International police co-operation in the fight against the illicit traffic in narcotic drugs

Abstract

Details

Author: By J. Nepote,
Pages: 6 to 13
Creation Date: 1957/01/01

International police co-operation in the fight against the illicit traffic in narcotic drugs

By J. Nepote,
Deputy Secretary-General of the International Criminal Police Organization

A few days ago a terse announcement appeared in the press: "Two men named Bistoni and Groce were taken into custody by the French police as they came off a plane. Wanted by Interpol, they were traced to Cuba and repatriated at the request of the French authorities."

These few unsensational words put an end for the time being to a case which had kept the French, United States and Canadian police and Interpol headquarters busy for several months.

Continuous organized co-operation between the police forces of the various countries in the fight against the illicit drug traffic increases from day to day.

Readers of the Bulletin on Narcotics are so familiar with the criminal aspects and far-reaching consequences of this traffic that there is no need to repeat them in this article. Our intention is rather to explain the ramifications of the police campaign against the illicit traffic, especially at the international level.

Analysis of the Offence

From the criminologist's point of view, the illicit drug traffic is a very special type of offence.

The ordinary crime or offence is typified by the fact that there is a "victim". Murder, theft, burglary and fraud injure, in varying degrees, some person, who may go to the police to relate his mishap and to "lodge a complaint". The story told by the "complainant "-the very word conjures up the idea of physical or moral suffering, of injury sustained-gives the police information which may make the subsequent investigation easier. Very often, indeed, the complainant may identify the offender.

But nothing of the sort occurs in the illicit drug traffic. There are of course "victims", but only in the moral or medical sense of the term. There is never a "complainant", since nobody is going to "complain" to the police that he has bought a few grammes of opium. On the contrary the "victim"-albeit an involuntary and docile one-is seeking the means of stilling his craving. He is at once the dupe and the confederate of the traffickers. He, like them, is against the police. Not only does he give no help, but he actually aids and abets the crime.

Everyone implicated in the offence is blameworthy, so no one will talk or come into the open.

In theft, burglary and many other crimes or offences the culprit almost always leaves his own tracks or traces which, when carefully examined by police experts, reveal clues and often supply irrefutable evidence. In the illicit drug traffic the investigator gets very few accurate pointers from clues. Packaging may disclose the town from which the drug was despatched; scientific analysis of the opium will show the area it came from; but, generally speaking, the traffic is an operation which leaves, or is at any rate intended to leave, no trace when completed.

The question of identification by fingerprints does not arise, except of course when the offender has been caught. Dust, footprints, bullets, wounds can lead to astute deductions only in very rare cases.

Another characteristic of the illicit drug traffic is that it entails great familiarity with the criminal underworld. Supposing you come into possession of 5 kg of heroin tomorrow, what would you do with it? You are hardly likely to find among the traffickers that "first offender" whom fortuitous circumstances have driven to crime.

To traffic in narcotic drugs you have to know the dark and noisome alleys of the underworld. Whom do you buy from? To whom do you resell? You must know your suppliers and clients well and be sure they will keep mum.

Precisely because "contacts" and a very special knowledge of the underworld are required, the illicit traffic is a sphere for the habitual offender.

Mr. H. J. Anslinger, United States Commissioner of Narcotic Drugs, has noted that 63% of narcotic law offenders arrested in the United States during a recent year had previous records and arrests!1

The illicit drug traffic is in the category of "organized" crime. In ordinary crime the offender, often a casual one, can work alone. It often happens that he needs no confederate, no witness, and that his act brings him a direct, immediate and easy gain. Things are not like that in the illicit traffic; everything must be calculated and prepared, and nothing left to chance. The illicit drug traffic has vast ramifications, in which each individual plays a well-defined and often limited part; one will be the grower, another the manufacturer, another the carrier, and yet another the salesman. Very large sums of money must be available at certain stages in the traffic. Some contribute money, others the "tricks of the trade", others the daring; but all are links in an unbroken chain.

Lastly, if one adjective is more appropriate to the illicit drug traffic than any other, it is "international"; and that is perhaps the foremost characteristic of this kind of offence.

There is, of course, a far from negligible local traffic, which sets the authorities a wide variety of problems, depending on its origin.

In some countries consumption is a habit handed down from father to son and indulged in by almost the whole population. These are usually countries which produce some narcotic drug and in which drug production and consumption problems are closely related to general educational and health problems.

1 Bulletin on Narcotics, Vol. V, No. 2.

In non-producing countries the "local" traffic is carried on by fraudulent transactions within the doctor/patient relationship (forged prescriptions, double prescriptions and the like). A few addicts' needs can be met in this way.

In the main, however, the illicit traffic operates on a much larger scale, as the large quantities of narcotic drugs required by a very large number of customers cannot be procured by such methods. The drugs must therefore be smuggled in. The smuggler's routes cover tremendous distances, up mountains, across oceans and countries where nature is most hostile to man, and over the best-guarded and most closely watched frontiers. Persian opium reaches Hong Kong by way of India and Singapore. Heroin from Italy or the Lebanon goes to the United States. Drugs seized in Madagascar come from Marseilles or the Near East.

The routes followed are sometimes odd and apparently illogical. They run through the places where the traffickers meet the fewest obstacles to those where the drugs are most in demand-and therefore most expensive. The trafficker, like any other trader, has a "nose for profits".

But, whereas the patient who merely falsifies his prescription is not very "dangerous", the trafficker is a social menace, since not only does he supply vast numbers of individuals with the means of satisfying their craving, but it is to his interest that the number of addicts should grow in order to swell his custom, and hence his profits.

Essentials of Suppression

The various characteristics of the illicit drug traffic described above obviously affect methods of suppression, and the services responsible for combating the traffic have adopted appropriate tactics.

As has been seen, the police are in this case deprived, so to speak, both of statements by the victim and of clues or traces which would lead to the identification of the offender.

They can hardly ever count on testimony to support a charge. The traffickers have plenty of friends and are well versed in the "code of the underworld". Shady club proprietors, registered prostitutes, pimps and frequenters of low dives have never much to say when questioned by police officers. Trusty associates will always come forward to back a suspect's alibi. The police must therefore try to catch the trafficker red-handed, if they are to prove their case against him in court. If a trafficker is caught in the act, all his denials, alleged intentions and alibis will go for naught.

Here the police are clearly prevented from using many of the normal weapons in their armoury; but of the others they make more thorough and more active use.

In the first place, they "shadow". There is no better way of making certain that the subject is a trafficker than accurately noting all his contacts and acquaintances, ascertaining precisely how he spends his time and watching the appointments he keeps. This almost always requires team-work using modern methods. Not motor-cars-which are no longer a sign of up-to-date technique-but, for instance, the telelens to photograph a suspect's comings and goings from a distance,2 or wireless to maintain contact between the police officer working on his own and his team chief or his colleagues, or even helicopters from which to watch the movements of a suspect car in heavy city traffic.

2This method was very successfully used by the French police (Central Office for Narcotic Drugs) in the Montgeron case (July 1952) (see Bulletin on Narcotics, Vol. V, No. 4, article by C. Vaille and E. Bailleul). [ Editor's note]

The police also use "information received". This is an extremely tricky side of investigation. If the information is gathered by a third party (popularly known as a "stool pigeon"), he must be protected against reprisals, and particular care has to be exercised to ensure that the police do not become his tools. The use of informers in drug-trafficking circles is always a tricky matter.

If the information is gathered direct-i.e., by the police officer himself, cunningly passing himself off as a drug fiend-there is indubitably a double danger: the physical and technical danger of being "spotted" and the legal danger that the courts may regard the officer's activity as incitement to commit an offence, so that he ceases to be the accuser and becomes the accused.

Hence, a detective making an undercover inquiry is chary of imputing a guilty intention to anyone. He is careful not to incite the innocent or unwary to commit the offence.

The most the detective can do is to produce the circumstances in which the offender will of his own accord provide legal evidence of his criminal acts.

What evidence could be more conclusive than the sale of the drug to the police officer by the trafficker himself?

When a police officer catches out an offender in this way, how can he be charged with incitement, however strict the respect for the human person ?

Indeed, there are almost no legal precedents anywhere for such a course .

To depict the trafficker as a victim of incitement and "machinations" by the police would be to show a wrongheaded devotion to the liberty of the individual. The true friend of liberty in this case is he who safeguards a healthy person against slavery to drugs and keeps unscrupulous traffickers out of his way.

Does the trafficker have any qualms or worry about the human person when he is trying to lure young people into the vicious circle of drug-taking in order to peddle his wares ? If he gets the worst of a bargain one fine day, it is all part of the game.

Another very successful method tried out in recent years is co-ordinated police action.

Local police forces undoubtedly get results in dealing with the local drug traffic: detecting addicts, quack doctors and chemists, petty drug peddlers, etc., But, as we have seen, the most dangerous aspect of the traffic is often its international side.

As frontiers are no bar to the traffickers, it would be a pity if they hampered the forces working against the traffic.

Separate police action within each country might prove only partially effective unless it was linked up with similar action in other countries.

Good national co-ordination must, however, be achieved before international co-operation is feasible. This is easy enough when the police within a given territory are unified and centralized; but in many countries the police authorities are decentralized and work independently. The 1936 Convention on the suppression of illicit traffic therefore prescribed and encouraged co-ordination of activities in each country through a "central office" set up to centralize, co-ordinate and inspire all services responsible for combating the illicit traffic.

The same convention went on to prescribe international co-ordination by recommending (article 12) contacts and direct exchanges of information between these "central offices".

Independent of this convention, but imbued with its principles, an international organization specializing in the international suppression of crime, the International Criminal Police Organization, has been helping to improve these contacts and develop this police co-ordination. It has applied to the narcotic drugs problem the methods it has gradually worked out over its thirty-five years of existence.

These methods will be summarized in the second part of this article; but any reader concerned with efficiency and sound administration should realize at once that the ICPO's efforts to suppress the illicit drug traffic are designed to harmonize perfectly with those of other international bodies: the Permanent Central Opium Board, the Drug Supervisory Body and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs assisted by the Division of Narcotic Drugs, with which we enjoy close, sincere and fruitful relations.

The first two of these bodies are mainly concerned with controlling production and supervising distribution, while the Division of Narcotic Drugs is the permanent extension of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in the United Nations Secretariat. Much-of the division's work is devoted to the illicit traffic in narcotic drugs: publication of the annual reports from governments, reports on seizures and statistics for the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

The division's main concerns as regards the illicit traffic are the legislative aspects of its suppression and the supply of general information to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and to governments.

Its constant aim being to take an effective share in the work without in any way embarrassing the bodies set up under the conventions, the ICPO has selected a task essentially within the scope of police technique: preventive and punitive action against traffickers operating individually or in organized gangs.

The International Criminal Police Organization·

The International Criminal Police Organization has already a fair amount of experience behind it, having been setup in 1923 on the proposal of the Police Commissioner of Vienna, where it had its headquarters until 1944. As early as 1938 its influence extended beyond Europe and, as will be seen later, it had some standing with the League of Nations. It was broken up by the second World War, but was reconstituted in 1946 on the proposal of Mr.. F. E. Louwage, a Belgian senior police official, its headquarters being transferred to Paris.

Statute

Between 1923 and 1956 the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC), as it was then called, was governed by a very simple statute which was adequate by earlier legal standards and had the great advantage of enabling the organization to expand and become almost world wide, especially after 1946, While yet immune from the vicissitudes of inter-national politics.

The organization, however, developed to a point where it was compelled to consolidate and modernize its legal structure. The reform was completed in 1956 at the twenty- sixth session of its General Assembly, after preparatory work lasting some eighteen months.

The new statute was adopted almost unanimously. A brief resumé follows:

Members:

Article 4 of the statute states that each country may designate as a member of the Organization any official police body whose functions fall within the scope of the Organization's activities.

Application for membership must be submitted to the Secretary-General by the competent government authority. Membership shall not become final until approved by a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly.

Fifty-eight countries and territories on all continents are now members of the ICPO.3

Terms of reference:

The Organization's general aims are set out in article 2 of the statute, as follows:

  1. To ensure and promote the broadest possible mutual aid among all criminal police authorities within the framework of existing national laws and in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

  2. To establish and promote all institutions able to contribute effectively to the prevention and punishment of common-law offences.

The illicit drug traffic obviously lies within this field of activity, as well as theft, fraud, murder, counterfeiting, the white slave traffic, etc.

Conversely, the Organization is strictly debarred from any action or interference in matters or cases of a political, military, religious or racial nature.

Thus the ICPO takes the form of an administrative union operating with the approval and under the control of the government authorities.

The Organization's General Assembly, which meets once a year, decides its general policy. Any member may be represented by one or more delegates, and the head of each delegation is appointed by the competent government authority of his country.

As it is a technical organization, its statute stipulates that members shall endeavour to include in their delegations senior officials of organs performing police functions, officials whose work in their own country is related to the Organization's activities, and experts on items included in the agenda. The General Assembly will therefore be largely composed of experts.

Under the General Assembly there is an Executive Committee, composed of the Chairman of the Organization, the two Vice-Chairmen and six delegates. The function of this executive committee, the members of which-are elected for three years (except the Chairman, who is elected for four years) is to see that decisions of the Assembly are carried out and to supervise the Secretary-General's conduct of business.

3Argentina; Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Burma, Cambodia, Canada, Ceylon, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Finland, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, the Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Saar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Surinam, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugloslavia.

The Organization has permanent departments installed at the Office of the Secretary-General, 37 bis, rue Paul Valéry, Paris. That office is responsible for putting the Assembly's decisions into effect and acts as an international centre for combating crime and as a technical information centre. It does all preparatory work for sessions of the General Assembly and publishes all the Organization's literature.

The secretariat comprises the General Secretary (at present Mr. Marcel Sicot), who is proposed by the Executive Committee and appointed for five years, and technical and administrative staff. The total establishment at the moment is about fifty officials, almost all of them professional police officers.

Permanent Co-operation

In the pursuit of its aims, the Organization "needs the regular and active support of its members ". These are the actual words of article 31 of the Statute, and they cannot be overemphasized.

Since the Organization as such has no powers of its own and cannot take direct action, what would it be without the contribution and mutual trust of its members?

Interpol is basically a manifestation of "team spirit" in its broadest sense; it is, above all, the symbol of the efficient mutual aid freely given, in the general interest, by police forces beyond their own national frontiers.

The whole machinery is based on goodwill; but, if it is to give the best possible results, it must be efficient and "organized"

To that end the ICPO has asked each country "to designate a body to act as a national central office ". This office will be responsible for liaison with police departments in the country concerned; with other bodies in other countries co-operating with the national central office; and with the Organization's secretariat.

That is the principle, but owing to constitutional or administrative limitations there are cases in which a national central office cannot be designated-e.g., in very many federal countries, where police administration is decentralized and the federal departments have limited powers. In such cases the Secretary-General may consult with the authorities of the country concerned as to the best methods of ensuring effective co-operation (article 33 of the statute).

With regard to the illicit drug traffic, the question must arise whether the arrangements for co-operation made by the ICPO are in harmony with the provisions of the international conventions, of the 1936 Convention in particular.

The answer would appear to be in the affirmative.

  1. Where the police administration is centralized and has wide powers and, hence, the central police departments also deal with the drug traffic, the ICPO central national office and the central offices prescribed in the 1936 Convention are merged or co-exist under the same authority, and the department centralizing information on the illicit drug traffic is automatically included in the Interpol co-operation system. This is the case in Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Turkey and many other countries.

  2. Where the police administration is decentralized but there is a specialized national office responsible to federal or other authorities, this central office works in direct co-operation with the ICPO and is itself a central office specializing in one form of suppression. Switzerland and the United States are typical examples.

  1. Where a centralized or centrally co-ordinated police force and a central narcotics bureau operate under different administrative systems-which is very exceptional-there is nothing to prevent direct co-operation between the ICPO and the narcotics bureau under article 33 of the ICPO's statute.4Besides, there will be no need for it if the central office's functions are purely administrative.

It is, therefore, not surprising that ICPO's modern machinery fits in so well with that prescribed in the 1936 Convention. Indeed, as early as 1926, the General Assembly of the ICPC, meeting at Berlin and considering the suppression of the "illicit trade in poisonous drugs" proposed that "suppression be centralized in the hands of the police by the establishment of a central agency in each country to exchange with similar agencies in other countries the names of traffickers, particulars of other suspect sources and relevant information of all kinds ".

In January 1931 an ICPC delegation presented these views to the League of Nations commission which was drafting the preliminary texts that were subsequently to become the 1931 and 1936 Conventions. Just as in 1929 ICPC representatives had had their suggestions adopted by the authors of the convention relating to counterfeiting currency (20 April 1929), so in 1931 and 1936 they found their views received with the greatest consideration by the League of Nations.5

Methods of Co-operation

Now that we have a fairly clear idea of the structure of the ICPO, let us now see how it performs its functions:

Its first endeavour is to establish direct and permanent contacts between the national central offices described above.

  1. The annual sessions of the General Assembly are extremely important from that point of view, They make possible direct contact among police chiefs or experts, whom they provide with an opportunity of solving or smoothing out many bilateral problems, and serve to establish that atmosphere of trust without which police co-operation is impossible, if not unthinkable.

Human contacts are of first-rate importance. They make possible quick comparison of problems, and, above all, show all concerned that despite political and geographical barriers there are common exigencies and broad general principles on which lasting co-operation can be founded. Since its inception in 1923 the ICPO has held twenty-five General Assembly sessions. It has met yearly since 1946, and the next session is to be held at Lisbon in June 1957.

  1. The addresses of the national central offices are circulated, and each of the offices is asked to use the word "Interpol" followed by the name of the city as its telegraphic address. That is the explanation of this term which has become symbolic both of the ICPO and of the very idea of international police co-operation.

4Article 33: in the case of a country' where the provisions of article 32 prove inapplicable or inadequate as a means of achieving effective centralized co-operation, the office of the Secretary-General shall decide, in consultation with the country concerned, the most suitable methods of ensuring effective co-operation.

5 See Proceedings of the International Conference for the Adoption of a Convention for the Suppression of Counterfeiting Currency (C.328.M.114.1929.II).

Full size image: 122 kB

FIG. 1. Central broadcasting station

Full size image: 91 kB

FIG. 2. Central broadcasting station-a telecommand apparatus

  1. To make such contacts even easier, the ICPO has set up an entire wireless network, technically co-ordinated by the international station at Paris and comprising the national police wireless stations of many countries.6 This network carries some 20,000 messages a year and can make general broadcasts at record speeds.

All the above is actually in effect an application of article 12, paragraph 1, of the 1936 Convention.

With direct contacts between the central offices thus ensured, the ICPO has turned its secretariat into a real information and co-ordination centre for police affairs.

Technical records7 have been compiled from information supplied by the police departments of member countries, comprising:

A general file now containing the names and aliases - classi-fied phonetically and alphabetically - of some 100,000 individuals;

Fingerprints;

Anthropometric cards with the criminals' distinguishing marks or features;

Photographs.

These records do not of course concern only traffickers in narcotic drugs; but that is precisely one of their great advantages. "Drug crimes ", if they may so be termed, are filed together with other crimes in general, and the real identity of the master criminals is to be found in this huge melting-pot of criminal records. This not only fulfils a recommendation adopted by a police congress at Antwerp (September 1938), which deemed "highly desirable and appropriate the establishment of an international bureau for matters concerning poisonous drugs ", but has the further advantages that it does not partition off" drug crimes" from other forms of crime.

Once compiled, these records are so utilized as to be of the greatest possible value to those for whom they are intended - i.e., the police departments of countries members of the Organization, for each country retains its full sovereignty as regards police action, whether preventive or punitive. Each retains complete freedom of action. National sovereignty remains whole and entire.

It would be a gross error to assume that the Secretary-General of the ICPO can send detectives all over the world to investigate crimes and arrest criminals. On the contrary, the secretariat of the ICPO acts as a clearing house, extracting the substance from all the information received from the various countries and transmitting it to all whom it may concern. For instance, it circulates descriptions of traffickers, either to encompass their arrest or to suggest preventive measures; it informs all the national authorities concerned of any gaps noted in the direct contacts between the national central offices; and it gathers the data for large-scale surveys of gang composition and organization.

This information is compiled from the police point of view for police use.

6The network now comprises stations at Wiesbaden, Vienna, Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid, Helsinki, Paris, London, Tel-Aviv, Rome, Luxembourg, Oslo, The Hague, Lisbon, Saarbrucken, Stockholm, Zürich and Ankara.

7 This refers to the documentation assembled after 1947, since that compiled in 1923 and 1944 was destroyed at Berlin and Vienna during the war.

If a trafficker on the run is wanted, a warning to the police of all the countries now covered is sent out over the wireless network in a few hours, and a few days later his exact description (i.e., with fingerprints and photographs) is circulated from Japan to Chile, from Canada to New Zealand.

If a suspect is to be watched or an old lag looked up, his description is transmitted. If a national of some country is convicted at the other side of the world, the country concerned is immediately informed and the offender's criminal record is compiled.

Furthermore, national police departments inform the ICPO secretariat when they contact each other directly, by sending in copies of letters or messages exchanged. They regularly transmit to the ICPO information on the activities of criminals, seizures and the like.

As may be seen, the net spread under the auspices of Interpol is strong and supple in the mesh.

It must be repeated, however, that this is due to the spirit of co-operation and goodwill of the departments in the various countries (national bureaux or offices), which have willingly maintained a common discipline in the general interest.

Let us quote a few specific examples in illustration of this system of police co-operation:

Since 1 January 1951, the attention of the police authorities in all countries has been specially drawn to 188 international traffickers.

In 1955, 306 reports of varying value on cases of illicit traffic were sent to 46 countries.

In June 1955, the Lebanese police notified the arrest of Ali Ibn Mohama for trafficking in narcotics. The ICPO identified him as Lee Mo, who was convicted several times in the United States between 1927 and 1946 for theft and trafficking in narcotics.

In May 1955, the Canadian police informed the ICPO that a certain Rozenblatt was going to Europe to renew his supplies of heroin. A warning was immediately sent to the European police forces. So an unobtrusive watch was kept on the trafficker's movements in France, and then in Germany. The Belgian police reported that Rozenblatt had been implicated at Namur in 1953 in trafficking in forged dollars.

At Bremen (Germany) Rozenblatt met his mistress, who sailed for Montreal on 22 July. Rozenblatt returned to France, whence he flew to Canada on 28 July. The watch was resumed by the Canadian police. On 5 August, Rozenblatt was arrested and 1 kg 800 g of heroin was found at his home. On examining Rozenblatt's fingerprints, the ICPO established that he was really Sztulman, an inter- national crook convicted several years previously in Germany, Poland and Switzerland.

To complete this survey of ICPO activities in combating the illicit drug traffic, reference must also be made to the studies of general principles carried out at the annual sessions of its General Assembly; the ideas and advice that it disseminates through its resolutions; and its assistance to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

***

Other authorities of course besides the ICPO, not to mention the United Nations, have also contributed by international action to the international campaign against traffickers.

Full size image: 48 kB

FIG. 3. Identification card of a professional hoodlum

Full size image: 64 kB

FIG. 4. Traffickers' "gallery

The United States Narcotics Bureau, which has to cope with an intense illicit traffic within the United States, has for many years, at considerable expense, fought what might be called an "advance guard" action against it.

Making the utmost use of the facilities provided under the 1936 Convention and special agreements, Commissioner H. J. Anslinger has sent several of his best detectives to "sensitive spots" in the world to root out traffickers, in co-operation with the police forces of the countries concerned. As skilled and daring investigators, with copious resources and nearly always the full support of the local authorities, the agents of the United States Narcotics Bureau on mission abroad have helped the national police forces to record many spectacular successes.8

Owing to their "regional" commitments in various parts of the world, the British authorities have widened the competence of narcotics agencies situated at strategic points. For instance, the Singapore Narcotics Bureau is responsible for part of south-east Asia.

Again, the Cairo Anti-Narcotics Bureau, founded by the celebrated Russell Pasha, a few years ago became the Permanent Anti-Narcotics Bureau of the Arab States League. This bureau's competence embraces the Middle Eastern countries belonging to the League and it has fairly wide powers. 9

All these meritorious activities are perfectly compatible with the work of the ICPO, since the United States Narcotics Bureau, the Egyptian police, the police of the other Arab countries and the Singapore authorities, are all members of Interpol.

8 See Bulletin on Narcotics, Vol. V, No. 4, article by G. H. White, and International Criminal Police Review, No. 99, June - July 1956, page 171, article by C. Siragusa.

9 See Bulletin on Narcotics, Vol. VII, No. 1, article by Aziz Safwat.

* * *

The ICPO, in close co-ordination with the League of Nations and, later, with the United Nations, has for thirty years been endeavouring to help to combat the illicit drug traffic.

The question was being asked a few years ago in some quarters whether the ICPO's activities might not be hampering or duplicating to no purpose the work of the other international agencies. It is our constant concern not to exceed our competence, and we hope these misgivings have been dispelled.

In 1954 the Economic and Social Council, on the proposal of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, adopted a resolution, under which it:

Invites Governments to co-ordinate their efforts in this sphere [narcotic drugs] and in so doing to use all existing means;

Draws their attention, in this connexion, to the work of the International Criminal Police Commission, which is in a position to lend valuable assistance in the suppression of the illicit traffic by means of the distribution and immediate use of information at its disposal;

Requests Governments to furnish that organization as promptly as possible with any information which may be of international value relating to persons involved in cases of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs.

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs, in which the ICPO has always found ready support and ample understanding, reiterated that advice to governments in 1955 and 1956.

Finding one country after another joining in its activities and the highest international bodies lending it their authority, the ICPO is certain that it is on the right road. It will not betray the trust reposed in it.