158. Airgram A–4096 From the Department of State to Multiple Posts1 2

SUBJECT: Report of the U.S. Delegation to the Third Special Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (February 18-March 1, 1974 - Geneva)

Attached for your information is a copy of the subject report minus the appendices.

Rush, Acting
[Page 2]



1. Introduction 1
2. Work of the Conference 2
3. Future Meetings 6
4. Comments 7
5. United States Delegation Appendix I
6. Statement of U.S. Representative Appendix II
7. Organization and Agenda Appendix III
8. Participation Appendix IV
[Page 3]


The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), a functional sub-commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), is the only agency in the UN system concerned exclusively with drug abuse control. It meets regularly every odd-numbered year. This Special Session was convened by ECOSOC on the advice of the last regular CND in order to address problems raised by the current world drug epidemic.

Delegations’ attending the session represented the 30-members of the CND, 27 observer countries, 16 international governmental, organizations and 3 non-governmental organizations. The United States delegation consisted of 12 members representing the Departments of State, Justice, Health, Education and Welfare and Treasury, as well as the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention.

[Page 4]


The most important topic raised at this Special Session from the US point of view was Item 9—World Opium Supply. Our delegation undertook, successfully as events unfolded, to promote a consensus on the Commission concerning various aspects of the world opium supply situation. (The Statement of the US Representative is attached at Appendix II.) During its discussions the Commission reached general agreement that ensuring sufficient supplies of opium for legitimate uses does present a problem to the international community, but not one of such a nature as to create alarm. It also emphasized that this problem must be met in a manner that does not endanger the control procedures created over many years. It was also agreed that the UN Narcotics Laboratory should coordinate international research and itself conduct research on possible means to increase the production of codeine to the maximum per unit of cultivated area, concentrating on production and processing from unincised and incised poppy straw and means of control. The Commission decided to keep the supply question under review and to take the matter up again at its session in 1975. The Commission asked the International Narcotics Control Board to continue providing advice on the supply and demand situation. The US confirmed at this session that it will continue to meet its requirements for opium from imports.

With respect to the other items on the agenda, the Commission discussed at length recent developments in the areas of drug abuse (Agenda Item 4) and illicit traffic (Agenda Item 3). Statements on drug abuse adduced few new statistics, but some indicated trends developing towards reduction in drug abuse. Participants manifested greater interest in treatment and prevention efforts than in years past.

The illicit traffic problem was discussed by representatives of 33 delegations. Their statements generally reflected increased awareness of the international nature of the drug abuse problem and of the need to increase enforcement efforts in individual countries, including streamlining the organization of [Page 5] enforcement agencies and improving the training of narcotics officials. Many delegations emphasized the need for international cooperation among narcotics enforcement authorities and recommended increased exchanges of intelligence on major traffickers. Delegations reported continuing high traffic in marihuana, hashish and hashish oil, the last of which some described as alarmingly widespread.

The Commission recommended to ECOSOC the adoption of a draft resolution endorsing the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Illicit Traffic in the Far East and requesting the Secretary General to convene regular meetings of operational heads of the national narcotic law enforcement agencies of the countries of the region. It also recommended to ECOSOC (by a vote of 22 (US)-0–4) a resolution co-sponsored by the US, France and Pakistan recommending governments give urgent attention to the abuse of customs transit systems by drug smugglers.

The Commission spent two and one-half days discussing the proposed revision of the annual form for reports by governments to the Division of Narcotic Drugs (Agenda Item 5). The Commission reviewed less than one third of the proposed revision, discussing that portion at length and making extensive deletions. It decided to review the rest of the revised form in plenary at its next regular session (1975) and rejected a proposal that governments be invited to send comments on the revised form to the Secretariat in advance of the next session. Governments remain obliged to continue using the previous form for 1974 reporting.

The Commission’s discussion of the Operations of the UN Fund for Drug Abuse Control (Agenda Item 6) involved statements by 18 Commission members, three observer governments and seven observer international organizations. Most statements were constructively critical in tone, reflecting approval of progress to date coupled with a desire for more dynamism in soliciting contributions, in planning and executing programs and in achieving results. The US announced an additional $2 million contribution to the Fund ($800,000 of which was earmarked for research on poppy straw to be coordinated and conducted by the UN Narcotics Laboratory) for a total contribution of [Page 6] $10 million. Other governments pledged over $1.25 million (most of which was subject to parliamentary approval) for a grand total of $1.4 million pledged or paid to the Fund so far.

Discussion of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) Report for 1973 (Agenda Item 7) opened with the statement of retiring Board President, Sir Harry Greenfield, Which provided a brief panoramic survey of the current international drug control situation. The US Representative complimented the Board on its report and for its leadership under treaties in reminding nations of their control obligations and in promoting international cooperation. Compliments in honor of retiring members of the Board were repeated by most delegations. The Commission approved the Report for transmittal to ECOSOC.

Discussion of Scientific Research (Agenda Item 8) revealed that no new or unusual information has become available since the previous Commission meeting.

The Commission recommended to ECOSOC a draft resolution urging governments to ratify or accede to the Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The vote on the draft resolution was 18 (US) in favor, none against and five abstentions (UK, Mexico, Canada, Peru, Hungary).

The Commission also, by a Vote of 17 (US)-0–0, recommended to ECOSOC a draft resolution on the cultivation and chewing of coca leaf initiated by France and co-sponsored by the US and 12 other countries including Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru. The draft resolution recommends that governments concerned intensify efforts to reduce coca-cultivation, to eliminate clandestine manufacture of and illicit traffic in cocaine and to abolish coca-leaf chewing.

The Commission dealt with the Periodicity of its sessions (Agenda Item 11) by recommending to ECOSOC a draft resolution proposed by the US which states the principle of biennial sessions for ECOSOC functional commissions and the need for more frequent meetings of the Commission can both be recognized by convening special sessions of the Commission in even [Page 7] years during the current drug emergency. It provides that the Commission should meet in special session for two weeks in Geneva in 1976 and that this special session should consider whether another special session needs to be held in 1978. Finally, it suggests that whenever it is decided to hold a special session, the duration of the following regular session shall be reduced to two weeks instead of three. The Commission adopted the resolution by 22 (US) in favor, none against and six abstentions (USSR, Hungary, Switzerland, Mexico, Jamaica and Romania).

The Commission adopted (27 (US)-0–0) a resolution proposed by the US with nine co-sponsors which decided as an economy measure that summary records for future meetings will be kept to a minimum and that the Commission at the beginning of each session will determine which items are to be included in summary records.


After a discussion of topics and priorities under its Program of work (Agenda Item 9), the Commission decided the provisional agenda for its next regular session would include, in addition to the regular agenda, the following priority items: illicit traffic, drug abuse, INCB Report, revision of annual forms, operations of UNFDAC, scientific research, world licit opium supply, reports on cannabis and the chemistry of khat, report of the Division of Narcotic Drugs and the report of the World Health Organization. The commission decided that the next regular session would last two weeks.

[Page 8]


The United States Delegation was generally satisfied with the accomplishments of the Third Special Session. The discussions of illicit traffic, drug abuse and scientific research publicized the latest information in all these fields. The discussion of the INCB Report illumined the contribution the Board makes to drug control and strengthened its international support. The consideration of UNFDAC operations elicited constructive criticism which should benefit the Fund in the future. The discussion of world opium supply developed the international consensus prerequisite for searching for solutions to the supply problem without endangering control procedures. The various resolutions adopted by the Commission were designed to improve the efficiency of international organizations concerned with drug control and to encourage governments to increase their efforts in eliminating drug abuse, goals which the United States shares fully. This special session of the Commission maintained the momentum of past international activity designed to eliminate drug abuse as a major world problem.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P740051–1948. Unclassified. Sent to Accra, Algiers, Ankara, Athens, Baghdad, Bangkok, Beirut, Belgrade, Bern, Bonn, Brasilia, Brussels, Bucharest, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Canberra, Colombo, Copenhagen, Geneva, Helsinki, Islamabad, Jakarta, Kabul, Kathmandu, Kingston, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, Lagos, La Paz, Lima, Lome, London, Madrid, Manila, Mexico, Montevideo, Moscow, Nairobi, Ndjamena, New Delhi, Oslo, Ottawa, Panama, Paris, Phnom Penh, Prague, Pretoria, Rabat, Rangoon, Rome, Saigon, Santiago, Santo Domingo, Seoul, Singapore, Sofia, Stockholm, The Hague, Tunis, Vienna, Peking, Vientiane, Tehran, Tokyo, Warsaw, Wellington, USUN, Tripoli, Asuncion, Bogota, Bridgetown, Caracas, Curacao, Nassau, Quito, Hong Kong, Amman, and Tel Aviv. Drafted by Cavanaugh; cleared in S/NM; and approved by Vance. The appendices were not found.
  2. The Airgram forwarded the report of the U.S. delegation to the Third Special Session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs.