Department of External Affairs to Evatt

Cablegram 343 CANBERRA, 3 October 1945


Your Precoms 12 and 13. [1]

The United Kingdom plan of organization on the economic side seems somewhat inadequate. The field of the Economic and Social Council is so wide, including as it does social, cultural and educational matters, that unless a strong, authoritative coordinating body for economic matters only, stands between it and the specialized organizations, an effective rallying point for international economic reconstruction will be lacking, and responsibility be too diffused. Such a body would need the prestige of a more important constitutional status than the specialist organizations. These however could be linked direct with the Economic and Social Council for the social and cultural aspects of their work and for purposes of consultation and making recommendations.

2. The proposed Economic Commission might be such a body but must be recognized as being more than co-equal with the other economic organs. It should ensure that the activities of all other economic bodies are directed towards and subordinated to:

(1) Full employment throughout the world.

(2) Steadily rising standards of living.

It is not sufficient that these objectives are stated in the Charter. They must be omnipresent considerations in daily decision.

3. The approach of the United Kingdom towards the specialized agencies seems rather diffident. It would be a mistake to restrict their functions arbitrarily but whatever the views of their permanent secretariats they must be subordinate to the wider scheme. Although their future relationship is a matter for negotiation it should not be overlooked that their membership corresponds fairly closely with that of the United Nations whose will can easily be made effective. There seems no reason why a fairly uniform pattern of relationship should not be evolved and adopted. Otherwise the international economic picture will become quite unnecessarily confused.

4. The United Kingdom proposals in PC/EX/ES/8 do not appear to lay sufficient stress on the basic employment question and could not be regarded as an effective substitute for the proposals outlined in the Australian draft for an Employment Organisation. [2]

5. If the United Kingdom proposals become a basis for action it is important to ensure that the objectives of the proposed Employment Committee be described in a way which underlines the relationship between domestic employment policy and the international responsibility of member countries. The present wording evades this issue and takes domestic full employment policies for granted in a way which might preclude the Committee from probing deeper.

It is suggested that the words ‘Employment Committee to deal with problems requiring concerted action by both Governments and specialized agencies’ could appropriately be substituted. This would bring it into line with the proposed Balance of Payments Committee.

6. It is important that apart from permanent international officials the personnel of the Economic Commission should be governmental in character to ensure maximum responsibility and effective implementation of recommendations.


1 Dispatched 12 and 13 September respectively. On file AA : A1066, H45/777/2. Precom 12 requested departmental views on the U.K.

Govt’s paper PC/EX/EQ/8 [sic] (summarised in Precom 13), covering the subordinate organisation of the Economic and Social Council.

It proposed an advisory Economic Commission comprising, inter alia, an employment committee to co-ordinate full employment policies.

2 The Australian draft proposals for a subordinate organisation were summarised in PC/EX/ES/22, dated 25 September (on file AA :

A1066, ER45/9/2). They included an Economic and Employment Commission, to advise in particular on promotion of full employment and raising of living standards. Specialised committees to assist this commission included an Employment Committee (to study national and international methods of promoting full employment and domestic problems associated with the maintenance of full employment, and to analyse and disseminate information on employment), a Balance of Payments Committee and an Economic Development Committee.


[AA : A1066, H45/771/4]