Ad Hoc Committee on Statelessness and Related Problems, First Session: Summary Record of the Sixteenth Meeting Held at Lake Success, New York, on Monday, 30 January 1950, at 2.30 p.m.
Chairman: Mr. CHANCE Canada
Mr. CUVELIER Belgium
Mr. GUERREIRO Brazil
Mr. CHA China
Mr. LARSEN Denmark
Mr. RAIN France
Mr. ROBINSON Israel
Mr. KURAL Turkey
Sir Leslie BRASS United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Mr. HENKIN United States of America
Mr. PEREZ PEROZO Venezuela
Representative of specialized agencies:
Mr. METALL International Labour Organisation (ILO)
Mr. WEIS International Refugee Organization (IRO)
Consultants from non-governmental organizations:
Mr. STOLZ American Federation of Labour (AF of L)
Mr. LEWIN Agudas Israel World Organization
Mr. DIJOUR Consultative Council of Jewish Organizations
Mr. BERNSTEIN Co-ordinating Board of Jewish Organizations
Mrs. PARSONS International Council of Women
Mr. HUMPHREY Director, Human Rights Division
Mr. HOGAN Secretary of the Committee
INTERNATIONAL STATUS OF REFUGEES AND STATELESS PERSONS: DRAFT CONVENTION RELATING TO THE STATUS OF REFUGEES (E/AC.32/2, E/AC.32/2/Corr.1, E/AC.32/L.3, E/AC.32/L.3/Corr.1, E/AC.32/L.3/Corr.2, E/AC.32/L.17)
Chapter X (continued) Article 22 - Travel documents
1. The CHAIRMAN called upon the Committee to consider the question of travel documents, which was dealt with in article 22 of the Secretariat draft convention (E/A.32/2), article 17 of the French draft (E/A.32/L.3) and an amendment presented by the United Kingdom (E/AC.32/L.17).
2. Paragraph 1 of article 17 of the French draft reproduced paragraph 1 of the Secretariat draft almost word for word. Paragraph 2 of the French draft, however, was quite different from the corresponding paragraph of the Secretariat draft.
3. On the whole, article 22 of the Secretariat draft was much more general in form than the corresponding article of the French draft, which in turn was less specific than the United Kingdom draft. The Committee should first decide which of those drafts it wished to use as a basis for discussion. It would seem that the choice should lie between the two drafts which were most widely divergent - the Secretariat draft and the United Kingdom draft.
4. Mr. GUERREIRO (Brazil) would prefer the Committee to take the United Kingdom draft, which was both broader tin scope and more specific than the Secretariat draft, as the basis for its discussion. It was easier to out a text down than to expand it.
5. Mr. RAIN (France) wondered whether the Committee was in a position at that juncture to consider a text as long and as technical as the United Kingdom draft.
6. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) pointed out that, except for slight variations, the United Kingdom text merely reproduced the provisions of the London Agreement of 15 October 1946 (E/1112, page 154). The Committee was therefore well able to take a decision on the matter. The real question was to decide whether to insert that text in the convention or merely to have a brief article dealing with the problem in general. A third solution would be to keep the draft article of the Secretariat in the convention and to adopt a separate recommendation in which future contracting parties would be required to accept the regulations contained in the 1946 Agreement with respect to travel documents for refugees.
7. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) stressed the fact that his draft took into account the need for achieving uniformity in the travel documents of refugees, indicated in paragraph 2 of the French draft, and that it attained that end by making the convention a complete entity, without the need to refer to the 1946 Agreement, which was already a somewhat obsolete instrument.
8. The CHAIRMAN proposed that the Committee should take the United Kingdom draft as the basis for discussion.
It was so decided.
9. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) noted that the three drafts all had the same end in view, namely, to enable a refugee who had no passport to return within a given period to the country that issued his travel document. Without that provision, the refugee would probably not be allowed to enter other countries, for they would hesitate to admit him for fear that they might be obliged to keep him permanently on their territory.
10. It had been possible to reduce paragraph 1 of the United Kingdom draft to the simplest terms, because the details given in the other two drafts had been relegated to the schedule, which reproduced all the provisions of the 1946 Agreement with only the following two changes:
11. In sub-paragraph 2 of paragraph of the schedule 13 of the schedule the words "in cases where the refugee's stay is authorized for a specific period only" had been added. That case required special mention among those in which the period during which the refugee was allowed to return might be less than the period of validity of the document, which paragraph 5 set at one or two years; the return period could not, in any case, be less than three months.
12. Paragraph 14 was only one single paragraph, whereas the corresponding article of the 1946 Agreement contained a second paragraph which was not very clear in meaning and could be interpreted in a manner contrary to the interests of refugees.
13. The 1946 Agreement had been signed and put into effect by a large number of countries. It therefore seemed that its provisions might be acceptable to the future contracting parties of the new convention.
14. Paragraph 2 of the United Kingdom draft of article 22 was based on a principle which was directly opposed to the principle of the corresponding paragraph of the Secretariat draft. The latter provided that the earlier agreements and conventions should remain in force, but the United Kingdom draft substituted the provisions of the new convention for the provisions of earlier instruments, with the stipulation that the contracting parties would recognize the validity of earlier documents and treat them in the same way as if they had been issued under paragraph 1.
15. Paragraph 2 obviously raised the more general question of the extent to which the new convention would replace previous conventions. It was to be hoped, of course, that all the parties to earlier agreements and convention would sign the new instrument; if that should not be the case, however, the new convention could not replace earlier conventions for those countries which had not signed it. Hence the need for the final clause of paragraph 2.
16. Mr. WEIS (International Refugees Organization) gave a list of the States which had signed or ratified the 1946 Agreement and those States which, While not signing the Agreement, had declared officially that they would carry out its provisions.
17. Mr. RAIN (France) said he would confine his statement to three remarks of a general nature, until such time as he received the French translation of the United Kingdom draft.
18. In the first place, it appeared to him highly desirable that the new convention should replace all previous instruments, the diversity and vaguely defined field of application of which merely served to confuse the issue. From a practical point of view it would be best to have one single text in place of the various agreements.
19. He did not consider, however, that it was necessary to include in a general document the detailed provisions contained in the schedule to the United Kingdom draft. The logical place for that text would be in a technical agreement on the means of implementation of the convention. To include it in the convention itself would be to destroy its harmony, for it would then contain, side by side with articles setting forth the principles of administrative solutions, one single article providing very detailed rules to cover one specific point. His objection was not merely theoretical; he had already referred to its practical aspect, namely that the members of the committee were not all specialists in technical matters relating to passports and it would be difficult to ask them to make a thorough study of that question.
20. Apart from the question of proportion, there was another reason why the French delegation had not tried to solve the problem by referring to the 1946 Agreement. France itself had not thought it possible to implement that Agreement in view of the fact that the United States was not implementing it. The position taken by the United States had given rise to serious difficulties of a practical nature. If the insertion of the provisions of the 1946 Agreement in the new convention were to prove sufficient reason for a change in the attitude of the United States, the French delegation would have no objection to their being included in the convention. In that case, it would have to be determined whether the provisions concerned were to be reproduced in the body of the convention or as an annex.
21. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) admitted that, in the past, the United States had not adhered to any agreement or convention relating to travel documents for refugees, nor had it issued any documents of that type. Nevertheless, the Government of the United States had, on the one hand, admitted aliens bearing Nansen passports or documents issued under thy provisions of the 1946 Agreement, and, on the other hand, had allowed aliens residing in the United States to leave that country, guaranteeing their right to return by means of a special document, which corresponded to the return clause provided for in the 1946 Agreement.
22. Mr. Henkin reserved his Government's attitude with regard to the issue of travel documents such as those proposed for refugees. He was, however, in a position to assure the Committee that refugees residing in the United States would ordinarily be able to leave the country and return to it. It did not appear, therefore, that the position taken by the United States should be a decisive factor in the choice the Committee was to make between a general article as contained in the Secretariat draft, a detailed ruling as proposed by the United Kingdom, and a recommendation inviting States Members of the United Nations to accept the ruling laid down in 1946.
23. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) reminded the Committee that the 1946 Agreement related to refugees who were the concern of the Inter-Governmental Committee on Refugees, which was no longer in existence. The Agreement itself could therefore be considered null and void and there was no point in referring to it. It was for that reason that the United Kingdom delegation was proposing that the provisions of the Agreement should be included in the convention.
24. There was no need to stress the practical advantages which would result from the standardization of travel documents for refugees. The work of passport control and immigration officers would be considerably simplified if all such documents were based on a single model. In any case, he felt that the text proposed by the Secretariat was too general to be acceptable.
25. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) wished to know why the Secretariat had chosen to retain the provisions of previous conventions and agreements.
26. Mr. HUMPHREY (Secretariat) explained that the Secretariat had thought it desirable that diplomatic instruments subscribed to by a relatively large number of States should remain in effect.
27. The CHAIRMAN, speaking as the representative of Canada, was inclined to share the point of view of the United Kingdom delegation.
28. He explained what had been his country's position hitherto with regard to travel documents. Canada was not a party to the London Agreement, but it had officially recognized it and it admitted the validity of documents issued under that Agreement. It did not, however, issue documents of that kind itself. Refugees who were in Canada could leave it freely, for there were no exit restrictions. In order to go to another country, they had only to obtain a visa from the country of destination. But then the question of their return arose. The re-admission clause, as proposed might raise certain difficulties. Nevertheless, Canada would be ready to accept provisionally a solution whereby the proposed travel documents would, during their period of validity, give the bearer considerable possibility of returning to the country of residence.
29. Mr. RAIN (France) supported the United Kingdom representative's remarks on the advisability of adopting a single model for travel documents, which would prevent the bearer being asked to produce special credentials during the journey. It was a well-known fact that numbers of refugees found great difficulty in establishing t heir civil status. It appeared that the United States delegation was not a priori opposed to that principle. In the circumstances, he saw no objection to accepting the solution of adopting a short article on travel documents with a reference to a set of regulations which would be included in a schedule of the type proposed by the United Kingdom representative.
30. The CHAIRMAN asked the Committee to take a decision on paragraph 1 of article 22 proposed by the United Kingdom, as a provisional measure only, until it had examined the attached schedule paragraph by paragraph. He suggested that the paragraph should be divided into two sentences by the substitution of a full stop for the word "and".
Paragraph 1 of article 22 proposed by the United Kingdom was provisionally approved with the new punctuation suggested by the Chairman.
31. The CHAIRMAN asked the Committee to take a decision on paragraph 2 of the article.
32. Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) pointed out the difference between the United Kingdom text and that of the Secretariat. According to the latter, documents provided for by previous conventions and agreements would continue to be issued after the new convention came into force. On the other hand, it would appear that under the United Kingdom draft the issue of the earlier documents would cease as soon as the new convention came into force.
33. The CHAIRMAN agreed that the United Kingdom draft did indeed provide that the old documents would be replaced by the single model for countries signing the new convention; but there was nothing in its text to prevent counties which were not parties to the new convention from continuing to issue the documents provided for by former agreements.
34. Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) thought the text of paragraph 2 was not suitably placed in article 22, which contained general provisions valid for the whole duration of the convention. Paragraph 2, on the contrary, included temporary provisions which would be better placed in chapter XV. The Committee would see when it examined article 31 of that chapter whether the advantages granted to certain refugees by former conventions should be retained or abandoned.
35. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) emphasized that paragraph 2 had a double scope. On the one hand, it provided for recognition of the validity of travel documents which would continue to be issued by countries signatories of previous conventions which were not parties to the new convention: that was a provision of a lasting nature. On the other hand, the paragraph rendered valid, up to their date of expiry, documents already delivered under previous conventions by future signatories of the new convention: that prevision, taken by itself, was of a temporary nature.
36. Mr. GUERREIRO (Brazil) thought that the only question in connexion with the paragraph was that of its temporary provisions. Indeed, whether or not it was so stipulated in article 22, the new system should automatically apply to all documents issued after the entry into force of the convention, which would be binding on all countries which had signed and adhered to it.
37. Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) pointed out that the maximum validity of documents issued under the former conventions had never exceeded one year.
38. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) said that the fact remained that the States parties to the former conventions which had not adhered to the new convention would be able to continue issuing such documents indefinitely. The provision relating to them was not, therefore, a transitory one and should appear in article 22.
39. Mr. RAIN (France) agreed with the representative of Belgium. The question at issue was not whether, in principle, the new convention would replace the Conventions of 1933 and 1938. The French delegation thought that it should do so. Only such signatories of those two Conventions, however, as adhered to the new one would be bound to accept the new convention in place of the former ones. Those which did not adhere could obviously continue to issue documents of the previous type. The real question, therefore, was whether the validity of those documents would be recognized by the signatories to the new convention. The answer was to be found in paragraph 2, which was thus, in that respect, by no means transitory in character.
40. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) emphasized that the States signatory to the 1946 Agreement which did not adhere to the new convention would in fact issue in the future documents identical with those for which provision was made in the new convention, which according to the United Kingdom proposal would be modelled on the 1946 Agreement. The problem to which the Belgian representative had drawn attention arose, therefore, only in connexion with documents issued under the 1933 and 1938 Conventions, which were of a different type. It was to be hoped, however, that the majority of the signatories to those Conventions would adhere to the new one. The remainder would continue to issue documents of the former type, but that would not cause much inconvenience, since the provisions of those Conventions had many points in common with those in the United Kingdom proposal.
41. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) thought that, in the interests of greater clarity, it would be better to insert the words "so far as the High Contracting Parties to this Convention are concerned" before the semicolon in paragraph 2. That would make it quite clear that the new convention did not make any difference to the earlier system for those States that were applying it and that did not become parties to the new convention.
42. The CHAIRMAN proposed that the Committee should adopt paragraph 2 of article 22 of the United Kingdom draft, with the amendment proposed by the representative of the United States.
It was so decided.
43. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) pointed out that the Committee had examined the question of travel documents granted to refugees regularly resident in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties; it had not, however, studied the case of refugees who did not fulfil that condition - those, for example, who had just arrived in initial reception country.
44. He took as an example the hypothetical case of a German refugee arriving clandestinely in Denmark, without identity papers, and anxious to travel to the United States for family or other reasons. In accordance with paragraph 1 of article 22 as adopted, Denmark would not issue him travel documents, because he did not reside regularly in that country. If, therefore the real objective was to protect the interests of refugees effectively, it seamed expedient to make some provision whereby Denmark would be able to grant such a refugee a travel document enabling him to appear before the consular authorities of the United States and to obtain the visa required for his admission to that country. Obviously, if the United States refused to permit the refugee to remain there, Denmark would be under the obligation to readmit him.
45. He drew attention to the fact that such a method of procedure could not fail to serve the interests of the refugee, without jeopardizing those of the two States concerned. The United States was not obliged to permit the refugee to remain after the period granted him for his stay had expired; while Denmark, having admitted the refugee voluntarily or involuntarily, was under the obligation to permit him to remain if he was unable to go elsewhere. The fact of readmitting him at the conclusion of his journey did not, therefore, constitute a fresh obligation; it was merely a return to the status quo ante.
46. He therefore proposed that article 22 should be so amended that the High Contracting Parties would be able to grant travel documents to all refugees in their territory, whatever their status in the eyes of the law, with the sole stipulation that they should not be regularly resident in another country.
47. The CHAIRMAN expressed doubt concerning the principle that the country issuing the travel document was under an obligation to readmit the refugee if the country of destination would not permit him to remain there.
48. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) said that, although the United States of America had not been a party to the earlier agreements, he felt that, if the convention which the Committee was in process of drafting was to replace those agreements, it was unwise to overlook certain important clauses which they contained. The United Kingdom proposal, in disregarding article 2 of the agreement of 15 October 1946, which provided that the travel document to which article 1 applied might he issued to issued to refugees who were not staying lawfully in the territory of the Government concerned, seemed to bear out the argument of the Danish representative.
49. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) explained that article 2 of the 1946 Agreement had not been embodied in the United Kingdom proposal for the sole reason that it had applied exclusively to refugees not regularly resident in the countries concerned at the time when the Agreement had come into force. The article in question had therefore been of strictly limited duration and it was now entirely dead.
50. He had no objection to the proposal that States should be authorized to issue travel permits to all refugees, even those not regularly resident in the State concerned. It would, however, be going too far to make such a thing obligatory, since to do so would involve States in the further obligation of re-admitting refugees, who might have spent only a few weeks in their territory, if they were unable to remain in the country to which they went.
51. The CHAIRMAN read the text proposed by the Danish representative. It formed a new paragraph, worded as follows:
"The High Contracting Parties reserve the right to issue the documents referred to in paragraph 1 to refugees not residing in their territory."
52. Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) did not think that the text conveyed what its author had intended. The point at issue was not whether the High Contracting Parties were empowered to issue travel documents to refugees not regularly resident in their territory but whether such documents would be recognized by the countries of destination.
53. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) stressed the difference between paragraph 1 of article 22 proposed by the United Kingdom and the additional paragraph proposed by Denmark. The phrase "The High Contracting Parties undertake to issue..." in the United Kingdom text expressed an obligation, whereas the phrase "The High Contracting Parties reserve the right..." in the Danish text expressed a general reservation.
54. All travel documents, whether issued under paragraph 1 or under the paragraph proposed by Denmark, would be subject to the provisions of paragraph 1 of the schedule proposed by the United Kingdom, which entitled the holder of a travel document to return without a visa to the country which had issued the document. That provided the country in which the refugee wished to travel with a safeguard which would apply in all cases: the country issuing a travel document to a refugee would be responsible for him and would be obliged to readmit him, whatever his legal status in that country, if he was not accepted elsewhere.
55. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) pointed out that the issue of a travel document an obligation on the State of issue only. No other State assumed any obligation whatsoever until it affixed a visa to that document.
56. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) shared the opinion of the United Kingdom representative, but he drew attention to paragraph 7 of the schedule proposed by the United Kingdom, under the terms of which the High Contracting Parties would recognize the validity of travel documents issued in accordance with the provisions of article 22.
57. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) admitted that the text of paragraph 7 could be made more explicit: it should be understood that the High Contracting Parties would not be required to recognize travel documents which did not bear their visas.
58. The CHAIRMAN had no objection to the amendment of the Danish representative, but he feared that such provisions would not be of great assistance to the refugees, as the representative of Israel had pointed out.
59. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) explained why, in his opinion, the text he has proposed was in the best interests of the refugees. A refugee who arrived in Denmark, for example, and was immediately granted a travel document, could go for a certain period of time to the country where he intended to settle; while there, he could obtain authorization to reside there regularly. On the other hand, if such a refugee had no freedom of movement but was confined to Denmark owing to the lack of a travel document, it would be very difficult for him to study the possibility of settling elsewhere.
60. Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) warmly supported the opinion of the representative of Denmark. If the High Contracting Parties could grant travel documents to refugees not regularly resident in their territory, that would give many refugees an opportunity to settle permanently, in full knowledge of the circumstances, and therefore in the best possible conditions.
61. The CHAIRMAN suggested that the Committee should adopt the text proposed by the representative of Denmark, which would become paragraph 2 of article 22; the present paragraph 2 would then become paragraph 3.
62. Mr. Robinson (Israel) suggested that the Danish text should be adopted only provisionally, since it would be well to make certain that the provisions of that text were not contradictory to certain provisions of the schedule proposed by the United Kingdom representative.
63. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) proposed that the phrase "reserve the right to" should be replace by the word "may".
The text proposed by the Danish representative, as amended by the United Kingdom, was adopted provisionally. It became paragraph 2 of article 22, the former paragraph 2 becoming paragraph 3.
Schedule to the convention, proposed by the United Kingdom (E/AC.32/L.17)
64. The CHAIRMAN asked the Committee to examine, paragraph by paragraph, the schedule to the convention referred to in first paragraph of article 22. The schedule formed part of the United Kingdom draft for article 22 (E/AC.32/L.17)
Paragraph 1, sub-paragraph 1
65. The CHAIRMAN suggested that sub-paragraph 1 should be considered later, since it dealt with the form of the travel document.
It was so decided.
Paragraph 1, sub-paragraph 2
66. Mr. CHA (China) enquired why the use of English as well as French was not provided for. Such a provision would be more in keeping with the practice of the United Nations.
67. Mr. KURAL (Turkey) pointed out that in the matter of passports the use f the French language was a custom which was still observed in many countries. Moreover, French was still considered as the language of diplomacy in most of the countries where the refugee problem was most acute.
Sub-paragraph 2 was adopted without change.
Paragraph 2 was adopted.
Paragraph 3 was adopted.
68. Mr. HENKIN (United State of America) thought that many paragraph of the schedule were of no real importance but that they should be adopted out of respect for the provisions of the Agreement of 15 August 1946, upon which the schedule proposed by the United Kingdom was based.
69. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) pointed out that when the 1946 Agreement had been drawn up, there had still been many restrictions, even in connexion with national passports. Such restrictions had been imposed as far back as the time of the Spanish Civil War.
70. The CHAIRMAN stated that he would prefer the phrase "all countries" to replace"the largest possible number of countries". In view, however, of the wish to respect the terms of the 1946 Agreement as far as possible, he would not propose that amendment.
Paragraph 4 was adopted.
Paragraph 5 was adopted.
Paragraph 6, sub-paragraph 1
71. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) pointed out that sub-paragraph 1 should be amended to take into account the adoption of the Danish proposal in connexion with article 22. The phrase "so long as the holder resides lawfully in the territory of the said authority" should be replaced by the phrase "so long as the holder has not established his lawful residence in another country".
72. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) did not quite understand the difference between the expressions "renewal of the document", "extension of the validity of the document" and "issue of a new document", all of which appeared in sub-paragraph 1.
73. Mr. RAIN (France) thought that the use of those three expressions was anomalous; there might be a slight difference, though purely one of form, between renewal and extension, but there was certainly no difference between the renewal and the issue of a new document.
74. The CHAIRMAN proposed that the second sentence of the sub-paragraph should be deleted, and that the first sentence should begin: "The issue, renew or extension...".
75. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) pointed out that the services concerned were sometimes very strict in the matter of form and that it would wherefore be advisable to use the expressions adopted in the 1946 Agreement, which had been drawn up by experts.
Sub-paragraph 1 of paragraph 6 was adopted without change.
Paragraph 6, sub-paragraph 2
Sub-paragraph 2 of paragraph 6 was adopted.
76. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) pointed out that the provisions of paragraph 2 of article 22 should be mentioned. He proposed that the words "article 22" should replace the term "article 22 (1)".
Paragraph 7, as amended, was adopted.
77. Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) thought that the expression "the competent authorities" might give rise to certain difficulties. It was the consular authorities which granted visas in the case of ordinary passports.
78. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) thought that the expression " if they are prepared to admit him" explained the use of the words "the competent authorities. In point of fact, the consular authorities would have to make inquiries and ask for instructions from the "competent authorities" before granting the visa. Such a procedure, although obviously rather lengthy, was necessary.
79. Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) pointed out that certain States allowed their consuls to grant visas without reference to the central administration.
80. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) thought that was a purely domestic question. In his opinion, the expression "the competent authorities" might well include consular authorities.
81. He asked whether some European States admitted refugees without visas.
82. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) thought that in certain cases refugees could travel from one country to another without going through the formality of obtaining a visa.
83. He suggested that a second sub-paragraph worded as follows, should be added to paragraph 8: "The High Contracting Parties reserve the right to exempt, by bilateral convention, the holder of the travel documents referred to in article 22 of the Convention from the necessity of obtaining a visa."
84. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) thought that it would be simpler to amend the existing paragraph by the addition of the words "if a visa is necessary".
85. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) agreed that the United States representative's proposal covered the question perfectly, but thought that it would do no harm to point out to States from time to time how they could solve certain problems.
86. Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) proposed that a second sub-paragraph should be added to paragraph 8 as follows: "Nothing in the provisions of the preceding sub-paragraph shall be construed as forbidding States to absolve refugees from the necessity of obtaining a visa."
87. Thus the first sub-paragraph would be a statement of the general rule, while the second would state the exceptions to that rule.
88. Mr. GUERREIRO (Brazil) preferred the United States representative's proposal, as it covered the question perfectly; States would fully understand what was meant by the expression "if a visa is necessary".
89. Mr. KURAL (Turkey) had no objection to the proposals which had just been made but wondered whether there was really any need to amend paragraph 8. Any State willing to admit refugees without requiring them to obtain a visa was free to do so and to conclude bilateral agreements with certain other States.
90. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) agreed with the Turkish representative. As the Committee was not composed of experts, it should refrain as far as possible from altering the terms of the 1946 Agreement.
91. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) proposed that the suggestion of the United States representative, which was to add the words "if a visa is necessary", should be adopted.
Paragraph 8, as amended, was adopted.
CORRIGENDA TO SUMMARY RECORDS E/AC.32/SR.4, E/AC.32/SR.6 and E/AC.32/SR.8
92. Mr. RAIN (France) said that the Secretariat had refused his request for corrections to be made to certain summary records, on the grounds that the 48 hours time-limit provided for that purpose had expired. As it was essential that the corrections in question should be made, he would bring them to the notice of the Committee himself.
93. The following were the corrections to be made:
E/AC.32/SR.4: fourth meeting, Wednesday, 18 January 1950, at 11 a.m.
Paragraph 20: "He noted that the expression 'seeking asylum', used in the French proposal, had caused some concern. He wished to explain that the term had not been intended to apply to persons who were living in their own country of origin and wished to obtain asylum elsewhere, but only to those who had already left their country and whose need to find a reception country was urgent, like those Jews who had sailed almost all the way round the world before the war without finding a country to open its doors to them."
Paragraph 22, line 9: "....the IRO, but that text used the expression 'for the time being'. On the other hand, sub-paragraph (b) of paragraph 4 of the operative part of that same resolution requested the Economic and Social Council to transmit to the General Assembly its recommendations regarding the definition of the term 'refugee' to be applied by the High Commissioner and made not stipulation whatever that that definition should be consonant with that of IRO or even be based upon it. In point of fact, the Assembly had decided that the IRO definition should be retained until same other definition was submitted to it. The Committee, however, was entirely at liberty to frame one."
Paragraph 23, line 11: "....exercise control personally or nominate delegates in the countries with the largest groups of refugees. He should supervise the proper application of the relevant convention and, with the aid of his delegates, arrange for the conclusion...".
Paragraph 24: "Mr. Rain was prepared to offer the hospitality of his country to the High Commissioner for Refugees or his delegate, but not to the administrative offices of a large delegation".
E/AC.32/SR.6: sixth meeting, Thursday, 19 January 1950, at 11 a.m.
Paragraph 7, line 5: "... Declaration of Human Rights which could, for lack of anything better, be introduced in the preamble...".
E/AC.32/SR.8: eighth meeting, Monday, 23 January 1950, at 3 p.m.
Paragraph 5, line 3: "subject to the laws of the country of which they had been nationals".
Paragraph 5, line 5: "of that article made it clear that the laws to be taken into account on a considerable number of matters were those which had been in force in their country of origin before the refugees' departure...".
Paragraph 15: "Mr. RAIN (France) explained that the proposed French draft of the article in question was the combination of the provisions of article 6 of the Geneva Convention of 10 February 1938, from which the first sub-paragraph of the French drat was taken, and of the corresponding article of the 1938 Convention, from which the other two sub-paragraphs were taken. He confirmed that his country had some scruples about imposing its national law on refugees who had retained their nationality; he recognized that the law might have developed in a way which refugees did not approve of and that they might not be familiar with it. On the other hand, he was willing to admit that for the reception country it was simpler and in all respects preferable to apply the law of the country of domicile. Consequently, he did not think that his Government would insist and he himself was willing to support the Secretariat text."
Paragraph 21, line 4: "...he wondered how the Brazilian courts could, in the name of public order, oppose the application of certain provisions of the national law, if it was agreed to refer to the law of the country of domicile and not to the law of the country of origin."
Paragraph 22, line 3: "...which dealt with family rights...".
Paragraph 22, line 7: "...he personally found the Secretariat text quite acceptable."
The meeting rose at 4.40 p.m.