B. WORDING - 1. Names of drugs
2. Manufacture
3. Conversion
4. Estimates
5. Reserve stocks
6. Government stock
2. Scope
3. Wording
4. Functions
C. ESTIMATES OF "DRUGS" 1. Descriptive
2. Scope
3. Wording
4. Functions
IV. STATISTICAL CONTROL A. DESCRIPTIVE 1. Control under the 1925 Convention1
2. Control under the 1931 Convention2
B. CONTROL UNDER THE CONVENTION OF 1925' 1. Import and export authorizations
2. Statistics
2. General comments
3. Article 14, paragraph 2
Article 12, paragraph 2
D. SUGGESTIONS - 1. Scheme proposed
2. Comment on proposed scheme
3. Effects of this scheme
4. Mechanism
B. SUGGESTIONS 1. Preliminary remarks
2. Principles8
3. Preliminary limit
4. Estimates
5. Calculation of the preliminary limit
6. Supplementary estimates
7. Final production limit
8. Deficit or excess of production
C. COMMENTS ON SUGGESTIONS 1. Obligations of Governments
2. Obligations of the ICB
3. Extent of control
4. Preliminary limit
5. The role of stocks
2. Criticism: general
3. Criticism; in detail
B. SUGGESTIONS - 1. Principles
2. In detail
VIII. ADMINISTRATIVE - Preliminary remarks
A. NATIONAL CONTROLS - 1. Present position and criticisms
2. Suggestions
B. INTERNATIONAL CONTROL - Preliminary remarks
1. Permanent Central Board--Convention of 1925, as amended in 1946
2. Supervisory Body--Article 5, paragraph 6, 1931 Convention as amended in 1946
3. Expenses of the Permanent Central Board
4. Present position and criticism
5. Suggestions
1 Article 1--General
2. Article 1, paragraph 1, second and third lines
3. Articles 1 and 2
Helen Howell Moorhead
Foreign Policy Bulletin 17 March 1950


Pages: 55 to 83
Creation Date: 1950/01/01



The present document is part of a series of memoranda written with the object of preparing a unified convention on narcotic drugs. It was prepared by the joint secretariat of the Permanent Central Board and Supervisory Body on their own responsibility. It in no way reflects the views of the Board or Supervisory Body or of any member of those organs, whose opinions must be entirely reserved.

The comments made in this note on the actual working of the 1925 and 1931 Conventions, the interpretation of Governments, the failure of the latter to comply with the obligations, as indeed, any other comments, have been based on the practical experience, of the working of the conventions, of the staff, going back over nearly two decades. There exist concrete examples in support of all statements of fact; but to have mentioned them all would have unduly burdened this note.

N.B. - Throughout this document, the term "Board" denotes the Permanent Central Board created under article 19 of the 1925 Convention; the term "Superbisory Body" denotes the organ created under article 5 (6) of the 1931 Convention; the term " International Control Board", or "ICB", denotes the organ which might replace both the above mentioned under the contemplated single convention.


  1. Both the 1925and 1931 Conventions give scientific descriptions of substances, and we have no comment on these descriptions.

  2. Article 1 of the 1931 Convention, however, divides narcotics into certain categories and defines certain terms. On this, we submit the following remarks:

  1. Crude drugs. There seems to be some inconsistency between the first sentence of.paragraph 2, which reads "the terms ‘the drugs’ shall denote the following drugs, whether partly manufactured or completely refined", and the first sentence of paragraph 4, which reads "The term ‘manufacture’ shall include any process of refining". Under the first of these texts, crude cocaine, for example, is to be counted as cocaine; but, under the second text, its refining into. pure cocaine is to be counted as manufactureof cocaine. This inconsistency has given rise to endless difficulties.

    Suggestion.Crude drugs should be differentiated from pure drugs and should be the object of distinct estimates and statistics.

  2. Sub-groups (a) and (b) of group I. This sub-grouping uselessly burdens the Convention. In fact, there is no difference between the control applied to one sub-group and the control applied to the other sub-group. Moreover, the scientific basis of the sub-grouping is questionable: according to the text of the first sentence of paragraph 2, crude cocaine belongs to sub-group ( a), whereas ecgonine, which is an intermediary product between crude and pure cocaine, belongs to sub-group ( b).

    Suggestion.Suppress this sub-grouping-as already done in the Protocol of 19 November 1948.

B. WORDING - 1. Names of drugs

At the suggestion of Mr. Atzenwiler, the Assistant Secretary of the Permanent Central Opium Board, the WHO Committee of Experts on Habit-Forming Drugs, at its January 1949 session, adopted a recommendation that any narcotic drug having a long chemical name and several trade names should be given onename, internationally accepted, for the purpose of international control and international transactions (without prejudice, of course, to whatever trade names it may have). One.such drug, for.example is acetyldemethylodihydrothebaine or acetyldihydrocodeinone, the hydrochloride of which has the trade name of "acedicone"; "demerol" is another; it has about ten trade names, its chemical designation is long and can be formulated in several ways. It takes the day-to-day work of tabulating statistics furnished by Governments to realize how easily national authorities confuse morphine, methylmorphine and ethylmorphine; codeine and drugs with names containing the syllables "codeinone". Many governments do not realize that "demerol", "dolantin", "dolosal" and "pethidine" are all the same drug. We believe that, unless the above-mentioned recommendation is carried out, international control will be greatly hampered by difficulties in identifying drugs. We therefore welcome the fact that, at its third session, the Executive Board of the WHO asked its Committee of Experts on the Unifiaction of Pharmacopoeias to consider this matter.

Suggestion.Machinery to give international names to the drugs concerned should be embodied in the contemplated unified convention.

2. Manufacture

See paragraph 2 ( a) above.

3. Conversion

Suggestion. "... of a drug, into another drug or another substance, by a chemical process, but not the conversion of alkaloids into their salts".

4. Estimates

The term is not altogether satisfactory since it has connotations other than that of forecasting. Thus, for instance, in the technique of statistics it can mean, on the one hand, a forecast or, on the other, a calculation made in the absence of an official or proved figure. This double meaning makes it awkward sometimes to use this term in the headings of the Board’s statistical tables next to actual statistics. There does not appear to exist, however, any other suitable term in English. The same double meaning and the same difficulties attend the word of evaluationsin French. Here, however, a correct alternative exists, i.e., previsions.

Suggestion. Previsions would seem to be a better definition of the information in question, at least in French.

5. Reserve stocks

The word "reserve" was doubtless introduced to distinguish ordinary stocks from government stocks. This word, however, is sometimes taken to mean some special kind of stock, or sometimes the minimum quantity which should always be on hand regardless of day-to-day fluctuations (all the more when used together with the words "it is desired to maintain" (see chapter III on "Estimates", section C, paragraph 3 (d)).

Suggestion.Delete the word "reserve"; it would no longer be necessary, anyway, if the suggestions made below with respect to the term "government stock" were adopted.

6. Government stock

Under the scheme for limiting the manufacture and regulating the distribution of drugs, set up by the 1931 Convention, and, indeed, under any other scheme, State requirements should be known. Government stocks are only part of these requirements and do not include the amounts imported and/or manufactured and utilized in the same year. These amounts may indirectly affect the stock; but this is not immediately evident. On the other hand, it is immediately evident that the term "State requirements"' would include at once the quantities to be procured both for use in the current year and for maintaining or replenishing government stocks. And, if Governments drew from their "stock" the amounts required for State use in the current year, rather than manufacturing or importing them, the yearly amount of the quantities to be procured through manufacture or import would be reduced accordingly.

Suggested definition. "The term ‘State’ requirements’ in relation to any of the drugs shall denote the amounts required for use by the armed forces and the amounts needed by the Government to meet exceptional circumstances." (Articles 4, 5 and 6 should be amended accordingly.)


  1. In order to differentiate between the two kinds of estimates asked for under the 1925 Convention and the 1931 Convention, respectively, the Board headed, the form relating to the first "Estimates of ‘Raw Materials’ "and that relating to the second "Estimates of Drugs". The former term is not accurate, for the form also applies to preparations which are ready for consumption without further treatment; it was only chosen to avoid such accurate but lengthy description as: "Estimates of substances only covered by the Convention of 19 February 1925".

  2. In 1934, upon the coming into force of the 1931 Convention which introduced binding estimates for "drugs", the Board considered whether it should not abandon asking for estimates under the 1925 Convention. It appeared undesirable to ask both binding and non-binding estimates for the same substances. To avoid duplication and discrepancies, the Board agreed that countries which had furnished estimates of their requirements in manufactured drugs under the 1931 Convention would not .have to furnish any further estimates for such drugs. It was thought, however, that countries which were Parties to the 1925, but not to the 1931, Convention might prefer to continue furnishing estimates under the former Convention. Thus the Board stated:

"In cases where no such estimates (i.e., estimates under the 1931 Convention) have been sent, countries Parties to the Geneva Convention of 19 February 1925, will fulfill the obligations arising from article 21 of that Convention".

In practice this proviso proved valueless and was later abandoned.

  1. The further problem whether estimates under the 1925 Convention should be given up altogether was complicated by the fact that this Convention covers certain substances (opium, coca leaves, Indian hemp, and some of their preparations) which do not fall under the 1931 Convention. In these circumstances, the Board considered that, while making no use whatsoever of these estimates, it had no right to relieve Governments of the obligations to supply them.


As stated above, this term refers to the estimates required under article 21 of the 1925 Convention, which reads as follows:

"The Contracting Parties agree to send in annually before 31 December to the Permanent Central Board set up under article 19, estimates of the quantities of each of the substances covered by the Convention to be imported into their territory for internal consumption during the following year for medical, scientific and other purposes.

"These estimates are not to be regarded as binding on the Government concerned, but will be for the purpose of serving as a guide to the Central Board in the discharge of its duties.

"Should circumstances make it necessary for any country, in .the course of the year, to modify its estimates, the country in question shall communicate the revised figures to the Central Board."

2. Scope

The scope is doubly limited because these estimates are only to cover amounts of narcotics to be imported, and are not binding on Governments.

3. Wording

The text "for internal consumption . . . for medical and scientific and other purposes" is interpreted in various ways by Governments. Some consider it to cover all imports, regardless of the purposes intended. Others take it. as referring to consumption of the substances as such, i.e., excluding quantities needed for the extraction of alkaloids and/or for conversion into other substances. Others, again, think that it includes these two uses, but to the extent that the products resulting from this extraction or conversion are to be used domestically. One Government actually took the view that only medical and scientific consumption was concerned, and excluded imports of opium to be used for the manufacture of prepared (smoking) opium.

The resulting disparity in the estimates received was enough to render them useless. There has been no authoritative interpretation of this text.

4. Functions

These are rather obscure and undoubtedly very limited; to serve "... as a guide to the Central Board in the discharge of its duties". In view of what has been said above, it is not surprising that they have led nowhere.

Suggestions. These estimates having no useful and clear cut functions should be abandoned altogether. Plans for limiting the production and regulating the distribution of "raw materials" are under consideration. (see chapter VI), which will necessitate quite a different kind of estimate. As 'regards medicinal opium and the other preparations, We suggest they should be assimilated to drugs.

C. ESTIMATES OF "DRUGS" 1. Descriptive

These estimates consist of the following items, listed in article 5, paragraph 2, of the 1931 Convention:

"( a) The quantity necessary for use as such for medical and scientific needs, including the quantity required for the manufacture of preparations for the export of which export authorisation are not required, whether such preparations are intended for domestic consumption or for export;

"( b) The quantity necessary for the purpose of conversion, whether for domestic consumption or for export;

"( c)The amount of the reserve stocks which it is desired to maintain;

"( d)The quantity required for the establishment and maintenance of any Government stocks as provided for in Article 4.

"The total of the estimates for each country or territory shall consist of the sum of the amounts specified under (a) and ( b) of this paragraph with the addition of any amounts which may be necessary to bring the reserve stocks and the Government stocks up to the desired level, or after deduction of any amounts by which those stocks may exceed that level. These additions or deductions shall, however, not be taken into account except in so far as the High Contracting Parties concerned shall have forwarded in due course the necessary estimates to the Permanent Central Board."

2. Scope

The estimates cover the ground adequately and are satisfactory except under two heads:

  1. Paragraph ( d) mentions the quantity required for the establishment and maintenance of any government stocks. As explained in chapter II on definitions, paragraph 6, it is necessary to know the total requirements of the State, and not only its requirements under stocks.

Suggestion. Use "The quantity necessary for State requirements."

  1. The inclusion of the amounts involved to bring reserve stocks up or down to the desired level (last two sentences of paragraph 2 of article 5, quoted above) has given rise to persistent difficulties. This information is not an estimate but the result of a mere arithmetical calculation which can easily be made by the Board or the Supervisory Body. It is only the difference between two elements known to them, viz., the actual stocks at the beginning of the year covered by the estimates and the levels of stocks desired during that year. If it is left to Governments to state these quantities, the result is that the figures they supply often bear no relation to actual stocks and desired levels--or that there are no figures at all. As these quantities play an important part, the working of the Convention is constantly hampered.

Suggestions. See chapter VII, section B, paragraph 2 ( b).

3. Wording

  1. Estimates. See chapter II, section B, paragraph 4.

  2. Text of sub-paragraph (a) of article 5 (2) is often misunderstood by national administrations, "quantity necessary" being taken as meaning quantities to be because there is enough of the drug in stock, and sometimes inflated estimates, because part of the quantities to be procured are needed for replenishing stocks. Although this item is to cover consumption, the wording of the text is so complicated that only the most careful reader can ascertain from it that this is its intention. Partly for this reason, national authorities include in it amounts intended for the replenishment of stocks. The definition of exempted preparations is far too long and very few Governments know what these preparations are.

Suggestions.Mention and stress that this heading refers to probable consumption for legitimate, medical and scientific purposes. Shorten the description of exempted preparations, a clear definition of which should apear in article 1 of the Convention.

  1. Text of sub-paragraph (b) of article 5 (2). This is satisfactory but might be improved by " . . . conversion into other drugs or other substances, whether these drugs or substances are intended for . . .".

  2. Text of sub-paragraph (c) of article 5 (2). This has been interpreted in different ways by Governments. Some, perhaps on account of the word . "desired", have declared the idealstock they would like to see in the country, regardless of the actual possibility of bringing the stock up or down to this level. The desired level affects the quantities mentioned in the last two sentences of paragraph 2, quoted above, with the result that these quantities sometimes reduce the total of the estimates to nil and at others uselessly inflate it.

Stocks are seldom constant; they vary as quantities flow in or out. The term "to maintain" is therefore misleading to Governments. It has sometimes been taken to mean the safe minimum below which stocks should not be allowed to fall. And, as the quantities mentioned in the last two sentences of paragraph 2 are partly derived from the "level of reserve stock it is desired to maintain", the calculation of these quantities is often vitiated by wrong interpretations by Governments of the words "desired to maintain".

Suggestion.Use "The amount it is contemplated to have in stock at the end of the year".

  1. Last sentence but one of article 5 (2). The term "total of the estimates" is not always satisfactory. It is satisfactory, of course, when it includes only the estimates mentioned in sub-paragraphs ( a) and ( b) ; and it is also satisfactory when amounts required to replenish stocks have been added thereto. It is not satisfactory when the total of the estimates has been reduced by amounts to be deducted from stocks; in this case, the estimates under sub-paragraphs ( a) and ( b) have not been altered and individually remain valid, but the "total of the estimates" is inferior to their sum. Many Governments naturally fail to understand this point, however logical it may be.

Suggestion:Replace "total of the estimates" by "supply-limit".

  1. Article 5 (2): summary of suggestions. Summing up the suggestions in the preceding paragraph, and taking into account the scheme proposed in the following chapters for limiting manufacture and regulating distribution, paragraph 2 of article 5 might be reworded along the following lines:

"Sub-paragraph(a). The quantity probably to be consumed for medical and scientific purposes (including the amount to be used for the compounding of the exempted preparations defined in Article 1, whether such preparations are intended for domestic consumption or export).

"Sub-paragraph(b). The quantity probably to be converted into other drugs or other substances, irrespective of whether such drugs or substances are intended for domestic use or for export.

"Sub-paragraph(c). The quantity probably to be procured for State requirements as defined in Article 1.

"Sub-paragraph(d). The amount which it is contemplated to have in stock at the end of the year.

"The ‘supply-limit’ for each country or territory shall consist of the sum of the amounts specified under ( a), ( b) and ( c) of this paragraph; the supply-limit shall be raised or lowered, as the case may be, by the difference between the stock actually existing at the beginning of the year, and the amount declared in sub-paragraph ( d) above."

The last sentence of paragraph 2 of article 5 should be deleted.

4. Functions

The study of how the estimates have fulfilled their functions and suggestions for improving them cannot be dissociated from the study of the schemes for limiting the manufacture and regulating the distribution of narcotic drugs established by conventions. These are treated in chapters V and VII.

IV. STATISTICAL CONTROL A. DESCRIPTIVE 1. Control under the 1925 Convention 1

Article 22 is the basis of the present system. This control should be the principal instrument at the disposal of the Board to determine whether"... excessive quantities (of narcotics) are accumulating in any country, or that there is a danger of that country becoming a centre of the illicit traffic..." (article 24). It covers all phases in the movement of narcotics, from production, manufacture, import, stocks, to all kinds of utilization; consumption, conversion, export, etc. It enables the Board to draw, for each country and territory, a yearly "balance-sheet" and ascertain whether the amounts utilized and the stock remaining at the end of the year tally with the supply available; or, in other words, to calculate the balance which should be in hand at the end of the year. When this balance does not tally with the stocks declared as actually being in hand, the Board asks the Government concerned for an explanation of this discrepancy.

2. Control under the 1931 Convention 2

The further control created by the Convention of 1931, under which-generally speaking-supply and utilization are to remain within certain limits, is based both on the estimates provided for in that Convention and on the statistics furnished under the Convention of 1925 (except in the case of codeine and dionine, which were first placed under some kind of international control by the 1931 Convention).


  1. The statistics to be supplied to the Board ,under the 1925 Convention are generally well suited to the control foreseen both in this Convention and in that of 1931. The degree of success to be expected of this control, therefore, depends almost entirely on how accurate and complete these statistics are and how punctually they are furnished. These conditions have been fulfilled to a great extent, so far as manufactured drugs are concerned. They were not fulfilled in the case of raw materials.

  2. How efficient the control created by the Convention of 1925 could be is illustrated by the sharp decline in the manufacture of morphine, diacetylmorphine and cocaine observed in the years after it came into effect. The control over raw materials ,on the other hand, was vitiated at the source, by the poor quality, and even more often by the absence of statistics from some of the most important producing countries; the fault, of course, lies with the Governments concerned, not with the system itself.

Such part of this control as relates to imports and exports is reviewed in chapter V: "Control of International Trade".

For full details on this control, see chapter VII: "Limitation of the Manufacture of Drugs", and chapter V: "Control of International Trade".

  1. If the additional control provided for in the Convention of 1931 has proved cumbersome and generally ineffective3the fault lies with the-unsatisfactory provisions of this Convention, and not with the statistics to be furnished under the earlier Convention.


  1. In a few instances, the provisions of the Conventions of 1925 and 1931 leave gaps in the statistical information asked of Governments:

  2. Under article 13 (2) ( c) of the 1931 Convention, consumption of codeine and dionine is not to be declared.

Suggestion.If a "balance" is to be struck for these two drugs, consumption must be declared; and many Governments do so already.

  1. All the statistics needed for striking a "balance" are to be sent to the Board at the latest within three months following the end of the year. The statistics of stocks existing on 31 December, on the other hand, are only to be sent by Governments within the five months following the end of the year. As a result, the Board cannot ascertain for at least six months after the end of any year whether the declared stocks tally with the calculated balance. We see no reason for giving more time to Governments for reporting stocks than for reporting consumption, for example.

Suggestion.Statistics of stocks should be made available to the Board at the same time as the other annual statistics.

  1. Under the 1925 Convention statistics of Indian hemp and its resin and preparations of the resin are at present limited to exports, imports and confiscations on account of illicit export or import; for galenical preparations of Indian hemp, statistics are more complete, but do not include manufacture. Thus, for Indian hemp,in any form, there is no possibility of striking a balance. This gap may have been intentional, as, apart from statistics of the manufacture of galenical preparations, the missing information is perhaps not obtainable, and the point is mentioned here only for the sake of completeness.

See chapter V, section C, on "Control of International Trade", and chapter VII, section A, on the "Limitation of the Manufacture of Drugs".

  1. On the other hand, some information asked of Governments is of little use.

  1. Under article 22, paragraph (1) ( e), Governments are to report "... the amounts.., confiscated on account of illicit import or export; the manner in which the substances have been disposed of . . . with such other information as may be useful in regard to such confiscation and disposal". The only information which has proved useful and, indeed, indispensable, in the past twenty years, was that relating to that part of confiscations which were subsequently released for legitimate use; this constitutes additional "assets" to be brought into account. It does not help the Board to know the amounts confiscated on account of illicit import,in determining whether some country is becoming a centre of illicit traffic, because these amounts may be an aggregate of many confiscations, and the origin of the narcotics confiscated is not within the knowledge of the Board. On the other hand, the fact that narcotics are confiscated on account of illicit exportwill go to prove that the country in question is alive to the danger of illicit traffic and is combating it. Under article 23 of the 1931 Convention, full information on allcases of illicit traffic is to be exchanged with full particulars between Contracting Parties through the Secretary-General of the United Nations. This information is published by him. The publication by the Board of information relating to confiscations effected solely on account of illicit export or import, apart from constituting a duplication of work, is misleading; for it depicts only one side of the illicit traffic, and the amounts confiscated on account of domestic illicit production, manufacture or traffic are not included in it.

Suggestion:If the present general arrangements for the division of the work between various organs are retained, at least the following changes should be made. First, transfer to article 23 of the 1931 Convention (or its future equivalent) the provisions of article 22 (1) (e) of the 1925 Convention, relating to disposal of the amounts confiscated. Secondly, limit the provisions of article 22 (1) (e) of the 1925 Convention to the obligation for Governments to declare to the ICB, in the matter of confiscations, that portion of all confiscations which is released for legitimate use (i.e, either for immediate use, or to be placed in stock for future use), irrespective of whether the narcotics were seized on account of illicit export or import or domestic illicit traffic. We have, however, advocated the principle (see chapter VIII, section B) that there should be a strict division between the executive and administrative functions of the ICB and the policy-making functions of another body. If this principle is adopted, all the information regarding illicit traffic, while it can be sent for information to this second body, would be dealt with by the former and incidentally serve as a basis for decisions under article 24 of the 1925 Convention and judicial action.

  1. Under article 17 of the Convention of 1931, Governments should require manufacturers to submit quarterly returns on the amounts which have gone into, and come out, of factories, and on the stocks they keep; and, under the second sentence of article 22, they should include a summary of these returns in the annual statistics supplied to the Board. The information received has been of no use whatever to the Board; it complicates the statistical forms to be completed by Governments, and creates confusion. This means that the indispensable information asked for in the same forms suffers

Suggestion.Delete the second sentence of article 22 of the 1931 Convention.


  1. Under international conventions the international trade in narcotics is subject to the following measures:

  1. Imports and exports to be covered by import and export authorizations issued by, and exchanged between, Governments;

  2. Actual transactions to be reported by Governments to the Board;

  3. Imports not to exceed certain limits.

The first two measures are provided in the Convention of 1925,4the third in the Convention of 1931. The present chapter is therefore, divided into two parts according to those Conventions.

Except (b),in the case of codeine and dionine, which drugs were first placed under some kind of international control by the 1931 Convention.

B. CONTROL UNDER THE CONVENTION OF 1925' 1. Import and export authorizations

We have little comment. The system is described in detail in the Convention of 1925 and other publications, and the Board in no way controls its application.

One important exporting country has, however, recently expressed the view that the three-month validity period of import certificates, which appears to have entered into common practice but is not prescribed in the Convention, often proves inconvenient to exporters, because it is too short, and that it should be extended to six months. The same Government has suggested to us that it would be desirable for the forms of import and export authorizations to be obligatorily standardized, not merely as a recommendation, and universally adopted in a limited number of languages.

2. Statistics

  1. Statistics are supplied to the Board quarterly (except in the case of codeine and dionine 5 under article 22 (2).Their object is to allow the Board continually to" ... watch the course of the international trade..." (article 24); to ascertain whether exports duly reach their intended destination; and, thus to see whether centres of illicit traffic are developing.

  2. Generally speaking, these statistics have proven effective; they have made possible the discovery of leakages into the illicit traffic and the exposures of false statements regarding the destination of exports. They have also proved to be the most reliable statistics supplied to the Board. For it is easier to control imports and exports than to control consumption, production, manufacture, etc., because they involve import and export authorizations, the verification at customs posts and, last but not least, monetary transfers or barter.

  3. The Board is usually informed of one or the other side of these transactions (the export or the import), so that hardly a single transaction escapes its notice. When it possesses both returns, it is in a position to question any discrepancy between them. Many discrepancies, of course, are noted every quarter; they are the subject of incessant and voluminous correspondence between the Board and Governments. But the very fact that such questions can be asked, and that Governments are moved to make the necessary enquiries, speaks in favour of the system, even though it absorbs much of the time of the Board and its secretariat-as also of the national authorities, who are responsible for the discrepancies.

  4. Exports from one country to another often constitute a steady flow which, except'in the case of codeine and dionine, can be followed from quarter to quarter; and, before taking action on discrepancies, the Board, to avoid continuously troubling Governments, usually waits for several quarters before determining whether or not the discrepancy is due merely to the fact that some transactions were not completed (goods despatched and received) during the same quarter. In the case of codeine and dionine, however, because statistics are supplied annually instead of quarterly, the Board has either to write to Governments in all cases at once or to wait for several years in order to determine whether or not there is a discrepancy.

These two drugs are covered by only the 1931 Convention, and import and export statistics are to be sent only annually.

Suggestions. Measures are suggested later for rendering the control over trade established by the 1931 Convention more effective. Under these proposals the need for export and import statistics and the occurrence of the above-mentioned discrepancies would disappear.


This Convention purports inter alia to "... regulate the distribution of narcotic drugs ..." (i.e., manufactured drugs) and to supplement the control, described above, of the 1925 Convention. The relevant provisions are:

Article 12, paragraph 2. "The imports in any one year into any country or territory of any of the drugs shall not exceed the total of the estimates as defined in Article 5 and of the amount exported from that country or territory during the year, less the amount manufactured in that country or territory in that year."

Article I4, paragraph 2. "If it appears from the import and export returns made to the Permanent Central Board or from the notifications made to the Board in pursuance of the preceding paragraph that the quantity exported or authorised to be exported to any country or territory exceeds the total of the estimates for that country or territory as defined in Article 5, with the addition of the amounts shown to have been exported, the Board shall immediately notify the fact to all the High Contracting'Parties, who will not, during the currency of the year in question, authorise any new exports to that country except:

"(i) In the event of a supplementary estimate being furnished for that country in respect both of any quantity over-imported and of the additional quantity required; or

"(ii) In exceptional cases where the exports in the opinion of the Government of the exporting country is essential in the interests of humanity or for the treatment of the sick."

2. General comments

  1. Imports are unlike manufacture, in two respects. First, they are subject to limits based on a defined element, viz., the "total of the estimates". Secondly, they have not been subjected to ex post facto corrective action (i.e., "deductions"), and excessive imports, in one year, are not to be reckoned against the requirements for the following year.

  2. There seem to be two different limits, one under article 12 (2), the other under article 14 (2).

  3. No obligation is placed expressis verbis upon the exporting country to keep its exports within the import-limit of the importing country, unless notified by the Board that this limit has been exceeded. 6 Even then, it may still authorize some exports (article 14 (2) (ii)).

3. Article 14, paragraph 2

The purpose of these provisions is clear, viz., to prevent countries from importing more than their estimated legitimate requirements. It is constantly defeated, for the following reasons:

  1. The exporting countries are not obliged to keep within the import-limit of the importing country (see paragraph 2 ( c) above). Some-but not all-exporting countries, try to do this, but their efforts are of little avail, because they are unaware of exports by other exporting countries-which are perhaps equally well intentioned.

  2. Import and export statistics are to be despatched quarterly to the Board, within the four weeks following the end of each quarter, (except in the case of codeine and dionine). The returns relating to the last quarter of the year, therefore, do not reach the Board until some time after the turn of the year. Thus, if import excesses occur during that quarter, the Board is precluded from taking action under paragraph 2 of article 14. It is noteworthy that, for instance in 1946 and 1947, 110 excesses, or about 60 per cent of all the excesses, occurred in that quarter. With respect to codeine and dionine, action under article 14 (2) cannot be taken in any case, because the export and import returns are to be sent annually.

Article 12, paragraph 2

The purpose is obscure. Is this to constitute an ex post facto corrective of the above-mentioned defects in article 14 (2) ? Hardly so, because it does notadd anything, the limits set up under either article being made up of the "total of the estimates", plus exports or reexports, and neither article expressly mentions any deduction of excesses. Is it conceivable, then, that the purpose is to set up an import limit for countries which both import and manufacture-as the mention of manufacture might well suggest? Perhaps, but if so, the results are odd, owing to the fact that:

  1. Under article 7, imports are already a component of the manufacture-limit to be computed according to the provisions of chapter III of the Convention;

Such an obligation exists, in some cases under article 14 (l); these cases, however, have practically ceased to occur, as almost all the countries are now Parties to either the 1925 or the 1931 Conventions."

  1. The latter limit takes no account of the "total of the estimates", which, on the other hand, is the basic component of the import-limit under article 12 (2).

The odd effect-which constantly occurs-is that a manufacturing country, which has exceeded its manufacture limit under articles 6 and 7, may still have a large unused or unexhausted import-limit under article 12 (2). But, under article 7, any additional import would have further reduced the manufacture-limit and accordingly increased the excess manufacture:

This process of elimination leaves one possible conjecture: that the import-limit under this article is to apply to codeine and dionine, since it is impossible to calculate for these drugs a manufacture-limit under articles 6 and 7 (see chapter VII, section A, paragraph 3 ( f)) or to apply to them, even in theory, an import-limit under article 14 (2). If this is the purpose of article 12 (2), the import-limit under this article would be subject to the defects inherent in any ex post facto limitation.

D. SUGGESTIONS - 1. Scheme proposed

To achieve the aims of article 14 (2), the control over international trade exercised by an international authority should be based, not on statistics supplied to it long after the transactions are completed (as is the case under the present Conventions), but on documents (i.e., import and export authorizations) issued before these transactions take place. This could be achieved as follows:

  1. The "supply-limit" mentioned in chapter III, section C, paragraph 3 ( f), would be the basic import and/or manufacture limit. It would rise or fall during the year, inter alia, with. imports and/or exports; it might be desirable that the ICB should notify Governments of the extent to which the supply-limit has been reduced by imports and increased by exports, either after each transaction or once or twice annually.

  2. The import authorization would be sent to the ICB, who would compare the amounts asked for with the "supply-limit". If these amounts remain within this limit (account being taken, of course, of previous similar authorizations and of exports effected during its period of validity by the importing country), the ICB would forward it, duly endorsed, to the exporting country.

  3. All the exporting country would have to do is to issue two more carbon copies than are required at present of the export authorization, and mail the first upon issue to the importing country (in addition to the copy mentioned in article 13 (4) of the 1925 Convention), and the second to the ICB, immediately upon the departure (the date thereof being mentioned) of the shipment. This second copy sent to the ICB would replace export statistics, and the amount mentioned on it would-be immediately credited to the "supply-limit" of the exporting country. The importing country should send the first copy mentioned above to the ICB, duly endorsed, immediately on receipt (the date thereof being mentioned) of the goods. This would replace import statistics.

  1. Whenever the ICB saw that an import authorization involved an excess over the "supply-limit" (see ( b) above) it would hold it in abeyance and immediately inform the importing country; it would then be open to the latter to cancel or modify this amount. accordingly or submit supplementary estimates.

2. Comment on proposed scheme

The above.suggestions would succeed, where the 1931 Convention failed, in preventing imports from exceeding estimateddomestic requirements. We believe, however, that a new convention should go further and expressly provide for corrective action when it emerges that an incoming supply has exceeded or fallen below actualrequirements. This would be achieved, even in the case of purely importing countries, by the scheme suggested in chapter VII, section B.

3. Effects of this scheme

  1. Governments would be relieved of much responsibility and much work. These would be transferred to the ICB. On the other hand, as will be seen in the following paragraphs, a good deal of the Board's work, inevitable under the system at present in force, would no longer be necessary.

  2. The additional work of clearing import authorizations assigned to the ICB would be offset, to some extent, by a reduction in the correspondence at present conducted by the Board on account of discrepancies be-

tween export and import statistics and action under article 14 (2) of the 1931 Convention (see ( c) and ( d) below).

  1. The present import and export statistics would no longer be necessary, and discrepancies between exporters' and importers' returns could hardly occur.

  2. Exporting countries, whether individually or together, could not export in excess of the supply-limits of the importing countries as they stand at any given moment. Action under article 14 (2) would no longer be necessary.

  3. Importing countries would be discouraged from submitting inflated estimates, since, under the suggestions made in chapter VII, section B, "corrective" action is contemplated in all cases where supplies exceed or fall below actualrequirements, even in the case of purely importing countries.

4. Mechanism

  1. From enquiries which we have made, it looks as if the number of transactions which at present take place annually would not exceed 5,000 to 6,000. This is based on actual figures from three of the principal exporters in the world; namely France, Great Britain and Switzerland, which aggregate about 4,000. If synthetic drugs were widely manufactured and entered widely into the international trade, these figures might, of course, rise speedily. With the present volume of transactions, it would seem however that the recording or these transactions by the ICB does not present an unmanageable or too expensive administrative problem. It is one which can probably most easily be solved through mechanical recording by accounting machines.

  2. There are, of course, a number of detailed questions to be considered which will arise in drafting the actual clauses, and such further questions as the desirability of entrusting the ICB with the duties of framing, printing and numbering the import and export authorizations and their distribution to Governments.


Hitherto, under each head, we have included two sections, one descriptive and critical, and the other containing suggestions. In the present case there is no operative system to be criticized, though it is true that there are in existence draft articles7 to be included in a new international convention, prepared under the auspices of the League of Nations. They constitute, however, a system which, in our opinion, is too complicated to work satisfactorily; the detailed criticism given-below under section A supports this general criticism.

League of Nations document C. 175 M. 104 1939. XI

In these circumstances, we have considered Whether it would not be possible to substitute a simpler mechanism for limiting the production of "raw materials". The suggestions under B are directed to this end.


  1. The. defects of the 1925 and 1931 Conventions have been brought to light through practical experience gained during the many years of application of these two Conventions. In the absence of practical experience, the criticism of a draft plan requires greater care than the criticism of existing Conventions. It should be stressed here again that the time which could be devoted to this study was limited and that this stringency was felt more when examining the above-mentioned plan for limiting the production of raw opium.

  1. The system limiting the production of raw opium, outlined in the above-mentioned articles, is based on estimates and statistics, as is the system for limiting the manufacture of drugs. But the system foreseen for limiting the production of raw opium shows a marked improvement inasmuch as paper excesses (see chapter VII, section A, paragraph 3 ( c)) are not to be deducted from the production during the following years; the inference is that only excessive production found in stock will be deducted. This major improvement is counterbalanced by certain defects.

  2. The system can work correctly only if stocks, at any rate "emergency" and "government" stocks, are ascertained within the short period specified in the draft articles (article 6); according to past experience this period will certainly be insufficient. Then if these stocks cannot be ascertained by the specified date, Governments will be tempted to guess at them in order to determine the amount to be added to these stocks, to bring them to the desired level-an amount which is a component of the import and production limits. If they do this, the resulting figure will not be the real stock deficit, i.e., the deficit of imports or production that will be taken into consideration when calculating the limit, but a deficit which is the result of a guess. Thus the danger exists that the limit will be based solely on estimates, which Governments can inflate at their convenience. It is true that later on, when statistics are sent, the Control Authority will be able to verify whether the deficit in the emergency stock has been inflated; but no provision is foreseen to correct the limits and even if there were such a provision, by the time it could be brought into force, it could probably have no effect.

  3. Even if the "emergency" and "government" stocks can be ascertained within this short period of three months, the calculation of the amount to be added to, or to be deducted from, these stocks, or any other stocks, to bring them to the desired level, would give rise to the same defects as are mentioned in regard to drugs in chapter III, section C, paragraph 2 ( b); and the danger of having a limit based solely on estimates is thus confirmed. The real excess or deficit will only be taken into consideration accidentally-if Governments are accurate and conscientious.

  4. The plan takes no account of stocks held by dealers and manufacturers in non-producing countries where the institution of a monopoly is not compulsory. Variations of these stocks will have a bearing upon the production just as will variations in the "regulating stock" and in "emergency stocks".

  1. Under article 3 (paragraphs 2 and 3), the Control Authority is not compelled to establish all the estimates for the countries and territories which have not supplied them. If the Control Authority does not establish all the missing estimates of a given country, the limitation of its import or production will not be possible.

  2. Article 11, whereby world production is determined, does not provide for the deduction foreseen in article 25 (1), viz., the quantity to be deducted from the "regulating stocks" to bring them down to the desired level.

  3. Article 17 does not state expressis verbis that the supplementary estimates foreseen in article 6 should be included in the amounts authorized to be produced, nor does it contemplate the deduction provided in article 26, paragraph 6.

  4. The plan is encumbered with unnecessary and even inapplicable provisions, viz., ( a) the sub-division of the stocks into "regulating stocks" (articles 24 and 25) and an "emergency stock" (article 26), to which a third stock should be added, viz., the stock of dealers and manufacturers; ( b) the delay for the furnishing of revised and supplementary estimates (articles 5 (paragraph 5 (ii)), 6 and 7).

  1. The two stocks foreseen in the 1931 Convention and defined as "reserve stock" and "government stock" have led to numerous interpretations (see chapter II, section B, paragraph 5, and chapter III, section C, paragraph 3 ( d)). Therefore, the three stocks foreseen in the draft articles, which call for a fourth stock, will result in a multiplication of misinterpretations, not to speak of the different interpretations of the English and French texts (e.g., "emergency stock" was translated into French as stock special).

  2. The delays provided for the furnishings of supplementary estimates will create the difficulties explained under 3 above, and lead to the following situation: a country which has not furnished a supplementary estimate by 30 November will have to wait until the following year to satisfy a supplementary need.

  1. Moreover, there are two inconsistencies in the mechanism of the plan:

  1. Under articles 11 (iv) and 17 ( c), the world or national production limits respectively will be raised to cover the supplementary amounts exported during a preceding year. This procedure has been adopted as if it were expected that producers will not be able to meet these supplementary demands by production; but that they will be met by the "regulating stocks". The replenishment of any depleted "regulating stock" is also foreseen in the same articles (articles 11 (v) and 17 ( d)). Therefore, if the provisions of article 11 (iv) and (v) or of article 17 ( c) and ( d) are applied, supplementary exports will be taken into account twice in the production limits.

  1. The application of article 6 may also lead to an undue raising of the limit both for importers and producers. For example, if, at the end of 1950, actual emergency stocks amount to 20 tons and the contemplated "emergency stocks" to 30 tons, the limit calculated in 1951 for 1952 will be raised by 10 tons. If at the end of 1951 the stocks still amount to 20 tons, the limit calculated in 1952 for 1953 will again be raised by 10 tons. The result will be that the stocks at the end of 1952 will be increased to 30 tons and the stocks at the end of 1953 to 40 tons; they will thus be 10 tons too high. The same considerations apply to the "government stocks" and may also apply to the "regulating stocks".

  2. Under article 8 of the plan, it is mandatory for Governments, once they have notified the amounts they wish to import, to import that quantity during the year covered by the estimate. In practice, this provision would be very difficult to apply.

  1. Apart from these technical criticisms, it should also be mentioned that clauses and provisions which are closely interrelated have been dissociated in the drafting of these articles, and are scattered. For example, the amount to be added to the "emergency stocks" to bring them up to the desired level is provided in article 6 ( a); no less than nineteen articles have to be read in order to see that article 25 (6) provides for a deduction when the actual "emergency stocks" are higher than the level desired. This dispersal in itself makes it difficult to study the plan, let alone apply it. This last point is merely mentioned for the sake of completeness. No doubt, in subsequent revisions, the draft would have been amended in this respect.

B. SUGGESTIONS 1. Preliminary remarks

  1. We are aware that in the following plan two important points have not been fully dealt with or, indeed, dealt with at all.

  2. The first point is that, apart from the "raw materials'' below, raw opium, coca leaves and Indian hemp, there are other raw materials some of which, e.g., for synthetic drugs, are used for the making of narcotics but themselves have no narcotic effects and are used for many other industrial purposes. The existence of these other "raw materials" evidently constitutes a special problem. This consideration does not, perhaps, apply to poppy straw, which, we believe, might be brought into the scheme of control as now presented, if and when estimates and statistics are obtained.

  1. We are also aware that one of the crucial questions in considering any constructive scheme under this head is whether there should be an open or a restricted market. This question, bound up as it is with that of the creation of an international selling agent, has been deliberately omitted as raising financial, economic and even political questions with which we are not competent to deal. If a quota system could be instituted, it could operate only to simplify the system now proposed.

  2. Finally, we approach this part of the scheme for international control with much less confidence than the rest. Indeed, it would seem almost impossible to evolve any acceptable method of control in view of the fact that the national controls in this particular branch are entirely inadequate, and Governments unable to supply the information required. This is true of raw opium, more true of coca leaves, and most true of Indian hemp. Nevertheless, we have thought that this should not prevent us from putting forward such ideas as have occurred to us on the system which might be applied, and to attempt to define its application.

2. Principles 8

  1. The object in view is to limit the production of "raw materials" to legitimate requirements. To this end, producing countries must know the amount of legitimate requirements for a given year before they authorize production (sowing, planting, etc.). The requirements must therefore be estimated; for only so can producers limit their production to the legitimate estimated requirements. Nevertheless, estimates, however well drawn up, will often vary one way or another from the actual, as distinct from the estimated, legitimate requirements. Production may vary for reasons independent of the will of Governments, e.g., in the case of agricultural production, weather, etc. It therefore becomes necessary to verify whether the actual production has corresponded to the actual needs. In fact, whether there has been a real excess or deficit of production. This leads logically to a limitation system involving two limits:

  2. A preliminary limit based on estimated requirements, and

  3. A final limit based on what have proved to be the actual requirements.

  4. The second limit is necessary in order to correct the mistakes in the first, i.e., when an actual deficit or an excess in production has been ascertained, the next preliminary limit shall be increased or diminished pro tanto in order that producing countries may make up the deficits in their production or absorb the excesses in their production.

Throughout, by "conversion" is meant utilization for the manufacture of drugs or other products, such as prepared opium; the word "conversion" has been used for the sake of succinctness.

3. Preliminary limit

  1. The preliminary limit will be based on the estimated legitimate requirements. It will be calculated by the ICB on the basis of the estimates furnished by Governments. It is necessary that each producing country should know its own limit before production is undertaken. This consideration indicates the date on which Government estimates should be sent in, and also the dates on which the limit is to be fixed by the ICB. These dates will vary from substance to substance and should be inserted in the Convention.

  2. For instance, in the case of opium, the limit should be fixed in plenty of time for the producers to know how much they are to sow. This would probably be four or five months before they start sowing, and ten months to a year before the harvest; for the poppy is an annual plant.

  3. When we come to coca leaves, the problem is far more complicated; for, in the first place, the coca bush has to grow for five years before it yields any harvest; and, secondly, it is liable to grow wild, and no control over production is then possible. This problem seemed insoluble to the framers of the above-mentioned draft articles for a convention before the war, and we confess that we can see no solution to it. But, if they cannot be controlled in domestic production, there is no reason why they should not be subject to the same control as drugs (see chapter V, section D, of the present document) as soon as they enter international trade.

  4. The same considerations apply to Indian hemp.

4. Estimates

  1. Governments would furnish annual estimates of their requirements. These estimates should be approved, and not merely examined by the ICB. These estimates would be grouped under the following heads:

  2. Consumption;

  3. Conversion;

  4. State requirements;

  5. Contemplated stock.

  6. Moreover, Governments would state the countries from whom they would secure their supplies and the amount required from each.

  7. The ICB would draw up estimates for countries which have not furnished them, and would fix the sources of supply. The countries concerned, whether as importers or as exporters, would be immediately informed and would be given the opportunity of rectifying the position.

5. Calculation of the preliminary limit

On the basis of the estimates sent by Governments, the ICB would calculate the preliminary limits of requirements:

  1. For countries which consume and/or convert these raw materials;

  2. For countries which consume and/or convert these raw materials, and, in addition, enter into international trade;

  3. For producing countries

These limits would be calculated in the following manner:

  1. Preliminary limit: countries which consume and/ or convert raw materials:

  2. Estimates of consumption, plus,

  3. Estimates for conversion, plus,

  4. Estimates of State requirements; plus or minus,

  5. Quantities to be added to, or deducted from, the contemplated stock of the preceding year, in order to bring it to the level contemplated for the year in question, and approved by the ICB.

  6. Preliminary limit: countries which consume and/ or convert, and/or re-export raw materials.

To the total estimates, as calculated for countries in group ( a), there would be added exports calculated on the basis of the total estimates (preliminary limits) of the countries in group ( a), in the proportions notified by them.

The preliminary limit of countries in groups ( a) and ( b) would constitute their import limit. Countries would not be entitled to exceed this limit, or obliged to import up to it. If the fact that Governments have not imported up to the limit of their estimates gives rise to excess production in other countries, this excessive production will be dealt with by a reduction of the amount approved for production in the following year (see paragraph 8 ( a)).

  1. Preliminary limit: producing countries.

To the total estimates, as calculated for countries in group ( a), there would be added exports calculated on the basis of the estimates (preliminary limits) of countries in groups ( a) and ( b), in the proportions notified by them.

These limits would be communicated to all Governments, and in this way producing and re-exporting countries would be informed of what calls would probably be made on their supplies.

6. Supplementary estimates

  1. Governments would be enabled to send supplementary estimates. They would show the countries which were to be asked to meet these supplementary requirements. Supplementary estimates, once accepted, would be communicated to the countries concerned, whether importers or exporters.

  2. It might be that production would be inadequate to meet these increased requirements. In such cases, as soon as the deficit had been observed, the next preliminary limit of production would be pro tanto raised. In this way, it would be possible to avoid raising the preliminary limit of a country only to lower it later.

  3. Governments will be required to draw on their own stocks in order to cover their supplementary requirements before having recourse to supplementary estimates.

7. Final production limit

  1. The ICB would calculate on the basis of statistics furnished by Governments, the final limit of production. This limit would be calculated as follows:

  2. Actual consumption, plus,

  3. Actual conversion, plus,

  4. Imports and purchases for State requirements, plus,

  5. Exports; plus or minus,.

  6. Quantities to be added to, or deducted from, actual stocks to bring them to the contemplated level of stocks, minus,

  7. Amounts seized and released to the illicit market.

  8. This production limit, calculated in the same manner for non-producing countries, would become the final import limit.

  9. In cases where a country which produces raw materials also imports them, the production limit would become the limit of import and production.

8. Deficit or excess of production

  1. The final limit of production would make it desirable to calculate the actual deficit or excess of production. In order to meet the deficit or absorb the excess, the production of the succeeding years would have to be increased or diminished; hence the next preliminary production limit would have to be proportionately raised or lowered according as there had been a deficit or an excess, account having been taken of the raising or lowering of the current preliminary limits previously effected for similar reasons.

  1. The same method would be adopted for deficits or excesses of imports.

  2. As regards substances, e.g., coca leaves for which no preliminary limit can be established, when the ICB had observed an actual production excess, the responsible Government might be invited to reduce its production proportionately, within a period to be agreed.

  3. Any excess production should be explained by the Government concerned which should state the measures taken to remedy the situation. Governments which had exceeded estimates should give the reasons to the ICB. These explanations could be published at the discretion of the ICB.

C. COMMENTS ON SUGGESTIONS 1. Obligations of Governments

  1. Governments would communicate to the ICB:

  2. Estimates of their requirements for consumption, conversion, for the State, and the contemplated stock level; and

  3. Statistics.

  4. It Will be observed that the number of data required from Governments has been reduced to a minimum. This is desirable because the more information is sought, the more time is necessary to obtain it and the more problems are created. A plan for limitation should not depend upon the punctuality of returns for the good reason that, hitherto, statistics sent under the existing Conventions are sent by the producing countries to the Board with a delay of several months, and often of several years-if indeed they are sent at all. Such delay would not prevent the mechanism of limitation from working. It would only delay its application and then only in the case of countries which are late.

  5. Estimates for conversion are easily established. They can be calculated from estimates of the amount of drugs which are required and are to be obtained from the raw materials: and these estimates are already furnished under the existing Conventions.

  6. The real difficulty lies in drawing up consumption estimates. As regards raw opium, India is one of 68 the few countries which declared consumption; it has a national control and, therefore, it may not be impossible to obtain estimates. But in Iran, where there is a large production and a large consumption, it would, judging from the past, be impossible to obtain any statistics or estimates at all, let alone accurate ones.

As regards coca leaves, the situation is likely to be even worse. For the Latin-American countries, where they are chewed, have no control over consumption, or if they have one, it is ineffectual, to judge by the statistics which are sent under the existing Conventions. It appears that in some countries taxes are collected on coca leaves sold to consumers. In so far as this is true, there must be some sort of control. In any case, the principal countries which consume "raw materials" produce it themselves, with the exception·of Argentina, which imports coca leaves. Therefore, the problem is, in the main, a national one and raises hardly any difficulty of an international kind.

  1. As regards opium and coca leaves, complete statistics are already required under the existing conventions. There should, therefore, be no new difficulties under this head. Complete statistics are not required for Indian hemp, and this gap would have to be filled. But here again, for all these substances it should be repeated that, after twenty years of international control, producing countries, Parties or non-Parties to the Conventions, if they furnish statistics at all, send them incomplete, inaccurate and late. No scheme, however carefully devised, can be expected to work if there is not a minimum of accurate and punctual information from Governments.

2. Obligations of the ICB

The ICB would:

  1. Establish all estimates not furnished by Governments;

  2. Calculate the limits:

  3. On the basis of estimates (preliminary limit);

  4. On the basis of statistics (final limit).

These limits would be communicated to Governments. The ICB would establish the actual deficits and excesses in production or imports and take the necessary steps.

3. Extent of control

  1. Excesses would be treated as follows, in accordance with the suggestions made above:

  2. Consumption, to be explained by Governments;

  3. Conversion, to be explained by Governments;

  4. State requirements. In this case only, no ex-planation would be required;

  5. Exports, would be limited to their destination. Trade would be subject to the measures proposed in chapter V, section D;

  6. Production, to be explained by Governments, supervised and absorbed;

  7. Stock (in fact, the production excess), ditto.

  8. In short, all the excesses would be taken into consideration; the utilization over and above estimates, i.e., "paper excesses" or under-estimates, would have to be explained; real excesses would be supervised and absorbed as soon as possible by a corresponding diminution of production.

  9. There would be no "paper excesses" to be deducted from the production of subsequent years as is done now in the case of manufacture. Only real excesses would be deducted.

  10. The system allows freedom of trade to subsist. This has the following advantages:

  11. Existing treaties of commerce are not disturbed;

  12. No financial difficulties, e.g., transfer problems, are created.

4. Preliminary limit

  1. Advantages. The system of preliminary limits should not be taken as a regimentation which prohibits, but rather as a guide leading to limitation-a limitation which, moreover, is consistent with its economic principles. Indeed, it is economically and socially undesirable in this particular case for a Government to overproduce a dangerous substance.

  2. Dangers. Every system based on estimates involves dangers when the estimates are inflated. In this case, the preliminary limit goes far beyond the quantifies required and countries are induced to produce more than necessary to cover actual legitimate requirements. This inevitable defect, inherent in preliminary estimates, is corrected at a later stage by the system of final limits. Nevertheless, Governments should be invited to estimate below rather than above the figures of the previous year. Later, if necessary, supplementary estimates can be sent.

5. The role of stocks

Stocks play an important role.

If production exceeds actual requirements, the excess goes into stocks, which become inflated. It might be69 well to establish criteria for determining the c ontemplated level of stocks. A contemplated stock should be enough to act as a compensatory balance between production and requirements; however, production and requirements may vary independently of the will of producers and consumers


  1. The first object of the 1931 Convention is stated in its preamble ". . . the limitation of the manufacture of narcotic drugs to the world's legitimate requirements for medical and scientific purposes . . .". Although the Convention does not state expressis verbis how this goal is to be reached, this can be ascertained by inference:

  2. The legitimate requirements of each country and territory in the world, and thereby the whole world's legitimate requirements, are determined by means of "preliminary" estimates;

  3. Supplies in each country and territory-and thereby in the whole world are not to exceed legitimate requirements, the latter being computed on the basis both of estimates and of statistics of actual movement;

  4. The estimated requirements of all countries and territories are made known to Governments and published by the Supervisory Body by the beginning of the year covered by the estimate. Each manufacturing country is to limit its production to its own legitimate requirements, increased, as the case may be, by amounts ordered by other countries or territories for their legitimate requirements.

  5. Thus, if each manufacturing country limits its production to the amount needed for its own legitimate requirements, and if, in addition to the manufacturing countries produce among themselves the amount needed to meet the legitimate requirements and not more of the non-manufacturing countries and territories, the limitation of manufacture to the world's legitimate requirements has been achieved.

2. Criticism: general

  1. We have no remarks to make on the theory of these general principles. No other basis suggests itself to achieve limitation of manufacture to the world's legitimate requirements, short of replacing national production by international manufacturing centres, operating on a co-operative basis under international control?, and we do not believe that the time has come when Governments would be willing to accept such a solution.

  2. On the other hand, the clauses into which these principles have been translated and the mechanism which has been set up to carry them into effect, bothleave much to be desired. The main defects in the clauses are lack of clarity as to the exact functions of the estimates, and the fact that these clauses are too weak in some respects and too stringent in others.

  1. Lack of clarity. Estimates are obtained under various headings specified in the Convention, and their sum or "total of the estimates" is defined in article 5, paragraph 2. For any drug, once these estimates are published by the Supervisory Body, the "total of the estimates'' of a given country represents the total requirements of that country. Therefore, it ought to serve as the manufacture-limit of that country (increased by exports, if any); if not, the purpose of the estimates is obscure. But, is this "total of the estimates" the limit foreseen by the Convention, to which a manufacturing country must adapt its production and which enables it to feel safe from excessive manufacture, so long as it remains within that limit? The term "total of the estimates'' occurs three times in the Convention: in article 5, paragraph 2, where it is merely defined; in articles 12 (2) and 14 (2), where it is given a function relating to imports and/or-exports but not to manufacture. Chapter III of the Convention is headed "Limitation of manufacture"; it begins with the words (article 6) "There shall not be manufactured in any country or territory in any. one year a quantity of any of the drugs greater than. . . ". The term "total of the estimates" does not appear at all in this chapter. Thus, it is clear that the "total of the estimates" is not meant to be the manufacture-limit, and that this limit is to be computed solely according to the provisions of chapter III, articles 6 and 7. Under these latter provisions, estimates but not necessarily their "total" may, under certain conditions, become a component of the manufacture-limit. In fact, taking the "total of the estimates" as a manufacture limit almost inevitably leads to excesses over the limits computed according to articles 6 and 7.

  2. Weakness. The powers of the Supervisory Body are limited to "examining" the estimates and asking for ". . . any further information or details. . . in order to make the estimate complete or to explain any statement made therein". It cannot amend an estimate without the agreement of the Government concerned. All it can do when it disapproves of an estimate is to include, in the Annual Statement of Estimates, ". . . an account of any explanations given or required . . . and any observation which (it) may desire to make in respect of any such estimate or explanation, or request for an explanation". The objectionable estimate nevertheless remains valid .

  1. Stringency. Under chapter III, manufacture-limits are to be based on items of actual utilization, within the limits of the corresponding estimates. This means that the limits are based either on actual utilization or on estimates, whichever is lower. And an unexhausted estimate under one head does not cancel an excess under another.

3. Criticism; in detail

  1. Machinery for limiting manufacture to legitimate requirements is provided for in articles 6 and 7, which read as follows:

"Article 6

"1. There shall not be manufactured in any country or territory in any one year a quantity of any of the drugs·greater than the total of the following quantities:

"(a) The quantity required within the limits of the estimates for that country or territory for that year for use as such for its medical and scientific needs including the quantity required for the manufacture of preparations for the export of which export authorisations are not required, whether such preparations are intended for domestic consumption or for export;

"(b) The quantity required within the limits of the estimates for that country or territory for that year for conversion, whether for domestic consumption or for export;

"(c) Such quantity as may be required by that country or territory for the execution during the year of orders for export in accordance with the provisions of this Convention;

"(d) The quantity, if any, required by that country or territory for the purpose of maintaining the reserve stocks at the level specified in the estimates for that year;

"(e) The quantity, if any, required for the purpose of maintaining the Government stocks at the level specified in the estimates for that year.

"2. It is understood that, if at the end of any year, any High Contracting Party finds that the amount manufactured exceeds the total of the amounts specified above, less any deductions made under article 7, paragraph 1, such excess shall be deducted from the amount to be manufactured during the following year. In forwarding their annual statistics to the Permanent Central Board, the High Contracting Parties shall give the reasons for any such excess."

"Article 7

"There shall be deducted from the total quantity of each drug permitted under Article 6 to be manufactured in any country or territory during any one year:

"(i) Any amounts of that drug imported including any returned deliveries of the drug, less quantities re-exported.

"(ii) Any amounts of the drug seized and utilised as such for domestic consumption or for conversion.

"If it should be impossible to make any of the above deductions during the course of the current year, any amounts remaining in excess at the end of the year shall be deducted from the estimates for the following year."

  1. These provisions immediately suggest the following comments:

  2. The limits of manufacture are narrow in the extreme, for, as explained above, the factors taken into account on the positive side of the calculation are either amounts actually utilized or the corresponding estimates - whichever are lower. And an unexhausted estimate under one head does not cancel an excess under another;

  3. These limits are awkward to calculate, either for Governments or the Board. No fewer than nine elements of actual movement have to be ascertained and taken into account-consumption, conversion, stocks at the beginning and at the end of the year, and difference between them, government requirements, exports, imports, seizures released; and no fewer than five estimates-consumption, conversion, desired level of stocks, quantities involved in bringing actual stocks to that level, government requirements.

  4. Regarding point (i) above, experience has shown that excess manufacture under articles 6 and 7 is usually due, in whole or in part, to the fact that actual utilization (consumption, conversion, government needs) has proved to be higher than the respective estimate. In such circumstances, when enough has been manufactured to meet the under-estimated requirements, an excess manufacture has automatically occurred; under articles 6 and 7. In other words, under-estimating automatically results in over-manufacturing. But all such excesses exist only on paper, because the drug has been used and is no longer available on the market.

  5. Regarding point (ii) above, we believe that hardly any Governments realize that they should make this calculation, or know how to make it; for, whereas the limits are exceeded every year by practically every manufacturing country, for one drug or another, it has only once happened that a Government has spontaneously given (as stipulated in paragraph 2 of article 6), the reasons for an excess, when forwarding its annual statistics.

  6. In practice, the Board calculates the limit, when it can, and draws the attention of the Governments concerned when these limits are exceeded. Such replies as have been received to such notifications generally substantiate the statement made in the first sentence of the preceding paragraph. The Board, however, often cannot make this calculation. It cannot do so, first, when any single of the eight statistical forms to be filled in by Government, and containing the necessary information in actual movement, is missing, and, secondly, when a Government has not itself supplied estimates. In the second place, the estimates are established by the Supervisory Body; but the latter establishes only estimates of consumption and conversion, having decided, rightly or wrongly, that it cannot establish "the amount of the reserve stock which it is desired to maintain". This, in turn, makes it impossible to determine the quantity mentioned in article 6, paragraph 1 ( d).

  1. In any case, manufacture-limits cannot be calculated with respect to codeine and dionine, for the Convention does not stipulate that statistics of consumption shall be furnished to the Board for these.

  2. In short, for this machinery to function, two conditions are required:

  3. Complete estimates and statistics must be supplied by Governments for the manufacture-limit to be established;

  4. A day-to-day check, by Governments, of the movement of drugs under the nine. statistical items needed for the calculation of this limit, against estimates and actual manufacture, in order to slow down manufacture or send supplementary estimates, if and when necessary. Even if actual requirements were originally estimated with extreme accuracy, i.e., down to the last kilogramme, this check would be necessary, because exports and returned deliveries cannot be anticipated-let alone confiscations.

  5. The first of these conditions is an obligation upon Contracting Parties, clearly stated in the Convention. The second condition is not stipulated in the Convention, and would be extremely difficult to fulfil. In fact, only one Government appears to have managed to keep manufacture of a single drug exactly to the limit under articles 6 and 7. The country was Japan; the drug: heroin.

  6. Excess manufacture is not too disquieting when it occurs accidentally and if manufacture is reduced correspondingly in the next year. Article 6 of the Convention contains provisions to that effect. These, however, are as unsatisfactory as the rest of the scheme. First they make it even more complicated to calculate the manufacture-limit under articles 6 and 7, adding, as they do, one more element to the fourteen already to be taken into account, i.e., the excess from the previous year. Secondly, in only one case can the deductions actually be effected, i.e., when, at the end of the year, utilization for every single purpose except stock has remained within the limit of the estimates; then the surplus is in stock and is available for use in the following year. In the other cases, the surplus exists only on paper (see paragraph 3 ( c) above) and is not available for use in the following year. If the letter of the Convention is applied, this paper excess will be carried over from one year to the next; accurate estimates in the subsequent years will not blot it out. If, on the other hand, there is another under-estimate, it will go to swell the original paper excess and so on endlessly until the ludicrous situation is reached when the paper excess is larger than the sum of manufacture during the year, and the stock at the end of it. Indeed, it will continue its course.

  1. Again taking the letter of the Convention, even an excess which is not a paper one and represents several times the total of annual requirements of the manufacturing country may be cancelled by ceasing to manufacture for one year; for if no manufacture has taken place in any one year, there can be no excess manufacture that year to be "... deducted from the amount to be manufactured during the following year".

  2. It will also be noted that some deductions are to be made from the quantities "to be manufactured" (paragraph 2 of article 6) and some from the "estimates" (last sentence of article 7). But the two items on account of which deductions might have to be made from "the estimates" (returned deliveries, re-exports, seizures released) are precisely those for which there are no estimates, as they cannot be forecast; and if the deduction were made direct from the "total of the estimates", the remaining amount would no longer be the total of the other items of estimates. Moreover, even if such deductions were possible, it is not stated who should effect them: the Government concerned, the Supervisory Body or the Board ? This latter remark also applies to the last sentence of article 8, regarding conversion.

B. SUGGESTIONS - 1. Principles

  1. The object of the following suggestions is not only to make the present system of limiting manufacture simple and more effective, but also to arrive at a system which could be applied in all cases, whether a country only manufactures or only imports, or does both. It would therefore be more correct to say that it purports to limit not only the manufacture of drugs, but the whole supply.

  2. Its main principles are to remove the anomaly of having, on the one hand, in some of the provisions of the 1931 Convention, great weakness, and extreme--- but generally theoretical---stringency in others; to help Governments to know their limits at any given moment; to avoid paper excesses and, at the same time, discourage Governments from inflating their estimates; and, finally, to provide some possibility of deducting real excesses.

  1. It will be observed that these suggestions place more emphasis upon actual requirements than on estimates. This tendency is dictated by fifteen years experience of the application of the 1931 Convention and is not inconsistent with the aim of any convention purporting to limit "... the manufacture of narcotic drugs to the world’s legitimate requirements ....".What really counts is whether manufacture exceeds, not estimated requirements, but actual requirements. For only when manufacture exceeds requirements can a surplus be found in stock at the end of the year, and if it is to be available for use in the following year and has to be deducted from amounts to be manufactured, it has to be in stock. The stock at the end of the year reflects the whole movement during the year and is, therefore, the only real index for determining whether supply is excessive or not.

2. In detail

  1. The ICB should have greater powers than merely "examining" the estimates and publishing correspondence and comments thereon.

  2. The "supply-limit" (see chapter III, section C, paragraph 3 ( f)) would be a first statement of the amount to be procured during the year. It would be altered by only unforeseen elements: exports, returned deliveries, deductions on account of previous excesses and seizures released for legitimate use and, of course, by supplementary estimates. The supplementary estimates would not include amounts involved in bringing stocks up or down to the amount it is calculated having in stock; these amounts would be calculated by the ICB and credited by it to tile "supply-limits" of the countries concerned.

  3. Apart from changes in wording from suggestions made in chapters II and III of the present document, the following amendments should be introduced in chapter III of the Convention of 1931, in order to translate the principles set forth in the above paragraph and in chapter V, section D. Chapter III of the 1931 Convention should be headed: "Limitation of Supplies", and article 6 should run on the following lines "There shall not be manufactured or imported...". Secondly, the words "within the limits of the estimates for that country or territory for that year" should be deleted wherever they occur in article 6; this would avoid "paper" excesses. Governments, on the other hand, would have to give the reasons for any utilization in excess of an estimate.9



This is the present de facto procedure in cases of "paper" excesses. In the past, when Governments were asked the reasons for such excesses, they generally explained that this or that utilization had exceeded the estimate-a fact which the Board already knew. Answers of this kind eventually moved the Board to modify the form of its enquiry and ask. in the first place why this or that utilization has exceeded the respective estimate.

  1. It will be observed that, even if the present system were to be maintained, the words "at the level specified in the estimates for that year", which appear in article 6 (1) ( e), should be deleted, for no such level is to be specified or declared by Governments.

  2. Sub-paragraph (i) of article 7 should be deleted, and sub-paragraph (ii) should be listed in article 6, as a negative factor, immediately after the positive ones, together with the "deductions" mentioned in the last two sentences of paragraph 2 of article 5. These, however, as said above, should be calculated by the ICB. The remainder of article 7 should also be deleted.

  3. Under article 6 so revised, there would be an excess supply only when the total amount of the supply obtained during the year (i.e., manufacture, imports,. seizures released, excess carried over from the preceding year) exceeds the total actual requirements plus exports. And, under this scheme, such an excess would invariably emerge in- the form of a corresponding excess in the stock at the end of the year over the contemplated stock which had been approved, and not merely "examined", by the ICB. Thus, there would be no need for long calculation by Governments, and no question could arise as to whether the excess, being actually in stock, was available for use in the following year and could be deducted from the supply to be procured in that year. This deduction would be made automatically as foreseen under paragraph ( b) above.

  4. As soon as the ICB has determined that deductions should be made, whether under ( e) or ( f) above, it should make the deduction, the amounts in question being deducted from the "supply limit" and the Governments concerned notified.

  5. Article 8 should be deleted. The amount which this article mentions as being unused in that year would be found in the stock at the end of the year, thus creating a real excess.

  6. It is hoped that the above suggestion will give an idea of how the mechanism created by the 1931 Convention could be adapted to attain the object we all have in view. If it proved desirable to make some such adaptation and use the above suggestions for this purpose, then it would also be necessary to take into account the suggestions in chapters II and III. Moreover, it would be necessary to introduce clauses ensuring that all the elements required to establish limits will, in fact, somehow be furnished. For instance, if a country fails to supply estimates, the ICB should establish them, not only under certain headings, as done by the Supervisory Body at present, but under all headings. And, if a Government fails to send some. statistics on actual movement, the missing statistics should be replaced in the calculation of limits by the corresponding estimate approved or established by the ICB.

VIII. ADMINISTRATIVE - Preliminary remarks

We have described above the changes which we should advocate in the existing system of limitation and control. How should the new arrangements we propose be administered? This section naturally falls into two sub-sections: national controls and international control. As before, we propose in each case to state first what the disadvantages of the present arrangements are, and then proceed to make proposals for changes.

A. NATIONAL CONTROLS - 1. Present position and criticisms

  1. The provisions for the setting up of national controls occur in article 15 of chapter VI of the 1931 Convention, which runs as follows:

"The High Contracting Parties shall take all necessary legislative or other measures in order to give effect within their territories to the provisions of this Convention.

"The High Contracting Parties shall, if they have not already done so, create a special administration for the purpose of:

"( a) Applying the provisions of the present Convention;

"( b) Regulating, supervising and controlling the trade in drugs;

"( c) Organising the campaign against drug addiction by taking all useful steps to prevent its development and to suppress the illicit traffic."

  1. There are special administrations in many of the countries Parties to the Conventions, and their territories but they vary enormously. Some countries have an elaborate special control, more or less autonomous with its own police, etc.; others, not necessarily the inefficient ones, have a small separate section in an existing ministry (e.g., Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture) with only a handful of officials who use the central police force, customs service, etc., for their domestic control. In many of the small colonies, territories, etc. there has, of course, not been created any special administration, and the work is done, e.g., by the Medical Officer.

  2. There is considerable variety in the practice adopted by different metropolitan countries in regard to their colonies, territories, etc. Some countries leave colonies and territories free to send their returns direct to the Board and the Supervisory Body; others--and this tendency has been increasing of late--are establishing a kind of control, whether for economic or other reasons, over the execution of the Conventions by their colonies and dependencies. These latter metropolitan governments arrange that all the returns from colonies, etc., should go through the metropolis.

  3. Some countries have inefficient administrations. Sometimes this is due to indifference, sometimes to insufficient financial provision. In one small country, the special control consists of a single official without a secretary, who goes round on a bicycle inspecting the chemists' shops and making such notes as he can of their stock, etc. In some countries the legislation is inadequate; in others, the legislation, though adequate, is not applied. In others again, natural conditions make certain forms of control almost impossible to apply.

  4. Whatever their cause, deficiencies in the national administrations, so far as we have had occasion to observe them, show themselves chiefly in connexion with inaccurate statistics leading to discrepancies; failure to observe the limits imposed by the Conventions; misunderstanding of the terms of the Conventions; failure to answer letters; sending statistics late, or not at all.

  5. The weakness, indifference and helplessness of many administrations have imposed a limit upon the extent to which the purposes of the conventions have been attained. As has been seen above in several chapters, e.g., in particular, in chapter IV, "Statistical Control", administrations have been unable or unwilling to supply the basic information required in order to enable the international bodies to perform their duties; and in this respect the situation substantially deteriorated with the recent war. In its 1947 report (document E/OB/2), the Board made the following statement:

"It should be remembered, in connexion with the application of future conventions, that in the additional matter of sending returns by a given date, most Governments, though not all, habitually neglect the obligations they have undertaken; and that if they did not con- stantly receive reminders, the volume of reports received would soon dwindle.

"It is difficult to know how far this deterioration is due to a general decline in administrative efficiency, or to lack of personnel and funds, or to disruption caused by the war. There are some signs of improvement, and it is hoped that gradually, the pre-war situation will be restored."

And again:

"To sum up, it may be said that the fulfilment by Governments of their obligations to send estimates and statistics has been steadily improving since the end of the war, but that it is still far from satisfactory. It is not sufficiently realised that the sending of punctual and accurate statistical information to the Board is not an act of grace on the part of Governments, to be abandoned or suspended according to the convenience of the moment, a change of Government, or some other domestic event, but a serious contractual obligation undertaken in an international treaty vis-a-vis all other Governments; and if this obligation is not fulfilled, the system of control which Governments intended to institute, and which those Governments which carry out the Conventions in good faith are trying to 'work' effectively, will break down. How true this is emerges in the next section of this report.

"It would be difficult at the present moment to select even a few Governments which carry out completely--that is to say, accurately and punctually--all the obligations they have assumed under the 1925 and/or the 1931 Conventions. Some Governments do not realise that they have assumed obligations; others which, no doubt, do realise their obligations are, for one reason or another, not prepared to live up to them."

As regards raw opium, the Board regretted "to state that the aim of the Convention of 1925 has not been attained, the desired control being vitiated at its source owing to the lack, or the poor quality, of statistics concerning the four most important producing countries" --China, Iran, India and Turkey.

In its last report for 1948 (document E/OB/4), the Board again stated: "... it is impossible, twenty years after the coming into force of the Convention of 19 February 1925, to determine even approximately the total world production of raw opium and coca leaves. This gap is very regrettable as these two substances are both used as raw materials for narcotic drugs and are consumed with harmful effects."

  1. No doubt one cause of inefficiency in the national controls, in their relation with international authorities, is in many countries due to the language difficulty. Since the Board's forms have been translated into Spanish, and since its correspondence with the technical authorities in Spanish-speaking countries has been conducted in Spanish, a certain improvement has been observed. It is not sufficiently realised that the documents of the Board and Supervisory Body, e.g., the statistics published by the Board and the statement published by the Supervisory Body, and their forms, are not like many international reports--documents prepared for the information principally of Foreign Offices. They are actual working documents to be used daily by the technical officials of the national controls. The officials of these controls are less likely than the officials of Foreign Offices to know or have access to foreign languages, and, for this reason, it is important that these documents should be made available in as many languages as possible.

2. Suggestions

  1. It is difficult to say what provisions could be inserted in the Conventions in order to strengthen the weaker administrations. There is obviously a limit to the amounts which countries, especially those which have been impoverished by war, are prepared to spend on this kind of control.

  2. The system adopted in the 1925 and 1931 Conventions has been to throw the major responsibility and expense for control, in the first instance on national authorities and impose on the international authority only an ex post facto control or check. The experience of the last twenty years has shown that, for one reason or another, Governments have not been able to carry out fully their part. And it is for this reason, among others, that in the suggestions made above some of the responsibility and work have been transferred from them to the international authority which it is proposed should be created. It is believed that this will be in the interest of Governments in that it will relieve them of some degree of responsibility and expense, and, also, that it will improve the control.

  3. The necessity for efficient national controls will, however, of course, exist and under this head we have the following proposals to make:

  4. It would be desirable that there should be a congress--say every three or five years--of the technical controllers of the different metropolitan countries and some of the principal colonies. These meetings should not be, it is suggested, in the nature of governmental committees, whether executive or advisory, or of governmental conferences which pass recommendations, give advice and make reports on which action is directly based. They should be in the nature of the many technical scientific congresses which take place, and directed in the first instance to the pooling of experience and the exchange of knowledge;

  5. There is another possible suggestion which we think we may mention even though it could probably not find a place in a new convention. An arrangement was made before the last war in the field of public medicine, and also in that of economic statistics, which led to fruitful results. It consisted in arranging that certain advanced countries would allow officials of less experienced countries to come and study their more advanced mtehods. Arrangements were then made for a careful selection of suitable officials, preferably young, open-minded and intelligent, to be sent on study tours to these countries. On his way to and from his tours, each "student" spent a week or a fortnight in the international centre in order to learn something of the methods and desiderata, and was required to make a confidential report at the end for the international centre which had arranged his trip. The advantages of such an arrangement are obvious. The difficulty is to find the money. The less advanced countries are likely to be poorer ones; and they are not likely to be able to find money for such scholarship tours. Moreover in order to be effective, it requires a rather careful little administration at the international centre, which also costs money. The schemes which existed before the war, and to which we have referred, were financed by the Rockefeller Foundation; or, possibly, such a scheme might be financed officially through the United Nations.

  6. The question arises whether anything can or should be put in a new convention on this subject. Perhaps the most suitable thing would be to earmark the matter for insertion in a recommendation or vœu at the end of the conference; unless, indeed, it were possible to insert in the convention itself some declaration of willingness by Governments to receive such scholarship students if asked to do so and to give them facilities.

B. INTERNATIONAL CONTROL - Preliminary remarks

The two authorities engaged in the control created by the Conventions with which we are directly concerned are the Board and the Supervisory Body.

1. Permanent Central Board--Convention of 1925, as amended in 1946

"Article 19

"A Permanent Central Board shall be appointed, within three months from the coming into force of the present Convention.

"The Central Board shall consist of eight persons who, by their technical competence, impartiality, and disinterestedness, will command general confidence.

"The members of the Central Board shall be appointed by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

"In making the appointments, consideration shall be given to the importance of including on the Central Board, in equitable proportion, persons possessing a knowledge of the drug situation, both in the producing and manufacturing countries on the one hand, and in the consuming countries on the other hand, and connected with such countries.

"The members of the Central Board shall not hold any office which puts them in a position of direct dependence on their Governments.

"The members shall be appointed for a term of five years, and they will be eligible for reappointment.

"The Central Board shall elect its own President and shall settle its rules of procedure.

"At meetings of the Board, four members shall form a quorum.

"The decisions of the Board relative to Articles 24 and 26 shall be taken by an absolute majority of the whole number of the Board."

"Article 20

"The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations shall, in consultation with the Board, make the necessary arrangements for the organisation and working of the Board, with the object of assuring the full technical independence of the Board in carrying out its duties under the present Convention, while providing for the control of the staff in administrative matters by the Secretary-General.

"The Secretary-General shall appoint the secretary and staff of the Board on the nomination of the Board and subject to the approval of the Council."

2. Supervisory Body--Article 5, paragraph 6, 1931 Convention as amended in 1946

"The estimates will be examined by a Supervisory Body consisting of four members. The World Health Organization shall appoint two members and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of the Economic and Social Council and the Permanent Central Board shall each appoint one member.

"The Secretariat of the Supervisory Body shall be provided by the Secretary-General of the United Nations who will ensure close collaboration with the Permanent Central Board."

3. Expenses of the Permanent Central Board

In accordance with a recommendation of the second Opium Conference of 1925, the expenses of the Board were carried on the budget of the League of Nations, and are now carried on that of the United Nations:

"The Conference requests the Council of the League of Nations to decide to include in the expenses of the Secretariat the expenses of the Central Board and its administrative services.

"It is understood that those Contracting Parties which are not Members of the League will bear their share of the expenses in accordance with a scale to be drawn up by agreement with the Council."

4. Present position and criticism

  1. Article 19 has worked quite satisfactorily; article 20, on the other hand, has given rise to conflict and difficulties, particularly on one occasion when the Secretary-General of the League of Nations refused to appoint a nominee of the Board as secretary.

  2. Similarly, the composition and organization of the Supervisory Body has not worked badly.

  3. It will be observed that the arrangements for the secretarial work of the Board and Supervisory Body are different. The secretariat of the Board is responsible for its work to the Board, but in administrative matters to the Secretary-General. This arrangement has worked only fairly well. It has given rise at certain times to difficulties which might have become serious, notably once when the Secretary-General of the League of Nations wished to restrict the freedom of communication between the secretary and the members of the Board on an administrative matter.

  4. The secretariat of the Supervisory Body, on the other hand, is solely responsible to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for its work and forms part of the general Secretariat of the United Nations, like the secretariat of any other committee which is provided from the staff of the United Nations. This difference in secretarial arrangements has been anomalous and undesirable.

  5. But the real criticism of existing arrangements is that having separate organs for the work of the Board and Supervisory Body, and separate secretariats, means overlapping work and waste of money, it leads to contradictions in the technical control and, in fact, constantly creates confusion in the minds of Governments; it is unnecessary and administratively vicious. However, it is not necessary to labour this point, as everyone agrees about it. For some years now, there has been a de facto merging of the two bodies, and, recently, the secretariat of the Board absorbed the work of the secretariat of the Supervisory Body, the secretary of the Board being also appointed secretary of the Supervisory Body.

  1. The financial arrangements which were made in pursuance of the request of the 1925 Conference, have worked fairly well. The desiderata of the Board under this head have been set out in an annex to the Board's last report (document E/OB/4) as follows:

"The expenses of the Board are carried on the budget of the United Nations and should be in the form of a separate chapter including all the expenses of the Board and its staff, except those in respect of rent, heating, all services of a general character (e.g., translation, minute-writing, mimeographing, etc.) and material supplies, which are provided by the Secretary-General without being charged to the Board's budget. The budget estimates should be prepared by the Secretary of the Board in consultation with the Bureau of the Budget of the United Nations, and approved by the Board before being submitted to the Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions and to the Assembly. Expenditure on the budget should require the authorization of the Secretary of the Board (or his substitute) acting on behalf of the Board. The Board has always had, and should continue' to have, power to transfer credits as between sub-items of its budget even if they occur in. different parts of the budget.

"Under the Final Act of the 1925 Convention, nonmember States parties to the Convention are to contribute to the Board's expenses. In such circumstances, it is necessary to ascertain the Board's expenditure in order that a percentage may be assigned to such States. 10

"To sum up, the Board is not concerned with those forms of budgetary technique which may be most convenient to the United Nations so long as:

"( a) Its budget is a unit;

"( b) The estimates for this budget have been approved by the Board or on its behalf before they go to the General Assembly;

"( c) Expenditure on it cannot take place without sanction given by the Board or on its behalf;

"( d) Power is reserved to the Board to move credits between sub-items of this budget.


Cf. Section VII, Final Act of Conference of 1925

"The above statement has been inserted in the present note for the sake of completeness and in order that the principles it contains should be agreed by the Economic and Social Council. In fact, provisional arrangements have been made between the Board and the Secretary-General of the United Nations for putting them into effect as regards the budget for 1949, and it is expected that these arrangements will work satis-factorily."

  1. Such difficulties as there have been have really arisen from a root anomaly in the whole status and position of the Board. The framers of the Convention of 1925 wanted to set up a body which was independent, but they did not want to go so far as toset up a completely autonomous body like the International. Court of Justice or the Food and Agriculture Organization or the World Health Organization orUNESCO; or, to take institutions existing at that time, the Danube Commission or the Postal Union. They thus created a body which they tried to make technically independent, e.g., by giving the members a tenure of office of five years, arranging that they must not hold offices directly depen-pendent on their Governments, etc., but financially and administratively dependent on other authorities. Thus, for instance, the staff is appointed by an outside authority, the finances are provided, not by Contracting Parties, but by another international institution, many of the Contracting Parties not being members of this institution; the report of the Board goes not only to the Contracting Parties to whom it is responsible, but also to another international body, the Economic and Social Council; and this latter body has received a mandate from a group of Governments, who are not the same group as the Parties to the two Conventions, to supervise the execution of these two Conventions and, therefore, presumably the work of the Board.

  2. The status of the Board and of the Supervisory Body reflects this extraordinarily odd situation: they have not the status of a. specialized agency, nor have they the position of an ordinary United Nations committee. They are something between the two and thus fall between two stools. This matter has also been dealt with in the above-mentioned annex to the Board's last report:

"Apart from the question of diplomatic privileges, there is the question of the formal status of the Board and of its relationship to the United Nations, its organs and specialized agencies. At present, this status is undefined and this lack of definition leads to anomalies. Thus, for instance, no provision is made for the Board except in the case of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs to be automatically represented at meetings in which it is interested, although full provision is made for the attendance of members of the International Court of Justice, specialized agencies, governmental organizations, and even non-governmental organizations. Similarly, as the Board does not figure on the list either of organs of the United Nations or of specialized agencies, the publicity desirable for its work is often not available. The Board requests the Economic and Social Council to consider measures to remedy the situation.

"The President and the Members of the Board should be entitled to appropriate privileges and immunities when on official business.

"The Board appreciates the steps taken by the Economic and Social Council at its sixth session, February-March 1948, in asking Governments to give the Members of the Board privileges and immunities on the lines laid down in the Convention on Privileges and Immunities as approved by the General Assembly on 13 February 1946' and inviting them 'to report as soon as possible what measures they may have taken to carry out this recommendation'. It has received communication of the replies of Switzerland, India and the United States of America, and hopes that this matter may reach a satisfactory conclusion."

5. Suggestions

  1. In order to remedy the above situation, it appears to us that there are two possibilities: the first is to tinker with the existing arrangements and try to improve them. The second would be to make a radical change, such as creating a specialized agency.

  2. If the first solution is to be adopted, it would be desirable that there should be in future a single international controlling authority charged with executive and administrative tasks·Under the new convention this body could have, broadly speaking, the composition, and the members could have the competences, laid down in the 1925 Convention for the Board, adding however medical qualifications· It should consist of not more than eight members. Otherwise it becomes un-wieldly and expensive and it is not possible to keep its working supple and informal and, when necessary, secret. Thinking back over the last fifteen years, we are impressed by the fact that the close and continuous relationship between the members of the small Opium Board, a relationship which becomes impossible in a larger body, has greatly contributed to the cheapness, swiftness and efficacy 0f its work. It might be appointed as to one half by the Economic and Social Council, and as to one half by the World Health Organization; and its report should go to the Contracting Parties and to these two organizations.

  3. It is desirable to insert in the new convention some provision that the members will be selected from a panel consisting of one or more candidates put forward by each of the Contracting Parties to the convention; and that Governments in putting forward candidates make themselves responsible that these, candidates will be highly qualified, will be able to give adequate time and attention to the work, and will not hold any office dependent on a Government, directly or indirectly connected with the production, marketing or controlling of narcotic drugs.

  4. In the above section, we have purposely not gone into the questions pertaining to the functions of the Economic and Social Council, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Secretary-General of the United Nations. These are not our immediate concern and have not come within our immediate observation. At the same time we should like to record our opinion that a future convention is likely to work well in so far as there is a strict division of functions and separation of powers; and that the object should be to create, on the one hand, a policy-making body with every facility for receiving information as to the execution of the convention, discussing it, criticizing, suggesting and framing plans for the future, but with no executive or administrative responsibilities; and, on the other hand, a single international controlling authority including in its functions, and those of its secretariat, all the semi-judicial, executive and administrative tasks required under the convention, including those at present carried out by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

  5. We now come to the other and more radical alternative. The above proposals have been put forward as involving the minimum of change in the existing arrangements. But there is much to be said for a more radical change and for going as far as the creation of a specialized agency covering the whole of the work in the field of narcotics control by almost all the different authorities who at present have a hand in the matter, including that of the Economic and Social Council, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the Board, the Supervisory Body, the experts of the World Health Organization, on habit-forming drugs, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations; but not the Arbitration Tribunal under the Hague Convention of 1907 and the International Court of Justice. Such an agency would have, say, quinquennial meetings of Governments to "legislate" and vote the budgets covering the intervening years. It should have a special reserve fund of its own. A small governing body could do the executive and administrative work, and in so far as policy was not laid down by the quinquennial meetings of Governments, there could be a policy-making council, meeting more frequently. It could appoint, such technical committees as were necessary. This more radical solution would, of course, at one blow, get rid of most of such administrative difficulties and anomalies as have beset this work during the past two decades. Whether or not the question of narcotics control has become sufficiently divorced from politics for such a separate Organization to be created is a matter which can be ascertained only by careful soundings among Governments. It would probably present one great advantage, viz., that it would stand a better chance of riding the storm in the event of war than if it were attached to a political organization more exposed to the risk of foundering.


As this Protocol was drawn up in order to remedy defects of the Conventions of 1925 and 1931 in the matter of placing new drugs under control, it is the only document which we have taken into consideration.

1 Article 1--General

Not only "any State Party" but the WHO and any Government, should have the right to send the notification mentioned in paragraph 1. If the notification came from the WHO, it would doubtless contain the decision referred to in paragraph 2, and the procedure would merely have to be completed by the action foreseen in paragraphs 3 and 4. The decision should be communicated .to all Governments, and not only to the members of the United Nations and to Contracting Parties.

2. Article 1, paragraph 1, second and third lines

Delete the words "which is or may be used for medical and scientific purposes and". This restriction is useless, if not undesirable.

3. Articles 1 and 2

The mechanism created for placing new drugs under control is rather cumbersome. Under article 1, notification is sent "immediately" (i.e., contemporaneously) to WHO, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and.Contracting Parties. We do not know whether the Commission on Narcotic Drugs will take its decision by a procedure of studying and voting by correspondence, or at an extraordinary session convoked for this purpose, or at its next ordinary session.In the first case, the procedure could hardly be satisfactory; in the second, it would be expensive; and, in the third, lengthy. The procedure adopted by. WHO is to submit the question to its Committee of Experts on Habit-Forming Drugs; this Committee reports to the Executive Board of the organization, 11which communicates the decision to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. While it should be easy for the five members of the Committee of Experts on Habit-Forming Drugs to meet (no regullar sessions are foreseen), or decide by correspondence, endorsement and communication of these decisions, first by the Executive Board and possibly by the Assembly, would delay effective action. It might very well happen that this Committee of Experts and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs would be in session simultaneously or at short intervals and discuss the one and same drug. This constitutes duplication of work. We assume, of course, that the possibility of the two bodies arriving at conflicting conclusions can be safely disregarded.


We-understand that the secretariat of WHO is obtaining a legal opinion whether it is also necessary to refer the question to WHO assembly before it becomes valid.

We suggest, therefore, in addition to the points raised in paragraph 1 above, that WHO Committee of Experts on Habit-Forming Drugs should be empowered to take the action at present conferred on the Commission of Narcotic Drugs under article 2. This would speed up the whole procedure, since it is easier to consult five experts than fifteen government representatives. A drug would be placed permanently under control as soon as the decision of the Committee of Experts were ratified by WHO. This would make it easier also to give effect to a recommendation made years ago by Mr. Herbert L. May and reaffirmed by the Committee of Experts at its first session, in January 1949, under which a new drug suspect of being habit-forming is to be considered as "guilty" until it is proved to be "innocent''.


Under the existing provisions of the various instruments of international control of narcotics, there are no arrangements whereby a drug mentioned in paragraph 2 of article I of the 1931 Convention could be moved, if necessary, from group II to group I, or vice versa. No such necessity has arisen so far, but it might be wise to make provision in the new convention to meet it.


The technical chapters of the present study refer almost entirely to "raw materials" and drugs, and contain no suggestions regarding narcotic substances which are neither the one nor the other, such as medicinal opium and opium in the form of medicinal preparations. We do not know whether it is intended to place them under the full control applied to "drugs" or to leave them under a less rigorous system. We feel, however, that the fewer different kinds of controls there are, the better. It will have been observed that our suggestions regarding control of trade, for example, mean the suppression of need for import and export statistics. We presume that this system would also be applied to "raw materials," and suggest that it should be applied mutatis mutandis to all the narcotic substances falling under international control. In other words, the trade in all these substances should be controlled either through import and export authorizations or through ex post facto statistics---but not through both. For any hybrid system would inevitably lead to confusion and discrepancies, let alone duplication of work.


The new convention should provide that the International Control Board should publish the statistics which it considers necessary in order to give a picture of the important and significant trends in the movement of narcotics, and to show how Governments fulfill their obligations. The 1925 and 1931 Conventions contain a detailed schedule of information which the Board is under an obligation to publish. The result is that the Board's reports have been swollen, and you cannot see the wood for the trees.


There are certain general considerations which the experience of the secretariat and the study it has now undertaken have suggested which do not find a place under any of these headings, and which may, therefore, conveniently be included in this concluding section. They are as follows:

  1. In our experience,. the overwhelming disadvantage of the existing international instruments and the system they set up has been their complexity. The texts are involved and contradictory; the administrative machinery which has been set up is too complicated and gives rise to overlapping. If Governments have failed to do all their part, this has been due not only to the fact that the Conventions were in advance of public opinion or that Governments were too poor or indifferent to set up the necessary administrative machinery, but also partly to the fact that the Conventions were too involved.

  1. We have, so far as lay in our power with the limited time at our disposal, tried to outline the defects of the present system, as we see them, and make concrete suggestions. It should not be inferred from this that we are convinced that such suggestions can be immediately and satisfactorily carried out. On the contrary, as our work has, progressed, we have been increasingly beset by doubts as to whether the present is a good time for embarking upon a new convention. It is obvious that the machinery needs overhauling and simplifying; but by the de facto fusion (except as regards one member), of the Board and Supervisory Body, and the complete fusion of their secretariats. The most important step in this direction has already been taken. The whole prospect as regards the control of narcotic drugs, the illicit traffic and addiction has been fundamentally changed in recent years by the discovery of synthetic drugs, the preparation of which may become simple and inexpensive. At that point, they will drive from the market narcotic drugs made from opium and the coca leaf and their derivatives; and the whole problem of controlling illicit trade and manufacture will take on a different aspect and will start to resemble such problems, for instance, as the abolition of the traffic in obscene publications.

Probably, opinion is ripe for a further advance in the direction of the control of raw materials, in particular opium and coca leaves. But, by far, the largest part of the coca leaf production goes in chewing and the control of chewing is not yet; in the opium production, that part which went into opium-smoking is now on the way to abolition through national action; the remainder is mostly used for the manufacture of morphine, which is in turn mostly converted into codeine. But the commercial production of synthetic morphine convertible into synthetic codeine is round the corner, 12 and if any object that the cost is and will remain prohibitive, let him compare the costs of the production of penicillin and streptomycin now and a few years ago.

  1. We have thought it right to raise this question of timeliness because, while it raises matters of high policy, it also affects the detail of the control. One example may suffice to illustrate our meaning: It was believed that the Protocol of 19 November 1948 was up to date in meeting the immediate difficulty of synthetic drugs and in bringing them under the existing system. But the range of these drugs is so wide and their dangerous potentialities so uncertain that already the technical experts of WHO have made proposals which go beyond the Protocol and involve a radical change in the existing system, i.e., that drugs in these synthetic groups shall be placed under control unless and until they are proved to be non-habit-forming.

See. report of the Committee of Experts on Habit-Forming Drugs of the World Health Organization (document WHO/ HFD/9).

Of course, the fact that the situation is running away with one is also a reason for taking action and, no doubt, stop-gap actions of various kinds could be devised during the next few years. What we have in mind is the possibility that it is best perhaps to go slowly with any attempt at comprehensive action in the hope that the situation as regards synthetic drugs will soon become clearer.

  1. We believe that the existing international instru-ments do not make enough concessions to the needs for simple and clear directions of the ordinary national official who, after all, in the event, has to set and keep the machinery working. We should hope that, at the Conference which is to adopt a new convention, an effort will be made to avoid obscure and ambiguous legal phraseology and language which is otherwise too technical.

  2. All our proposals have been based on two assum-ptions. One is that national controls will be effective and the other that they will operate in good faith. This latter point is particularly important in the case of countries which possess "raw materials". For such Governments can always avoid control, as did Japan. They merely have to send plausible false information.

Helen Howell Moorhead

Mrs. Moorhead, a member of the Board of Directors of the Foreign Policy Association (USA) and Chairman of its Opium Research Committee, died on 6 March 1950. For more than twenty-five years she had co-operated most actively in all efforts to establish, maintain and strengthen the national and international control of narcotic drugs.

The sense of deep loss sustained by all those connected with the work to which. she devoted her life are reflected in the telegram of condolence sent by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to the Foreign Policy Association, the reply of its President and the notice published in the Foreign Policy Bulletin on 17 March 1950.

From: United Nations, Lake Success

To: Mr. Brooks Emeny, President, FPA

As the representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations concerned with the international control of narcotics may I convey to you on behalf of the Secretariat my condolences on the death of the Chairman of your Opium Research Committee. Mrs. Moorhead's splendid work for more than twenty-five years will continue to be an inspiration to her colleagues in this field.


Director of the Division of Narcotic Drugs,

10 March 1950 Department of Social Affairs

From Foreign Policy Association

To: Mr. L. Steinig, United Nations

March 13, 1950

Dear Mr. Steinig,

Your letter of condolence with regard to the death of Mrs. Moorhead is deeply appreciated by the Board of Directors and staff of the Foreign Policy Association. Mrs. Moorhead was a member of our Board for thirty years and her contribution to the work of the Association was monumental. The cause of the fight against narcotics as well as general education in world affairs has received a severe blow in Mrs. Moorhead's death. She was a person of remarkable capacity for imaginative work and extraordinary loyalty to the causes for which she devoted her life.

With kind regards, I remain, etc.

Brooks EMENY


Foreign Policy Bulletin 17 March 1950

The death on March 6 of Mrs. Helen Howell Moorhead is a sad loss to the Board of Directors of the Foreign Policy Association, of which she had been a member since 1928, and to her many FPA friends. The Research Department, in whose work she always took a deep interest, will particularly miss her as a colleague and as a friend.

Mrs. Moorhead, a graduate of Bryn Mawr, began her studies of the international narcotics problem in the Foreign Policy Association in 1923. Out of these studies developed the research work of the Association, directed first by Edward Mead Earle, now a member of the Princeton University faculty; then, from 1927 to 1938, by Raymond Leslie Buell, whom Mrs. Moorhead introduced to the FPA; and since 1938 by Vera Micheles Dean. After serving as assistant to the Research Director in 1927 and 1928, Mrs. Moorhead became chairman of the FPA Opium Research Committee. Beginning in 1923 she represented the Association at sessions of the Opium Advisory Committee of the League of Nations in Geneva. Following World War II she attended the sessions of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of the United Nations. She was the author of a Foreign Policy Report, "International Narcotics Control: 1936-1946", published' in 1946, and contributed articles on this problem to the Foreign Policy Bulletin.

Mrs. Moorhead was one of the few persons in the world with a thorough knowledge of the international control of narcotic drugs. Her penetrating studies in this field commanded the respect of technical experts, and she never flagged in her endeavours to bring about understanding between nations with respect to drug control. To members of the Research Department she was a warm-hearted friend, quick to sense the problems of research, ever ready to see all sides of controversial issues and eager to offer constructive suggestions. Successful in her own field, she was generous in her appreciation of other women's accomplishments in international affairs. Liberalism based not on sentiment, but on factual knowledge, was, for her, a way of life as well as a profession of faith. Throughout her long and helpful connexion with the Board and staff of the Foreign Policy Association she contributed richly to the Association's achievements.