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III. General actions by the conference

The Fourth Session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of e the United Nations was held in Washington, D.C., U.S.A., 15 to 29 November 1948.

Adoption of Agenda

Upon recommendation of the General Committee, the Revised Provisional Agenda was adopted by the Conference. The Agenda follows:

I. Procedure and Cognate Matters

1. Formal Opening of the Conference by the Director-General

2. Election of Officers and Appointment Of Committees

3. Adoption of the Agenda of the Session

4. Admission of Observers to the Session

5. Admission of New Members a. Application of Saudi Arabia b. Application of Israel

6. Declaration of Loyalty by Director-General and Deputy Director-General

II. Annual World Food and Agriculture Review

a. The State of Food and Agriculture - 1948
b. National Progress in Food and Agriculture Programs

III. Activities of FAO

1. Report of the Director-General on the Work of the Organization, since the Last Session of the Conference, September 1947. (Work of FAO, 1947/48)

2. Program of Work for 1949 and Financial Implications in terms of Budget

IV. Constitutional, Administrative, and Financial Questions

1. Appointment of Chairman and Members of Council

2. Site of FAO Headquarters

3. Financial and Staff Affairs of the Organization

a. Audited Accounts of Second Financial Year

b. Draft Budget for 1949

C. Reports of Committee on Financial Control

d. Pension Scheme e. Scale of Contributions and Currency Problems

4. Relations with United Nations, its Specialized Agencies and other International Organizations

5. Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities

6. Information and Publications Policies and Channels of Communication with Member Governments and their FAO Committees

V. Other Business

1. Application of the Holy See for Status of Permanent Observer

2. Proposal of the Director-General to set up an Administrative Tribunal in conformity with Article XV paragraph 3 of the Constitution

3. Site of Fifth Session of FAO Conference

Arrangement for the Conference

The Credentials Committee reported to the Conference, endorsing the credentials of delegates and observers, at the Third, Fourth, and Eighth Plenary Meetings. A list of delegates and observers attending the Fourth Session of the Conference appears in Appendix A.

The Council's proposals for the establishment of three Conference commissions were endorsed by the General Committee and adopted by the Conference. The three commissions were therefore established as follows:

Commission I-World Food and Agriculture Situation-to handle Item II of the Agenda;

Commission II-Technical Activities of FAO - to handle Item III of the Agenda;

Commission III-Constitutional, Administrative, and Financial Question-to handle Item IV (with the exception of Subitem no IV, 1) and Item V (with the exception of Subitem V, 1).

It was agreed that unallocated items on the Agenda would be handled by the General Committee.

The General Committee's proposals for the nomination of chairmen and vice-chairmen for the three commissions were adopted.

Admission of Observers

On recommendation of the General Committee, the Conference confirmed the invitation of the Director-General to certain nonmember nations, international governmental organizations, and nongovernmental organizations to attend the Fourth Session of the Conference as observers. The list of observers admitted to the Conference is included in Appendix A.

Admission of the Holy See as Permanent Observer

The Conference had before it a report of the General Committee as follows:

"The General Committee has carefully reviewed the request presented by the Holy See that it be permitted to take part as a permanent observer in the Conferences, meetings and activities of the Organization, both at the central scat of the Organization and in its regional offices, especially in those where the activity of the Holy See is likely to be most efficacious.

"The General Committee agrees with the views of the Council that this request is of an exceptional character, since the application would involve participation not only in the conferences of the Organization, but in other aspects of its activities as well, and because of the unique status of the applicant. The General Committee therefore Suggests that, in the absence of any provision in the Constitution or the Rules that would cover this special request, the Conference be requested to take a vote on the application, and unanimously recommends that it be accepted. "

In accordance with Rule XII, paragraphs 3 and 7, of the Rules of Procedure, a secret vote was taken at the Fifth Plenary Meeting, 23 November, by which the Conference approved the application of the Holy See as a permanent observer by a vote of 41 votes in favor, 1 against, and 1 abstention.

Applications for Membership

Saudi Arabia

The following report was submitted by the General Committee to the Conference at its Fifth Plenary Meeting, 23 November:

"After considering the application for membership submitted by Saudi Arabia the General Committee has found the application to be in conformity with the Rules and Regulations and unanimously recommends to the Conference that the application be accepted. In conformity with Article II of the Constitution new members may be admitted to the Organization by a two-thirds majority vote of the members of the Conference and on condition that they accept the Constitution as in force at the time of admission.

"It is also necessary under Rule XX to determine the amount of the proportionate contribution to the expenses of the Organization to be paid by the new member. The General Committee has received a letter from the Chairman of the Committee on Financial Control specifying that the latter Committee is recommending that this contribution should be fixed at 0.1 percent of the budget, this is to say $5,000 on the basis of the present budget of $5,000,000. The General Committee recommends that this proposal be approved.

The Conference approved the admission of Saudi Arabia to membership of the Conference of FAO by a vote of 42 in favor, 1 against, and 1 abstaining, thus bringing the membership of the Conference to 58 nations. It approved also the recommendation of the Committee regarding the contribution of Saudi Arabia.


The Conference at its Fifth Plenary Meeting, 23 November, approved the General Committee's recommendation that "the application for membership submitted by the Jewish Authorities in Palestine under the name Israel be to the Council for further study and consideration, and that the Council be instructed to report its findings and recommendations to the next session of the Conference."

Nine delegations requested that they be recorded as abstaining from voting, since they were in favor of the admission of Israel. These were Poland Czechoslovakia Uruguay, Guatemala Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, the United States of America, and Finland. The Canadian Delegation expressed its hope that, pending admission of Israel into the United Nations, Israel might participate in the work of FAO and in the Conference.

Site of the Permanent Headquarter

The Conference at its Fifth Plenary Meeting, 2-3 November, had before it the Report of Commission III on the Site of the Permanent Headquarters of FAO. In accepting the report, the Conference adopted the following resolution:

The Conference

- Resolves that decision on the permanent site for the Headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations be postponed, and instructs the Council to proceed forthwith to complete the exploration of possible sites and to negotiate further with the authorities concerned with respect to the terms and conditions upon which sites considered suitable could be obtained, and to report to the Conference, preferably to a special session to be called by the Director-General as soon as the report of the Council can be made.

Election of Six Council Members

To assist the Conference in electing to office six members of the Council, in replacement of six whose terms of office were expiring, the General Committee submitted the following report to the Conference at its Seventh Plenary Meeting, 27 November:

"In conformity with Rule XXIV of the Rules of Procedure, the terms of office of the following six members of the Council expire at the present session of the Conference:

Australia, Denmark, Egypt, France, India and Mexico.

"The vacancies thus created have to be filled and Rule XXIV of the Rules of Procedure contains the following provisions which are relevant to the election of new Council members by the Conference:

'In selecting members of the Council due consideration shall be given to the inclusion in its membership of a balanced geographical representation of nations interested in the production, distribution and consumption of food and agricultural products.

'The Conference shall at each regular session, fill all vacancies on the Council after considering any suggestions by the General Committee.

'Member nations shall be eligible for reelection to the Council.

"In order to early out the functions assigned to it by the above provisions, i.e., of placing suggestions before the Conference, the General Committee requested that nominations should be forwarded to the Secretary-General. Twenty-five delegations have answered this request, the majority submitting nominations for a single seat while bile a few presented complete slates.

"The General Committee has carefully reviewed the results of this consultation and has the honor to submit to the Conference the following facts and suggestions for such action as the Conference may deem advisable. In agreeing upon this presentation the General Committee has had in mind the fundamental requirement that the composition of the Council should reflect a balanced geographical representation.

"Seat of Australia

"The re-election of Australia has been supported by six delegations and no other country from that region has been nominated.

"Seat of Egypt

"Similar conditions apply here. The re-election of Egypt is proposed by 11 delegations and no other country from that region has been nominated.

"European Seats

"Two European seats are being vacated, namely those occupied by Denmark and France. The reelection of these two countries has been proposed by five and seven delegations respectively. However, two other European countries have also been nominated, namely Greece and :Poland, by seven and one delegations respectively.

"Seat of India

"India is proposed for re-election by ten delegations, but Pakistan and Siam have also been nominated, the former by two delegations and the latter by one delegation.

"Seat of Mexico

"The nomination of Ecuador was presented by six delegations. The General Committee was also informed that the Latin-American countries - having in mind the fact that a better geographical distribution would be ensured if this seat were to be allotted to a Central American country or to Mexico - favor the reelection of Mexico.

"The General Committee recommends flint the six outgoing . members be re-elected, i.e. Australia, Denmark Egypt, France, India and Mexico.

"In submitting this recommendation the General Committee has been prompted by the strong support for a re-election of all the above countries that is evidenced from the nominations submitted. The other countries that have been nominated for the European and Far Eastern seats did not get comparable support.

"The General Committee wishes to state that it attaches great importance to the principle of rotation in the membership of the Council. The reason for recommending re-election of the outgoing members this time is the exceptional situation arising out of the fact that the six countries in question have served for one year only.

"Should the Conference desire to proceed to a vote, the General Committee recommends that it should be by secret ballot by application of Rule XIl, paragraph 7 of the Rules of Procedure, and that the vote should be conducted with a view to obtaining a desirable geographical distribution."

Before submission of the Report to the Conference, Siam withdrew from candidacy on the Council, and during the discussion following reading of the report, Ecuador and Pakistan also withdrew from candidacy. The Conference, while recognizing the unusual circumstance referred to in the Committee's report, strongly supported the principle of rotation in the membership of the Council. It conducted its election on a six-nation slate, bearing in mind the provisions of Rule XXIV with regard to balanced geographic representation. Of the 45 votes cast, the following countries obtained a majority or more than 23 votes:

Egypt, 39; Australia, 37; Mexico, 36; India, 34; France, 33; and Denmark, 31.

In accordance with the rules of the balloting, therefore, these six countries were elected to the Council to serve three years.

Appointment of the Chairman of the Council

The General Committee submitted the following report to the Conference at its Seventh Plenary Meeting, 27 November:

"The independent Chairman of the Council is appointed for one year only, and in accordance with Rule XXIV (a) of the Rules of Procedure the General Committee has the responsibility of submitting a nomination or nominations for this post. It is also the responsibility Of the General Committee to submit recommendations as to the conditions of appointment, including the allowances attached to the office

"The General Committee has given this matter careful consideration and wishes to recommend unanimously to the Conference that Viscount Bruce of Melbourne be reappointed as Chairman of the Council for another year, under the same terms and with the same allowance as applied during the first year.

"In making such recommendation the Committee wishes to express its appreciation for the very able manner in which Lord Bruce has conducted the work of the Council during the past year. It recommends his re-election with the fullest confidence that he will again make a great contribution in that capacity.

"The General Committee considers that it would be desirable to obtain the advice of the Committee on Financial Control regarding the conditions of appointment of the independent Chairman of the Council. It suggests therefore that the above Committee be invited by the Council to formulate its views for eventual transmission to the next session of the Conference. "

The Conference wholeheartedly approved the nomination of the General Committee, thus reelecting Viscount Bruce of Melbourne for another year as Chairman of the Council.

The Conference also adopted the General Committee's recommendation that the Council seek the advice of the Committee on Financial Control regarding the conditions of appointment of the independent Chairman of the Council, for transmission to the next session of the Conference.

Approval of Commission Reports

Reports of the three commissions of the Conference were adopted by the Conference at its
Eighth Plenary Meeting, 29 November, as follows:

Commission I - World Food and Agriculture Situation-by unanimous vote;

Commissions II - Technical Activities of FAO - with one amendment, by unanimous vote;

Commission III-Constitutional, administrative, and Financial Questions - by unanimous vote.

Message to Sir John Boyd Orr

In acknowledgment of the work of FAO's first Director-General, the Conference, at its closing Plenary Meeting, 29 November, unanimously resolved to record its appreciation as follows:

"We, the delegates and observers at the Fourth Session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization, note with regret the absence from this Session of a certain great and simple man-a farmer, a scientist and prophet of Aberdeen, Scotland; a founder of FAO and its first Director-General-Sir John Boyd Orr.

"We cannot let this Session of the Conference close without acknowledging our continued debt to the inspiration of Sir John Orr in the work of FAO and report to him our belief that the work done here at this Session will mark further progress and world co-operation towards the aims for which he has pioneered so long.

"Those aims are plenty and lasting peace, abundance for all men in the products of farms, forests and fisheries, which are essential for life and well-being, and security and prosperity for the producers of these things.

"To Sir John Orr this Conference sends its friendly greetings and good wishes."

Voluntary Welfare Agencies

The Conference, at its closing Plenary Meeting 29 November, unanimously adopted the following resolution:

- Whereas the voluntary non-governmental social welfare agencies functioning internationally have effectively helped to minister to the food and other needs of peoples in distressed areas without regard to political or ideological views in this period of grave postwar dislocation, and

- Whereas these agencies, exemplified by CARE, the Friends' Service Committee, the War Relief Services of the Catholic Welfare Conference, and their counterparts and branches throughout the world, working co-operatively with and through CARE, have concerned themselves constructively with the problems of food distribution and production to the end that suffering from lack of food may be diminished in accord with the principal aim of FAO's Constitution; therefore

- Be it resolved that FAO commend the work of these agencies and express its intention to continue collaborating with them within the terms of its authorization in the hope and expectation that their valuable undertakings will be sustained and be expanded.

Timing of Conference Sessions

The Conference unanimously approved a motion to instruct the Council to examine all the pertinent factors relating to the time of the year of holding the annual session of the Conference of FAO, and to be prepared to report the result of its studies to the next session of the Conference.

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