HC Deb 06 June 1945 vol 411 cc861-2
14. Mr. Noel-Baker

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can make a statement concerning the proposal that the Secretary-General and the four Deputy Secretaries-General of the proposed World Organisation should be appointed on the nomination of the Security Council and for a period of three years only.

Mr. Law

The four sponsoring Powers have submitted to the San Francisco Conference amendments to the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals whereby the Secretary-General of the new Organisation and his four deputies would be elected by the General Assembly on recommendation of the Security Council for a period of three years, and the Secretary-General would be eligible for re-election. These proposals are at present under discussion by the Conference.

Mr. Noel-Baker

During their consideration, will the right hon. Gentleman and the Government bear in mind the danger that, if these five superior posts were to become short-term diplomatic appointments, it would be impossible to build up a really international body of the kind that is required?

Mr. Law

I appreciate the point of view which the hon. Member is expressing, but I think that, on the other side, there is a good deal to be said for the argument that it is important that people in the international organisation who hold really important posts should have been, at some fairly recent date, in active contact with the world of men, so to speak, and not live in an abstraction of their own.

Mr. Vernon Bartlett

Will the right hon. Gentleman remember that those of us who worked in connection with the League of Nations know from experience the immense value of building up an international esprit de corps, which cannot possibly be done if you are going to make these diplomatic appointments?

Captain McEwen

Is there not considerable danger, in these matters, of failing to see the wood for the trees?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that, while the institutions at Geneva were taken seriously there was no difficulty whatever about superior officials maintaining contact with their Governments at home, which, as a basis of international security, is essential to the strengthening of the whole thing?