The Control of Narcotic Drugs and the Concept of International Administration
I. The Framework
III. The Struggle Against Illicit Activities
IV. Methods of International Action
V. New Developments
Author: JOSEPH P. CHAMBERLAIN
Pages: 1 to 8
Creation Date: 1950/01/01
The narcotics control organization, as it now exists, is the result of experience over many years.
It began, before the creation of the League of Nations, with the Treaty of 1912, which laid the foundations, and laid them on a sound basis, but which set up no administrative agency and which depended solely on the goodwill of governments for its administration. When the League of Nations came into being, the carrying out of the treaty was entrusted to it, and an administrative agency, the Opium Advisory Committee, was promptly set up to advise the Council and Assembly of the League as to the steps to be taken to make the Treaty effective. Subsequently, aided by the impetus of the League toward better international organization and administration and greatly helped by the League machinery for drafting conventions, the control developed through the Treaties of 1925, of 1931 and of 1936 to the strong position it held at the end of the League period. The Convention of 1925 extended and strengthened the League background and set up the Permanent Central Opium Board to watch the international trade in narcotics, and gave it the means of' enforcement through its power as a judicial body. In the Convention of 1931, the Supervisory Body was created to make more effective the important function of control of estimates of needs in different countries, one of the bases of international narcotics control. Then, in the Treaty of 1936, infractions of narcotic laws were made criminal laws of a world interest.
In the composition of the three organs of the narcotics control-the OAC, the Board and the Supervisory Body-their functions were taken into consideration. The OAC had important administrative functions, but it was also policy making in connexion with the Council and Assembly, so that, upon it, governments were appointed which sent their representatives to its meetings. The representatives spoke not only as members of an international body but also with the authority of their governments. The Board and the Supervisory Body, as administrative organs, were composed of individuals. The Board was appointed by the Council of the League of Nations. Its members were independent and their independence was guarded by the requirement that they should not be in direct dependence on any government. Their functions were administrative and judicial and stress was laid on their independence in the international conference that formulated the Treaty of 1925. The Supervisory Body, exercising the important function of making the estimates of use of drugs which the governments agreed to observe, was even further removed, by the method of its appointment, from any control by governments. It was a unique international organization in that its members were appointed by different international agencies, no one of which controlled a majority, to make sure that there should be no political influence brought to bear upon it.
The United Nations took over from the League, and the governments signatory to the treaties, by the Protocol of 1946, vested, in the appropriate agencies of the United Nations, the powers held by the League agencies. The Council no longer existed; the Economic and Social Council was given its powers and duties; the General Assembly took over powers and duties from the Assembly. The Opium Advisory Committee became the Narcotics Commission, appointed by the Economic and Social Council, and other modifications in form were made to correspond with the new situation.
The narcotics organization is proof of the close interdependence of nations and the need of their association for the accomplishment of an object of importance to each one of them separately, and therefore to all of them as a group. It is because no one country could protect itself against the evils of addiction that they found it necessary to associate themselves in limiting the spread of a habit which all regarded as an evil. There was thus the strong motive of a national interest which moved the governments and which has held them together in the fight against one of the great curses of the human race. The fact that it is recognized as an evil has made easier the work of the control and has made very effective the weapon of publicity, which, as the Opium Advisory Committee has said, is one of its chief weapons. But publicity alone would not have been sufficient to bring about the success of the work. The co-operation of the governments, both on the international and on the national side, with the organs of the control was essential. For, as the Committee has said, "neither the Committee nor the League is in a position to grapple with this colossal problem except to the extent they are aided by governments"; and the strong interest of governments, backed by their peoples, in their domestic problem made them willing to accept the limitations on their sovereignty which experience showed were necessary if the campaign was to succeed.
It has always been recognized that universality was the goal to be aimed at and that, unless all the countries were bound by limiting conventions, there was always danger that there would be created a pool of drugs from which the smugglers could get their supplies. But universality by the normal method of all countries signing the convention is hard to accomplish, and other means had to be devised to check the non-member countries. The influence of the League, and now of the United Nations, has been used as a means of getting countries to sign the conventions. The Council of the League, and now the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, have reminded governments of the importance of signing the succeeding conventions and have kept a gentle pressure upon them at the request of the Opium Advisory Committee, now the Narcotics Commission. It is one of the many services which the League and the United Nations, as over-all international bodies, are able to render specialized controls such as that of narcotics.
Even without the ideal condition of universal acceptance, however, the system of estimates, which is put in effect through the Supervisory Body, establishes a method of control extending throughout the world over non-signatory as well as signatory governments. Any State, signatory or non-signatory, may send in its estimate for the amount of its needs for the year and, if it does not send sin an estimate, the Supervisory Body will make an estimate for it, which will then be binding. Shipments of drugs can be made only to a State within the limits of the estimate, and if the Permanent Central Opium Board, as a judicial body, determines at any time that the limit of the estimates has been reached, it will notify the States and they are bound not to make shipments which will exceed the estimates.
The Board has another means of checking on nonmember as well as member States. If it finds that there is accumulating, in any country, an amount of drugs which constitutes a danger, it may notify the other States, and shipment in such case will again be stopped. Non-member governments are of course not bound to observe the rules of the conventions or the decisions of the Board; but so long as the principal drug - manufacturing countries are signatory the limitations are effective on even non-signatory States, and so a universal world-wide effect is given to the conventions. If, of course, a State which produces opium has, at the same time, factories for the transforming of the opium into drugs, another means of assuring limitation would have to be adopted, and that the Board has at its disposal. It may request a government, whether signatory or nonsignatory, to come before it and to explain a condition which, in the opinion of the Board, makes it likely that there will be improper accumulation of stocks. This procedure can only be successful if the Board has great prestige, a reputation for fairness and, at its back, the influence of governments which are sincerely interested in narcotics control. All of these prerequisites are possessed by the Board. In one well-known case of a non-signatory government which was both a producer of opium and a manufacturer of narcotics, the Board requested its appearance to explain a situation threatening to the narcotics control. The government appeared and promised that it would give up manufacture, pass satisfactory legislation, and would sign and ratify the narcotics conventions. It was as good as its word.
The Supervisory Body, in preparing its estimates, does not have the right to modify the estimates of a government, but it can bring about the same result in a less drastic manner. It has the right to make inquiries in respect to the estimates as a whole, or an estimate as to any particular drug, and the governments questioned have, for the most part, given the required explanations. Knowing that it would have to explain its estimates and explain them to a group of men, both in the Secretariat and on the Supervisory Body, familiar with the subject and who have been watching their returns for years, a government is apt to be careful in preparing its report; but it might be less so if the power of checking did not rest in the international organization. The weapon of publicity can be used in all these instances. The reports of the Supervisory Body are public and so are the reports of the Permanent Central Opium Board. Governments are not willing to seem unco-operative with an international agency engaged in carrying out an international social duty of such importance.
Another means of enforcement, by publicity again, is through the reports formerly made by the Opium Advisory Committee, the Permanent Central Opium Board and the Supervisory Body to the Council and Assembly of the League of Nations, and now to the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations. These reports are public and, more than that, they may be the subject of discussion in either of the two bodies, so that any Member of the United Nations, or any non-member which has not observed its duties under the opium treaties, may be brought to book in the ECOSOC or in the Committee of the General Assembly to which these reports are submitted and where they are discussed. Such publicity, based on well established facts, set forth in that great world forum, would be hard for a government to face. It must be used with great care, however, and informal methods have proved far more satisfactory in the settlement of the questions which have arisen in the course of the administration of the treaties.
It is well to have power, whether that of publicity or that of possible administrative action; but it has been found in the national administrative field, as well as in the international, that persuasion is an arm which accomplishes better results, though it may not accomplish them so quickly. Great tact and understanding must be his who would successfully share in administering the international opium control. Governments and their representatives are sensitive, both to their standing internationally and to their standing among their own people, and an international administrator must have in mind not only the international situation but the national one, and must understand how to bring persuasion and pressures to bear which will not either destroy the personal standing of the man with whom he is negotiating or the standing of his government. He must, however, know when to apply public pressure, as in the case of the country mentioned above which was brought before the Board, and he must know what particular pressure is best fitted in a particular situation.
Another method, useful in all international administrative matters, is the diplomatic pressure of interested governments. In a difficult situation, a government which has relationships with the government which causes the trouble may suggest that public opinion in its country is concerned, and it would be well for the offending government to take into consideration its public relations and the harm that may come to its good name, and to its international relations, if it persists in the course it appears to be taking. The use of this method helps make effective international organization as a means of keeping order in the international society and maintaining the instruments that society has established to carry out its purposes.
A useful device for securing universal application of the control is the system of import and export certificates, by which a close check can be kept on the international legitimate trade in narcotics and on the possibility of an accumulation of narcotics in any one country. If no shipments could be sent from any country to another without an import certificate from the government of the receiving country and an export certificate from the government of the sending country-with the power of the Board to check on export and import certificates so that it would have an automatic means of watching the trade, and with its power as a quasi-judicial body to bring about a cessation of exports to a country exceeding its quota-there would be little danger of great leakage from the legitimate trade. This system can be extended, in its effect, to non-member countries by the device of requiring member countries not to allow drugs to be sent to non-member countries unless they have, in effect, the same system of watching their legitimate trade. The import and export certificate system, too, is a good means of keeping national narcotic officials informed of imports and giving them a means of checking on the illegitimate traffic.
The reports on seizures made by governments are a valuable means of checking on the illegal traffickers. They indicate the extent of the traffic and the regions from which the traffic flows, so that closer watch can be kept on suspected territories. They have been useful in bringing specific situations to the attention of governments which had been lax in passing legislation, and so caused them to tighten up their laws. This procedure has, however, been rendered less important with the success of the programme and the improvement in national legislation and administration. Formerly, one of the principal sources of the traffickers was leaks from the regular trade facilitated, especially at first, by the laxity of legislation and laxity of administration, a more important element as legislation improved. Under the steady pressure of the international administration and of the interested governments, this source of the illicit trade has been cut down. It has already been pointed out how a non-signatory country had begun manufacture openly and how it was checked. In the same way other countries had been brought into agreement and open manufacturing fairly well controlled, but now the great danger is from clandestine factories, so that the origin of seized drugs is not so easy to determine.
A serious instance of the rise of the clandestine factory was in the Far East. There, under the Japanese control of Western China, clandestine factories appear to have been encouraged by the occupation authorities and their satellites, and a flood of drugs not only entered the illicit market of China, but also found their way to Western European countries and particularly to the United States, always the best market at the highest prices for smugglers. In Korea, a factory had been established under Japanese Government auspices, whence came drugs used in the illicit trade in .Manchuria and North China, and swelling the traffic to the United States and Canada and Europe. Formerly drugs had gone from the West to the East, but if the East Asiatic governments are not able, or do not show the will, to join effectively in the worldwide campaign, the tide will be reversed and the3 traffickers will find their chief source of supply in the Orient.
The powerful international Organization of the illicit traffic called into being an international police organization to control it. Its size and wealth are indicated by the fact that persons associated with it sought out countries in which factories could be established to manufacture its drugs, and when these were closed by the action of the international authority, it financed and operated the clandestine factories required for its supply. It is organized into large and well financed groups, operating in many countries and well supplied with money from its enormous profits and from the capital which adventurous traffickers were able to contribute. Scattered as was its management, the transactions of its chiefs were not easily discovered by the police of any single country, and it used its resources freely in bribery of officials where possible. Only recently, there was developed, by the traffickers, a business in opium and its derivatives in a country close to another which was a rich market, escaping for some time the eye of the government in whose territory it was operating. That operation, including the growing of opium, its transformation into certain drugs, would not have been worth while except for the organization of the means of transport and of sale in the illicit market in other countries. This factor of clandestine production and manufacture has created new difficulties and has raised the question of giving to the Commission power of inspection which it has never had. Inspection is a difficult weapon to use in a world of independent governments. It is never popular; no government likes to have international inspectors in its territory. International inspection would imply a failure of the government itself to live up to its obligations; and if it had to be used frequently, the very fact would show that the control was weakening, nor would it be easy to carry out where the problem was that of unearthing clandestine factories, often small and carefully hidden. It could be useful in the other field, that of discovering whether there was an excess production of opium. The poppy fields flamboyantly proclaim their presence with their gay coloured flowers and would be easily identified from an airplane without interference, as in the cases of factories, with the life of the country. The fact of opium growing could be easily established in this way and brought to the attention of the international authorities for discussion in their meetings, and the country which allowed it would be subjected to the weapon of publicity. The right of inspection would have to be used with great care and sparingly, but the international administration of the narcotics control can be trusted with it, and it might, on occasion, serve the useful purpose of providing material for discussion at meetings of the Board or of the Commission, on which to base requests for action to a government lax in its administration. The change in the dependence of the illicit market on clandestine production, may well make important an inspection which might make it easier for the national administration itself to discover and act against clandestine manufacture.
It is only with the co-operation of governments that the international control can succeed. The governments send in the information on which the control depends. They report seizures, they agree to insist on import and export certificates and to obey the judicial recommendations of the Board. They provide the statistics of use of drugs for their countries on forms prescribed by the Supervisory Body, and they are bound to explain their own statistics and to accept, as a basis for action, the estimates fixed by the Supervisory Body not only for signatory countries but for non-signatory countries as well. Statistics needed for the work of the control are not always sent in on time. While narcotics bulk large in the minds of those who are interested, it has not always an equal importance in the minds of government officers, busy with many matters more important to them than narcotics, so the secretariat and the officers of the control must be on the alert to assure the flow of the information which is the life blood of the control.
They have another function, basic to international action. Narcotics control would not be possible except by control of individuals, which can only be carried out through the action of governments. The treaties contain closely detailed international standards defining narcotic drugs and prescribing the method of control of their manufacture, their shipment in international trade, their use in internal trade, even going so far as to prohibit the unlawful possession by individuals. It is not too much to say that the narcotics conventions lay down the international law of narcotics as the Universal Postal Convention lays down the international law of the posts, and that the signatory governments are bound to enforce this law by legislative action putting it into force, each within its own jurisdiction. The administrative side of the government is bound to enforce these acts and to have the aid of the judicial branch in imposing the penalties prescribed by the national legislature.
Thus, through the governments, the international rule finds application to individuals in different countries, and its enforcement is based on the interest of the people in the countries and their governments in meeting the menace of narcotic addiction. A government, to meet its obligations under the conventions, must have legislative, executive and judicial power, which must be put at the service of the world-wide programme: without this foundation, a firmly laid programme would crumble.
Not the least important of the duties of a government is the adequate punishment of violators of the narcotics law. Unless there is a severe corporal punishment of offenders the effectiveness of the laws will be much lessened. Fines are looked at by the rich gangs which control the traffic as a sort of license for which they can readily pay in the case of the minor traffickers who actually sell the drug to individuals. Unless prison sentences are meted out, and these in proportion to the importance of the offence, the laws lose much of their effect, and thus the check on the traffic in a country will become weak. However, as each country is a necessary link in the chain, the result is that there is an international interest in severe punishment. A crime against the narcotic laws in any country thus becomes a matter of international concern.
Recognizing this, the Treaty of 1936 has bound governments to punish, with severe prison sentence, breaches of the narcotic law. But that is not enough. Narcotics crimes, carried out in several countries by different individuals who keep away from the country of illicit sale, require co-operation among the law enforcement officers to get the evidence and produce it in the proper court. The farflung system of the traffickers also requires close co-operation between enforcement officers of different countries in the process of discovering and apprehending the criminals and getting information which leads to the seizures of drugs shipped from one country to another where they are destined for sale. Long before the Treaty was prepared, enforcement officers had been in dose touch with one another and had thus spread an international police net which alone could be effective against the elusive and well advised malefactors who operated as great gangs.
International organization, based as it is on governments, needs to provide means of securing action through the governments. The means provided in the narcotics conventions and through the United Nations, have been referred to and their wise and temperate use has been the basis of its success, backed by its great weapon of publicity. At first, when the problem was to ensure satisfactory legislation, the information brought out by seizures, and discussed in the Commission, made apparent the failure of certain governments, even well disposed, to pass legislation which would close the door of the legitimate trade to leaks, and which would carry out the national obligations to enact and carry through the engagements of the government. With the setting up of the Permanent Central Opium Board, an effective instrument for watching international trade was set up with the power to call governments, signatory or non-signatory, before it, and to issue requests to governments which they agreed to follow. Armed with these powers, it has been effective by its informal negotiation and has met, in this way, the delicate problems of enforcement. Within a certain country a new manufacture of drugs was started after the traffickers had found their supplies greatly diminished by action of other countries. It was believed that the traffickers themselves had started this enterprise, and the government, when approached by the Board, finally agreed to close the factory. Only recently a flourishing business of growing poppies, and converting raw opium into drugs for sale in the illicit market, was uncovered in a country and, by prudent negotiation involving co-operation with interested governments, the danger was met through the Opium Commission by negotiation, which made the government a willing co-operator in checking the thriving trade.
The steady improvement in the structure and the powers of the narcotics control is owed, in large measure, to the work of the organization through members of its agencies and of its staff. They have been steadily occupied with carrying out the powers granted by the successive conventions, and thus have been made conscious of defects in the treaties by the lessons of that great teacher, "Experience". The Opium Advisory Committee was set up to advise the Council and Assembly of the League; and it was natural that it should have the task of preparing drafts of new treaties under the aegis of the League. This procedure was different from that of the preparation for the Treaty of 1912, when there was no agency entrusted with the preparation and it was left to an interested government to take that responsibility and also to call the conference.
Thus, the preparation of the treaties was in the hands of the administrative agencies charged with their application, familiar with the problems involved and acquainted not only with the difficulties of the control itself, but with the attitudes of different governments which would have to, eventually, pass on the draft that would be submitted. The same experienced group had the task of collecting the material on which the proposal was based, the reasons for changes, and why the proposals for modification were likely to produce the results expected of them. Proposals were debated in the Committee, advised by its staff, and, as the members of the Committee represented governments, points of view of different important governments could be taken into consideration during this preliminary work, and the members of the Commission could consult their own governments on the policy involved and even the detail of different proposals. When the draft was completed, it was passed on to the Council of the League, and the Council, if it thought the time appropriate, would call a conference of interested countries to which the proposals would be submitted, with their accompanying data. The conference had thus started with a carefully prepared plan, supported by material prepared by a competent staff, on which to work.
The proposals of the OAC were not, by any means, always accepted by the conferences, which sometimes made material changes, but they were well informed of the problems and policies involved before a start was made on the conference.
There was another step taken in the League procedure. Proposals were communicated to governments for their comments, so that there was not only the judgment of the Opium Advisory Committee, but that judgment, corrected by the governments, contained in the final draft which went to the conference. An even shorter procedure was followed in the Protocol adjusting the treaties to the new state of things when the League ended and the United Nations took over. The draft was prepared by the secretariat, the members of the Commission were consulted, the draft submitted to the Economic and Social Council for its approval, and then sent to the General Assembly. Governments were asked to give their representatives in the General Assembly full powers to sign the convention if approved by the General Assembly, and thus avoid the step of an international convention. The General Assembly approved the draft. Many of the Members signed and the Protocol was then sent to those countries which had not signed, with a request that they approve it. Until governments had signed and ratified, the instrument was not in effect as a treaty. This procedure comes close to direct international legislation by the General Assembly, subject to subsequent signature and ratification by the governments. Non-member States may be asked to approve, though they, of course, are not in the position of having had their representatives in the body which passed upon the proposed convention. This procedure had been in use in the League in a few cases, some much more important than the Protocol, for example, the Slavery Convention of 1926. It has advantages over calling a conference for a new discussion of a draft which the governments have already approved, and it represents a great saving in time and expense. On the other hand, a special conference devoting itself exclusively to a particular treaty will give it closer attention than it was likely to receive in the committees or on the floor of the General Assembly, and it does not seem likely that important conventions in respect to which there is a real conflict will be withheld from special conferences.
The proposed convention to include, in one document, the narcotic law will probably go to a special conference, but that conference will have before it a carefully prepared draft with supporting materials, and that draft will have a great influence on members of the conference. It will incorporate the best judgment of the staff and of the Commission with the aid of the members of the Board. This method of preparing international legislation is possible only because of the existence of an over-all international organization like the United Nations. It is an important contribution toward better prepared international legislation in the economic and social fields. Just as in the case of national laws in these fields, so in international legislation there is need, as the narcotics treaties show, for continual change to adjust the provisions of the law to new situations, as for example, new kinds of drugs which have been developed, the need for control of raw materials and to improve the administration. The same procedure applies in respect to na tional laws. As has been the case in the drug control, it is the national administrative agencies in charge of particular activities which are accustomed to take the lead in suggesting improvements in legislation, both as to substance and as to administrative devices, and the lawmaking body has been accustomed to take their proposals into consideration.
This procedure, developed through the League and the United Nations, is a substantial contribution to the organization of the international society. Under the old procedure some government had to be persuaded to assume the responsibility of calling a conference and had the labour of preparing the agenda and the preparatory materials necessary for its work. There was no international staff or international administrative authority working steadily on the problem and familiar with its intricacies. The international authority, too, has the further interest that it will be charged with the duty of carrying out the new convention, so that it will be concerned with the practicability of its proposals in an administrative sense.
The preparation of drafts of new conventions and of amendments is a task which calls for patience and for compromise. It cannot be quickly done where important changes are suggested. Consideration must be given to habits and prejudices in member countries in all quarters of the globe. There must be negotiations with governments, there must be consideration not only of what is desirable but of what is possible and of the extent to which different governments can go in breaking down habits of their people. A good example is the long continued campaign against smoking opium, which was at first permitted under the convention and then limited and, finally, by the vigorous efforts of governments and of the narcotics control during the war, has been abolished in eastern Asiatic countries which at first were unwilling to act and which derived a Considerable revenue from opium taxes and licences. Steady pressure of other governments and, above all, of public opinion, together with the accumulating evidence of the harm done by the vice, made this accomplishment possible.
Under the Convention of 1931, certain types of new drugs made from opium or coca leaf might be brought under control by a decision of the World Health Organization, which would be binding on member States; but recently other synthetic drugs have been discovered which are habit forming and should be subject to the machinery of the international narcotics control. The Commission, acting through the processes of the United Nations, proposed a protocol to this effect. The Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly approved it, and it was sent to governments for their ratification. Under its provisions the World Health Organization will decide whether the drug is habit forming and its decision will be final, an application of the Convention of 1931 in a wider field.
New synthetic drugs will bring new problems of control and especially that of discovering and stopping operations of clandestine factories not dependent on opium or coca leaves for their basic materials. The controls now in use can be employed against leaks from the legitimate trade, but the new drugs will involve questions of control, in the national chemical trade, differing from the control of opium and coca leaves, as these are usually imported by manufacturing countries. Clandestine factories making these drugs will be a problem, administratively, for the national governments bound to suppress them by the international treaty law. The system of control shows its soundness in this example of the way it can be extended to new materials and to varying situations as the need develops.
Another example is the applicability of the system of estimates to another problem, that of the production of crude opium, which has long engaged the attention of interested people and of narcotics authorities. It has been realized, as a result of long experience, that, until production is under control and limited to the amount of crude opium needed for medical and scientific purposes, there will be a surplus from which illicit smoking opium and narcotic drugs will be produced, despite the best endeavours of the international and national agencies. If estimates were sent to the Supervisory Body of the amount of crude opium and coca leaves which each manufacturing country would require, both to supply its home market and its customers, an amount checked by the estimates of the need for drugs each country now furnishes, the total world consumption of crude opium could be fixed and an apportionment of the raw material be made among manufacturing countries.
Very real conflicts of interest arise, however, in the organization of the producing countries. Opium producers have seen their product cut down by the campaign against traffickers, their largest outlet. Some of them have co-operated loyally in the restriction of the supply of drugs and often at substantial economic loss to the governments and to their people who plant the poppy. They are also threatened by the development of a new process which makes it possible to extract opium from the straw of the poppy plant, widely extending the area within which crude opium can be produced.
Synthetic drugs also have played their part in the threat to the prosperity of the industry. It is natural, therefore, that the governments of the principal opium producing countries should press for a share of the opium trade and should be concerned with opium production by the new process. The manufacturers are interested in a steady supply and in a fair price, and so are the physicians who use the opium drugs in their practice. Since the crude opium is not needed in very large quantities, and since the price of the crude opium does not play a very large part in the ultimate cost of the drug, the play of competition among the producing countries is not important, provided the price can be maintained at a figure that does not become exorbitant.
Consumers, however, may not unnaturally be expected to oppose an uncontrolled monopoly by the producing countries, which would result if the production of opium from straw were given up-so that the drug would have to come from a relatively few producing areas-thus making control easier. Some form of control of the world opium market is indicated in the interest of both the producer and the consumer, so that a supply will be forthcoming each year at a reasonable price, and the amount of crude opium processed be limited to the requirements for the legitimate trade.
Essential to any settlement of the problem is agreement among the producing countries as to the division of the market and the setting up of some way of determining the price, in which both the producers and consumers will feel confidence. The result of such a plan, if sincerely enforced by producers, would be to cut the supply of opium from the clandestine factories and to check the sale of opium for other than drug purposes, such as smoking, results which are vital to the final success of the long campaign against the traffickers. Producers might be inclined to accept such a plan to save their remaining market, especially if there could be agreement to cease production from poppy straw. Stopping poppy straw production would help in the control, as production would then be concentrated in a few countries which should be willing to submit to limited oversight. For example, it would be possible, by airplane, to check how much land was being cultivated, and where, and to check on the care each government was showing in its limitation campaign.
It has been characteristic of the work of the organization that it has kept away from political influences except those directly involved in the subject matter of its activity. In the one case of Franco Spain political reasons led to the exclusion of a country whose record of observance of the treaties has been good and which has accepted their restraints, even though no longer a member. The spirit of exclusion, contrary to that of universality, must be guarded against if the international narcotic organization is to protect the people of the world, as it is intended to do.
The serious power struggles which so disturb the society of nations have not prevented the control from continuing its progress, and the new States which have arisen, especially in the East, have joined its ranks and so have bound themselves to keep its statutes. There has been excessive production of opium in several of them, and clandestine manufacture has spread in at least one.
The next years will be difficult. Opium revenues, licit and illicit, are tempting, enforcement of narcotic laws is hard and costly. Their administrative organization will be under a strain, and it will not be easy to meet the standards which have been set up internationally. Their peoples have suffered in the past from the evil of narcotism; they have therefore a strong interest in the success of a movement which will have so much effect on the economic betterment of their people.
The League played a very important part in the development of the narcotics control, so important that it is doubtful whether the great advance made would have been possible without the influence of its agencies and the great value of the secretariat. The Opium Advisory Committee was a League agency. The League supplied it with the staff without which it could not have functioned, and the fact that there was behind it the great sounding board of the League, through the Council and through the Assembly, gave it an invaluable means of influencing governments and of informing public opinion. The United Nations, with the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, has succeeded the League. It has shown appreciation of the work done in narcotics, which makes it evident that the support given by the League will be continued under the United Nations.