I. Letter to governments transmitting the report of the first session of the conference of the food and agriculture organization of the united nations
On the invitation of the United Nations Interim Commission on Food and Agriculture and through the hospitality extended by the Government of Canada, representatives of the United Nations met in Quebec on October 16, 1945, to sign the Constitution of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and to hold the First Session of its Conference.
I have the honor to transmit herewith the Report of this First Session and to summarize the principal results of the Session briefly in this letter.
The following Members signed the Constitution thus bringing the Food and Agriculture Organization into existence: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, India, Iraq, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippine Commonwealth, Poland, Union of South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela. The following governments were admitted as new Members during the Conference Lebanon and Syria.
The following governments eligible for original membership accepted the Constitution and thereby became Members: Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Yugoslavia. Of these, the first five were unable to be present at the Conference.
The following Member of the Interim Commission was represented at the Conference as observer: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
The following governments not Members of the Interim Commission were represented at the Conference as observers: Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and Argentina.
The membership of FAO at the close of the Session, therefore, consisted of forty-two countries.
With the formal establishment of FAO the United Nations Interim Commission on Food and Agriculture ceased to exist. The Conference showed its deep appreciation of the Commission's work, extending over more than two years between the Hot Springs and Quebec conferences, which by its thoroughness and high quality so greatly facilitated and expedited the business of this First Session.
In their statements at this Session, delegates from many different regions emphasized the importance they attach to FAO. Their governments want to set about implementing the Preamble to FAO's Constitution; they are anxious to take separate and collective action for raising levels of nutrition and standards of living, securing improvements in the efficiency of production and distribution of food and agricultural products, and bettering the condition of rural populations. They have created FAO to help them do these things.
This is a propitious moment for starting such a venture. World War II ended less than six months ago, after nearly six years of struggle in Europe and more than ten years in China. The war has left a legacy of difficulties of providing food and shelter to stricken peoples and the opportunity of creating something new where so much of the old has either been swept away or is in a state of transition. As one delegate said: "The armed forces have ceased to fight; but now a new army is appearing, an army of technicians, agriculturists, scientists, laborers, which is commencing a fight against disorganization, a fight against poverty, a fight against famine, uncertainty, and evil." The needs are urgent; decisions cannot be postponed. There can be no delay in going about the task of building a peaceful, orderly, and prosperous world.
The Conference appointed a Nominations Committee which elected The Hon. Clinton P. Anderson (United States) as its Chairman. In accordance with the Temporary Rules of Procedure, this Committee nominated the Conference Chairman and Vice-Chairmen, eleven members of the General Committee, and seven members of the Credentials Committee. The Conference, accepting the nomination, anointed L B. Pearson (Canada) as Chairman of the First Session, and Dr. P. W. Tsou (China), Mr. Anis Azer (Egypt), and Dr. M. J. Zevada (Mexico) as Vice-Chairmen. The Chairman of the Conference became ex-officio Chairman of the General Committee The Credentials Committee appointed Mr. J. E. S. Fawcett (United Kingdom) as its Chairman.
The General Committee nominated and the Conference appointed the following to offices in Commissions A and B: Commission A - The Hon. P. R. Viljoen (Union of South Africa), Chairman; The Hon. David Wilson (New Zealand) and Mr. Anders Fjelstad (Norway), Vice-Chairmen. Commission B - The Hon. Henrik de Kauffmann (Denmark), Chairman; Mr. Anis Azer (Egypt), and Dr. Alberto Sevilla Sacasa (Nicaragua), Vice-Chairmen.
In appointing Sir John Boyd Orr as Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Conference has been fortunate in finding a man who throughout his career has ably and forthrightly championed the objectives for which FAO stands, and who is widely known for his work both in agriculture and in nutrition. The Conference also appointed an Executive Committee, representing a wide diversity of experience. Terms of office were determined by lot. Five members were elected for three years, five for two years, and five for one year, as follows: The Hon. Sir Girja Shankar Bajpai (India), two years; Mr. Edouard Baker (Haiti), one year; Dr. G. S. H. Barton (Canada), one year; Mr. Newton de Castro Belleza (Brazil), three years; Mr. R. R. Enfield (United Kingdom), one year; Mr. E. J. Fawcett (New Zealand), one year; Mr. Anders Fjelstad (Norway), two years; Dr. Alfonso Gonzalez Gallardo (Mexico), one year; Mr. Darwish Haidari (Iraq), two years; Prof. André Mayer (France), two years; The Hon. Stanislaw Mikolajcyzk (Poland), two years; Mr. Howard R. Tolley (United States), three years; Dr. P. W. Tsou (China), three years; The Hon. P. R. Viljoen (Union of South Africa), three years; and Dr. Arthur Wauters (Belgium), three years. The Executive Committee chose a distinguished Frenchman, Prof. André Mayer, as Chairman, and a distinguished American, Mr. Howard R. Tolley, as Vice-Chairman. The term of office for officers of the Executive Committee was set at one Conference year.
The work of the Conference was divided in two parts. Commission A dealt with the broad subject of FAO policies and programs - what the Organization might do to realize its objectives. Commission D organization and administration - the necessary machinery through which the policies and programs can be carried out. There has been an impressive unanimity of opinion among the delegates assembled at Quebec both on the structure of FAO and on a program of work.
Commission A allocated its work among six committees. These committees, which included many distinguished specialists among their members, have examined from many angles the problems of food and agriculture, forestry and fisheries, marketing and statistics. They have made a great many valuable suggestions for FAO's work. Their findings are embodied in the Report which the Conference accepted and which it commends to the Director-General and to governments for their earnest attention. The reports of the committees, comprising the report of Commission A, are diverse in form. Because of the fact that the Commission Report was accepted by the Conference no attempt has been made to make the committee reports uniform.
Commission B had the task of ensuring that the structure of FAO be well adapted to its functions of providing a framework for FAO's external relations, and of working out suitable financial regulations. This Commission worked through four committees, which also included many distinguished experts. The documents and resolutions appended to the Report are impressive evidence of their work, which resulted in a set of Rules of Procedure, a set of permanent and temporary Financial Regulations, and a budget for the first two financial years. All of these have been adopted by the Conference.
Among the recommendations approved by the Conference were several submitted by the General Committee and not-included in the reports of Commission A and Commission B. These are included in Appendix II of this volume.
Following the recommendation of Commission B. the Conference decided to continue the temporary seat of the Organization at Washington and to establish the permanent seat at the seat of the United Nations when the latter is decided, assuming that this will also be the seat of the Economic and Social Council. The Conference also adopted recommendations as to relationships with the United Nations and with specialized United Nations agencies that may be created in the future. Of particular interest are the recommendations regarding the establishment of common services. The Conference also passed recommendations providing for the winding up of the International Institute of Agriculture and the Comité International du Bois and the continuance by FAO of appropriate functions of these organizations.
Here then is a program which the Conference believes to be practicable and an organization which promises to be workable. The Conference recorded its sincere appreciation of the labors of those responsible for the work of its Committees and Commissions at this Session. Without their tireless efforts so much could not have been accomplished in so short a time.
The first of the new, permanent United Nations agencies is now launched. There are few precedents for it to follow; it is something new in international history. There have been functional international agencies with more circumscribed objectives and tasks, but FAO is the first which sets out with so bold an aim as that of helping nations to achieve freedom from want. Never before have the nations got together for such a purpose.
FAO will bring the findings of science to the workers in food and agriculture, forestry and fisheries, everywhere; and it will bring the practical problems of these workers everywhere to the attention of the scientists. It will assemble, digest, and interpret information to serve as a basis for the formulation of policy, national and international. It can suggest action, but only through the activities of governments themselves can the objectives be finally won.
Governments know today, as their representatives repeatedly stressed at the FAO Conference, that they can do much to raise nutritional levels even in the most disadvantaged countries. They can improve agricultural production, even in regions of adverse climate and rural overpopulation, especially if industries are developed which offer new employment opportunities. They can better the management of their forests and their fisheries. They can work together in expanding and ordering their international trade. They can set about eliminating the disabilities of rural life.
Behind governments stand the people - those who produce and those who use the products of the soil and the sea. FAO must know what they are enduring, needing, and hoping. Likewise FAO must explain to them the new conceptions it stands for and what these mean in terms of practical policies. It must speak in language that all can understand.
FAO is the first of the new permanent United Nations organizations in point of time. The Conference hopes that it will likewise be first in energy and in usefulness, so that it may make the maximum contribution possible to healthier and more abundant life, and to a peace built on day-by-day, practical cooperation among the peoples of the world.
L. B. PEARSON,
Chairman, First Session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Washington, D. C.
January 15, 1946