NOVEMBER 21, 1949
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Last Friday in Committee Three we began discussion of the Economic and Social Council resolution which referred to us the report of the International Children's Emergency Fund. The council had passed a resolution appointing an inter-agency committee to go over the whole question of children's needs throughout the world. The evident intention in naming this committee was that some orderly procedure be recommended either for the continuation of the Children's Emergency Fund on a permanent basis or for the orderly closing of the fund and the taking over by specialized agencies, or other UN permanent groups, of the work that it seemed necessary to do for children on a worldwide basis. This would of course include the improvement of food supplies, medical care and research, educational opportunities and work conditions.
To some of us it seemed advisable to note with appreciation and gratitude the very considerable work accomplished thus far during the emergency period in Europe, when mass feeding was essential to save many children. The original resolution said that the fund was to concern itself primarily with children who were the victims of World War II in countries which had suffered from devastation and occupation. That this work was decreasing in urgency in Europe the fund itself had acknowledged, and it had begun to broaden its base of operations and to move into other areas where war had emphasized needs which had long existed among the children of the Near East, the Far East, Africa and Latin America.
It was necessary also to urge nations and people to give generously now so that the fund could carry through the projects it had undertaken, and then wait for final decision of what was to be done in the future after the report of the inter-agency group was available and had been presented to the Economic and Social Council next February. Recommendations would then be made which could be reviewed and permanently decided upon at the next session of the UN General Assembly.
Some countries, however, seemed to feel that an emergency organization should continue indefinitely on that basis and tackle a job which now should be considered on a permanent basis, or at least should be continued for many years. These countries insisted on bringing up in this meeting a resolution which, while it does not completely pre-judge the future, does tacitly put the fund without any further consideration into a wider area of work and considers it as an essential part of the social welfare organizations within the UN The wisdom of this seems doubtful to some of us. Even though we realize that the needs of children are of paramount importance, we also realize the magnitude of the work that should be done and the careful consideration that should be given to the manner in which it should be carried out over a long period of time. The discussion, which will continue on Monday, has been lengthened, of course, by the fact that we are considering something which I think we are not prepared to discuss until we receive the inter-agency report and a review of it from the Economic and Social Council.