FOURTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS

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NINTH SESSION OF THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL

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Pages: 49 to 54
Creation Date: 1949/01/01

Official Section

FOURTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS

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The introduction to the report of the fourth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, summing up the main problems dealt with during that session by the Commission, is hereby reproduced in full (See document E/1361):

Among the problems which the Commission considered during its fourth session, held at Lake Success, New York, from 16 May to 3 June 1949, four are of paramount importance to the successful international control of narcotic drugs and may be selected for special mention in this introduction to the Commission's report.

The first of these was the plan to draw up a new single Convention to simplify and improve the eight existing international instruments on narcotic drugs and to contain provisions for the limitation of the production of raw materials. In August 1948 the Economic and Social Council requested the Secretary-General to begin the preparatory work for this new treaty, and the first studies prepared by the Secretariat were examined by the Commission during its present session. A general survey of the whole field to he investigated in the elaboration of this instrument was presented to the Commission, together with a number of detailed studies on the more difficult and complicated aspects of the problem. As a result, the Commission was able to plan a long-range programme covering the work to be done during the next few years, and as a first step in this direction has requested the Secretary-General to prepare a skeleton convention, drafted in legal form and comparatively annotated, in time for consideration during its fifth session in 1950.

The second important question which the Commission studied was the desirability to conclude an interim agreement to limit the production of raw opium. It was generally recognized that the successful solution of this problem was perhaps the most important of a series of steps which would have to he taken if the single Convention were to become in effect a code of legislation covering the whole field of the international control of narcotics. It was clear to the Commission that the holding of such a conference was most desirable, but that its chances of success would he mainly dependent upon the agreement of the principal producing countries to limit their production of opium. Since these countries are represented on the Commission, it was possible to ascertain during the session that a measure of agreement on the principles to be followed already existed, and the Commission accordingly decided to appoint an Ad hoc Committee, composed of the representatives on the Commission of the principal opium-producing countries, to meet in September or October of the current year to consider in detail the principles on which the interim agreement should be based and the methods by which it could achieve its aims. At the invitation of the Government of Turkey it was proposed that the Ad hoe Committee should meet in Ankara or Istanbul, and the Commission foresaw the possibility, should the results of that meeting warrant such a step, of convening, immediately before its session in 1950, a second meeting at which both the principal producing countries and the principal manufacturing countries would be represented.

The limitation of production of another important raw material, the coca leaf, is closely connected with the third major problem to which the Commission devoted its attention. When carrying out the request of the Council to select the members of the Commission of Enquiry on the coca leaf which would visit-South America in September of she present year, the Commission laid great emphasis on the necessity for the Commission of Enquiry to he provided with the necessary means to make a detailed study both of the problem of chewing the coca leaf and also of the question of the limitation of its production, to which a solution must be found in connection with the preparation of the single Convention.

The fourth matter of great importance was the problem of illicit traffic. The Commission viewed with alarm the rising tide of this traffic throughout the world and the fact that clandestine factories for the illicit manufacture of narcotics wore still operating in certain areas. The Commission was accordingly appreciative of the measures taken by the Government of Mexico during the past year to stamp out the illicit traffic in that country and of the drastic measures taken more recently in Peru to abolish the illicit manufacture of cocaine which was feeding that traffic throughout the world. The situation in Germany was still not satisfactory, and the Commission thought fit to make a strong recommendation to the Occupying Powers to exercise a more efficient and close collaboration in the future for the control of the illicit traffic in that country.

As far as the remaining activities of the Commission are concerned,[1] it may be appropriate to note here that the Commission heard important statements by the representatives of States which are carrying out their declared policies of suppressing the smoking of opium in their Far Eastern territories regarding the measures which have been taken to this end during the year under review. In conclusion the Commission wishes, to record its appreciation of the co-operative action the Government of the United States of America in placing at the disposal of the United Nations laboratory facilities to be used for research into the determination of the origin of opium. The Commission felt that this work, co-ordinated by and carried out under the auspices of the United Nations, would strengthen the international co-operation upon which the successful control of narcotic drugs must ultimately depend.

NINTH SESSION OF THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL

The resolutions adopted by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations pertaining to narcotic drugs during its ninth session (See document E/1553) are hereby reproduced in full.:

The Economic and Social Council

Takes note of the report of the fourth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs; (See document E/1361).

REQUESTS FROM GOVERNMENTS FOR INFORMATION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS

The Economic and Social Council,

Being informed that it is essential for the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, in the exercise of its supervision over the application by Governments of the provisions of the international instruments on narcotic drugs, including those synthetically produced,[1] to be furnished with complete and accurate information regarding such application,

Authorizesthe Secretary-General to ask Governments to furnish such explanations or additional information regarding statements contained in annual reports,[2] seizure reports,[3] texts of laws and regulations[4] or in other reports or documents forwarded by them to the Secretary-General, as may, be necessary to enable the Commission on Narcotic Drugs to discharge its functions.

ANNUAL REPORTS REQUIRED BY ARTICLE 21 OF THE CONVENTION OF 13 JULY 1931 FOR LIMITING THE MANUFACTURE AND REGULATING THE DISTRIBUTION OF NARCOTIC DRUGS

The Economic and Social Council,

Having had its attention drawn by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs to the fact that on 16 May 1949, the date of the opening of the fourth session of the Commission, annual reports for the year 1947, to be submitted by Governments under Article 21 of the 1921 Convention, had not been received from a number of countries,

Being informed that such reports are indispensable to the proper functioning of the Commission,

Requeststhe Secretary-General to address a special circular note verbale to the Governments mentioned in the list annexed to this resolution, which since 1945 have failed to submit their reports, for two yearn, including the year 1947, calling attention to their obligations under Article 21 of the 1931 Convention to forward annually a report on the working of the Convention in their territories, and to the fact that this report is to reach the Secretary-General on or before 30 June of the year following that to which it relates, in accordance with the Commission's decision as approved by the Council.

ANNEX

LIST OF COUNTRIES WHICH SINCE 1945 HAVE FAILED TO SUBMIT ANNUAL REPORTS FOR TWO YEARS INCLUDING 1947

Africa
 
Ethiopia
Liberia
Asia
 
Afghanistan
Saudi Arabia
Burma
Siam
Iran
Syria
Lebanon
Transjordan
Europe
 
Iceland
Monaco
Liechtenstein
Portugal
Luxembourg
Romania
San Marino
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
North and Central America
 
Costa Rica
Honduras
Guatemala
Nicaragua
Panama
 
South America
 
Bolivia
Paraguay
Ecuador
Peru

SIMPLIFICATION OF EXISTING INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS ON NARCOTIC DRUGS

The Economic and Social Council

Approvesthe decisions taken by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs during its fourth session with a view to the elaboration of a new single convention to replace existing international instruments relating to the control of narcotic drugs;[5]

Approvesthe decision of the Commission to convene a meeting of an ad hoe committee composed of the principal opium-producing countries to consider the possibilities of reaching an interim agreement for limiting the production of raw opium to medical and scientific needs;

Requeststhe Secretary-General to take all measures necessary to give effect to these decisions as expeditiously as possible.

CONTROL OF ILLICIT TRAFFIC

The Economic and Social Council,

Having been informed by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs that the volume of illicit traffic throughout the world is still considerable, that the amounts of narcotic drugs in the illicit traffic in certain areas have increased alarmingly, that clandestine factories are still operating and that a new danger has been created by the appearance of synthetic drugs,

Recommends that all States should

  1. Increase their efforts to detect and suppress the illicit production of opium, coca leaves and other raw narcotic materials from which narcotic drugs are produced, and the illicit manufacture of these drugs as well as of those produced synthetically;

  2. Apply stringent measurer, of control to the trade in, the distribution and the transportation of narcotic drugs,. paying special attention to the smuggling of drugs in aircraft;

  3. Strengthen measures for apprehending traffickers and subject them to severe penalties.

METHODS OF DETERMINING THE ORIGIN OF OPIUM BY CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL MEANS

The Economic and Social Council,

Having taken into account the replies of Governments to inquiries made by the Secretary-General pursuant to its resolution 159 (VII).II.C,[6] on the methods of determining the origin of opium,

Having noted the fact that the Secretary-General does not at present have the material means necessary for the safe keeping of dangerous substances nor laboratory facilities for carrying out chemical research activities,

Considering that the Government of the United States of America has declared its willingness, informally and without undertaking any legal obligation, to place United States laboratory facilities at the disposal of the United Nations in a way to be arranged in detail with the Secretary-General for the purpose of:

  1. Enabling officials of the Secretariat to carry out research on the methods of determining the origin of opium by chemical and physical means;

  2. Co-ordinating the research activities undertaken by other Governments in this field;

  3. Maintaining in the custody of the Government of the United States a centre for the distribution and exchange of samples of opium to those scientists and scientific institutions that may be designated by Governments which participate in the joint research project in accordance with the Council's resolution referred to above,

Requests the Secretary-General to further, within the means available, research on the methods of determining the origin of opium; and

Recommends the Secretary-General to accept, if he finds this desirable, the laboratory facilities which the Government of the United States has offered to place at his disposal for this purpose.

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES TO BE TAKEN WITH REGARD TO SYNTHETIC NARCOTIC SUBSTANCES

The Economic and Social Council,

With a view to accelerating the application in similar cases of the principle contained in the recommendation[7] of the Expert Committee of the World Health Organization on chemical compounds of the dolantin and amidone types, [see document WHO/HFD/9, paragraph 8].

Requests the Secretary-General to transmit to all Governments the recommendation of the Expert Committee of the World Health Organization that each Government should endeavour to apply at the earliest possible moment provisions whereby drugs of a particular chemical type, analogues of which have been proved to be habit-forming (for example, analogues of dolantin and amidone), could be placed under control until such time as they have been shown not to be habit-forming.

COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY ON THE COCA LEAF

Resolution of 23 July 1949

The Economic and Social Council,

Having noted that the Commission on Narcotic Drugs elected during its fourth session, in implementation of resolution 202 (VIII),[8] the following experts to membership of the Commission of Enquiry on the coca leaf:

Professor D. Granier-Doyeux
Mr. H.B.Fonda
Professor F. Verzar
Mr. Razet

Having been advised by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs that the Commission of Enquiry should be given adequate time to perform its tasks satisfactorily, and that the funds so far appropriated by the General Assembly for the investigation in Peru are insufficient to allow a thorough inquiry to be conducted in that country,

Having noted also that the request of the Government of Bolivia for the Commission of Enquiry to extend its investigations to that country was transmitted to the Secretary-General after the General Assembly had made the aforementioned budgetary appropriations,

Having been informed that the Secretary-General and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions of the General Assembly are of the opinion that only the General Assembly is competent to appropriate the additional funds necessary to enable the Commission of Enquiry to remain longer in Peru and to extend its investigations to Bolivia also,

Decides:

  1. To record its satisfaction at the declarations made to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs by the representatives of Bolivia and Peru and the willingness of the Governments of these two States to grant to the Commission of Enquiry all assistance and facilities for the successful performance of its mission;

  2. To request the members of the Commission of Enquiry to start work in Peru not later than during the second week of September 1949;

  3. To endorse the opinion of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs that the means should be given to the Commission of Enquiry to extend its investigations to Bolivia and to carry out its tasks satisfactorily; and accordingly

  4. To request the General Assembly to appropriate before 30 September 1949 the additional funds necessary to enable the Commission of Enquiry, with the terms of reference given in resolution 159 (VII) IV, to spend at least three months in Bolivia and Peru and to prepare a report on its work after the con- clusion of its investigations in the field.

EDITOR'S NOTES

* This chapter sets up the rules concerning the inter. national trade in narcotic drugs.

1

Slight drafting change-the original text of the report reads: "The remaining activities of the Commission are sufficiently treated in the body of the report but it may he appropriate . . ."

1

See footnote No. [5] .

2

In accordance with Article 21 of the 1931 Convention, Governments Parties to this Convention have undertaken to . . . "forward to the Secretary-General an annual report on the working of the Convention in their territories, in accordance with a form drawn up by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of the Economic and Social Council."

3

In accordance with Article 23 of the 1931 Convention, the . . . "Parties will communicate to each other, through the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as soon as possible, particulars of each case of illicit traffic discovered by them which may he of importance either because of the quantities involved or because of the light thrown on the sources from which drugs are obtained for the illicit traffic or the methods employed by illicit traffickers". The particulars to be given in these reports, commonly designated "seizure reports" are specified in the second paragraph of the same article.

4

In accordance with the first part of the above-mentioned Article 21 of the 1931 Convention the . . . "Parties shall communicate to one another through the Secretary-General of the United Nations the laws and regulations promulgated in order to give effect to the . . . Convention".

5

These decisions (see pages 45 through 47 of the Report on the fourth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, document E/1361) were based on the following resolution adopted by the Economic and Social Council at its seventh session.

"The Economic and Social Council,

Being advised by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs that the international instruments relating to the control of narcotic drugs are:

  1. The International Opium Convention signed at The Hague on 23 January 1912 and Protocols of Cloture signed at The Hague on 23 January 1912, 9 July 1913 and 25 June 1914, respectively, as amended by the Protocol of 11 December 1946;

  2. The Opium Agreement, Protocol and Final Act signed at Geneva on 11 February 1925, as amended by the Protocol of 11 December 1946;

  3. The Convention, Protocol and Final Act signed at Geneva on 19 February 1925, as amended by the Protocol of 11 December 1946;

  4. The Convention for Limiting the Manufacture and Regulating the Distribution of Narcotic Drugs, Protocol of Signature and Final Act signed at Geneva on 13 July 1931, as amended by the Protocol of 11 December 1946;

  5. The Opium Agreement and Final Act signed at Bangkok on 27 November 1931, as amended by the Protocol of 11 December 1946;

  6. The Convention for the Suppression of the Illicit Traffic in Dangerous Drugs, Protocol of Signature and Final Act, signed at Geneva on 26 June 1936, as amended by the Protocol of 11 December 1946;

  7. The Protocol to bring under international control drugs outside the scope of the 1931 Convention;

Taking note of the complexity of these instruments and the desirability of simplifying the organization of international co-operation for controlling the traffic in narcotic drugs,

Requests the Secretary-General to begin work on the drafting of a new single convention in which provision shall be made for a single body to perform all control functions, excepting those which are now or may hereafter be entrusted to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. This single convention shall replace the above-mentioned instruments relating to narcotic drugs and also include provisions for the limitation of the production of narcotic raw materials.'

6

This resolution reads as follows.

"The Economic and Social Council,

Having noted the work undertaken with regard to determining the origin of opium by chemical and physical means as outlined in document E/CN.7/117,

Decides:

  1. To instruct the Secretary-General to transmit to Governments all available documentation on this matter;

  2. To invite Governments to send to the Secretary-General all pertinent information in their possession and, in particular those Governments which have the necessary experts and laboratory facilities, to inform the Secretary-General whether they are willing to participate in a joint programme of research and to submit proposals concerning the methods of co-operation which they may recommend;

  3. To invite the Governments of the producing countries to furnish, subject to the provisions of Chapter V of the Geneva Convention of 1925* samples of the opium produced in their countries, on the request of the Governments which are participating in the joint research programme."

This recommendation reads as follows:

"The Committee

Recommends that provision should he made in any new convention, whereby substances of a particular chemical type, analogues of which have been proved to be habit-forming, could be placed under control until such time as they are shown not to be habit-forming."

8

Recommendations and resolutions previously adopted on this subject by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly are as follows:

  1. The Commission on Narcotic Drugs adopted at its second session (24 July to 8 August 1947) the following resolution:

    "The Commission on Narcotic Drugs,

    Recognizing the importance of the request of the Government of Peru to determine with the least possible delay the effects, whether harmful or otherwise, of the chewing of the coca leaf in certain regions of South America,

    Recommends that the Economic and Social Council should approve in principle the despatch of a Commission of Enquiry to Peru and such others of the countries concerned as may request such an inquiry."

  2. The General Assembly, during its second session, adopted the following resolution on 17 November 1947:

    "The General Assembly,

    Taking note that the Commission on Narcotic Drugs has, in its report to the Economic and Social Council on the second session of the Commission, adopted a resolution concerning the request made by the Government of Peru that a Committee of Experts should be sent to study the effects of chewing coca leaves on the inhabitants of certain zones of the Andean region,

    Expresses its interest in this important subject, and

    Invites the Economic and Social Council, without wishing to prejudge the issue in any way, to consider it with all the urgency that it deserves."

    The following resolutions were adopted by the Economic and Social Council during its sixth, seventh and eighth sessions:

    1. "The Economic and Social Council,

      Having taken note of the resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 17 November 1947 concerning the request of the Government of Peru to determine with the least possible delay the effects, whether harmful or otherwise, of the chewing of the coca leaf in certain regions of South America,

      Approves, in principle, the despatch of a Commission of Enquiry to Peru, and

      Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Council at its next session a detailed plan for such a commission, taking into account any request which may be received from other countries concerned."

      (Sixth session, adopted 2 March 1948)

    1. "The Economic and Social Council,

      Having taken note of the resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 17 November 1947 concerning the problem of the coca leaf, and of the "Detailed Plan" submitted by the Secretary-General,

      Approves the despatch of a Commission of Enquiry to Peru at the earliest possible date to investigate the effects of chewing the coca leaf and the possibilities of limiting its production and controlling its distribution; and

      Recommends that the General Assembly appropriate the necessary funds for the Commission of Enquiry."

      (Seventh session, adopted 10 August 1948)

    1. "The Economic and Social Council,

      Requests the Commission on Narcotic Drugs to select during its fourth session, for membership of the Commission of Enquiry into the effects of chewing the coca leaf, a team of two experts in the international administration and control of narcotic drugs, and a team of two medical experts to be chosen after consultation with the World Health Organisation from the list of candidates already proposed by that Organisation."

      (Eighth session, adopted 2 March 1949)