III. Procedure and cognate matters
Agenda and Arrangements for the Session
The following agenda was adopted by the Conference at its Second Plenary Meeting, 21 November, in the following resolution:
The Conference -
Having received the recommendations of the General Committee, and
Having noted the proposals of the Council of FAO,
- Resolves to adopt the Provisional Agenda for the Fifth Session of the Conference (C49/1), with the addition of the following four items:
Adoption of Spanish as a Working Language of FAO,
Liquidation of the International Institute of Agriculture and the International Forestry Center,
Site of the Far Eastern Regional Office, and
FAO Regional Representation in Latin America.
The agenda follows:
I. Procedure and Cognate Matters
1. Election of Officers and Appointment of Committees
2. Adoption of the Agenda of the Session
3. Organization of Commissions and Allocation of Agenda Items
4. Admission of Observers to the Session
5. Admission of New Members
6. Appointment of Chairman of Council and Election of Council Members
II. World Review and Outlook
1. Goals and Long-Term Trends in Consumption, Production, Foreign Trade, and Prices
2. Commodity Problems
3. International Investment and Financing Facilities
III. Program of Work of FAO and National Programs of Governments
1. Work of FAO during 1949
2. Program of Work for 1950
3. Programs of Member Governments
IV. Development of Underdeveloped Areas through Technical Assistance
V. Constitutional, Administrative, and Financial Questions
1. Site of FAO Headquarters
2. Financial Affairs of the Organization
a. Audited Accounts of Third Financial Year and Financial Situation of the Organization
b. Draft Budget for 1950
c. Staff Assessment Plan, Salaries, Pensions
d. Scale of Contributions and Currency Problems
e. Financial Regulations
3. Relations with United Nations, the Specialized Agencies, and other International Organizations
4. Proposed Establishment of a Regional Fisheries Council for the Mediterranean
5. Administrative Tribunal
6. Amendments of Constitution and Rules of Procedure
VI. Other Business
1. Frequency and Timing of Conference Sessions
2. Date and Place of Next Session of the Conference
3. Adoption of Spanish as a Working Language of FAO
4. Liquidation of the International Institute of Agriculture and the International Forestry Center
5. Site of the Far Eastern Regional Office
6. FAO Regional Representation in Latin America
The Credentials Committee, reported to the Conference at the Third, Fifth, and Ninth Plenary Meetings, endorsing the credentials of delegates and observers. A list of delegates and observers attending the Fifth Session of the. Conference appears in Appendix E.
Establishment of commissions and allocation of agenda items was approved by the Conference, as suggested by the General Committee, in the following resolution adopted at its Second Plenary Meeting, 21 November:
The Conference -
- Establishes three commissions: Commission I - World Review and Outlook; Commission II - Technical Activities of FAO; and Commission III - Constitutional, Administrative, and Financial Questions;
- Allocates to Commission I the whole of Agenda item II;
- Allocates to Commission II the whole of Agenda items III and IV;
- Allocates to Commission III items V and VI, including the four new items added to the Agenda; and
- Allocates to the General Committee the responsibility, as provided in the Rules, for making recommendations to the Conference on the following items: Admission of observers to the Session, admission of new members, appointment of Chairman of the Council, and election of Council members.
The Conference also adopted the nominations of the General Committee for chairmen and Vice-chairman of the three commissions.
As proposed by the Council and the Director-General in Proposed Arrangements for the Fifth Session of the Conference (C49/2), the commissions were organized into committees, panels, and working parties, which carried out specialized assignments and reported on them to the commissions.
Admission of Observers from International Organizations
After hearing the report of the General Committee on the admission of observers from international organizations, the Conference at its Third Plenary Meeting, 22 November, adopted the following :
The Conference -
Noting the list of international organizations to which the Director-General had extended provisional invitations to send observers to the Fifth Session of the Conference of FAO, in accordance with Rule I (4),
- Approves these invitations and admits the observers to the Conference.
Admission of Nonmember Governments as Observers
In accordance with the precedent of other sessions of the Conference, a number of governments, not members of FAO, had been invited to attend the Session as observers. After hearing the report of the General Committee on this subject, the Conference, at its Fifth Plenary Meeting, 28 November, adopted the following resolution:
The Conference -
Noting the list of nonmember governments provisionally invited by the Director-General to send observers to the Fifth Session of the Conference of FAO,
- Approves the invitations to the following nonmember governments which have sent delegates to attend the Conference as observers: Afghanistan, Argentina, Hashemite Jordan, Iran, and Sweden; and further
- Admits as observers the representatives of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, Japan, and of the Allied High Commission for Western Germany.
Voting Rights and Interpretation of Membership
In the Report of its Seventh Session, 14 - 17 November 1949, the Council had called attention to the fact that the voting rights of certain member countries might be questioned at this Session and had suggested that this matter be examined by a special committee of the Conference, including the interpretation put forward by a few of the original members of FAO regarding the actual date of their membership in the Organization. The General Committee carefully considered the whole question and presented the following draft report, which was adopted by the Conference at its Fourth Plenary Meeting, 23 November:
"1. Article in Paragraph 4 of the Constitution states:
'Each member nation shall have only one vote. A member nation which is in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions to the Organization shall have no vote in the Conference if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contribution due from it for the preceding two full years. The Conference may nevertheless permit such a member nation to vote if it is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the member nation.'
"2. The Conference notes that the majority of the original members of FAO who signed the Constitution at Quebec appear to have considered that since they were enjoying the full benefits from the Organization as from the date of their signature, they were under a moral obligation to contribute to its expenses from that date. The Conference further notes that all original members of FAO, without exception, have taken part in the activities of the Organization as from their date of signature, exercising all the rights and enjoying all the privileges of members, and none has at any time stated prior to ratification that it did not consider itself a full member.
"3. However, the Conference understands that certain countries, original members of FAO, signed the Constitution at Quebec ad referendum and only ratified their signatures within the last two years. These countries maintain that this acceptance of the Constitution is only valid from the date of ratification, so that their financial obligations to the Organization have only become effective as from the same date. Therefore, although two of them have as yet made no contribution to the expense of the Organization, it is claimed that those two are not in arrears for an amount equaling two full years.
"4. The Conference, therefore, to support the policies sustained by the majority of the founders of FAO, wishes to express the earnest hope that these countries will reconsider their interpretation and join in the above policy in order to maintain a unanimous interpretation on this subject, which is so important to the fundamental basis of FAO.
"5. The Conference reaffirms its understanding that financial obligations for member governments start at the time their plenipotentiaries sign the Constitution.
"6. So far as Article III, Paragraph 4 applies to the present Session, the Conference notes that only two of the above countries come under the provisions of this Article at this Session. The Conference recognizes, however, that the delegations of these countries are at present under instructions from their governments to sustain the interpretation that financial obligations to the Organization commence only with ratification, and that a question is thus raised as to the actual amount of these nations' outstanding obligations."
In view of this report, the Conference further adopted the following resolution (Fourth Plenary Meeting, 23 November):
The Conference -
- Recommends that under the very special circumstances noted above and only for the purpose of the present Session, and pending further consideration of the position of the governments concerned, and without prejudice to the principle laid down in paragraph 5 above, those nations which have maintained the interpretation noted shall not on that ground be denied the right to vote.
Admission of New Members
At its Fourth Plenary Meeting, 23 November, the Conference had before it four applications for membership in FAO, all of which had been received more than 30 days before the opening of the Conference, and, in accordance with Rules III (2) (d) and XX (2), the applications had been circulated to member governments and placed on the agenda of the Conference. The applications were:
Indonesia (application dated 20 October 1949)
Israel (application dated 17 August 1948)
Korea (application dated 20 July 1949)
Spain (application dated 22 July 1946)
Indonesia was admitted to membership by a vote of 49 for, 0 against, 2 abstentions, 7 not voting.
Israel was admitted to membership by a vote of 40 for, 7 against, 4 abstentions, 7 not voting.
Korea was admitted to membership by a vote of 42 for, 5 against, 4 abstentions, 7 not voting.
With reference to the application of Spain, the Conference passed the following resolution:
The Conference -
- Resolves that no action be taken on the application of Spain at this time.
The vote was 25 for the resolution, 19 against, 2 abstentions, 1 not valid, 11 not voting.
The application of Afghanistan, dated 21 November 1949, and the application of Sweden (for membership beginning with 1950), dated 25 November 1949, were received after the Conference convened.
At its Fifth Plenary Meeting, 28 November, the Conference suspended Rule XX (2), which requires that applications for membership must be received 30 days or more before the Conference, and elected Afghanistan to membership by a vote of 53 for, 2 against, 1 abstention, and 5 not voting.
At its Ninth Plenary Meeting, 5 December, the Conference again suspended Rule XX (2) and accepted Sweden as a member nation by a vote of 47 for, 0 against, 1 abstention, 14 not voting.
Admission of the five new member countries brings the membership of FAO to 63 nations.
With regard to the 1949 contributions of the new members, the Conference passed the following resolution:
The Conference -
Having received the recommendations of the Council of FAO and of the General Committee concerning the amount of the proportionate share of the expenses to be paid by the governments admitted to membership at this session,
- Decides that, pending a decision by the Conference on a new scale of contributions, the assessments of the new members shall be as follows:
and that, having regard to the date of their admission to the Organization, they shall be required to pay one-quarter only for the year 1949.
The contribution of Sweden, which begins with its membership in 1950, is listed in the Scale of Contributions for 1950, page 69.
Election of Council Members
The terms of office of the six following Council members expired with the Fifth Session of the Conference:
Delegates were asked to submit nominations for these vacancies, and the following 12 countries were nominated:
To guide the Conference in its choice of Council members, the General Committee submitted the following observations:
"The Committee places the greatest importance on the provisions of Rule XXIV (4), which is actually a mandate to the Conference to give due consideration to the principle of a balanced geographical representation of nations interested in the production, distribution, and consumption of food and agricultural products.
"The Committee also endorses the principle of rotation of membership, which was strongly supported by the Fourth Session of the Conference, but at the same time draws the attention of the Conference to the advisability of maintaining representation on the Council of those nations which may be in a position to contribute most substantially to its work and to the work of FAO.
"The General Committee wishes to point out that the listing of nominations above is not intended to preclude further nominations being made in the Plenary Meeting from the floor, should any delegation desire to propose them.
"The Conference will recall that the following countries will continue as members of the Council: Brazil, Canada, Chile, Italy, the Union of South Africa, and the United States of America for one more year, and Australia, Denmark, Egypt, Prance, India, and Mexico for two years. Accordingly, it is the view of the General Committee that a well-balanced distribution would be best achieved in the present case by the election of two countries for Asia and the Far East, two for Western Europe, one for Eastern Europe, and one for Latin America.
"The Committee recommends that a ballot be taken separately and successively for each of the six seats which are vacant. Each delegation would vote on each ballot for one country to fill a specific vacancy. On each ballot, the country receiving the highest number of votes would be declared elected. In the case of a tie vote, a second ballot will be taken for the vacancy.
"The Committee further recommends that the voting be by secret ballot."
As recommended by the General Committee, each vacant seat was voted upon separately and the Conference made the following choice of Council members, the first and highest vote in each case indicating the country elected:
Seat of China
PAKISTAN 29, Burma 11, China 7, Philip pine Republic 6, Indonesia 4, not voting 5.
Seat of Cuba
VENEZUELA 25, Cuba 23, Haiti 8, China 1, Indonesia 1.
Seat of Czechoslovakia
YUGOSLAVIA 27, Czechoslovakia 22, Philippine Republic 2, Indonesia 1, abstentions 5.
Seat of the Netherlands
BELGIUM 48, United Kingdom 6, Burma 1, Indonesia 1, Philippine Republic 1.
Seat of the Philippine Republic
BURMA 28, Philippine Republic 21, Indonesia 4, China 2, Haiti 2, United Kingdom 1.
Seat of the United Kingdom
UNITED KINGDOM 43, China 3, Philippine Republic 2, Cuba 1, Haiti 1, abstentions 3, invalid 3.
Appointment of Independent Chairman of the Council
At its Ninth Plenary Meeting, 5 December, the Conference had before it the following report of the General Committee:
"In accordance with its responsibilities under Rule XXIV-A for presenting a nomination (or nominations) for the Chairman of the Council, the General Committee has considered all aspects of the question and has come to the unanimous conclusion that it would be in the best interests of the Organization to reappoint Viscount Bruce of Melbourne, who has served in such an outstanding manner as Chairman of the Council. The General Committee has consulted with Viscount Bruce and found that he is willing to accept an appointment for one further term of office."
On the basis of this report, the Conference adopted the following resolution:
The Conference -
Expresses its appreciation for the service which Viscount Bruce of Melbourne has rendered the Organization as independent Chairman of the Council of FAO for the past two years, and
- Invites him to continue as independent Chairman until the next session of the Conference, under the same terms of appointment and allowances as have obtained during the past year.
The Conference requested the Council to have the Committee on Financial Control continue its study of the terms of appointment and allowances and to report them to the next session of the Conference.