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Opening Statement by Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, twenty-fourth session, 8 October 1973

Speeches and statements

Opening Statement by Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, twenty-fourth session, 8 October 1973

8 October 1973

Mr. Chairman, I should like, also on behalf of all my colleagues, to extend my warmest congratulations to you on your election as Chairman of this session of the Executive Committee. I would also extend my warmest wishes to my friends, Ambassador Barton of Canada, who has just been appointed Vice-Chairman, and Mr. Arim of Turkey, our distinguished Rapporteur. I feel confident, Mr. Chairman, that under your wise and stimulating guidance, we shall have a very constructive and useful session.

As we meet today, we are once more confronted through the mass media with the rumblings of war from the Middle East. In fact, it may in terms of humanitarian problems to a certain extent overshadow some of the situations which we will be reviewing here together from today on. This confirms the idea that the international community has an ongoing assignment to solve refugee problems as quickly as possible because, while hoping that the refugees in the area will not be too much affected, the fact that for so many years no solution has been found to refugee problems in the Middle East adds to the risk of conflict.

With regard to events overshadowing certain aspects of our work, it has to be noted that, in the past three years, and this last year is no exception, large operations and special events, not strictly speaking relating to refugees within the mandate or connected with the current Material Assistance Programme implemented by this Office, have to some extent tended to overshadow our regular work. This is because these problems have been of considerable size, as in the case of our focal point activities for refugees from Bangladesh in India, or because of the status of the people concerned, as in the case of the Ugandan Asians, or because of the complex and very technical nature of the work that had to be done, as in the case of the challenge which we have faced in the repatriation of refugees to the south Sudan and their rehabilitation. Because of the size, the widely-published nature of the events and the novelty of some of the initiatives that we have had to take, it may seem that our traditional work is less important. Certainly the amount of publicity given to these huge assignments has tended to give this impression. However, it would be quite wrong to assume that our regular functions have lost any of their importance or urgency, or that they can be dealt with by applying long-established methods without much thought.

I should like to try to show you that the traditional problems with which we are confronted require as much energy, as many resources, as much soul-searching and the most imaginative approaches which we can muster. My purpose, here this morning, is not systematically to review the protection and assistance activities of UNHCR. My colleagues will do this in the course of the session, as they introduce the items on the agenda. I would rather today speak to you of problems which inherently link protection and material assistance together - for these functions cannot be divorced - which should serve as examples of the difficulties that we have faced and of their legal and material implications.

I should like to begin by speaking of the recent tragic events in Chile. As members of the Executive Committee are aware, UNHCR has been helping refugees in that country since 1971. These are Latin American refugees, not those refugees of European origin who, after the war, found resettlement opportunities in Latin America. On 13 September, immediately after the change of regime, I addressed a cable to the Foreign Minister of Chile, expressing concern at the news that refugees within the mandate of UNHCR were threatened, that they feared for their lives and for their safety. I appealed for protection for them and stressed that refugees should be treated in accordance with the provisions of the conventions and legal instruments which Chile had ratified. On 16 September, I received a reply from the Foreign Minister, giving assurances that those refugees who had entered Chile in a regular way and who had not committed offences would be treated in accordance with the instruments to which I had referred. Those who had committed offences would be tried in Chile and, if found guilty, would not be threatened with expulsion or forced repatriation to their countries of origin. On 20 September, my representative in Latin America, Mr. Oldrich Haselman, who directs our Regional Office in Buenos Aires, managed to get to Santiago. I had hoped that he could get there earlier. However, as there were no flights, he had to wait until that date to board a special United Nations chartered plane to bring him to Santiago. On 21 September, Mr. Haselman had a meeting with the Foreign Minister, Vice-Admiral Ismael Huerta, during which he reiterated my appeal, stressing the responsibilities of the Government of Chile, and the role of UNHCR. Following this meeting, Mr. Haselman had a second audience with the Foreign Minister on 24 September. I must say at this point that, had it not been for the invaluable assistance which Mr. Haselman received from Mr. Enrique Iglesias, the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America, and Miss Joan Anstee, the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in Santiago, his job would have been much more difficult. I am grateful to them for the support which they gave my regional representative, and for the fact that they were present throughout the audience with the Foreign Minister. During these discussions, my representative was able to establish with the Foreign Ministry and with the Ministry of the Interior working modalities relating to the refugees in Chile, the way in which they should be identified and their status regularized, and the way in which they should be interviewed to find out what should be done in the future if they were unable or unwilling to remain in Chile. Throughout these negotiations, ray representative was able to maintain very close contact with the diplomatic missions in Santiago, with the International Committee of the Red Cross, and with the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration. He also had contacts with national and international voluntary agencies which will continue to have an important role to play in Chile.

The priority obviously was to assure as far as possible the protection and the safety of the refugees within my mandate. On 21 September, I sent another cable to the Foreign Minister expressing concern at alleged reports that a group of Bolivians had been returned against their will to their country. On 24 September, the Foreign Minister denied this allegation in a telex which was sent to all Chilean embassies abroad. Later the ILO seconded a staff member who proceeded to Africa in northern Chile to investigate another such allegation which, I am happy to say, proved to be unfounded.

In order to put into effect measures of individual protection, to counsel the refugees towards durable solutions including the regularization of their documentation and to distribute emergency relief supplies, since the situation in Santiago created a real problem for many of the foreigners and refugees, the Government authorities authorized a National Committee for Aid to Refugees to function in Chile for a period of three months, with subcommittees in Santiago and throughout the country. Set up by the churches and supported by members of international and national organizations and agencies, these committees and sub-committees will be able to create emergency reception centres ("centres d'acceuil provisoires."), These are now being set up, mostly on religious-premises with a status comprising some of the characteristics of diplomatic asylum so well known in Latin America. Refugees who feel insecure or unprotected or those awaiting emigration may find shelter in these centres. Data are being collected on those refugees within my mandate in Chile who wish to leave the country, and for whom emigration is the only possible solution. As of today, approximately 1,500 people are registered with the National Committee for Aid to Refugees and 360 to date have found shelter in these sanctuaries. We shall of course have to see how these centres will work, and, since they are very new, it is difficult for the time being to report to the Executive Committee as to whether they will fulfil the purpose which I trust they will succeed in achieving. We have to hope that the sanctuaries will be respected and that the standards which prevail in Latin America in respect of diplomatic asylum will also prevail in the centres. As soon as more precise details are available, I intend to appeal to the Governments of those countries where the refugees wish to be resettled. In the meantime, my Regional Office in Latin America has been maintaining close contacts on the spot, and many of the embassies there may already have been informed of some of the developments regarding resettlement. Some groups, over 200 persons in fact, have already left Santiago, mainly for Argentina. These were refugees who had received diplomatic asylum in foreign embassies, in line with the Latin American tradition. This, obviously the safest course for many during the crisis, will no doubt create many problems in the future since these people cannot stay in the foreign embassies in Santiago. It remains to be seen what UNHCR's role will be in this respect.

As regards emergency relief, after my regional representative's contacts with the authorities I am aware that my Office will have to face sizeable financial requirements. This is bound to have repercussions on our Programme in Latin America.

I should like to add that my regional representative for Latin America was in Geneva until yesterday for consultations, and informed me fully on the situation. We are giving consideration to the possibility of strengthening our presence in Chile, if necessary.

To sum up, I hope UNHCR has done what could be expected of it, in these circumstances, that is, to safeguard the rights of the refugees and to ensure their physical safety. But the problem does not end there. Apart from funds which are likely to be needed for material assistance, UNHCR may well find itself in the familiar situation of having to search for permanent resettlement opportunities, should the countries where the refugees first find asylum when they leave Chile, be reluctant to keep them. This places my Office in an untenable position, which, with due regard to the difference in the size and the geography of the problem, is reminiscent of the situation created by the expulsion of Asians from Uganda. With your permission, I should like at this stage to open a parenthesis and report in some detail on this latter problem, although you are aware, of course, that this did not fall within the framework of my Office's regular activities.

There is no need to recall the events which required the departure of a substantial number of Asians from Uganda on 7 November last year. The vast majority of them were British passport holders and as such were allowed to proceed forthwith to the United Kingdom. There were, however, a number of people of undetermined nationality who also had to leave by 7 November. This created a considerable problem, for clearly these people were not within our mandate since they were not yet refugees, but people of undetermined nationality living in their country of habitual residence. It was the Secretary-General who, at the request of the Government of Uganda and with the co-operation of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration made the necessary arrangements in Kampala under his auspices to promote the departure of this group. ICEM assumed the main responsibility for the organization of transportation financed by HCR of these persons and the ICRC helped a great deal by making documents available to those who had to leave. My role here at the request of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, was to appeal to Governments to provide either permanent or temporary asylum so that people could be moved out by the deadline, and to appeal for funds, so that this operation could be smoothly carried out. I am happy to say that the response was immediate and that we very rapidly received indications from Austria, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Malta, Morocco, and Spain, that they would be willing to place temporary transit facilities at the disposal of UNHCR. It was found subsequently that there was no need to accept the offers of Greece and Morocco, since the Asians had been accommodated in other countries. Some of the Uganda Asians of undetermined nationality also left directly from Kampala for other destinations. I would fail in my duty if I did not stress the fact that 1,400 had left from Kampala for Canada, in addition to the 4,500 British passport-holders and others whom Canada had already accepted. I should like to extend appreciation to the Government of Canada for the generous way in which it accepted these Uganda Asians of different background. In fact Canada continues to attach the greatest importance to the principle of family reunion, and still allows many Uganda Asians to go to Canada.

In addition to the number accepted by Canada, approximately 1,800 proceeded to India, Pakistan and elsewhere. The total number of Uganda Asians of undetermined nationality came to approximately 8,000 persons. We succeeded in raising $3,400,000 for their transport, resettlement and care and maintenance whilst in transit. Twelve Governments contributed to this appeal.

Now what conclusions can be drawn from this? True enough, five countries generously granted transit facilities; true enough over $3,000,000 were contributed to UNHCR for this special assignment. We succeeded in resettling 3,900 persons, and today, as I report to you, we have only 164 persons for whom permanent resettlement places have to be found, largely as a result of the generosity of some Governments which have agreed to keep many of those people who originally came simply in transit. Here I must pay a special tribute to the Government of Austria, which made it clear at a very early stage that those Uganda Asians who were not able to go elsewhere and who wished to remain in Austria could do so. There are at present 265 still in that country. This is not the end of the problem, however, because these 164 persons are not alone. There are still about 1,500 persons in need of resettlement, 500 heads of families, with wives and dependents elsewhere, and nearly 1,000 dependents, amongst whom are many hardship cases, who would like to be reunited with their breadwinners.

It has been an agonizing year; an agonizing year during which we have wondered every day where we would be able to place these people and give them permanent new homes. It has been an agonizing problem also to know where the funds would come from to ensure the care and maintenance of these people while in transit. It is clear that one must appeal to Governments to show understanding towards those people who still wish to be reunited with their family. Can one blame a man when he wishes to be reunited with his wife and his children? Can one blame him for wanting to join them, if they happen to be in a country where he expects to achieve a measure of economic self-sufficiency, rather than to have them join him in a country where he knows for certain that they would starve? This is a problem which we will have to follow for some time to come.

This operation shows, I believe, that the world is not yet ready to face emergencies of this kind, which arise suddenly in areas very far away from the countries which have accepted people in transit. This presents the international community with new problems. I can only say that prevention is better than cure, and that I must hope and believe that we are not going to be faced with problems of this kind in the future.

Turning now to a more classical example of the work of UNHCR, which is within our traditional terms of reference, I wish to speak of the problem of refugees from Burundi in Africa. We are of course continuing assistance to refugees from territories under colonial administration, who constitute a very large proportion of the refugees in Africa, and here I should like to extend a tribute to those who help us in this ongoing task, particularly to agencies such as the Lutheran World Federation which do so much for refugees from colonial territories. But in addition we have a large new problem, a serious new problem of refugees from Burundi. As you will note, in 1972 $1,200,000 were reserved in the Programme for these new refugees from Burundi. In 1973, this figure was increased to $2,200,000 and now in the Programme which is being submitted for your approval, of which the total target is $8,700,000, again $2,200,000 are earmarked for refugees from Burundi. This means that over the period 1972-1974 we have had to earmark, from UNHCR sources alone, $5,600,000 for this purpose and the numbers continue to grow. Today the new refugees from Burundi added to those who came earlier, number over 85,000. There are 10,000 in Rwanda, 42,000 in the United Republic of Tanzania, and some 35,000 in Zaire. The solution here of course has been land settlement, and I am happy to say that we have not had any major protection problem with the refugees from Burundi, because the African host countries which I have mentioned have granted them the rights and responsibilities provided for by the 1951 Convention. However, this situation has had very serious financial repercussions on our work, and in addition we are never sure that new incidents may not give rise to a new influx of refugees from Burundi. This is the reason why I have maintained very close contacts with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and senior officials and with the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity, particularly during the last summit meeting in Addis Ababa. This is also why I view with very great attention and hopes the efforts of the Heads of the African States concerned, particularly of the President of the Conference of Chiefs of States and Governments of OAU, General Gowon of Nigeria, who has been following this problem, so that somehow it can be solved. There is a need here for a global approach, taking into account regional, demographic, economic and social problems. The United Nations system is ready to do its part, but in this problem, as in others in the area, there is no hope unless the African Governments themselves come to grips with what remains a highly explosive situation.

Turning now to another problem which cannot be solved through land settlement, I would refer to the question of individual cases. In our United Nations jargon, individual cases are people for whom land settlement is not possible, people who live in cities, people who need new, imaginative solutions to their individual problems. I have reported about individual cases to the Committee in the past, and in a way, what was the Major Aid Programme in Europe except the sum total of individual measures for individual cases? However, they lived in Europe, in developed countries with advanced social services, and a sophisticated infrastructure to take care of them. Yet, is it not indicative of the complexity of the problem that even in Europe, international funds channelled through UNHCR were needed'. and that, after 20 years of work for refugees, we still have handicapped individual cases there today? Should we be surprised then that the problem should be compounded tenfold in countries which have a much smaller economic potential?

I hope and believe that the counselling services now established in many African capitals will produce results. This we hope will supplement the efforts which, though extremely positive in intention, have not produced the results which we had hoped - I refer here to the Bureau for the Placement and Education of Refugees, under the auspices of the Organization of African Unity.

One cannot blame the host countries for not guaranteeing that refugees from abroad shall be given the opportunity of education, work and a solid roof over their heads, when they cannot ensure those advantages for their own people. But it is absolutely essential that Governments should not make it impossible for UNHCR to help. If a refugee is not granted permanent residence and UNHCR is suddenly informed that the refugee has to leave the country by a certain date, and if no country wishes to admit this refugee from the country where he has been given only temporary transit then a completely absurd deadlock ensues. If residence is refused de jure but granted de facto, which is the case quite frequently, then the refugee lives constantly in an illegal position and under the continuous threat of penal sanctions if the authorities should suddenly decide that they must take notice of his case. This is a problem with which UNHCR is confronted everyday in many parts of Africa. We have to conjure up imaginative solutions under constraints which make mockery of the quest for a solution. If I stress this, it is because in this example of individual cases, it seems to me that protection and material assistance are intimately linked. Indeed, assistance, even very generous assistance, which we have to give refugees because they are not allowed to work, and must live from charity unless they have pride and decide to live by other means, which are not legal either, will never produce a permanent solution, unless accompanied by protection. Unless one can guarantee a fair legal status to refugees, no solution will be forthcoming. And although in the process of administering and implementing the international instruments which are my responsibility, such as the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol, we can occasionally take up the problems of individual cases, of prohibited immigrants, of people who have been given de facto residence but not de lure recognition, in the final analysis our effectiveness limited and the ultimate responsibility rests with States. The States are the only authorities responsible for granting protection and I would suggest that the learned, legal discussions which take place frequently here and in many other places in the world, are no substitute for human understanding, or for a generous policy which must be imposed from the top levels of Government. The plain truth is, that the policy itself must be right, but that too often it is not, even in some countries where daily tribute is paid to human solidarity.

What are the conclusions to be drawn from the examples which I have given? One is that political events in any country either affecting individuals or large groups are inevitably linked very closely with refugee problems. There is nothing UNHCR can do for that matter nothing which UNHCR is supposed to do - to change political developments or political events in countries from which refugees come. There is a limit to "preventive diplomacy". Refugees who have left their country need another country to settle in, they need a place to stay. But unfortunately in the situation that we face much too frequently today, the countries to which refugees would like to go are restricted by real or supposed financial or internal political considerations. If these are valid and we have to recognize it, then the new refugees are often as unwanted in the countries where they wish to settle as they were at home. At an abstract point in space and time, stands UNHCR, UNHCR which is not supposed to be concerned with politics, UNHCR which is non-political, humanitarian, UNHCR which is supposed to be endowed with some magical capability to assume responsibility for those groups, and to find permanent solutions for them.

Unfortunately, we operate in a very real world. We operate in a world where UNHCR does not engineer miracles, whatever the appearances may be. I am not saying this because I wish to shrug off our responsibilities. We have our responsibilities and our terms of reference, and we will continue of course to do our best. But between one's duty to try and one's ability to solve the problem at hand there may exist a very large gap. One has to explode the myth that it is enough for Governments to hand over their embarrassments, their problems with minorities, and difficulties with internal or external politics, to UNHCR or to the United Nations. I am not saying this at all in bitterness. I think I share my colleagues' pride in the achievements that we have been able to bring about in many areas. But if UNHCR is not to over-extend itself in the future, with its limited resources in staff and funds, if we are not to spread ourselves too thin., before this Executive Committee and the General Assembly of the United Nations, then it seems to me that the Governments must understand where our breaking-point lies. They must treat minorities fairly, and not simply expel people whom they regard as unwanted. They should also make sure that refugees are allowed to stay as far as possible in the country to which they have fled, and not merely allow them to remain in transit for a very short period of time. In this connexion, I think experience shows that the principle of asylum has to be strengthened, and my colleague, the Director of our Protection Division, Mr. Dadzie, will be reporting to you in due course on what progress we have made in the field of territorial asylum, and on other instruments relating to the status of refugees. Finally, if the creation by Governments of artificial groups of refugees is to be avoided the rights which their nationality and their citizenship would normally guarantee them should be fully recognized and respected.

I do not wish to conclude on a harsh note, and I have better news to bring to the Executive Committee, to which I would like to turn, in the field of UNHCR's special operations.

I am very happy to say that in the case of south Sudan the great majority of the refugees have not safely returned home. This took place without any particular major problem and it was largely due to the invaluable co-operation which was extended by the Government of the Sudan, and by the countries of asylum where the refugees had resided for many years until they could return to their homeland. In some countries we have been able to close our branch offices. In the Central African Republic, we no longer have need for a representative, and all the installations in the centre where the Sudanese refugees were residing have been turned over to the Government of the Central African Republic. I was myself at the border between the Central African Republic and the Sudan when the last group of refugees came from M'boki and I met them not far from Tambura in south Sudan, and this was certainly a most encouraging and wonderful sight. As you know, apart from the repatriation proper, very substantial assistance was given to south Sudan through UNHCR. This resulted from the request from the Secretary-General that UNHCR should co-ordinate this action, a bold step clearly beyond the mandate. We received a very substantial contribution from the international community, some $20,000,000 in fact, and I should like at this stage to express gratitude to all the Governments, many of which are represented around this table today, who have generously contributed, and through their contributions have helped to establish conditions of peace and to restore normalcy in south Sudan. I should also like to say that in this very difficult job we should never have succeeded without the invaluable and constant support of the United Nations system. I think the amount of response we received from the specialized agencies, already geared to this interagency work in the days of the focal point when we were helping refugees in India, proves that when all the combined resources of the United Nations system are properly coordinated and applied, it can become an invaluable instrument in the service of peace. Mr. Jamieson who is well-known to you and whom I am very happy to see back with us, will of course be reporting to you in detail on what we have succeeded in doing in south Sudan.

Then there is another special operation which clearly falls outside our traditional role. I refer to what has now become possibly the largest airlift of human beings, in the South-Asian subcontinent. What is happening there now is the happy end of a sad story, the breaking of a vicious circle. The situation arose two years ago, with the agony of untold millions in which UNHCR was already directly involved when we were helping Bengali refugees in India. The results have been encouraging and statesmanship has solved the deadlock: the agreement which was signed in New Delhi on 28 August will, I hope, establish a structure of durable and lasting peace in that part of the world. This Delhi Agreement followed the Simla Agreement of a year earlier, and deals as you know mainly with the solution of humanitarian problems which are left from the conflict of 1971. It is aimed essentially at allowing multitudes of human beings to return to their homelands.

Following the Agreement between the parties in New Delhi on 28 August, Bangladesh and Pakistan requested the Secretary-General of the United Nations to establish a larger programme of assistance, including this airlift. Even before the Delhi Agreement was signed, however, the Secretary-General had been asked by the parties concerned to carry out a limited repatriation operation. It is because the Secretary-General asked me at that time to act as executing agent, that we started even before the Delhi Agreement to facilitate the return of limited groups of people, particularly a group of Bengali students and seamen, who were able to return to their homeland from Pakistan in June 1973. My Office has never ceased to follow closely the developments in that part of the world. We have spared no effort towards creating an atmosphere of conciliation and understanding, towards putting an end to suffering by allowing people to return home. Following the limited movement in June 1973, the airlift was expanded to include 10,000 persons, half of whom were Bengalis wishing to return to Bangladesh from Pakistan, the other half being Pakistanis stranded in Nepal. This operation was in progress when the Delhi Agreement was signed. The Secretary-General then asked me to continue as his executing agent, to move a much more substantial number of persons, some 200,000 persons, who are to be sent home. These comprise non-Bengalis leaving Bangladesh to go to Pakistan, and Bengalis in Pakistan wishing to proceed to their homeland. This has become a very large operation, as the smaller operations which we carried out before have dovetailed into it. We have as a result had to appeal to the international community for funds to implement this airlift. The amount required is $14,300,000. I have already had meetings with a number of Governments to explain the background to this request, and I am happy to say that, as a result of the contributions already received, we have been able to ensure the continuing smooth movement of this larger number of persons. To date, 20,000 persons in all have been moved. I am also happy to report that we have received indications from the United Kingdom that some RAF planes might be made available to assist us in the airlift. Finally, the Government of the USSR has bilaterally made available a plane, an Ilyushin 18, which at the request of the parties concerned is to, be fully integrated into the UNHCR airlift. It is beginning its flights today. The USSR has also offered a ship which may very well be used later when a substantial number of persons have already been moved by air. So far we have received from Australia, Denmark and Norway an amount of $1,400,000 and we hope that the generosity and the speed with which these Governments responded to my appeal will be an incentive for others to do likewise.

It is important, I think, when one refers to the airlift in the subcontinent, to stress the principle of simultaneity which is contained in the Delhi Agreement. Simultaneity means that the return of Bengalis from Pakistan to Bangladesh, the movement of non-Bengalis from Bangladesh to Pakistan, and the important repatriation of the prisoners of war from India are interlinked. It is therefore essential that the response of the international community should be speedy and generous, since, by allowing people to return to their homelands, one would also ensure the smooth implementation of the Delhi Agreement as a whole, and the establishment of peace and stability in the area.

I have deliberately chosen this morning to focus on a few selected significant topics. I wished to spare you the traditional meticulous and lengthy review of all the developments that have occurred since our meeting of 1972. I trust that I have given you a fair sample, an outline of the scope and the size of our activities. We have had to face major problems, new and old, in the traditional refugee field. On the strength of the experience which the Office has acquired recently, we have been entrusted with fresh, important humanitarian tasks, and we are trying to discharge our duties as best we can, despite the fact that these assignments are heavily taxing both the human and the material resources of what remains one of the smallest offices in the United Nations system. We have also tried to adjust and to adapt ourselves to new methods in the field of administration, and here I would like to refer to the improved management and working methods which were introduced during the meeting to which you yourself referred, which took place in May when the Executive Committee had a special session. Regretfully, I could not myself attend the Special Session, precisely because the Secretary-General had sent me to the subcontinent to deal with the problem on which I have just reported. However, Mr. Mace, the Deputy High Commissioner, represented me, and I am very happy that you chose to endorse the procedures which were placed before you for your consideration. I think you will find that some of the dispositions and procedures which you. endorsed during this special meeting are already reflected in some of the documents before you, and we look forward to your views, your criticism, and your advice on the presentation.

Whatever the method, what counts is that UNHCR should be able to carry out its heavy, varied and often unforeseeable tasks as efficiently as possible. To this end, we must be confident that the regular programme for 1974, once it is approved by you, will be fully financed, and that, in view of the burden which our new and extraordinary assignments place upon this Office, UNHCR will be granted the widest flexibility in the administration of its human and financial resources. In this the support of your Committee is vital, and experience has indeed taught us that we can rely on it.