Ad Hoc Committee on Statelessness and Related Problems, First Session: Summary Record of the Fifth Meeting Held at Lake Success, New York, on Wednesday, 18 January 1950, at 2.15 p.m.
Chairman: Mr. CHANCE Canada
Members: 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
Mr. HENKIN United States of America
Mr. PEREZ PEROZO Venezuela
Representative of a specialized agency: Mr. WEIS International Refugee Organization (IRO)
Consultant from non-governmental organizations:
Category A: Mr. STOLZ American Federation of Labor (AF of L)
Category B: Mr. MOSKOWITZ Consultative Council of Jewish Organizations
Mr. BERNSTEIN Co-ordinating Board of Jewish Organizations for Consultations with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Mr. HUMPHREY Representative of the Assistant Secretary-General
Mr. HOGAN Secretary of the Committee
INTERNATIONAL STATUS OF REFUGEES AND STATELESS PERSONS (E/AC.32/2, E/AC.32/2, E/AC.32/L.3, E/AC.32/L.4) (continued)
1. The CHAIRMAN invited the Committee to continue the general discussion on the definition of the term "refugees".
2. Mr. CHA (China) hoped that the representative of Israel would not press the Committee to draw an absolute demarcation line between refugees on the one hand and stateless persons on the other. It would be logical, as suggested by the Danish representative, to undertake a study in three stages during which successive studies would be made of the problem of refugees as such and of stateless persons who were also refugees, the problem of stateless persons who were not refugees, and finally the problem of the elimination of statelessness. By acting in that manner the Committee would not depart from its terms of reference.
3. The CHAIRMAN stated that the representative of Israel already appeared to have agreed to that programme of work.
4. Mr. CHA (China), while reserving his right to comment on the details of the text of article 1 of the draft convention proposed by the United States (E/AC.32/L.4), stated that he was wholly in agreement with the principle underlying the United States draft. The different categories of refugees to which the proposed convention should apply must be clearly indicated; it would be difficult for the Governments to ratify a convention which otherwise would amount to a kind of document signed in blank to which could be subsequently added new categories of beneficiaries without number.
5. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) referred to the observations made by the French representative in the course of the preceding meeting (E/AC.32/SR.4) concerning the General Assembly resolution of 3 December 1949 (A/1119). Anyone comparing the last paragraph of the preamble of that resolution with sub-paragraph (b) of paragraph 4 of its operative part and with paragraph 3 of the annex would come to conclusion that the General Assembly had envisaged a definition of refugees corresponding to that contained in the Constitution of the IRO, on the understanding that that definition must not be static, as new categories might be included in it by the General Assembly itself or by the provisions of international conventions and agreements approved by the Assembly. Thus it was that the Economic and Social Council had been invited to transmit to the Assembly all recommendations concerning the definitions of the term "refugees" to be applied by the High Commissioner and that those recommendations could bear not only on existing definitions but also on new definitions deemed appropriate by the Economic and Social Council. There could, however, be no doubt that the source and basis of the definition of refugees must be the IRO Constitution, and the Committee must take into account that desire of the Assembly.
6. Or course the Committee's terms of reference had been established prior to the General Assembly resolution, and it might be argued that they were not affected by it. The General Assembly, however, had had the Committee's terms of reference in mind when it had approved the said resolution, for the draft convention which the Committee was called upon to prepare was, as shown in paragraph 3 of the annex, certainly among those which the Assembly must approve in that sphere. It followed that, far from being able to ignore that resolution, the Committee must keep its provisions in mind in the course of its own work. It, too, must be guided by the reasons which had led the Assembly to think that the definition of refugees must enumerate specific categories rather than include in a general formula all present and future refugees.
7. The French representative had stated that a definition so conceived would result in discrimination among refugees, certain groups of which would be protected to the exclusion others. It should not be forgotten, however, that the entire work of the IRO during three years had been accomplished under just such a system of discrimination, and that the general Assembly itself had maintained the same principle in its last resolution. If the Assembly had done that, it had undoubtedly acted, not so much for financial considerations - for, after all, it had contemplated only the legal protection of refugees - but because it had wanted to avoid too general a definition which, including, without exception, all the refugees of the world would place upon the High Commissioner an administrative burden the practical result of which would render any protection impossible. If everyone, everywhere and in any circumstances, had the right to appeal for protection to the High Commissioner, the latter would soon be swamped by appeals, and the General Assembly would receive complaints about the manner in which he was discharging his duties. That was what the General Assembly had wished to avoid in practice.
8. For all those reasons the Committee should adopt for the principle of a specific definition which, without being a definitive crystallization of the idea of "refugees", would make it possible to ascertain at any moment which were the groups entitled to effective international protection.
9. The United States delegation had been motivated by that point of view when preparing its draft definition. It had taken as a point of departure the constitution of the IRO, keeping to its terminology, but had added thereto refugees from the First World War in the belief, although it had not settled idea on that particular point, that their inclusion in the new convention would make it possible to cancel previous conventions protecting them.
10. The definition taken from the IRO constitution had been modified in certain respects. Some of the changes made were merely of a drafting nature. For example, it had seemed desirable to clarify to a certain extent the definition of a refugee who had been a victim of the Nazi or fascist regimes. According to the United States draft he would be considered as such if he were unwilling or unable to avail himself of the protection of the provisional German Government or of the Governments of Austria, Czechoslovakia or Italy. That was tantamount to saying that he had to be a stateless person de jure or de facto, but the term adopted was preferable because, as the representative of Israel had rightly pointed out, there was no such thing as a de facto stateless person.
11. The same clarification had been added to the definition of Spanish refugees.
12. The representative of France had observed that the definition of neo-refugees could be interpreted very broadly. The fact was that it already appeared in the IRO Constitution where its meaning was quite clear: it would have to have the identical meaning in the convention. It did not apply to all types of refugees wherever they might be, but only to those who had become refugees as a result of events which had followed the outbreak of second world war.
13. In its definition of neo-refugees, the United States delegation had introduced two exceptions which did not appear in the IRO definition.
14. One of them concerned refugees for whom provision had been made separately be resolutions 212(III) and 302(IV) of the General Assembly, namely Palestine refugees.
15. The other concerned persons of German ethnic origin residing in Germany. If that provision were criticized as constituting racial discrimination among refugees, the United States Government was not to be blamed for it: it had simply retained, and then only in part one of the exceptions listed in paragraph 4 of part II of annex I of the IRO Constitution.
16. Part II of annex I contained a number of other exceptions which the United States Government had not considered it appropriate to include. Apparently it was not alone in that view since the second solution mentioned in the Secretariat memorandum referred only to the definitions contained in section A of part I of the annex, thereby eliminating all the exceptions in part II. For its part, the United States Government was of the opinion that at the present time there were no longer any war criminals who had not been punished and there was therefore no need to except them. On the other hand, the exception of common law criminals subject to extradition would naturally continue to be applicable.
17. While, in principle, it favoured the elimination of all exceptions, the United States Government wanted to maintain that of refugees of German ethnic origin residing in Germany because it considered that group of nearly eight million persons as normally under the jurisdiction of the German Government and it did not want to encourage that government to renounce all responsibility toward them by placing them under international protection.
18. In short, the United States was proposing a definition of refugees which was very largely based on the IRO Constitution but which did not merely adhere to that Constitution had been discarded save for the one concerning Germans residing in Germany.
19. Mr. Henkin sincerely believed that that definition would satisfy the wish of the General Assembly and its expectations from the Economic and Social Council. If new categories of refugees appeared in the future, they could always be added to list and defined by protocols or otherwise on the initiative either of a State signatory to the convention or of the High Commissioner. The method to be followed in adding such new groups could, moreover, be set forth in a special provision of the convention.
20. The CHAIRMAN, after consulting the representative of the Secretariat, made clear that the second solution given in the memorandum (E/AC.32/2) was applicable, according to the author, not only to the definitions in section A of part I of annex I of the IRO Constitution, but also to the exceptions in part II of that annex.
21. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) confirmed the fact that his Government was nonetheless prepared to eliminate from the definition all the exceptions save that concerning persons of German ethnic origin residing in Germany.
22. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) pointed out that besides that method employed by the United States delegation of defining refugees by determining those who came within the competence of the High Commissioner, there was another method for deciding what categories would benefit be the convention regardless of whether or not they would come under the jurisdiction of the High Commissioner. There was no reason why the benefits of the Convention should be confined to those refugees within the sphere of the High Commissioner.
23. Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) remarked that, as a result of the various oral proposals and suggestions which had been made, the Committee should be able to take an overall view of the question. There were three possible methods of defining the term "refugees": the first wholly empirical, would result in what might be called an autonomous definition; the second would be to take up the traditional definition of the United Nations; and the third, which would embody in the convention a new definition independent of the United Nations definition.
24. The first method - that of leaving it for each contracting party itself to define the term "refugee" - would make the convention both vague and ineffective. On the one hand, it would never be known to whom the convention applied because with the convention, such as granting him travel papers, might not be valid in another country which did not consider him to be a refugee.
25. That method should consequently be avoided, as an article 1 drafted in such terms would make the convention virtually inoperative.
26. That did not mean that the two remaining methods should allow the signatories no latitude to interpret the convention. The convention would obviously have to be applied within the framework of the legal system of any given country; there was no objection to that, provided that domestic law was not interpreted so rigidly as to reduce the effectiveness of the convention. Furthermore, the provisions of the convention would represent only an obligatory minimum of international co-operation and all signatory States would be free to follow the generous example of France which in 1938 had voluntarily extended to Spanish refugees the protection previously granted to other refugees.
27. Once the first method was discarded, the next to be considered was that of repeating in the convention the definition of refugees as already accepted by the United Nations. There seemed to be no objection to that method. It was based directly on the principle of international co-operation under the aegis of the United Nations.
28. In principle, the Committee was legally bound only by the terms of reference given to it by the Economic and Social Council, of which it was a subsidiary body; but the Council itself could take no action independently of the General Assembly. The Committee should therefore take the latter's opinion into account and should interpret its terms of reference in the light of all the Assembly resolutions which might be relevant to its own work.
29. Must it be thought - as had been said - that the draft convention prepared by the Committee should be submitted for approval to the General Assembly under paragraph 3 of the annex of the resolution of 3 December 1949? That was a moot point, for the Committee's terms of reference called simply for the preparation of a draft convention, its transmission to Governments for comments, and the submission of the Committee's reports, accompanied by the said comments, to the Economic and Social Council. Nowhere was it definitely stated that the Economic and Social Council should transmit the draft convention to the General Assembly for adoption. In that connexion, attention might be called to the new rules of procedure of the General Assembly which said that it was not desirable that international conventions should be drafted by the Committees of the General Assembly. The simplest solution might be to refer the draft to an international diplomatic conference, as had been done in the case of the convention on displaced persons. But it could not be denied that the General Assembly would in any case have the right to review the draft which consequently, in order to earn its approval, should conform with its views.
30. The point raised by the United Kingdom representative should be settled with that in view. In drafting the convention, the Committee could not ignore the existence of the High Commissioner for Refugees and the decisions of the General Assembly on the matter. Were it to act otherwise, overlapping would inevitably result, and it was common knowledge that the General Assembly had recently made an effort to eliminate overlapping as it hampered the effectiveness of the Organization's work.
31. Consequently, if the Committee wished to promote co-ordination and effective international co-operation, it should link up its work to that of the United Nations. It was essential that the results of the Committee's labours should satisfy the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly and that those two bodies should be able to use the Committee's draft in the way they would a recommendation by experts. It was in that spirit that the Committee should settle the question of definitions.
32. Mr. Robinson was aware that the convention should also be open to non-member States and that some account should therefore be taken of their views. That should be done, however, without deviating from the general line of action of the United Nations, the principles of which should form the basis of the draft convention.
33. For those reasons, the definition of refugees included in the convention should be that accepted and recognized by the United Nations. The Israel delegation favoured that principle, on which the definition submitted by the United States was also based.
34. The third method was to work out a new definition independent of that of the United Nations. That was the proposal of the delegations of the United Kingdom (E/AC.32/L.2) and of France (E/AC.32/L.3), which had submitted very broad and vague definitions. Seen in the light of recent experience, those definitions seemed to embrace many categories of persons not recognized as refugees and to leave out others already recognized as such. They were too abstract and too far removed from reality and departed from the tradition of the United Nations, which was based on humanitarian principles in the case in point. The French draft in particular wished to some extent to scrap what might be called the legal precedents in the matter and to take the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the sole point of departure. Members of the United Nations could hardly be asked to discard the experience already acquired by that Organization in exchange for abstract formulas.
35. The United Kingdom definition might raise strong political opposition, as it was something in the nature of a blank check and it was unlikely that the Governments of the States concerned would agree to sign such a convention. Moreover, that definition laid down a general rule without providing for a single exception, which was not customary in diplomatic instruments. While it was proper to state general principles, national legislatures and public opinion required that they should be adapted to practical needs.
36. The main objection to the French definition was that it reduced the problem of refugees to that of the right of asylum. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that right was stated in rather restricted terms, for while it gave the individual the right to seek a country's protection it did not oblige the country to accept him. The Committee must not forget that the International Law Commission had decided not to include the right of asylum in the declaration on rights and duties of States and that one of its members had been asked to prepare a report on the question, which was also involved in a decision shortly to be taken by the International Court of Justice on a dispute between two Latin American States concerning the interpretation of a bilateral agreement. To avoid any danger of overlapping, it would be preferable not to link the definition of the term "refugee" to the as yet unclarified concept of the right of asylum. The French proposal was certainly interesting in that it constituted an innovation, but it was too abstract and general.
37. With regard to drafting, the definition of the term "refugee" could take the form either of a general rule followed by a general clause which would enable other groups to be added later. Mr. Robinson preferred the second formula, as it would take past achievements as its starting point, while leaving the door open to such amendment as might be necessary.
38. The United States definition derived from that notion. The United Kingdom representative had objected to the length of that definition; that could easily be remedied, however, by altering the form without changing the substance.
39. Thus, the whole of paragraph (1) of part A of the article could be replaced by sub-paragraph (1) (c) of section A of the first part of annex 1 of the IRO Constitution.
40. The first sentence of part A, paragraph 2, might be retained as drafted; sub-paragraphs (a), (b) and even (c) of that paragraph, however, might be deleted.
41. Paragraph 3 added nothing new to the definition of displaced persons and unaccompanied children: it would therefore be sufficient to replace it by a brief reference to the General Assembly resolutions containing a definition of those categories.
42. Thus modified, the United States definition would be short and complete; it would include all traditional categories of refugees, and would leave the way open to new categories.
43. The remaining problem to be considered was that of the exceptions provided for in the IRO Constitution of which the United States wished to retain only the one concerning persons of German origin residing in Germany.
44. Mr. Robinson felt that the exceptions should also be maintained with regard to persons of German origin residing abroad. It was known that a number of such persons had helped to carry out Hitler's policy even more than the Germans residing in Germany, as they had been able to act under the cover of their new nationality, while preserving their original German nationality. When called upon, they had not hesitated to join the German army, and it was perhaps among them that the most fanatical Nazis had been found. There was no need, therefore, to invoke humanitarian principles in favour of that type of individual who in no way deserved to be granted the status of international refugee.
45. As regards war criminals, quislings and other traitors covered by paragraph 1 of the second part of annex 1 of the IRO Constitution, the Israeli representative thought that it was premature to say that the category no longer existed. Not all of those criminals had as yet been punished, as recent events had shown. A five-year period of exclusion would be too brief. Mr. Robinson was surprised that the United States Government which, in applying the provisions of its own immigration laws, was always anxious to sift out the war criminals from among prospective immigrants, should be reluctant to deal with that problem on an international plane. That exception should therefore be retained together with that of persons mentioned in paragraph 2 of the second part of the above-mentioned annex. The latter, who of their own free will had in fact helped the enemy to persecute civilian populations or to conduct military operations against the United States, rightly deserved to be treated like war criminals.
46. Subject to those reservations, he would be prepared to accept the United States definition which in the last analysis would merely constitute a recapitulation of the definition already adopted by the United Nations, without closing the door to further revision.
47. The CHAIRMAN thought that at the stage reached in the discussion it might perhaps be appropriate to refer the drafting of article 1 of the draft convention to a working group made up of the representatives who had shown a special interest in the question, in particular those who had submitted drafts for the article. All other representatives could state their views either at once in the Committee, or later in the working group.
48. Mr. RAIN (France) considered that it would be premature to entrust the drafting of article 1 to a working group. It was clear that that solution would eventually have to be adopted, but at the current stage of the discussion such a working group would be of little assistance as its members would adhere to their points of view which would not be tempered by the influence of those representatives who as yet had not reached a definite opinion.
49. He felt, therefore, that the Committee should decide on the spirit in which article 1 of the draft convention should be drafted; after that had been majority of the Committee members, and that task could be entrusted to a very small working group, or even to the Rapporteur.
50. Mr. PEREZ PEROZO (Venezuela) fully agreed with the French representative's view. It would doubtless be premature to entrust the drafting of article 1 to a working group since the latter would not have sufficient instructions which could only be given to the group after all delegations had stated their views in the Committee.
51. He wished to make some general remarks regarding the definition to be included in article 1 of the draft resolution. The delegation of Venezuela considered that the definition should be as exact and concrete as possible, which could only be done by enumerating the various categories to be protected.
52. If the definition adopted was too wide, it might weaken the effect of the convention and prevent numerous States from signing or ratifying it. In order to be really effective, a convention should be ratified by as many States as possible; that aim could not be attained if the obligations imposed upon the contracting parties were too general or too vague. He drew attention to the fact that the world was divided by great ideological differences; that fact should be constantly borne in mind if useful work was to be done.
53. He recalled that international agreements on refugees concluded between 1921 and 1938 had always contained very precise definitions of the persons to whom their provisions applied. In the light of that precedent, he was disinclined to support the United Kingdom and French proposals which gave a far too general definition of the refugees to be protected by the convention. Another objection to the United Kingdom proposal was that it dealt with the whole problem of statelessness in a few brief words, which did not seem very logical.
54. The draft article presented by the United States delegation was more in conformity with the spirit in which the Venezuelan delegation would like that question to be treated. The United States draft provided for a precise classification of the various categories of refugees; it took into account the categories established in the conventions adopted between the two world wars and also certain categories which had been created by recent events. The United States, however, ignored completely an important aspect of the question by excluding from the definition categories of refugees which might be created by future unforeseeable events, thus taking a position diametrically opposed to that of France and the United Kingdom.
55. Of the three proposals submitted that of the United States was most consistent with the views held by the delegation of Venezuela, which felt, nevertheless, that the solution suggested by the Secretariat was the best. The Secretariat had anticipated the addition of new categories of refugees to those recognized at the time of the conclusion of the convention; it had further provided that the contracting parties could, if they so desired, reserve their position with respect to the new categories.
56. Mr. Perez Perozo favoured the adoption of the solution proposed by the Secretary-General, with the possible inclusion of any amendments and changes which might prove necessary in the light of the debate.
57. The CHAIRMAN, speaking as representative of Canada, stated that he had been very much impressed by the arguments adduced by the representative of Israel, particularly those in support of the choice of a definition already adopted by the United Nations. The Israeli representative had, moreover, convinced him of the practical difficulties involved in the suggestion he had made at the third meeting.
58. The Chairman fully shared the view of those representatives who had already pointed out that the convention drafted by the Committee would have to prove acceptable to as many States as possible. Present world conditions should therefore be taken into consideration and a sense of realism shown in choosing the most suitable of the proposals submitted. It did not appear that the world, as it existed today, would be in a position to accept the proposals submitted by France and the United Kingdom, despite the highly humanitarian spirit which motivated them.
59. He stated, in conclusion, that his position as to the question of definition was very close to that taken by the representative of Israel.
60. Mr. RAIN (France) paid tribute to the representative of Israel for his authoritative presentation of his arguments.
61. He agreed with the representative of Israel as to the choice of the method to be followed; neither an "autonomous" nor a purely "conventional" definition should be adopted. It would no doubt be wise to favour a definition based on United Nations tradition. The Committee should, however, concern itself less with the fact that it was a subsidiary organ of the Economic and Social Council and more with the need for a speedy and effective solution. He considered, in that connexion, that the analysis presented by the representative of Israel was both too subtle and too mindful of the Committee's obligations as a subsidiary organ of the Economic and Social Council. The French delegation felt that the Committee should seek out a method which would enable it to draft, as soon as possible, valid convention likely to prove acceptable to the Economic and Social Council and to be accepted by the General Assembly.
62. The French delegation considered that, wherever possible, the drafting of a convention should be entrusted to a technical body with limited membership. The Special Committee met that requirement, and it was incumbent upon it to spare no effort in preparing a draft convention based mainly on the protection of the interests of all categories of refugees.
63. Replying to one of the remarks made by the representative of Israel, Mr. Rain wished to emphasize that no parliament would be alarmed at the idea of a general protection covering all categories of refugees. The French Parliament remained true to the spirit which had inspired the States General of 1789: protection should be granted, without distinction, to all who were worthy of it.
64. The French Government, however lofty its idealism might be, remained fully aware of the facts. It agreed that, in some circumstances, it might no doubt be advisable to refrain from invoking the provisions of a convention, and it was for that reason that the wording proposed by the French delegation for article 1 provided for exceptions to be determined by the General Assembly, or through private agreements between the signatories of the convention and the High Commissioner for Refugees. Mr. Rain was fully prepared, if necessary, to amend his wording in such a way as to render more explicit the concept of the exceptions to be provided for.
65. In the definition suggested by France, article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was mentioned. The representative of Israel had stated that the Declaration provided a narrow concept of the right of asylum. Mr. Rain was unable to share that opinion in view of the crystal-clear wording of article 14(1) which stated that "Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution." The Israeli representative's remark would have been quite justified if article 14 had referred merely to the right to seek asylum, but since it also mentioned the right to enjoy asylum, the opinion expressed by that representative did not warrant support.
66. The French delegation considered that the right of asylum was a basic principle and respect for that principle should be recalled in the first few lines of any convention on refugees. The French delegation would therefore strongly insist upon the inclusion, in whatever definition might be adopted, of a sub-paragraph (a) of the text proposed by France.
67. Mr. Rain pointed out that his text did not deal solely with the right of asylum; in its broad outlines it was analogous to the text proposed by the United Kingdom. Both proposals called for a very broad definition of refugees.
68. Mr. Rain observed that some representatives quoted the IRO Constitution as though it were the Tables of the Law, but France could not share that view. Praise was of course due to the authors of that Constitution, but it had to be recognized that it had been drawn up hurriedly in a period of war psychosis so as to enable material assistance to be given to deserving categories of refugees who had just escaped from great danger. France, while having no desire to criticize the authors of the IRO Constitution, had other ideas about the convention the preparation of which was being undertaken to replace a welter of documents so that complete and effective protection for all refugees might be guaranteed at once and for the future.
69. It would be rash to ignore the fact that the calm now reigning in most countries might cease sooner or later; in the same way it would hardly be realistic not to admit that refugees from other countries were already arriving in certain countries. Was it really desired that the refugees of tomorrow should not be able to enjoy the international protection which had been extended to the refugees of yesterday? Mr. Rain felt that, in the interest of many States and that of humanity as a whole, he was entitled to ask the Committee not to neglect such an important document as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
70. He regretted that he had not urged that the discussion should commence with consideration of the preamble. The French Government had explained in its draft preamble the spirit which animated it in that matter. Therein was an essential element which, if the French definition was adopted, would serve as a basis for the rules which the High Commissioner must draw up in order to give effect to the convention for refugees. Mr. Rain observed that the French courts sometimes refer explicitly or implicitly, to the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man when they had to decide troublesome points of law. He therefore thought that when studying article 7 of the convention they should not separate it from the principles which inspired it.
71. The Committee should devote less attention to the resolutions of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council on that subject than to interpreting as perfectly as possible the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The right of refugees to claim the protection of the country of refuge and of the IRO was fundamental; it could hardly be claimed, therefore, that a given category provided for in previous documents had a right to such protection, while another category was not entitled to it because the relevant question had not been raised when the convention was drawn up.
72. If, however, the French conception of the desirability of a definition of refugees in general terms was not retained, he would still prefer a classification such as that suggested by the United States representative to a definition by reference back to previous documents to which it might become very difficult to make alterations.
73. He wished to make some observations with regard to the exclusions. He agreed with the representative of Israel that it would be excessively optimistic to state, as did the United States representative, that no more war criminals remained to be dealt with. He was convinced that that was not the case, and it would be intolerable that they should be given the protection of the convention.
74. With regard to the neo-refugees, the United States representative excluded persons "of German ethnic origin residing in Germany". It seemed that on that point the United States and Israel representatives had not adopted the same interpretation. The United States representative had referred to the mass of persons of Germanic race, resident in Germany whom he considered as Germans, and whom the German Government should be urged to treat as such. Mr. Rain shared the view of the United States representative so far as the question of persons of German nationality was concerned, but the definition proposed in the United States text raised the criterion of race and not nationality. Speaking in a purely personal capacity and in no way committing his Government, Mr. Rain thought that the French Government could agree that, until the conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany, the persons envisaged in the United States text should be left outside the protection of the convention. it was, however, very dangerous to speak of German ethnic origin, as many people throughout the would had such origin; that was the case, for instance, in France and the United States. It was inadvisable to adhere to the definition given in the IRO Constitution, as the United States delegation had done: that type of definition had been acceptable in the exceptional circumstances which prevailed when the Constitution had been drawn up, but was no longer so, when an endeavour was being made to prepare an enduring and universal work.
75. He believed that he was right in thinking that the IRO had experienced great difficulty in applying the criterion of German ethnic origin and determining whether certain Hungarians, Romanians and Yugoslavs, for example, were to be considered as being of Germanic race. That was a criterion which did not provide so easy a solution as had been implied.
76. The text proposed by the United States, as drafted and apart from the exclusions, applied not only to neo-refugees belonging to categories which had already been recognized, but to all existing and future neo-refugees, whether or not they fell into categories which had already been recognized. The United States, therefore, in fact proposed the same definition as that suggested by the United Kingdom and France but gave it a different interpretation.
77. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) shared in the view of the French representative regarding the procedure to be followed in drawing up article 1 of the draft convention. First of all, it would be necessary to learn the opinions of all the members of the Committee and ascertain what the point of view of the majority; the drafting of the rule would then be relatively simple and rapid.
78. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) said that he would like to be able to study the statements made during the fourth and fifth meetings before submitting his delegation's point of view. He therefore proposed that the meeting should be adjourned.
The meeting rose at 4.45 p.m.