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Nations moved forward again in 1948 to strengthen the international system for control of narcotic drugs. In the field of labor, the rights and freedoms of workers were the subject of both discussion and action in the United Nations as well as in the International Labor Organization.
REFUGEES AND DISPLACED PERSONS
The United States cooperated actively with the International Refugee Organization (IRO) throughout 1948. The Congress appropriated $70,710,228 as the United States membership contribution to the 1948-49 budget of this United Nations specialized organization, whose task it is to care for, repatriate, and resettle the remaining refugees and displaced persons. The President also approved, on June 25, 1948, Public Law 774, the Displaced Persons Act of 1948, which authorizes the issuance by June 30, 1950, of 205,000 visas for immigration to the United States of eligible displaced persons.
The Iro constitution came into force on August 20, 1948, with 15 members, as follows: Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Guatemala, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, United Kingdom, United States. Venezuela subsequently became a member.
From July 1, 1947, when the Preparatory Commission assumed operating responsibilities, through September 30, 1948, 57,000 refugees and displaced persons were repatriated and 256,000 were resettled in other countries. Although it became increasingly clear throughout 1948 that few displaced persons would voluntarily be repatriated to their countries of origin in Eastern Europe, the Council of the IRO at its first session instructed the Director General to continue his efforts to insure the speedy repatriation of all displaced persons who expressed the wish to be repatriated.
The resettlement of displaced persons in countries where they can start life anew is the only practicable solution for the great majority of displaced persons. Thus, the task of Iro falls naturally into three main parts: (a) repatriation of those who express the wish to be repatriated; () resettlement of the majority, who are not willing to return to their countries of origin for fear of religious, racial, or political persecution; and (c) care and maintenance of those who wait. In addition to these primary functions, the Iro has been active in registering displaced persons able to maintain themselves outside DP camps but requiring legal protection and assistance in resettlement.
The Iro has received many appeals for admission to care and maintenance but, in view of its limited budget, has decided to admit new erly in
applicants for care and maintenance only if hardship would result were the applicant denied care. Political refugees who fled Czechoslovakia as a result of events in that country in February were admitted to IRO camps in August 1948.
Resettlement of displaced persons has taken place with increased momentum, principally to the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Peru, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Venezuela. In order to transport displaced persons to overseas countries of resettlement, the IRO secured from the United States and from other countries the use of 28 ships. Surveys were conducted by the IRO as a means of assisting countries of resettlement. These showed that about one third of the men in Iro camps in 1948 were fo skilled occupations and a quarter were experienced agricultural laborers; that approximately one fifth of the displaced persons were Jewish and one half Catholics; and that 85 percent were 45 years of age or under.
By October 1948, the Displaced Persons Commission, appointed in August to carry out the provisions of the Displaced Persons Act, had begun processing operations in Europe, and several ships carrying eligible displaced persons arrived in the United States during November and December. Although the program of the Displaced Persons Commission had gained momentum by the end of 1948, its operations were severely hampered by the numerous restrictive features of Public Law 774.
During 1948, the activities of the Iro also occupied the attention of the Economic and Social Council. When the report of the Secretary-General which the General Assembly had requested was presented to the Council at its Seventh Session in July-August 1948), a vigorous attack upon the IRO was launched by Eastern European representatives. Following lines already familiar from previous sessions of the Council and the General Assembly, the Soviet Union and countries under its domination charged that repatriation had not proceeded satisfactorily because of the fostering of antirepatriation propaganda and procedures in the camps and that resettlement was exploited by Western countries in order to obtain cheap manpower. Rebuttals of these charges were entered by the United States and other governments and, in the end, Soviet proposals designed to implement their allegations were overwhelmingly defeated. The final Council resolution of August 24, 1948, was a vote of confidence in the Iro. In particular, the Council emphasized the need for continued efforts for both repatriation and resettlement, and it recommended consultation by the IRO with Members of the United Nations in order to accomplish the maximum results in resettlement policy.
With regard to unaccompanied displaced children, the Council resolution recommended the reunion of children with their parents or, under carefully specified conditions, their return to their countries. In the discussion of this resolution, the United States made plain its concern that, in all cases, the best interests and welfare of the individual child should receive primary consideration.
The Council resolution was due for discussion at the 1948 session of the General Assembly. Lack of time, however, compelled postponement of the subject to the Second Part of the Third Session, scheduled for April 1949.
INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S EMERGENCY
The year 1948 marked the first full year of operation of the International Children's Emergency Fund. Since its creation the Fund has expended or firmly committed $64,200,000 on feeding programs. A daily supplementary meal or school lunch has been provided to approximately 4,500,000 children and nursing and expectant mothers in 12 European countries and China.
In cooperation with the World Health Organization and the Scandinavian Red Cross Societies, the Fund inaugurated the largest single mass-immunization campaign ever undertaken, a program of testing 50 million European children for tuberculosis and of vaccinating some 15 million—those found susceptible with the new BCG vaccine. Plans have been made to extend this program to China. The Fund has likewise formulated plans for an attack on venereal disease among children and pregnant mothers in various countries.
Assistance was also given for fellowships for the training of health and welfare personnel for children's work. In cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Fund assisted countries to increase their indigenous milk supplies and to make the most efficient use of them. The Fund authorized extension of its program to certain countries in southeast Asia, North Africa, Latin America, and Germany. Medical rather than feeding programs are proposed for these areas. Recently the Fund authorized the expenditure of approximately 6 million dollars of the assets transferred to it from UNRRA for purposes of feeding and maintaining mothers and children in the refugee population in the Near East.
The United States continues to be the greatest contributor to the Fund, having given about 42 million dollars of the approximately 58
For information on assistance to Palestinian refugees, see ante, p. 52.
million dollars contributed by all governments. The United States Congress authorized contributions up to a total of 75 million dollars on a 72–28 matching ratio, and it is expected that within the near future other governments will have indicated willingness to contribute additional funds so that the full United States contribution may be
UNITED NATIONS APPEAL FOR CHILDREN
Closely associated with the International Children's Emergency Fund has been the United Nations Appeal for Children, the United Nations project for obtaining individual contributions for the benefit of the world's children. The Appeal, established in 1947 under the administrative direction of the Secretary-General as a one-time fundraising project, had collected approximately 30 million dollars by November 1948 from individuals in 50 countries, from specialized agencies, and from staff members of the United Nations itself, who gave one day of their annual salaries. Of the money collected to date 87 percent has been allocated for the relief of children in countries other than those in which the money was collected. This consists of approximately 11 million dollars allocated to the International Children's Emergency Fund, about 14 million dollars to private agencies, and about 11/2 million dollars to UNESCO. The remainder has been allocated to domestic relief projects in 20 contributing countries.
In the United States the United Nations Appeal was combined with the American Overseas Aid campaign (covering some 25 American voluntary agencies operating relief projects abroad) and was conducted on a locality basis, from approximately February 1 to July 1. As of November 1 only about 7 million dollars had been raised of a goal of 60 million dollars. Among the reasons for the lack of success were the failure to obtain large corporate gifts and the confusion as to whether or not small personal gifts were necessary in view of the large United States governmental contribution to the International Children's Emergency Fund.
The Appeal was terminated at the end of 1948 as a separate entity of the United Nations. In taking this action, however, the General Assembly urged all governments to conduct nationally sponsored fund-raising campaigns for the world's children in 1949. The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund will be available for assistance to governments in conducting campaigns, and the name of the United Nations can be used in support of all national appeals the proceeds of which are donated to the Fund.
ADVISORY SOCIAL-WELFARE SERVICES
The United Nations decided to continue its advisory social-welfare services for governments in 1949 on the same basis as in 1948. These services include making available to governments, upon their request and within the funds available, (a) social-welfare consultants, () exchange of fellows in the social-welfare field, (c) demonstration equipment for treatment of the disabled, (d) exchange of films and social-welfare literature, and (e) participation in regional seminars. In 1948 the request for services from governments exceeded the amount which the Secretariat was able to supply. During 1948, however, 18 countries sent 216 fellows to different parts of the world, of whom 89 chose the United States as their country of training. Twelve United Nations consultants were serving in 8 countries at the end of 1948. Demonstration equipment was sent to 7 countries. Requests from 7 countries for social-welfare literature and films were filled in 1948.
SOCIAL-WELFARE WORK PROGRAM FOR 1948–49
The social-welfare work program for 1948–49, which was adopted by the Economic and Social Council, outlines an international program of studies for (a) controlling prostitution, (6) improving social conditions affecting families and children, (c) reducing the incidence of crime, (d) resolving social problems in the field of migration, (e) developing adequate standards of housing, and (f) exploring the most practicable means of raising the standard of living for the mass of the world's population. This work program is to be carried out through specific projects in the above-mentioned fields, which will be undertaken by the Secretariat of the United Nations and result in the completion of basic studies or the development of specific recommendations to governments in the form of conventions or other international agreements. Prostitution
Since 1904 there has been a series of conventions designed to establish in each ratifying country a central authority responsible for coordinating all information relative to the procurement of women and girls for immoral purposes abroad, and for punishing persons hiring or enticing women and girls for immoral purposes. During 1948 the Economic and Social Council asked the Social Commission to give top priority to the consolidation of these conventions into a single document to be presented in 1949 for consideration by all Members of the United Nations.