501.BD Refugees/5–2046

Mr. C. Tyler Wood, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State ( Clayton ), to the British Minister ( Makins )

My Dear Roger: Thank you very much for your letter of May 20, 1946, (Ref. 173/–/46) in which you reported the views of the Foreign Office on the question of representation in the proposed international body for refugees and displaced persons.

We have felt all along, as you know, that a specialized agency is a more suitable form of organization for this particular problem than a body brought directly within the jurisdiction of the Economic and Social Council or the General Assembly. In coming to this position, the problem of different membership weighed heavily with us. Any international program for refugees and displaced persons has been, and will probably continue to be, surrounded by a good deal of controversy. If there are states Members of the United Nations which are on the whole unsympathetic to such a program, it seems to us that there is much to be said for not compelling these states to be constantly in the position of having to oppose what is being done by putting the program within the jurisdiction of the organization of which they are already Members. By the same line of reasoning, if there are states not Members of the United Nations which are on the whole favorably disposed to the contemplated program and which have made notable contributions to the relief of refugees and displaced persons, it seems to us unfortunate to exclude these states from participation in the program. To employ a specialized agency, on the other hand, in which membership is voluntary and to which states not Members of the United Nations may, under certain conditions, be admitted, simply recognizes the great difference in interest that does in fact exist.

We should certainly not seek, however, deliberately to exclude any group of states from the proposed specialized agency. We should, on the contrary, wish as members of it any states now Members of the United Nations that desired to participate in its work as well as such other states as might also be deemed to be in a position to contribute to its success. Indeed, we can see a very considerable advantage in having as members of the new body states which might be opposed to much of what the new body undertook to accomplish—provided that such states wished to be members—on the ground that their viewpoint ought not to be overlooked in the formulation of projects of concern to so wide a portion of the international community. But what we should not wish to do would be to compel such states to participate-against their will.

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I appreciate very much your having given me the benefit of your thought and that of the Foreign Office on this extremely important issue.

Sincerely yours,

C. Tyler Wood