Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a brief statement on the present problem of post-UNRRA relief, in relation, more particularly to an appropriation for that purpose which the government proposes to recommend to parliament. The Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Bridges) has a statement which he desires to make respecting fisheries. It will
include mention of one of the methods suggested by Canada to provide a part of Canada's contribution to post-UNRRA relief. The minister's statement will follow immediately the statement I am now about to make.
As all hon. members are aware, one of the great problems of the post-war period has been the provision of food and other basic essentials of life to the devastated countries of Europe. It will be recalled that the question of post-UNRRA relief was urgently discussed by the united nations general assembly at its last session in New York. Because the programme of UNRRA was coming to an end before the real need of the peoples in war-devastated countries had been fully met, the general assembly recognized that certain countries must receive financial assistance in 1947 to avert hunger, privation and suffering.
Canada had played a leading role in relief operations both during and after the war, and the Canadian government was in strong support of continuing international action to meet-genuine relief needs. However, it became clear at the second part of the first session of the general assembly that a new approach to the problem would be necessary. To this end, the Canadian delegation introduced a proposal which was embodied in a resolution adopted by the assembly on December 11, 1946. This resolution established a special technical committee of experts, on which Canada was represented,, to study the minimum import requirements of needy countries. The committee thus constituted took into consideration the carry-over of relief goods from UNRRA into 1947 and estimated the probable receipts from exports from each country, together with resources which could be regarded as available from foreign loans and credits, shipping receipts, remittances and other sources of foreign currency. According to the committee's report, European countries which had been receiving relief required $583 million of financial assistance.
Intimately linked with this proposal was the question of providing to specially vulnerable groups, such as children and adolescents, in the war-devastated countries the food, clothing and other essential supplies which they require. To meet this requirement, a concrete united nations plan was agreed upon. The general assembly established by unanimous resolution the international childrens emergency fund. The prime purpose of the fund is to provide for children, adolescents and nursing mothers in countries which were victims of aggression, but it will also be used
for child health purposes generally. The fund has presented a tentative budget of $450 million, having as its principal objective one 700-calorie meal a day for twenty million children.
The funds is to be financed by any residual assets made available by UNRRA, by direct contributions from governments and by contributions from voluntary agencies or individuals. The amount of assistance available from UNRRA for this purpose is not likely to be large. Receiving countries might, however, contribute $200 million from their own resources. This would leave a balance of approximately $250 million to be secured from government and from voluntary contributions in other countries.
In the absence of relief on a scale at least approaching the sums recommended by the united nations technical committee, there will be serious hardship and possibly actual starvation in a number oif European countries this year, particularly in the period prior to the harvests in Europe this summer and autumn. In May 1047 the United States Congress authorized an appropriation of $350 million for relief purposes, to be dispensed by arrangements made directly with the needy countries and expressly limited to Austria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, China and the Free Territory of Trieste. This amount includes a sum of $40 million, all or part of which may go to the international children's emergency fund. We have been informed that other states have responded to this emergency by providing funds for relief.
In the light of the need which we believe exists, the action of other countries in that regard, and the availability of surplus food supplies in Canada, the government has decided to recommend to parliament an appropriation of $20 million for post-UNRRA relief needs in 1947. This sum which would be spent subject to such terms and conditions as may be approved by the governor in council, would include a contribution of approximately $5 million to the international children's emergency fund. The remainder of the sum would provide relief to certain specified countries, and would be administered by Canada in. consultation with other states which are adopting similar measures.