840.50 UNRRA/1–3045

Draft Minutes of the Eleventh Meeting of the Central Committee of the UNRRA Council 18


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III. Discussion of the relationships of UNRRA to non-member countries

Mr. Klentsov said that he had presented his recommendations at the previous meeting. He wished to urge on the Committee that it was contrary to the principles of UNRRA that it should have any dealings with Fascist and19 pro-Fascist governments, and that in his view any such relations could only discredit the organization. In explanation Mr. Klentsov said that by “relationships” he meant such activities as the dispatch of UNRRA missions to such countries, the discussion of joint relief programs with them, or the procurement of supplies from them.

Mr. Acheson said that he had had some further discussion with Mr. Klentsov on this subject. As he understood Mr. Klentsov’s position, there were three points to which Mr. Klentsov strongly objected. He (Mr. Acheson) would like to make his position clear on these three points. As to procurement in neutral countries, Mr. Acheson said he believed that it would be advisable for the Administration to draw upon neutral sources for supply wherever possible since this would lessen the supply burden falling upon the United Nations. As to the employment of neutral nationals by the Administration, he re garded this to be a matter for the Director General’s discretion. As to the dispatch of UNRRA missions to neutral countries, he had been [Page 964] unable at the previous meeting to express an opinion. He now wished to say that he could not join in any resolution which forbade the Director General to send such a mission. On this last point, however, he inquired whether the need for a mission was fully established and whether the purposes which the Administration had in view were of sufficient importance to justify any immediate action.

The Director General said that, as the members of the Committee knew, no mission to Spain or Portugal was contemplated. One official of the Administration had however been sent to Sweden, while an unofficial representative had been stationed in Switzerland for a considerable time. As the Swiss Government had announced its intention of spending a considerable sum for relief he thought it important that the Administration should know what policy the Swiss Government proposed to adopt. Mr. Klentsov’s fears that the Administration might, as a consequence of discussions with the Swiss Government, become involved in relief operations for the benefit of the enemy were groundless. There could be no question of the Administration accepting any contribution from the Swiss Government which had any such conditions attached; but he could see no reason for refusing any assistance which the Swiss Government might be able to offer if it were given unconditionally.

Mr. Smith said he believed that the acceptance of such gifts was foreseen under the Council Resolutions.

Mr. Klentsov asked whether the other members of the Committee wished to express their views on the points he had raised.

Mr. Acheson said that he had already given his views but he would like to express his opinion as to the undesirability at this stage of stressing the political aspects of negotiations with a neutral country such as Switzerland. He wondered whether it was necessary to precipitate such a discussion by sending a mission at the present time.

Mr. Smith asked whether it would not be possible to have a prior discussion of any such approaches by the Central Committee before negotiations were opened up.

The Director General said that he found the position which Mr. Klentsov wanted the Administration to adopt to be a difficult one which would handicap the Administration. For example, in Greece it was desirable that the Administration should work in cooperation with the Swedish-Swiss Commission; by so doing the Administration would gain certain very considerable advantages in respect of shipping. He felt that in such instances the Administration should be free to settle the terms of such cooperation. He was disturbed at Mr. Klentsov’s suggestion that UNRRA should have no relations with such authorities.

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Mr. Liu said that in his opinion it would be unfortunate if the Administration had to consider the political implications of every step it took; there were certain political issues upon which it was essential to proceed cautiously, but the Administration’s work would be seriously delayed if political considerations were introduced into every aspect of its operations.

There being no further discussion, the Director General said that he wished to make a concluding statement which he trusted would meet the views of the Committee.

“In order to avoid future misunderstanding on this subject, the Director General wishes to reiterate that he will, in all relationships with neutral countries, either in connection with the coordination of their relief programs with those of UNKBA or in connection with the procurement of furnishing of supplies which cannot advantageously be secured elsewhere, make every effort to do nothing that might in any way impede the conduct of the war. With this assurance, unless the Director General is otherwise directed by the Council or by the Central Committee under its emergency powers, he will feel justified in carrying on such conversations as in his opinion may be necessary, or in concluding such arrangements as may appear advisable with such governments to secure a coordination of relief efforts. He will, further, feel justified, in the absence of any contrary action by the Council or the Central Committee, in making purchases from neutral countries where such purchases, in his opinion, are necessary for the efficient and prompt carrying out of the duties which have been assigned to the Administration. Such purchases would be made through the national agencies of member countries.”

The Director General repeated the assurances he had given previously that in no circumstances would he contemplate taking any action which might be contrary to the interests of the conduct of the war by the United Nations.20

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  1. These draft minutes were transmitted to Mr. Acheson on January 30 by P. W. Kuo, Deputy Director General of UNRRA, in charge of the Secretariat. Members and officers of the Committee present were the Director General, Herbert H. Lehman, Liu Chieh for China, Vlas Andreevich Klentsov for the Soviet Union, Ben Smith for the United Kingdom, and Dean Acheson for the United States.
  2. On February 13, 1945, Mr. Acheson was informed by Mr. Kuo that the Soviet delegate had suggested the deletion of the words “Fascist and” from this sentence. Mr. Acheson agreed to this deletion (840.40 UNRRA/2–1345).
  3. This concluded the Central Committee’s discussion of TJNRRA’s relations with neutral nations.