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Agenda of the Conference

In conformity with Rule III (1), it is the function of the Council to approve, in consultation with the Director-General, the inclusion of any additional items in the Provisional Agenda. Four such proposals have been placed before the Council.

  1. Adoption of Spanish as a working language of FAO. This item has been recommended by the Latin-American pre-Conference meeting, held at Quito in September 1949.

  2. Liquidation of the International Institute of Agriculture and of the International Forestry Center. This is the result of an agreement made early in 1948 between the Permanent Committee of the IIA and the Director-General, at the time when FAO took over the final operations involved in winding up the liquidation. It was then understood that a report of such operations would be placed before the Conference in due course and forwarded to those countries which were members of the IIA but not of FAO.

  3. Site of the Far Eastern Regional Office. (See Section VII of this report.)

  4. FAO Regional Representation in Latin America. (See Section VIII of this report.)

The Council decides to include these four items in the Provisional Agenda. It notes that the Director-General will be prepared to report on their financial implications as laid down in Rule III (3).

Admission of New Members

Applications for membership from Indonesia, Israel, Korea, and Spain have been received not less than thirty days before the opening of the Conference, and notice of such applications has been circulated to Member Governments (C 49/18). The Rules of Procedure prescribe that they shall be on the Agenda of the Conference.

The Fourth Session of the Conference referred the application of Israel to the Council for further study and consideration, requesting that the Council report its findings and recommendations to the Fifth Session. Noting that the situation has changed since last year and that Israel was admitted to membership in the United Nations in April 1949, the Council recommends that the Conference vote on the admission of Israel at its Fifth Session. The representative of Egypt dissented from that conclusion on the grounds that several countries, including Egypt, have not recognized Israel as a nation.

With respect to the application of Indonesia, the Council wishes to place before the Conference the following information regarding the status of that country, supplied by the representative of the Netherlands:

“A Provisional Federal Government of Indonesia is now in existence and Indonesia is virtually fully sovereign, since the treaty signed on 2 November 1949 between the Netherlands and Indonesia provides for official transfer of sovereignty not later than 30 December 1949.

“A Delegation will attend the Conference with full powers from that Provisional Federal Government, and with the concurrence of all the parties to that treaty, to accept the Constitution of FAO.”

While decision on the application for membership is entirely a matter for determination by the Conference, the Council wishes to point out that if the admission of Indonesia were postponed because that country had not yet obtained full status of sovereignty, it would involve a delay of at least one year, while that status will presumably become effective not later than three weeks after the conclusion of the Conference. It would also point out that in the past the Conference has admitted nations to membership before such nations had actually become fully sovereign.

Admission of Observers

In considering the list of nonmember governments which have been provisionally invited to be represented by observers at the forthcoming Session, the Council (a) records a reservation from the representative of Egypt regarding the provisional invitation extended to Israel to participate as an observer, (b) was informed that the Director-General has been officially approached to have Spain admitted as an observer, in the same way as other nations applying for membership.

The Council, finding that these matters call for a decision by the Conference, confines itself to drawing the latter's attention to them.

Voting Rights of Certain Member Countries

In accordance with Article III (4) of the Constitution, any member nation in arrears “shall have no vote in the Conference if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years. The Conference may, nevertheless, permit such a nation to vote if it is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the Member Nation."

In noting that this rule will presumably apply to four member countries at this Session, the Council wishes to draw the attention of the Conference to a separate question raised by the Committee on Financial Control regarding the relation between the date when certain original members of FAO have ratified their signature of the Constitution and the date when their financial obligations have become effective.

In the opinion of the Council, this problem of international law requires careful study, in the light of all relevant facts, and recommends that the Conference appoint a Special Committee to make this study, in consultation with the Legal Adviser of FAO.

Frequency and Timing of Regular Session of the Conference

At its Sixth Session, the Council asked the Director-General to report on the administrative and financial implications of holding the Conference in alternate years, and to suggest the most appropriate date if the Conference were to meet in alternate years. This report is presented in document C 49/9, “Frequency and Timing of Regular Session of the FAO Conference,” in which the Director-General recommends that, for the present, there should be no departure from the present system of annual Conference sessions, and further suggests that February is the most practical month in which to hold regular sessions.

With regard to the Director-General's recommendation concerning frequency of Conference sessions, and recalling the proposed amendment to the Constitution which is coming before the Conference, the Council suggests that the Organization should move as rapidly as possible in the direction of holding Conference sessions biennially.

Without prejudice to any decision which the Conference might take as to the frequency of regular Conference sessions, the Council recommends that if the Conference decides to hold its next session in 1951 it should begin in the second week of April of that year.

The Council suggest that the Conference, should it approve this recommendation, may wish to establish a committee to consider the constitutional and financial questions which would arise.

Election of the Nominations Committee

In accordance with Rule XXVI of the Rules of Procedure, the Council has the responsibility of proposing to the Conference nominations of members of the Nominations Committee, which Committee presents to the Conference nominations for the Chairman and three Vice-Chairmen of the Conference, the other seven members of the General Committee, and members of the Credentials Committee.

The Council proposes to the Conference that the Nominations Committee be composed as follows: Brazil, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippine Republic, Thailand, and the United States of America.

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