Complying with Rule III of the Rules of Procedure, the Council in August last drew up for circulation to Member Governments a provisional Agenda for the Fourth Session of the Conference (C48/1). Since that time the Director-General has received two requests for consideration by the Conference:
An application from Israel for membership in FAO.
A Communication form the Holy See requesting that it be permitted to take part as a permanent observer in all Conferences, meetings and activities of the Organization.
(a) Application of Israel
The application of Israel for membership in FAO was made in a letter dated 17 August 1948 received by the Director-General after the close of the last Session of the Council. On 01 August the Director-General circulated the text of this letter to Member Governments, indicating that the application would be included in the Draft Agenda of the Conference as required by Rule XX, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Rules of Procedure.1
The Council has given careful consideration to the question whether this application fulfills the requirements of the Constitution in all respects.
So far as procedure is concerned the Council notes that the application has been received in time to be inserted on the Agenda of the Fourth Session and that the provisions quoted in the footnote below direct that such action shall be taken. Therefore the Director-General has take proper action in informing Member Governments accordingly.
However, Article II of the Construction leaves no room for doubt that the members of the Organization must be Nations. The opinion was expressed that the stage has not been reached where Israel is generally recognized as fulfilling the requirements of statehood. The Council agrees, however, that it is not within the scope of its functions to pass judgment on the legal issues involved and that the whole matter should be referred to the Conference.
The Council wishes to record further that the above conclusions do not commit any member of the Council to an expression of opinion as to the existence on other wise of Israel as a State, nor to any other legal or other aspects of Israel's applications for membership.
(b) Application from the Holy See
The request from the Holy See, for the status of permanent observer (16 September 1948), as well as the reply of the Director-General (18 September) have been circulated to Member Governments in Document C48/18.
1 Rule XX Rules of Procedure (Paras. 1 and 2)
1. Applications for admission to the Organization shall be addressed to the Director-General and shall be transmitted immediately by him to Member Governments.
2. Any such application shall be placed on the Agenda of the next Session which opens not less than 30 days from the receipt of the application.
The Council wishes to draw the attention of the Conference to the special character of this request, which is not adequately covered by any specific provision of the Constitution nor of the Rules of Procedure and therefore suggests that in should be inserted as a separate item in the Provisional Agenda of the Session of the Conference.
The Council was informed that the Director-General will request the Conference to approve of the setting up of an Administrative Tribunal in conformity with Article XV para. 3 of the Constitution.