398.18 ICEM/11–2652

Report on the Fourth Session of the Provisional Intergovernmental Committee for the Movement of Migrants From Europe1


The Fourth Session of the Provisional Intergovernmental Committee for the Movement of Migrants from Europe was held at Geneva from October 13 through October 21, 1952. The Subcommittee on Finance met at Geneva from October 9 through October 20, 1952. Twenty governments were represented as members of the Committee. Bolivia, which was represented at the Second Session as a full member, but has not yet confirmed its membership in writing to the Director,2 was represented at the Fourth Session by an observer. Other governments, the Holy See and international organizations were represented by observers.

The Migration Committee was established at Brussels in December 1951 following the Conference on Migration which was attended by twenty-seven governments. Fifteen governments of those represented at Brussels participated in establishing the Committee. Sweden had joined the Committee since the Third Session.

The twenty governments participating in the Fourth Session were, therefore: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia (as an observer), Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Israel, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, and Venezuela. The following nine governments and the Holy See were represented at the Fourth Session by observers: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Norway, Panama, Peru, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay. The representative of Norway indicated informally that favorable parliamentary [Page 1618] action on the membership of Norway might be expected in the very near future. This was confirmed after the meeting by Norway’s formal acceptance of membership. Although Argentina was not represented at the meeting, word was received from the Argentine Government during the session that a decision to join the Committee had been reached and the Committee was requested to send a representative to Rio de Janeiro after the session to negotiate the conditions of Argentina’s membership. The United Kingdom Representative made no statement during the course of the session. The Director reported informally that New Zealand had reached a decision not to join the Committee during 1952.

[Here follows an account of the deliberations of the finance subcommittee which met October 9–11, and thereafter “occasionally during the Fourth Session of the full Committee.”]

Having considered the Progress Report of the Director Covering the Period from June 1 to September 30, 1952, the full Committee dealt first with the question of continuing the Committee’s activities after December 31, 1952. Initiative on this question was taken by the Governments of Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, and Italy, which proposed the adoption of a resolution prolonging the activities of the Committee indefinitely beyond December 31, 1952, and that the name of the organization be changed to “Intergovernmental Organization for Migration”. The proposal of these governments was supported in principle by the representatives of Israel, the Netherlands, Greece, Belgium, and Denmark. The representatives of Canada and Sweden were unprepared to consider action giving the Committee a permanent status. Unfortunately, the discussion on the continuance of the Committee’s activities was influenced substantially by the Report on Technical Aid and International Financing3 made by the Director in accordance with Resolution No. 24 adopted at the Third Session.4 This Report suggested that the Committee expand its services, and in particular, participate in the organization and financing of pilot colonization projects. The argument presented by the proponents of the foregoing resolution was, briefly, that the Committee’s experience in 1952, while fully justifying the establishment and continuation of the Committee, had shown that the mere movement of migrants and refugees, even with passage supplied for some at the expense of the Committee, had not produced the anticipated impact on the problems of refugees and surplus populations in Europe. In order to make a more impressive contribution to the resolution of these [Page 1619] problems, the Committee would need to expand its activities, and devote its attention to the possibilities of increasing the volume of migration from Europe through the encouragement of colonization schemes. To do this it would be necessary to give the Committee permanent status. In the discussion the representatives of the immigration countries, particularly Australia, Brazil, Chile, and Venezuela, took the position that a substantial increase of movement of migrants to their countries could only take place if accompanied by the investment of external capital in colonization projects.

In response to these representations, the U.S. Representative stated that the United States was prepared at this time to consider the prolongation of the Committee’s activities for 1953, and specifically under the terms of the Brussels Resolution.5 The United States was not prepared to support proposals that the Committee should engage in the management or operation of colonization projects or to participate, through the use of its funds, in the financing of such projects. The United States would be prepared to consider more specific proposals for the future of the Committee as they might become crystallized during the discussions in the Committee in 1953. The U.S. Representative pointed out that the Member Governments would need to have more precise proposals placed before them in modification of the Committee’s terms of reference contained in the Brussels Resolution and sufficient time to consider such proposals before any action could be taken upon them. The representative of Canada associated himself with the position of the United States, and a drafting committee was appointed to prepare new resolutions. The resolutions finally adopted on this item and on the Report of the Director on Technical Aid and International Financing of Migration provided that the Committee would continue operations during 1953 under the title “Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration”, that it would expand its services directly connected with movement under the terms of the Brussels Resolution, and make its staff available to assist interested emigration and immigration countries to develop a formula for the financing of colonization projects which might make possible the successful presentation of such projects to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development by the concerned governments. All other proposals for activities by the Committee, not covered by the basic resolution, would be presented to the Committee [Page 1620] at its next session in the form of a draft constitution proposing a more permanent status for the Committee.6

In connection with the discussion on the Director’s Report in accordance with Resolution No. 24, on Technical Aid and International Financing for the Encouragement of Migratory Movements, a private meeting was held on the evening of October 15, in which the representatives of Australia, Brazil, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States participated. At this meeting Mr. W. Hill, the Special Representative in Europe of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, assured the emigration and immigration countries present of the interest of the Bank in projects of land settlement and outlined the procedures under which loans for such projects might be entertained by the Bank. Briefly, he indicated that the Bank would be interested in both small and large projects, would be prepared to make loans for periods of time up to thirty years, and would require the government of the country in which the land settlement were to take place to guarantee the loan. In response to questions, he thought it quite possible that whereas governments had been unwilling to apply for loans of this character unilaterally, a combination of emigration countries and an immigration country might conceivably participate in the financing of specific land settlement projects in which the Bank might provide a minority share of the required capital. The interest of the governments in Mr. Hill’s presentation was clearly evidenced by the character of the questions asked, and it appeared that the governments present were prepared to consider for the first time the possibility of cooperative financing in which the Bank might participate. None of the representatives present, with the exception of Dr. de Souza of Brazil, were in a position to say that their governments were ready to seek loans immediately from the Bank. The Brazilian Representative stated that his Government would proceed to prepare projects of this character for early presentation to the Bank. These projects would not include certain Italian sponsored settlements already initiated in Brazil.

[Here follow details concerning the United States contribution to the Committee budget and of the staff regulations adopted by the full Committee.]

The discussions of the Committee at its Fourth Session, at which Count Giusti del Giardino of Italy presided, reflected the anxiety of the countries of emigration—Germany, Greece, Italy, and the Netherlands—to secure a larger movement out of Europe. Count [Page 1621] Giusti referred frequently in his statements to the political urgency of increasing the movement from Italy. The representative of Greece pointed almost disparagingly to the small numbers moved from Greece and even hinted that unless better results could be achieved, Greece might not feel justified in continuing as a member. Whereas concern was evident at the Conference on Migration at Brussels that the Committee might transgress on the areas of activity of other international organizations interested in migration, at the Fourth Session the emigration and immigration countries, with the exception of Canada, desired to have the Committee assume responsibility in any aspect of the field of migration which offered the hope of increased movement out of Europe, including participation in the organization and financing of land settlement projects, and in consequence desired an early decision that the Committee have a permanent status. The informal discussions with the representative of the International Bank definitely raised the question of the possibility of assisting the emigration and immigration countries in the search for a formula for the financial structure of land settlement projects and further challenged the emigration and immigration countries to exploit the opportunities of financing land settlement, available through the International Bank. Informal discussions with the Deputy Director7 at the meeting indicated that the administration would request the International Bank to suggest a person to be added to the Migration Committee staff having a background of banking experience, who can explore directly with the concerned emigration and immigration countries the measure of their interest in seeking bank loans and develop with them a formula for the financial structure of land settlement projects. Should this action be taken, it might be determined during 1953 whether such a formula can be found, and if not, the reasons therefor, and whether the concerned governments are prepared to assume the obligations of bank loans for this purpose.

  1. Drafted by Warren.
  2. Hugh Gibson.
  3. This report is not printed.
  4. The confidential report on the Third Session of the Provisional Intergovernmental Committee for the Movement of Migrants from Europe, held at Washington, June 10–13, 1952, is in file 398.18 PICMME/6–3052.
  5. Adopted Dec. 5, 1951, at the Conference on Migration held at Brussels, Nov. 26–Dec. 5, 1951. See the report on that conference, p. 1572.
  6. The Fifth Session of the Intergovernmental Committee was held at Geneva, Apr. 16-24, 1953. A copy of the confidential report on this session is in file 398.18 ICEM/4–2853.
  7. Pierre Jacobsen of France.