501.BD Refugees/5–1346

The Department of State to the British Embassy


The Department of State acknowledges the receipt of the memorandum of the British Embassy (Ref. 173/–/46) dated May 13, 1946, in which the views of the United States Government are sought on certain issues arising out of the work of the Special Committee on Refugees and Displaced Persons, now meeting in London, and in which inquiry is made as to whether this Government is prepared to instruct its Representative on the Special Committee to support a solution of these issues on the lines proposed in the memorandum.

On the first of the two main questions to which the British memorandum refers, concerning the categories of refugees to be included in the mandate of the new organization, the United States Representative at London appears to have held views generally similar to those of the British Representative. If, as the British memorandum suggests, the Soviet Representative and his supporters should present a minority report, the question would presumably have to be dealt with in the Economic and Social Council or the General Assembly by resort to Toting, in the same manner as that in which any similar minority views within the Organization must ordinarily be dealt with.

On the second of the two main questions at London, concerning the character of the proposed organization, the United States Government is fully aware of the gravity and urgency of the problem of refugees and displaced persons and, like the British Government, it is seeking such organizational forms and relationships as are, in its opinion, best calculated to produce effective results. As the record of the discussion which has been taking place in London makes clear, the United States Government believes that a specialized agency is better designed to cope effectively with the problem of refugees and displaced persons than a commission of the Economic and Social Council.

In order that the work of the proposed specialized agency may be closely associated with that of the United Nations, the United States Government supports the relationship of the specialized agency to the United Nations, under Articles 57 and 63 of the Charter.76 This Government would also agree that the terms of the relationship agreement should provide for review and comment of the budget of the specialized agency by the General Assembly or, through assignment, to the Economic and Social Council.

On the question of whether the Director-General of the specialized agency should be appointed by the Economic and Social Council or [Page 168] by the appropriate organ of the agency, the United States Government believes that the possibility of a divided responsibility would be avoided if the appointment were made by the agency.

As to personnel, the United States Government agrees with the British Government that recruitment should be undertaken on an international basis but not on the basis of fixed ratios for particular countries. The suggestion is therefore made that the formula embodied in Article 101 of the Charter furnishes every necessary protection to efficiency, competence, and integrity.77 The United States Government would regard as highly desirable the adoption of some procedure by which qualified personnel of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees would be given a prior claim to employment in the new organization and the new organization thereby made to benefit by the skill and devotion which many of the staff of the Committee have exhibited for so long a time.

The United States Government agrees with the British Government that delay in establishing the proposed new agency would be unfortunate in the highest degree. Every procedural possibility should, therefore, be explored which could result in speedy establishment. It seems very likely that among the most rapid of such procedures is included that suggested in the British memorandum—by which invitations to join the new agency would be issued by the Economic and Social Council and accompanied by a draft agreement to be signed by duly authorized delegates to the second part of the first session of the General Assembly in September. It would, however, be necessary to provide that such an instrument would not become automatically effective for such countries as found it necessary under their constitutional processes to refer the instrument to their Governments for approval. It is understood that, in the case of the United States, such an instrument would require reference to the Congress for approval.

It is understood that agreement has now been reached in London that the arrangements for financing, which this Government agrees should be different from those hitherto obtaining in the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, are to be left for later consideration. It is the hope of the United States Government that such arrangements will also include those necessary to enable the Intergovernmental Committee to function effectively during the period before the new agency will begin to function.

  1. 59 Stat. (pt. 2) 1046 and 1047, respectively.
  2. 59 Stat. (pt.2) 1052.