As discussed earlier, by SCAPE's third session in mid

-1948

it became abundantly clear that the function of the Commission was not to determine the measure of aid needed to the countries of the region but that the Commission's main role would be that of an organ primarily designed,

(a) to study, identify and analyse Asia's economic problems in their national, regional and international setting, and (b) to stimulate activities that would promote direct co-operation among its members and

1

See Table

2

^p/to.The only exception to this rule was the election of the Indian representative as chairman at the Kandy (Ceylon) session in 1954* The leader of the host country delegation could not be nominated chairman because Ceylon was still an associate member and ECAFE rules provide that

the chairman should be elected from amongst its members. (U.N.Doc.E/CN. II/

389

, ECAFE, S . R . , 10th session, Feb.

1954

, p.40>

th u s h e lp th e c o u n tr ie s o f th e re g io n i n f o r m u la tin g sound p o l i c i e s and im proving t h e i r m achinery f o r im plem enting th o s e p o l i c i e s .

In o rd e r to perform such f u n c t i o n s , ECAFE r e q u ir e d c e r t a i n

r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s u b s id ia r y b o d ies i n w hich th e g o v ern m en tal d e le g a te s and e x p e r ts could h e lp each o th e r i n overcom ing, o r a t l e a s t a l l e v i a t i n g , t h e i r d i f f i c u l t i e s by m utual exchange o f e x p e rie n c e on economic problem s

common to a l l th e c o u n tr ie s o f th e r e g io n . B u t, as m entioned e a r l i e r ,

th e r e g io n a l and th e W estern members w ere h o p e le s s ly d iv id e d on th e

Commission*s r o l e in th e f i e l d o f i n d u s t r i a l i s a t i o n . The W estern powers

i n s i s t e d t h a t th e Commission had n o th in g to do w ith o p e r a tio n ^ f u n c tio n s

in re g a rd to i n d u s t r i a l ex p an sio n i n i n d i v i d u a l c o u n tr i e s . I n d i a , on th e

c o n tr a r y , went so f a r as to s u g g e s t t h a t th e Commission la y down t a r g e t s to be ach iev ed by each i n d iv id u a l A sian c o u n try i n t h i s f i e l d .

The d i f f e r i n g view s o f th e r e g i o n a l and W estern c o u n tr ie s n a t u r a l l y

a f f e c t e d t h e i r th in k in g on ECAFE*s o r g a n i s a t i o n a l s t r u c t u r e . At th e

Com m ission's Lapstone s e s s i o n i n November 1948 th e S e c r e t a r i a t , on th e b a s is o f a recom m endation by a Working P a r ty f o r I n d u s t r i a l D evelopm ent, p ro p o sed th e c r e a t i o n o f two s u b s id ia r y b o d ie s - a Committee on I n d u s tr y

and a Committee on T rad e . As e x p e c te d , th e W estern pow ers, p a r t i c u l a r l y

th e U n ited Kingdom, who th o u g h t t h a t th e Commission sh o u ld n o t go beyond th e c o l l e c t i o n o f economic d a ta , b lo c k e d th e a d o p tio n o f th e S e c r e t a r i a t

s u g g e s tio n . E v e n tu a lly i t was d e c id e d t h a t th e problem o f o r g a n i s a t i o n a l

s t r u c t u r e re q u ir e d 'c l o s e r exam ination* and t h a t a Committee o f th e Whole be convened to d is c u s s th e m a tte r f u l l y .

U .N .D oc.E/CN.11 /S .R .6 5 ) ECAFE, S . R . , 4 th s e s s i o n , N ov.1948, pp.5-8*

When th e Committee o f th e Whole (March 1949) met to c o n s id e r t h i s q u e s tio n , th e p e r s i s te n c e o f th e A sian c o u n tr ie s p ersu ad ed th e W estern powers to a g re e to an e s ta b lis h m e n t o f a Committee on I n d u s tr y and T rade

to f a c i l i t a t e th e work o f th e Commission in th o s e f i e l d s . There a r o s e ,

how ever, a d isag ree m e n t betw een th e S o v ie t Union and th e o th e r members r e g a rd in g th e r e l a t i o n s h i p betw een th e p ro p o sed Committee and th e member

governm ents. In o rd e r to make ECAFE an e f f e c t i v e o r g a n is a ti o n I n d ia

p ro posed t h a t th e s u b s id ia r y b o d ie s , though e x p e r t g ro u p s, sh o u ld a ls o be o f a r e p r e s e n t a t i v e c h a r a c te r so t h a t th e y c o u ld make s p e c i a l i s e d recom m endations w ith a t l e a s t some d e g re e o f a s s u ra n c e t h a t th e y co u ld

be a c c e p te d by th e governm ents c o n cern ed . The U n ite d S t a t e s and th e U n ited

Kingdom r e l u c t a n t l y a g re e d , b u t n o t th e S o v ie t U nion. C onsequently two

d r a f t r e s o l u t i o n s were su b m itte d to th e Committee o f th e Whole: o n e , a

j o i n t d r a f t r e s o l u t i o n by I n d i a , th e U n ited Kingdom and th e U n ite d S t a t e s ;

th e o th e r by th e S o v ie t d e le g a tio n . The p r i n c i p a l d i f f e r e n c e betw een th e

two r e s o l u t i o n s la y i n th e p ro p o sed term s o f r e f e r e n c e ; i n p a r t i c u l a r th e j o i n t r e s o l u t i o n p e rm itte d th e Committee to make recom m endations d i r e c t to member and a s s o c i a t e member g overnm ents, i s s u e i n s t r u c t i o n s to th e ECAFE s e c r e t a r i a t , e t c . , w hereas th e S o v ie t r e s o l u t i o n em phasised th e s u b s id ia r y c h a r a c te r o f th e Committee and p ro p o sed t h a t th e Committee

s h o u ld r e p o r t and make recom m endations o n ly to th e Commission. I n f a c t ,

th e S o v ie t Union f e l t t h a t th e J o i n t d r a f t r e s o l u t i o n a u th o r is e d th e Committee to b y -a s s th e Commission, and t r a n s f e r th e main work o f ECAFE

from a p u b lic forum to a te c h n i c a l body, d e p r iv in g h e r o f some p o l i t i c a l a d v an ta g e .

The m a jo r ity o f members f e l t t h a t th e j o i n t r e s o l u t i o n d id not i n any way a f f e c t th e s u b s id ia r y c h a r a c te r o f th e Committee on I n d u s tr y and T rade i n r e l a t i o n to th e Commission and would av o id d e la y in th e work o f th e

2

o r g a n i s a t i o n . C onsequently th e j o i n t p ro p o s a l was approved. The

Committee o f th e Whole a ls o recommended th e c r e a t i o n o f a sub-Com m ittee on I r o n and S t e e l to g a th e r to g e th e r e x i s t i n g know ledge, te c h n iq u e and

3

r e s e a r c h i n th e making o f i r o n and s t e e l .

The e s ta b lis h m e n t o f th e Committee on I n d u s tr y and T rade ( i n A p r il

1949) marked a s i g n i f i c a n t advance i n th e e v o lu tio n o f ECAFE’s o r g a n i s a t i o n a l

s t r u c t u r e . G ra d u a lly , in th e c o u rse o f y e a r s , th e Commission d e v e lo p e d ,

la r g e l y on th e a d v ic e o f th e S e c r e t a r i a t w ith o u t much d e b a te as SCAFE became a g o in g c o n c e rn , a s i z a b l e Committee s t r u c t u r e to cope w ith i t s

m u ltif a r i o u s a c t i v i t i e s . A£ p r e s e n t th e s u b s i d i a r y b o d ie s o f th e

Commission in c lu d e th r e e C om m ittees, s i x su b -C o m m ittees, s i x w orking p a r t i e s and fo u r r e g io n a l c o n f e r e n c e s .^ The C om m ittees, Sub-Comm ittees and C o n feren ces a lth o u g h a tte n d e d m ainly by e x p e r ts (th o u g h not a l l o f

1

'

The S o v ie t Union adopted th e same a t t i t u d e i n ECE. (See Wightraan,

Economic C o -o p e ra tio n i n E u ro p e, o p . c i t . , p p . 6 l - 2 ) . U n til 1953 th e S o v ie t

v i r t u a l l y ig n o re d th e work o f ECAFE's p u re ly t e c h n i c a l b o d i e s . . . . S o v ie t comments and a t t e n t i o n were r e s e r v e d f o r p o l i t i c a l l y e x p l o i t a b l e t o p i c s . 2

U.IT.Doc.E/C1T. 1 l / l 9 0 , ECAFE Committee o f th e Whole (March 1949)> pp*51-3* 3

I b i d . , p . 9 7 . 4

them are experts as all the members or associate members cannot send experts on every subject), are representative bodies whereas the working parties and expert groups are essentially of an expert character. The subsidiary bodies were established only after a need had been clearly felt and debated and actually proved by ad hoc expert meetings preceding their establishment. The Co-ordination Committee for the Investigation of the Lower Mekong, though not an integral part of ECAFE organisation, works in close collaboration with the Commission’s Secretariat and presents a report annually to the Commission.

The Committee on Industry and Natural Resources (as it was renamed in

1957

) is responsible for reviewing the over-all industrial development in the region and promoting industrial development of the countries of .the-

00

untries-of the region. It is assisted in its work by three

sub-Committees - one each on Metals and Engineering (formerly sub-Committee on Iron and Steel), Electric Power, and Mineral Resources Development - and three Working Parties - one each on Small-Scale Industries and Handicraft Marketing, Housing and Building Materials, and a party of Senior Geologists.

The Committee on Trade (as it was bifurcated and renamed in 1957) is responsible for trade promotion, inter-regional as well as intra-

regional and for considering problems affecting international trade. It is assisted in its work by a Y/orking Party on Customs Administration. The annual Intra-Regional Trade Promotion Talks convened under the ECAFE

I nfra, pp. Z ^ " 1^ '

T h e C o m m is si o n a n d I ts S u b s id ia ry B o d ie s r 02 0

In document The United Nations' Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) and India : a study in the politics of economic co-operation and initiative in Asia (Page 128-154)