The Question of the International Opium Monopoly

Sections

A. Report of the meeting of representatives of the Principal Drug-manufacturing Countries
B. Report of the Joint Committee of the Principal Drug-producing Countries and of the Principal Drug-manufacturing Countries on its first session
Annex
Sir Malcolm Delevingne
Dr. Carlos Gutierrez Noriega

Details

Pages: 46 to 58
Creation Date: 1951/01/01

OFFICIAL

The Question of the International Opium Monopoly

The starting point of this question and the first decisions on the international opium monopoly are to be found in the Official Section of the Bulletin on Narcotics, vol. II, no. 3 (July 1950), where mention is also made of a meeting of the principal drug-manufacturing countries on 7 August 1950 and of a Joint Committee of those countries together with the principal opium producing countries on 14 August 1950, both in Geneva.

These meetings having taken place, the Bulletin now publishes herewith extracts from their reports to the Commission on Narcotics (documents E/CN.7/200 and E/CN.7/201).

A. Report of the meeting of representatives of the Principal Drug-manufacturing Countries

The meeting was held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, from 7 to 15 August 1950.

THE MEETING'S WORK

The meeting, which was of an exploratory character and was without prejudice to the further consideration by Governments of the outcome of the meetings of the Joint Committee, decided to devote its session to an examination of the draft of the proposed interim agreement to limit the production of opium to medical and scientific needs (E/CN.7/199 and conference room paper DM/3).

It first held a general debate on the draft text, during which the representatives and observers present outlined the views of the Governments which they respectively represented on the draft instrument-as a whole and on the principles on which it was based. Following on this general debate, the meeting devoted the rest of its session to a detailed examination of those sections of the draft agreement which were of primary importance to countries manufacturing drugs from opium.

THE INTERNATIONAL OPIUM MONOPOLY

After a detailed examination of the problems involved in limiting the production of opium to medical and scientific needs and in controlling the international trade in that narcotic raw material, the meeting came to the conclusion that the control measures for limiting the production and regulating the distribution of manufactured drugs, which are provided by existing international treaties and which have now worked for a long period with a considerable measure of success, could not be applied with equal success to the production of and trade in opium.

The meeting accordingly decided, with a view to achieving an effective control of opium, to envisage the establishment, within the framework of the United Nations, of an international opium monopoly, and it accepted in principle the measures to that end provided for in chapter III of the draft. The meeting was fully aware that the creation of this monopoly as an international non-profit-making corporation with commercial functions would be an entirely new departure in international co-operation; it was equally aware that the operation of such an organ would have economic consequences both for countries producing opium and for those in which drugs were manufactured from that substance. They would certainly entail mutual concessions on the part of both groups of countries, but the meeting recognized the overriding interest of eliminating the present over-production of opium, from the consequences of which the world now suffered.

INSPECTION (section 48, sub-paragraph (i))*

Having accepted the principle that the international opium trade should be organized as a monopoly, the meeting considered in some detail all the provisions of the draft agreement designed to ensure that such a monopoly should work efficiently and effectively. It would be of primary importance to ensure that there was no production of, trade in or use for manufacturing purposes of opium except as provided for in the agreement. To ensure this it would be essential for the executive organ of the international monopoly to have the right to inspect the opium trade at every stage from the time at which the poppy seeds were planted until the manufacture of the alkaloids from opium had been completed. With that in view the representatives and observers of all the States represented at the meeting declared that the Governments concerned would be willing to accept international inspection and to give all due facilities to inspectors of the opium agency to make such inspections as would be necessary to ensure that the provisions of the agreement were being carried out in their countries.

Section 48, sub-paragraph (i) reads: ". . . inspect areas sown with the opium poppy in the territories of all parties which permit the production of opium as well as storehouses of monopolies and their relevant records . . ."

The meeting introduced the necessary amendment into the text of the draft agreement to provide for such inspection, and expressed its confidence that the opium producing countries would, in the spirit of co-operation which they had so clearly demonstrated at Ankara, undertake to grant similar facilities to the agency's inspectors in order to ensure the successful operation of the international opium monopoly.

THE EXPORT OF MANUFACTURED DRUGS FROM OPIUM-PRODUCING COUNTRIES

The Committee gave some thought to the state of affairs which would arise under the international monopoly whereby opium-producing countries which manufacture drugs from opium would be able to obtain their raw material more cheaply than the manufacturing countries, since such opium would be obtained within the country concerned and not through the international monopoly. They would accordingly have some considerable advantage over the manufacturing countries in competing for the export trade in manufactured drugs. The meeting unanimously agreed that the way to meet this situation would be for the opium-producing countries to undertake not to export drugs which they had manufactured from opium.

THE CHAIRMAN OF THE REGULATING COMMITTEE

In connexion with its consideration of section 29, paragraph 4 (paragraph reference number 161)* the meeting discussed a number of proposals as to the international organization or other body which it would be desirable to make responsible for appointing the chairman and vice-chairman of the regulating committee, and decided to bring the proposals to the notice of the Joint Committee of the Principal Opium-producing Countries and of the Principal Drug-manufacturing Countries for its consideration when discussing this matter. The following proposals were made:

* This paragraph reads: "The chairman and vice-chairman shall be appointed by . . . (here insert the name of an appropriate international organization) or if it shall be unable so to do by the Secretary-General, to hold office for a period of . . . years."

  1. The regulating committee, from a panel of candidates to be nominated by the Economic and Social Council;

  2. The Economic and Social Council;

  3. The Secretary-General; on a unanimous proposal by the regulating committee or, if that were unobtainable, on a proposal by a three-fourths majority of that committee.

PURCHASE PRICE OF OPIUM FROM THE INTERNATIONAL MONOPOLY

The meeting considered the situation which would arise as a result of the abolition of the free market in opium and the fixing of prices by the international monopoly. Manufacturers might then be unable to sell drugs made from opium in competition with drugs coming from countries of which the Governments were not parties to the proposed agreement. It was feared that competition would be particularly strong in the export market, especially from countries manufacturing alkaloids from poppy straw.

Various proposals were made to meet the difficulty, one of which foresaw the creation of a compensating fund from which the international monopoly would be able to subsidize the Governments of countries in which manufacturers were unable to meet the competition in question.

The meeting decided to bring this difficulty and the proposed solution to the attention of the Joint Committee of the Principal Opium-producing Countries and of the Principal Drug-manufacturing Countries, pointing out that it would be in the ultimate interests of the opium-producing countries to provide the means for a solution of the problem and thus make sure of a continued market for their opium. If the problem were left unsolved, and the competition in the drug trade proved in the event as severe as the meeting feared, the result could only be an eventual, if not an immediate, reduction in the orders for opium which the manufacturers would place with the international monopoly.

Reference was made in the course of the discussion to the insuperable difficulties which some countries would find in present circumstances in complying with any requirement that payments must be in dollars or in convertible currency.

B. Report of the Joint Committee of the Principal Drug-producing Countries and of the Principal Drug-manufacturing Countries on its first session

The meeting was held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, from 14 to 28 August 1950.

INTRODUCTION

The first objective in the plan elaborated by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and approved by the Economic and Social Council, in which a stage-by-stage solution of the problem of limiting the production of opium to medical and scientific needs was contemplated, was attained by the success of the meeting of the opium-producing countries at Ankara at the end of 1949. The second stage of its development was reached with the convening at Geneva of the Joint Committee of the Principal Opium-producing Countries and of the Principal Drug-manufacturing Countries in August 1950, which was immediately preceded by the meeting of representatives of the principal drug-manufacturing countries.

The Joint Committee was alive to the fact that despite the undoubted benefits which the existing international conventions on narcotics and particularly the strict control of drugs manufactured in authorized factories had brought to the world, the successes so gained had only been partial and drug addiction remained a widespread evil. It also noted that although authoritative opinion had long been convinced that this evil could not be effectually suppressed until the production of the raw materials used to make narcotic drugs had been brought under effective limitation, and though a quarter of a century had elapsed since the adoption of a convention designed to achieve this limitation, the quantity of opium produced annually was still vastly in excess of the world's needs for medical and scientific purposes.

It was in the knowledge of these facts that the Joint Committee paid tribute to the high achievements at Ankara, where the countries represented had agreed that the production of opium each year should be limited to the world requirements for medical and scientific purposes, strictly calculated and communicated by Governments to a central co-ordinating authority, and by outlining an organization and procedure for this purpose had taken a great step towards the placing of this dangerous substance under an effective international control.

The Committee adopted the Ankara proposal that the international opium trade should be governed and operated by an international opium monopoly working in co-operation With the national opium monopolies in the various producing countries; and it foresaw the ultimate inclusion of that international monopoly in the general structure of the international control of narcotic drugs which would be provided by the proposed single convention. It further adopted as the basis of its discussions the propositions that opium production could and should be limited to medical and scientific requirements and that such limitation could best be achieved by means of an international monopoly. That organ would take over the stocks of opium in the producing countries and govern all legitimate trade in the commodity, thus making it possible to isolate and expose the channels of illicit trade. These operations, combined with the international inspection of the processes of opium production, which the Committee agreed would be an essential and inevitable feature of the monopoly system, should in great measure eliminate the considerable over-production of opium at present diverted into illicit channels to feed the clandestine factories which supply narcotic drugs to addicts.

The theoretical concept of an international monopoly demands for its practical realization a carefully prepared plan, based as far as possible on the existing pattern of the opium trade and designed to provide for all foreseeable contingencies. The plan embodied in the proposed interim agreement laid before the Joint Committee, which was based on the conclusions of the Ankara meeting, had been elaborated after much research and the Joint Committee subjected it to a searching scrutiny. A complete examination of all its implications, however, required more time than the Committee had at its disposal, and the members moreover felt bound to consult the Governments they respectively represented in regard to a number of the more important provisions of the draft instrument. In particular, the determination of a stable basic price for a substance having a variable chemical composition and hence a variable commercial importance is inevitably an intricate task, further complicated by the wide fluctuations in price which, by reason of war and other causes, have occurred in recent years.

The Joint Committee recognized the necessity of finding a generally acceptable formula for determining the basic price at which the international monopoly could conduct the opium trade, if the final stages towards the conclusion of the interim agreement were to be accomplished with the least possible delay. With this in view it decided that its members should reassemble immediately before the next session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which will open on 30 November 1950.

TERMS OF REFERENCE OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE

In its report to the Economic and Social Council on its fourth session the Commission on Narcotic Drugs envisaged that if the results achieved by the Ad Hoc Committee of the Principal Opium-producing Countries should justify such a course, and a proposal to that effect be included in its report, the representatives of the principal drug-manufacturing countries should meet those of the principal opium-producing countries before the fifth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (see document E/1361, section 11 (b)).

The Ad Hoc Committee of the Principal Opium-producing Countries, having succeeded in obtaining the agreement of the producing countries which took part in its work to the share of the annual world production of opium which each should have under the proposed interim agreement, included in the resolution which it adopted on 6 December 1949 a request to the Secretary-General to arrange for the joint meeting which the Commission on Narcotic Drugs had foreseen to take place before the opening of the fifth session of that organ, and proposing that the Joint Committee should consider, if it so desired, a draft interim agreement based on the outlines which the Ad Hoc Committee had elaborated.

The Interim Committee, on Programme of Meetings accordingly laid before the Economic and Social Council at its eleventh session in July 1950 a proposal based on the request of the Ad Hoc. Committee. This proposal the Council approved on 4 July 1950, convening the Joint Committee for 14 August 1950.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON THE WORK DONE

As was the case with the meeting of representatives of the principal drug-manufacturing countries, the work of the Joint Committee was of an exploratory character and the decisions it took were accordingly of a nature to facilitate the further development of the proposed interim agreement to limit the production of opium to medical and scientific needs.

The Joint Committee devoted the greater part of its session to consideration of the revised draft of that instrument which had been communicated to it by the meeting of representatives of the principal drug-manufacturing countries. The Joint Committee considered some sections of this instrument in detail and made a number of important amendments to the text. In the case of other sections the Joint Committee contented itself with discussing the principles involved, and clarifying the differences of opinion which existed between various Governments and between the two groups of Governments which represented the principal opium-producing countries and the principal drug-manufacturing countries respectively. It also outlined methods of attacking the remaining unsolved problems for which solutions would have to be found before the proposed interim agreement could be elaborated in final form.

The amendments to the text of the interim agreement which were elaborated as a result of the Joint Committee's detailed examination of some sections of that instrument had been collected together in conference room paper JC/14, and the Committee decided to request the Secretary-General to incorporate these amendments in a second revision of the proposed interim agreement (Resolution B).

The Joint Committee has devoted the remaining sections of its report largely to matters on which it debated principles and on which it took decisions of a general rather than a specific character. In these sections the "paragraph reference numbers" referred to are taken from the text of the interim agreement.

LIMITATION OF THE PRODUCTION OF OPIUM

The Joint Committee reaffirmed the principle adopted by the Ad Hoc Committee of the Principal Opium-producing Countries that the aim should be to limit the production of opium to that required each year for the medical and scientific needs of the world. It further agreed with the Ad Hoc Committee that those world requirements should be based each year on the opium requirements of the countries manufacturing drugs from that substance for use in accordance with the provisions of the Convention of 1931 for Limiting the Manufacture and Regulating the Distribution of Narcotic Drugs as amended by the Protocol of 1948.

THE INTERNATIONAL OPIUM MONOPOLY

(a) Establishment and structure

The representatives of the producing countries were in agreement with the view expressed in the report of the meeting of representatives of the principal drug-manufacturing countries that the reorganization of the opium trade as an international monopoly should be envisaged for an effective limitation of the production of opium exclusively to medical and scientific needs, and that such an international monopoly would have to be based on national opium monopolies in all producing countries. The Joint Committee shared the view on the establishment of an international monopoly of the trade in opium expressed in chapter III of the revised draft of the proposed interim agreement to limit the production of opium to medical and scientific needs. It was also of the opinion that all producing countries which had not already done so should organize or reorganize their national opium monopolies on the lines indicated in section 4 of the revised draft of the interim agreement.

The Committee was of the opinion that the reorganization of the international opium trade on a monopoly basis should be done in such a way as to preserve as far as possible the present customs and practices of the legitimate opium trade; and without committing itself as to the details of the requisition, allocation and storage procedures provided for in sections 6 to 17 of the revised draft, the Committee held that they contributed towards a solution to the practical problems involved in limiting the production of opium and in organizing the trade on an international monopoly basis.

The Committee shared the view also expressed in section 8 of the report referred to above that the international organ required to achieve these ends should be an international non-profit-making corporation within the framework of the United Nations, and that such an organ could well be established in accordance with the provisions of part B of chapter III of the revised draft of the interim agreement.

The Committee discussed in great detail the composition and working of the proposed opium regulating committee and the voting system it should use in coming to its decisions. These matters are referred to in section 11 of this report.

( b) Operating costs

Various proposals were examined for allocating the operating cost of the international monopoly, in the discussion of which it was stressed that the cost of that organ should be kept to a minimum compatible with its proper functioning. One proposal provided for the cost to be borne almost entirely by the opium producers through the levy of a commission on the international monopoly's purchases of opium or by the drug manufacturers through a similar levy on its sales or by both opium producers and drug manufacturers jointly. Allied with this proposal was a plan for at least part of the cost to be met from annual contributions to be made by all parties to the agreement. Another view was that the cost should be partially or wholly borne by the United Nations, particularly in view of the fact that all mankind would benefit from the limitation of opium production which the interim agreement would achieve. In this latter connexion the Joint Committee considered especially that the United Nations should pay at least a share of the inspection costs.

To assist the Joint Committee in its consideration of the problem of operating costs, the representative of the Secretary-General gave a very tentative estimate of what those costs might be for an average year, based on the assumption that the annual sale of opium would give the international monopoly a turnover of some $6 million. On that basis it was estimated that a commission of about 10 per cent on the proceeds of the international monopoly's opium sales would be sufficient to cover its expenses.

The international monopoly's expenses would be occasioned by its administrative activities and by the service of the loan it would have to obtain to buy a stock of opium at least equivalent to one year's requirements for medical and scientific needs. The Secretariat was studying plans for reducing the service charge on this loan, which if they could be successfully developed would reduce the operating costs of the international monopoly. Stress was laid on the difficulties of forecasting the administrative expenses with any degree of accuracy. Some factors were still unknown and, for example, the reduc- tion of the estimate for storage and insurance costs might depend on the obtaining of favourable rates by special negotiation. The figure given must therefore be considered as a first and tentative estimate, subject to qualifications of the type mentioned above.

Views were also expressed that the establishment of the international monopoly would in practice bring about savings for both producers and consumers of opium in their respective spheres of operation.

THE OPIUM REGULATING COMMITTEE

( a) Voting

The Joint Committee, after exhaustive discussion, evolved a system of voting for the regulating committee different from that proposed in the original draft of the interim agreement (E/CN.7/199) and from the modification to that system proposed by the meeting of representatives of the principal drug-manufacturing countries.

The new system was based on the principle that the total number of votes to be allocated to the group of opium-producing countries and to the group of drug-manufacturing countries would be equal, and that within each group a part of the votes would be equally divided among all members of that group and a part divided amongst them in accordance with their respective shares of the world's opium production or of the total world imports of opium as the case might be. Fears were expressed, however, in a subsequent debate that the voting system proposed, particularly in view of the differing majority requirements in different cases, might in practice prove somewhat cumbrous and might lead to a lengthening of the sessions of the opium regulating committee. This in turn would increase the administrative expenses of the international monopoly.

The Joint Committee also considered that the regulating committee, which would be composed of representatives of all parties to the agreement, might prove too large and unwieldy a body to discharge its functions quickly and efficiently. The Joint Committee accordingly foresaw the possibility that the regulating committee would under paragraph 2 ( r) of section 35 (paragraph reference number 203) of the draft agreement, providing for the delegation of its powers, set up a small executive committee to take over many of its routine functions.

( b) Election of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman

The Joint Committee considered the proposals put forward by the meeting of representatives of the principal drug-manufacturing countries in section 11 of its report for a procedure for electing the chairman and vice-chairman of the regulating committee. The Joint Committee was aware of the necessity for a procedure which would ensure the election of persons of the highest competence, integrity and impartiality, and with that end in view provided for the election of those two officers under the following conditions. The regulating committee would hold a secret ballot on a panel of three or four candidates whom the Economic and Social Council would have previously nominated, the officers to be elected by a three-fourths majority of all votes cast. Should the regulating committee be unable to elect either of the officers by this method, the Secretary-General should make temporary appointments for a duration of eighteen months.

INSPECTION

The Joint Committee considered at length the proposals for the international inspection of the opium trade provided for in the revised draft of the agreement (paragraph reference number 264/Rev.2) and the views of the meeting of representatives of the principal drug-manufacturing countries on this subject which are contained in section 9 of its report.

All representatives and observers attached importance to the question of inspection, though apprehensions were voiced at first by representatives of producing countries as to the necessity for it; and doubt was expressed as to the proper authority to direct inspections, the occasions on which they should be carried out, their scope and how they should be paid for. In particular the representatives of all the producing countries expressed grave doubt about their being able to persuade the Governments they respectively represented to accept the text in sub-paragraph (i) of section 48 (paragraph reference number 264/Rev.2) without extensive modification, as the principle of inspection involved an inroad into national sovereignty. The Joint Committee accordingly decided to set up a sub-committee composed of the representatives of India and Iran, as representing the opium-producing interests, and of the Netherlands and the United States of America, as representing the consuming interests, to formulate a suitable alternative text to be incorporated in the draft agreement which might find a reasonable chance of acceptance, especially by the producing countries.

Consequent upon the discussions which took place in the Sub-Committee the Joint Committee came to the unanimous conclusion that, in order to ensure the proper functioning and successful operation of the international monopoly, some form of inspection would be necessary. It considered that since the limitation of opium production would benefit the community of nations, all Governments should make a contribution towards the measures necessary to ensure that the machinery to be set up to control opium production should work efficiently. While it would not be equitable if the producers of opium and the manufacturers of drugs from that substance should bear the whole cost of inspection, the Joint Committee realized that those countries which derived some profit from the trade in a dangerous substance had a special responsibility to prevent the suffering which results from the uncontrolled trade.

The Joint Committee finally adopted the following resolution (resolution C) on 24 August:

"The Joint Committee of the Principal Opium-producing Countries and of the Principal Drug-manufacturing Countries,

"Being convinced of the supreme necessity for inspections as an integral part of the scheme of international control over the production and utilization of opium envisaged in this Agreement,

"Decides that the representatives, present shall submit a proposal to the Governments of the Members of the Joint Committee for a provision on the following lines to replace sub-paragraph (i) of section 48 in the revised draft of the proposed interim agreement to limit the production of opium to medical and scientific needs (paragraph reference number 264/Rev.2):

"The Agency shall, as directed by the Secretary-General, carry out inspections in the territories of all parties in order to ascertain how and to what extent the provisions of the present Agreement are being carried out. The inspections may be either technical or investigatory.

"The technical inspections may be directed at intervals to ensure that the operations of monopolies are being carried out in conformity with the obligations assumed by parties;

"Inspections may also be carried out:

"(i) To ensure that opium imported by consumers is utilized only in the manner set out in this Agreement and that no other opium is either imported or traded in; and

"(ii) To ensure that in all the territories of all parties effective measures are being taken to suppress illicit cultivation and traffic.

"Investigatory inspections may only be undertaken if the Secretary-General is satisfied that there is prima facie evidence that such illicit cultivation or illicit traffic exists.

"Officers of the competent national authorities shall be associated with the inspecting officers in the discharge of their functions.

"The reports of the inspecting officers will be submitted to the Secretary-General, who will transmit them in due course to the Regulating Committee."

ALLOCATION OF SHARES IN THE WORLD OPIUM PRODUCTION

In connexion with the discussion of paragraph 7 (b) of section 12 of the draft agreement (paragraph reference number 112), some delegations brought to the notice of the Committee a problem which might arise when the international monopoly started operations. On the assumption that the world requirements of opium in a given year amounted to 450 tons, the amount of Indian opium in that total would not exceed some 30 tons. However, the demands for Indian opium which consumers would make to the international monopoly would greatly exceed that figure if the trend at present noticed in the opium trade continued along the same lines. In recent years, for instance, the United Kingdom alone had bought about 100 tons of Indian opium annually.

In this connexion the Joint Committee gave some thought to the agreement reached at Ankara concerning the obligations of the international monopoly to supply consumers, in so far as practicable, with opium of their choice, and to the fact that it would be extremely difficult for the international monopoly to fulfil this obligation if the gap between supply and demand were as great as in the example quoted.

A suggestion was put forward that the difficulty could be surmounted if a revision of production shares were envisaged after the first year of the international monopoly's operation so as to bring supply and demand, in so far as qualities and origins of opium were concerned, as far as possible into line with the conditions that would obtain at that time, while not favouring the production of any one country too greatly at the expense of another. The interim solution of the problem during the first year of the international monopoly's operation might be achieved by providing for the international monopoly to take over during that year an amount of Indian opium for its stocks sufficient to satisfy, as far as possible, the demands for Indian opium during that year.

THE FIXING OF THE PRICE OF OPIUM

After a general debate on the question of the prices to be paid for opium once the trade in that substance had been organized as an international monopoly, the Joint Committee was of the unanimous opinion that a basic price for opium should be fixed for the life of the Agreement. That basic price should be adjusted in respect of opiums of different origins and having different compositions and characteristics.

Two distinct opinions crystallized out of the general debate. The producing countries considered that the price of opium during the years 1947, 1948 and 1949 should be taken into account in establishing the basic price at which the international monopoly would buy and sell opium. The manufacturing countries, on the other hand, were of the opinion that the basic price should be fixed in relation to pre-war opium prices. In an attempt to reconcile these divergent views a sub- committee was set up, composed of the representatives of Turkey and Yugoslavia on the producers' side and France and the United Kingdom on the consumers' side. It debated the basic price question very thoroughly but did not reach agreement on a method for establishing it. The producing countries held to the view that the average prices paid for opium during the years 1947-1949 should be used for the establishment of the basic price, while the representatives of the manufacturing countries considered that the current indices of world wholesale prices, which were based on prices in the year 1937, should be applied to the price of opium in that year for the purpose of establishing the basic price. As an alternative, they proposed that the average price in the years 1938, 1939, 1948 and 1949 could be used to establish that price.

In spite of its lack of unanimity on how the basic price of opium was to be established, the Committee agreed that once established it should be subject to change if a change of more than 10 per cent was recorded in the index of world wholesale prices as published by the London Economist and the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington. In addition the Sub-Committee proposed adjustments to the basic price in respect of some or all of the following factors:

Variation in respect of morphine content above or below (say) 12 per cent;

Variation in respect of the "national factor";

Variation in codeine content above or below (say) 1.01 to 1.5 per cent (this adjustment might take the place of the adjustment proposed for the "national factor", which it was considered would be difficult of precise assessment);

A premium for morphine content higher than 15 per cent;

Changes in the price of opium alkaloids on the export market;

A subsidy to be paid to producers from a compensation fund in the case of loss of production resulting from bad crops; and

A subsidy to be paid to manufacturers from a compensation fund to assist them in meeting the competition on the export market of alkaloids manufactured from poppy straw.

CURRENCY TO BE USED IN OPIUM TRANSACTIONS

The Joint Committee considered the view which the meeting of the representatives of the principal drug-manufacturing countries had expressed at the end of its report that some consumers would find insuperable difficulties in paying the international monopoly in dollars or in convertible currency for the opium which they purchased from it. On the other side of the picture the Joint Committee fully understood the desire of the producing countries to sell as great a proportion as possible of their opium for convertible currency, of which they stood in great need.

After the Committee had discussed the matter at some length, it was suggested that the best plan would be to provide that when the international opium trade was reorganized as a monopoly the same currencies as were ordinarily used before the change took place should continue to be used for opium transactions. It became clear that a certain proportion of the moneys paid to and by the international monopoly would necessarily have to be in convertible currency, but in view of the present extremely fluid situation as regards the convertibility of one currency into another it was considered that the necessary provisions in the interim agreement should be so drafted as to provide for the greatest possible flexibility.

EXPORT OF OPIUM ALKALOIDS FROM OPIUM-PRODUCING COUNTRIES

In section 10 of its report the meeting of the representatives of the principal drug-manufacturing countries had referred to the competition between drug-' manufacturing and opium-producing countries which might arise under the interim agreement if the producing countries were to manufacture opium alkaloids for export. They would then have an advantage over the manufacturing countries in that they would be able to obtain their raw material more cheaply.

The manufacturing countries represented on the Joint Committee accordingly introduced an amendment (paragraph reference number 43/Rev.1) to the revised draft of the interim agreement under which producers would undertake not to export opium alkaloids. The Joint Committee did not take a decision on the principle underlying that amendment but the representatives of the producing countries expressed the view that the competition to be expected from their countries in the reasonably near future in the manufactured drug trade was so negligible as to make such a clause unnecessary. The representative of India considered that such restrictive provisions should not be included in the draft agreement unless they were absolutely vital to its successful implementation. Having no knowledge of the views of the Governments of Turkey and Yugoslavia on the matter the representatives of these two States accordingly reserved their respective positions. The representative of India stated that the Government of India was not willing to accept the restriction and claimed freedom to continue the export of drugs which India had undertaken during the war as a contribution to the allied war effort.

PURCHASE OF OPIUM ALKALOIDS

The Joint Committee came to the unanimous conclusion that it would be desirable to insert into the interim agreement a provision whereby parties to that instrument would undertake not to import opium alkaloids from States which were not parties to the agreement.

CONSULTATION WITH THE EUROPEAN PAYMENTS UNION

In order to obviate any possible conflict between the provisions of the proposed interim agreement and the regulations governing the members of the European Payments Union in regard to the use of European currencies paid by the international monopoly to producers for opium, the Joint Committee decided to request the Secretary-General to consult the competent authorities of the European Payments Union with a view to ensuring that the provisions of the proposed interim agreement, in so far as they would affect members of the European Payments Union, should accord with the trade and payment regulations prescribed or to be prescribed by that Union, and in particular that members of the Union which received European currencies as payments from the international monopoly should be permitted to use such currencies within the framework of the Union. (resolution D.)

RECASTING OF THE DRAFT INTERIM AGREEMENT

On the proposal of the observer of Belgium, supported by the representative of France, the Joint Committee gave some consideration to the structure of the draft interim agreement from the point of view of its examination in due course by the various national legislative bodies. which would have to consent to it before the agreement could enter into force. There were two aspects of this matter: one was the possible desirability of making it easier for national parliaments to examine the instrument by recasting it in such a way that the body of the agreement would contain only general principles and the provisions which would require parliamentary action, such as provisions establishing financial obligations, detailed technical provisions being relegated to annexes. The second was the question of providing a somewhat stricter amendment procedure for those clauses of the agreement which dealt with matters of principle, while retaining for the technical provisions a procedure based on that included in the present draft.

The Joint Committee accordingly decided to request the Secretary-General to examine the possibility of recasting the text of the proposed interim agreement on the lines which the observer of Belgium proposed. (resolution E.)

RE-EXAMINATION OF THE FUNCTIONS TO BE PERFORMED BY THE REGULATING COMMITTEE

On the proposal of the representative of India that the draft agreement should be re-examined with a view to simplifying its provisions, particularly those relating to the functions of the regulating committee, to the procedure for the distribution of voting rights and for the exercise of voting, to the functions of the regulating committee that could be delegated to a smaller committee, and to the finances of the Agency, the Joint Committee thought that attention should be paid during later discussions to evolving a simpler voting procedure and to studying more closely the arrangements for the delegation of functions of the regulating committee to a smaller committee.

FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF THE INTERIM AGREEMENT TO LIMIT THE PRODUCTION OF OPIUM

At the end of its session the Joint Committee realized that a number of important principles still remained to be settled before it would be possible to elaborate the interim agreement in a form suitable for submission to the Economic and Social Council, and it accordingly considered what steps should be taken to facilitate such elaboration.

It was of the opinion that a further meeting of the representatives present at its first session should take place before the opening of the fifth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on 30 November 1950. This further meeting should discuss, and if possible agree, on any of the matters on which the Joint Committee had been unable to reach a unanimous decision, and in particular on the question of the fixing of the basic price of opium. The Joint Committee accordingly decided to request the Secretary-General to explore the possibilities of its members reconvening about 15 November 1950 at the headquarters of the United Nations or alternatively about 8 November1950 at Paris to discuss the decisions of principle which they would propose to communicate to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs during its fifth session, and on which they would reach agreement before the session opened.

After the fifth session of the Commission the Secretariat should redraft and perhaps recast the interim agreement in the light of the decisions taken by the Joint Committee and the Commission, and should, if possible, transmit the revised text to the members of the Joint Committee early in March 1951. During this period the Secretariat might also continue and extend its negotiations to secure the necessary finances for the international monopoly.

In April 1951, if the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Economic and Social Council so agreed, the Joint Committee could hold a second session, which might last for four weeks or even more, to consider the new draft of the agreement in detail, and after agreement on the text, transmit it direct to the Economic and Social Council during its thirteenth session in July 1951 for its approval. Should the Council see its way to approve the instrument at that time, it could be opened for signature in August 1951.

The Joint Committee was aware that should the plan for the further development of the interim agreement be found acceptable by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Economic and Social Council, there would be a period during the latter half of 1951 after the interim agreement had been signed and before it came into force. During this period it would be very desirable to set up the international monopoly on a provisional and restricted basis, so as to facilitate its taking over all its functions under the Agreement immediately that instrument came into force.

With a view to putting into force the proposals contained in the foregoing paragraphs of this section, the Joint Committee adopted on 28 August the following resolutions:

"The Joint Committee of the Principal Opium-Producing Countries and of the Principal Drug-Manufacturing Countries

"Decides

"1. To transmit to the Commission on Narcotic-Drugs the revised draft of the proposed interim agreement to limit the production of opium to medical and scientific needs, in which the Secretariat has incorporated amendments proposed as a result of the Joint Committee's deliberations;

"2. To submit for the Commission's approval the plans for the further development of the proposed interim agreement which are outlined in section 21 of its report on its first session, and to request the Commission to lay such plans before the Economic and Social Council for approval during its twelfth session; and

"3. To draw the Commission's attention to the requests in its subsequent resolution (resolution H) which, in the circumstances, it has deemed prudent to make to the Secretary-General." (resolution G.)

"The Joint Committee of the Principal Opium-Producing Countries and of the Principal Drug-Manufacturing Countries

"Mindful of paragraph 2 of its resolution (resolution G) submitting for the Commission's approval the plans for the further development of the proposed interim agreement outlined in section 21 of its report on its first session, and requesting the Commission to lay such plans before the Economic and Social Council for approval during its twelfth session;

"Considering that funds will be needed to finance the plans it has outlined;

"Desirous of preventing any delay in the provision of such funds;

"Decides

"To request the Secretary-General to approach the General Assembly during its fifth regular session with a request for the following funds, the provision of which shall be conditional upon the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Economic and Social Council approving the plans the Joint Committee has outlined;

"1. Adequate funds to enable the Joint Committee of the Principal Opium-producing Countries and of the Principal Drug-manufacturing Countries to hold a second session in the spring of 1951 to consider in detail a new draft of the proposed interim agreement to limit the production of opium to medical and scientific needs, and to provide for such additional services of the Secretariat as may be required for the preparation and holding of such session and which shall not have been provided for in the budget of the United Nations for 1951; and

"2. After the interim agreement shall have been approved by the Economic and Social Council, adequate funds for financing preparatory work for the establishment of the International Opium Monopoly". (resolution G.)

Annex

RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY THE JOINT COMMITTEE OF THE PRINCIPAL OPIUM-PRODUCING COUNTRIES AND OF THE PRINCIPAL DRUG-MANUFACTURING COUNTRIES

The Joint Committee of the Principal Opium-producing Countries and of the Principal Drug-manufacturing Countries

A. Decides to request the Secretary-General to publish its report to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on its first session and the summary records of its meetings in good time before the opening of the fifth session of the Commission.

B. Decides to request the Secretary-General to incorporate these amendments in a second revision of the proposed interim agreement.

C. Being convinced of the supreme necessity for inspections as an integral part of the scheme of international control over the production and utilization of opium envisaged in this agreement,

Decides that the representatives present shall submit a proposal to the Governments of the members of the Joint Committee for a provision on the following lines to replace sub-paragraph (i) of section 48 in the revised draft of the proposed interim agreement to limit the production of opium to medical and scientific needs (paragraph reference number 264/Rev.2):

The Agency shall, as directed by the Secretary-General, carry out inspections in the territories of all parties in order to ascertain how and to what extent the provisions of the present Agreement are being carried out. The inspections may be either technical or investigatory.

The technical inspections may be directed at intervals to ensure that the operations of monopolies are being carried out in conformity with the obligations assumed by parties;

Inspections may also be carried out:

  1. To ensure that opium imported by consumers is utilized only in the manner set out in this Agreement and that no other opium is either imported or traded in; and

  2. To ensure that in all the territories of all parties effective measures are being taken to suppress illicit cultivation and traffic.

Investigatory inspections may only be undertaken if the Secretary-General is satisfied that there is prima facie evidence that such illicit cultivation or illicit traffic exists.

Officers of the competent national authorities shall be associated with the inspecting officers in the discharge of their functions.

The reports of the inspecting officers will be submitted to the Secretary-General, who will transmit them in due course to the regulating committee.

D. Decides to request the Secretary-General to consult the competent authorities of the European Payments Union with a view to ensuring that the provisions of the proposed interim agreement, in so far as they will affect members of the European Payments Union, accord with the trade and payment regulations prescribed or to be prescribed by that Union, and in particular that members of the Union which shall receive European currencies as payments from the international monopoly shall be permitted to use such currencies within the framework of the Union.

E. Decides to request the Secretary-General to examine the possibility of recasting the text of the proposed interim agreement on the lines which the observer of Belgium proposed.

F. Decides to request the Secretary-General to explore the possibilities of its members reconvening about 15 November 1950 at the headquarters of the United Nations or alternatively about 8 November 1950 at Paris to discuss the decisions of principle which they would propose to communicate to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs during its fifth session.

G. Decides

  1. To transmit to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs the revised draft of the proposed interim agreement to limit the production of opium to medical and scientific needs, in which the Secretariat has incorporated amendments proposed as a result of the Joint Committee's deliberations;

  2. To submit for the Commission's approval the plans for the further development of the proposed interim agreement which are outlined in section 21 of its report on its first session, and to request the Commission to lay such plans before the Economic and Social Council for approval during its twelfth session; and

  3. To draw the Commission's attention to the requests in its subsequent resolution (resolution H) which, in the circumstances, it has deemed prudent to make to the Secretary-General.

H. Mindful of paragraph 2 of its resolution (resolution G) submitting for the Commission's approval the plans for the further development of the proposed interim agreement outlined in section 21 of its report on its first session, and requesting the Commission to lay such plans before the Economic and Social Council for approval during its twelfth session;

Considering that funds will be needed to finance the plans it has outlined;

Desirous of preventing any delay in the provision of such funds;

Decides

To request the Secretary-General to approach the General Assembly during its fifth regular session with a request for the following funds, the provision of which shall be conditional upon the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Economic and Social Council approving the plans the Joint Committee has outlined:

  1. Adequate funds to enable the Joint Committee of the Principal Opium-producing Countries and of the Principal Drug-manufacturing Countries to hold a second session in the spring of 1951 to consider in detail a new draft of the proposed interim agreement to limit the production of opium to medical and scientific needs, and to provide for such additional services of the Secretariat as may be required for the preparation and holding of such session and which shall not have been provided for in the budget of the United Nations for 1951; and

  2. After the interim agreement shall have been approved by the Economic and Social Council, adequate funds for financing preparatory work for the establishment of the international opium monopoly

Sir Malcolm Delevingne

Sir Malcolm Delevingne, K.C.B., K.C.V.O., one of the greatest figures in the international control of narcotic drugs, died in London on 30 November 1950, and on 7 December, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, during its fifth session, after hearing moving speeches by several representatives, paid tribute to his memory by observing one minute of silence.

Sir Malcolm, who was born on 11 October 1868, represented the United Kingdom at various international conferences, particularly the Opium Conferences at Geneva in 1924-1925, the Conference for the Limitation of the Manufacture of Narcotic Drugs at Geneva in 1931 and the Conference on the Suppression of Opium-smoking at Bangkok in 1931. From 1921 to 1934, he represented his country on the League of Nations Advisory Committee on Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs. He served as President of the Supervisory Body from its creation in 1933 until 1948, and as a member of the Permanent Central Opium Board from September 1938 until October 1947. All those who had the opportunity of collaborating with him highly prized his competence, untiring work, and devotion to the international cause, and respected in his person the animating spirit and champion of the international control administration of narcotic drugs and of the struggle against drug-addiction.

When, in 1934, he left the Advisory Committee, the representative of the Netherlands expressed in the following words his colleagues' appreciation of Sir Malcolm's work:

"We members of the Advisory Committee on Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs . . . desire to acknowledge, with gratitude and admiration, the leading part you have taken throughout its deliberations; to you the Committee is indebted for the initiation of many of the measures which have proved so successful in combating the illicit traffic; and we remember with special pleasure that your zeal for the cause we all have so much at heart has never flagged or suffered discouragement, however dark the outlook may have been. Armed with unrivalled knowledge of the intricacies of a specially intricate subject, expert in administrative work, accustomed to precision of statement and the clear and orderly marshalling of facts and, above all, animated throughout by the most earnest desire to do everything to prevent the abuses which constitute so serious a menace to the nations of the world, you have at all times been fertile in practical suggestions designed to further the work of the Committee. Your skill in debate, your patience, your unfailing courtesy, your wide administrative experience, have been of inestimable value to your colleagues for many years... We tender you our most sincere thanks for the invaluable aid you have so freely and unstintingly given at all times. . ."

Dr. Carlos Gutierrez Noriega

Dr. Carlos Gutierrez Noriega died accidentally on 26 October 1950. In his tragically short life, he had rendered immeasurable services to science, and all those who knew him either personally or through his work, are united in paying tribute to his memory and in addressing their most heartfelt condolences to his family.

Born on 3 June 1905, he had a brilliant career leading at a very early age to the chair of pharmacology at Lima University and to the Academy of Exact Sciences, Physics and Natural History of Peru. He was President of the Society for Neuropsychiatry of Lima, Head of the Pharmacology and Chemistry Department of the National Institute of Public Hygiene and Health, Director of the Review of Experimental Medicine, Member of the American Society for the Advancement of Science and of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and also founded the "Review of Pharmacology and Experimental Medicine".

His scientific work on epilepsy and catalepsy, on cocainism and cocaism went side by side with philosophical work on the anthropology and psychology of the Peruvian Indian. A Member of the Institute of Hispanic Culture and of the Peruvian Society for Philosophy, he was also a connoisseur of art and literature, as well as a first-class educator, as his text-book "Pharmacology and Its Therapeutical Applications" shows. His research work was particularly valuable for his study of the chewing of the coca leaf, and won for him the high esteem of those who work on the international control of narcotic drugs. His premature death is a grievous loss to the whole of the scientific world.