United States Public Health Service, and United States representative on the Standing Technical Committee on Health, is authorized on behalf of this Government to prepare, and deliver to you, revised drafts of these documents, taking into account the provisions of the enclosed memorandum, which drafts may be used, if you so desire, in further consideration of this matter by the Standing Technical Committee on Health.
It is the view of this Government that the proposed conventions should be submitted to the United States Senate for its advice and consent before the conventions are brought into force as to the United States. Accordingly, it may be necessary for the United States Government to delay its adherence to the conventions, or its signature thereof in case they are to remain open for signature, until after their consideration by the Senate.

Sincerely yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Dean Acheson

Assistant Secretary
  1. Not printed.