The simple fact about wood pulp is that it is not only an important industrial commodity; it is a vital raw material on which men and women throughout the world are becoming increasingly dependent.
This was recognized by the Preparatory Conference on World Pulp Problems, held at Montreal, 25 April to 4 May 1949. Here, for the first time, competent experts, businessmen and government officials met to arrive at an agreed view about the world pulp situation and to consider steps that might be recommended for national and international action.
It was not the purpose of the Montreal Conference to prepare a commodity agreement on pulp. As Mr. Norris E. Dodd, Director-General of FAO, said, "We do not believe that there is need for an international pulp agreement. You are in the happy position of a gradually expanding industry which can derive considerable benefit from international consultation and which needs some regional and world-wide planning, but beyond that I believe the maximum freedom should be left to the initiative of individual industries and countries."
The conclusions of the Conference on the world outlook are given in this issue. Its recommendations, and a great deal of information on the situation in individual countries and regions, appear in Report of the Preparatory Conference on World Pulp Problems.
Wood pulp, as a primary forest product, is assigned to FAO under its charter, and FAO cannot ignore the world's needs for the products made from wood pulp. The Conference was a step towards realization of the hope, expressed by Mr. Dodd, in his opening speech, "that in due course the nations working together through FAO will be able to provide the world's people with as much paper, textiles, and other pulp products as they require to achieve modern standards of health and education, and, in general, to make progress on the path of civilization."