Regional conferences on the illicit traffic in drugs


First Inter-American Meetingon the Illicit Traffic in Cocaine and Coca Leaves,21-25 March 1960, Brazil
South-East Asian Regional Conference on Illicit Drug Traffic, 18-23 January 1960, Pakistan
Third Arab Conference on Narcotic Drugs, 7-11 March 1960, United Arab Republic


Pages: 29 to 36
Creation Date: 1960/01/01

Regional conferences on the illicit traffic in drugs

During the past four years, information made available to the United Nations regarding the illicit traffic in drugs has increasingly focused attention on three regions of the world - the Far East, the Middle East and South America. Despite insufficient reporting, annual seizures of drugs made, inter alia, by countries situated within these regions have been significant in relation to the world totals. The traffic in opium and opiates has centered in the Far East and the Middle East and clandestine manufacturing activities in the opiates, particularly in crude morphine, have been increasingly reported by countries in these regions. The traffic in coca leaves has centred in South America, and recently there have been reports of increasing clandestine manufacture of cocaine paste and cocaine in several countries of that region. There has also been widespread production of cannabis drugs and trafficking therein from the cannabis plant obtainable in these regions. Considerable supplies for illicit trafficking of narcotic raw materials have been obtained from illicit production or diversions from licit sources. Also, there has been extensive addiction to drugs in these regions which, in the case of some countries, is deep-rooted and affects many segments of society. In recent years, there has been information of the growing traffic in drugs obtained from countries in these regions to other parts of the world. Well-organized gangs of traffickers and smugglers have been known to operate from some countries within these regions and to use all available means to spread drugs. There has been little or no evidence that drugs in significant quantities are moving into these regions from outside, and it has been concluded that the centres of illicit trafficking in drugs lie within these regions. The menace of a spreading traffic in drugs originating in these regions, especially to countries receiving illicit drugs such as the United States of America, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Iran, the United Arab Republic, etc. has caused serious concern to governments and international bodies.

While it has been appreciated that national authorities have been doing their best to control trafficking, the regional pattern of trafficking as established in the reports of the Illicit Traffic Committee of the Narcotics Commission has pointed to the need for joint action on a broader basis which would attack the sources of illicit supplies, cut the routes of the regional traffic, apprehend well-known traffickers, and establish close co-operation with outside national and international agencies. Serious concern has been expressed at persistent reports to the Narcotics Commission of the absence of close co-operation, especially between countries in these regions where such action was most needed. The Economic and Social Council and the Narcotics Commission have repeatedly called for vigilance by governments regarding the international illicit traffic and have made recommendations for increasing the effectiveness of measures against illicit trafficking. These bodies have especially stressed the need for close and continuous co-operation between national authorities entrusted with suppression of drug trafficking, and have urged the use of all available methods, including the facilities of the International Criminal Police Organization. More recently, the Council and the Commission have drawn attention to the possibilities of joint international action under programmes of technical assistance in the field of narcotic drugs. In particular, it has considered that technical assistance in the form, for instance, of consultative groups, "task forces" for a particular region, seminars or other forms of joint action would be a most valuable way of developing co-operation between the enforcement services of countries affected by a common illicit-traffic problem.

By 1958, concrete proposals had already been considered in the Narcotics Commission for joint action in the Middle East, such as a United Nations regional bureau proposed by the UAR or a joint narcotics intelligence unit proposed by Iran. A definite result was the Middle East Narcotics Survey Mission which visited that region in September-October 1959, consulted with governments and made certain recommendations directly to them, and established a general report for use by the Narcotics Commission and interested governments. In respect of the other regions, while the form of joint international action was not clearly defined, there were reiterated demands for increased international co-operation on a continuing basis in the Far East and South America. In consequence, meetings were organized in these two regions of the world as first steps and with a view to considering the best means for furthering joint action at the international level to combat trafficking. The following paragraphs give an account of the first inter-American meeting on the illicit traffic in cocaine and coca leaves held at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in March 1960, and the first meeting of enforcement officers of south-east Asian countries, held at Lahore, Pakistan, in January 1960. There is also an account of the third Arab anti-narcotics conference, held in Cairo, UAR, in March 1950, which was a follow-up on the Middle East Narcotics Survey Mission.

First Inter-American Meeting on the Illicit Traffic in Cocaine and Coca Leaves, 21-25 March 1960, Brazil

The large production of coca leaves in South America is a matter of common knowledge, though it has not yet been possible to get an exact figure of the quantities involved. Only twice, in 1954 and 1957, were production statistics received for a given year, and even those data were largely conjectural. For each of these two years the figure was in the neighbourhood of 13,000 tons, the greater part being harvested in Peru - 10,200 tons - and Bolivia - 2,700 tom. The amounts of coca leaves harvested in South America are almost entirely used for non-medical consumption - i.e., for chewing. The medical, social and other related aspects of the practice of coca leaf chewing in South America have on various occasions formed the subject of international study - e.g., the United Nations Commission of Enquiry on the Coca Leaf, 1949. Coca leaf chewing is the major cause of an international illicit traffic which also serves to supply the clandestine manufacture of cocaine. Better reporting had brought to light the existence of an extensive cocaine traffic, with indications of its spread to countries outside the region. In 1957 and 1958 the Government of Brazil reported that the cocaine traffic had reached dangerous proportions and was on the increase in Brazil and other South American countries. Small clandestine laboratories producing cocaine were reportedly operating in the State of Matto Grosso. The bulk of the cocaine traffic was, however, supplied by clandestine manufacture of the drug in Peru and Bolivia. The cocaine was then smuggled into Brazil, usually by air via Corumba and Aquidauana, and sent on to the big cities, notably São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The Government of Argentina also reported in 1958 that the illicit cocaine seized in that country was probably brought over the northern frontier with Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru, though other sources were not excluded. The Government of the United States of America reported an increasing cocaine traffic into that country; cocaine paste from Bolivia was being smuggled into Cuba, where it was processed into cocaine before passing into the United States. In a hearing before the United States Congress on 27 January 1959, the U.S. Commissioner of Narcotics mentioned that the cocaine traffic in Havana was tremendous, most of it coming from Bolivia. The ICPO received information that there was also a traffic between Chile and Bolivia.

The Narcotics Commission was disturbed at the growing information about the serious cocaine traffic situation in South America, and it was particularly concerned at its fourteenth session in 1959 at the several indications of the absence of full co-operation between the national authorities entrusted with the task of combating illicit traffic in those countries. The Commission called upon the Governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru to encourage close mutual co-operation of their national authorities, and to work closely with the international bodies concerned in this field. Acting upon this request, the Government of Brazil took the initiative for the holding of a meeting of interested countries and found a favourable reception. Arrangements were then undertaken for an intergovernmental meeting to consider the serious situation resulting from the traffic in cocaine and coca leaves, and it was agreed that the meeting would be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the latter half of March 1960. The main aims of the meeting were to obtain a clearer picture of the regional traffic in coca leaves and cocaine, to review the national arrangements for combating this traffic and to consider ways and means for improving the effectiveness of national enforcement and international co-operation.

At the invitation of the Brazilian Government, there were represented at the meeting the Governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru. In addition Mexico, Venezuela and the United States of America, because of their special interest in the matter, were invited by the Brazilian Government and were represented. Also invited and in attendance at the meeting were the representatives of the United Nations and the ICPO. The meeting was opened at the Itamaqaty Palace, Brazilian Ministry for Foreign Relations, by Brazil's Acting Minister of State for Foreign Relations, on 21 March 1960, and its plenary sessions were subsequently directed by the Secretary-General of the meeting representing that ministry. The arrangements made by the Brazilian Government for the meeting were highly appreciated. The meeting was closed to the press and public, and a short statement on the progress of the work was released to the press daily. In addition to the representatives of the above-mentioned countries, a number of officials from the national agencies directly concerned with the control of illicit trafficking were also assigned to participate in the work of the meeting and fifty participants were so listed.

The meeting reviewed the current situation regarding the illicit traffic in cocaine and coca leaves and the national and international measures adopted against this traffic. Useful information was forthcoming, and the meeting particularly noted the alarming recrudescence of the illicit traffic in coca leaves and crude and refined cocaine in Bolivia, Peru and other American countries. It was also recorded that the present and potenial victims of this traffic are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and the United States. The meeting adopted a final act to which were annexed four resolutions containing the recommendations aimed at the repression and suppression of the illicit traffic in cocaine and coca leaves. The text of the final act and its annexes were made available to the governments of the American States and to the United Nations. The meeting commended to the urgent attention of the American States the recommendations approved by it, and in particular stressed the need for full and constant implementation of the international narcotics treaties which concern the illicit traffic in coca leaves and cocaine.

In view of the significance of the meeting and the important work done by it, it is considered useful to reproduce the recommendations made by it as embodied in four resolutions:


The delegations taking part in the Inter-American Meeting on the Illicit Traffic in Cocaine and Coca Leaves, held in the city of Rio de Janeiro from March 21 to 25, 1960.

Considering the advisability of bringing up to date and perfecting the legislation of their respective countries, with the object of achieving a more efficient control of the illicit traffic in crude and refined cocaine, coca leaves and other narcotics,


  1. That more stringent penitentiary sentences be imposed against illicit cocaine manufacturers, smugglers, distributors and traffickers, that stay of sentence not be admitted, and that a fine be imposed together with and without any reduction of the term of emprisonment;

  2. That, in the cases aforesaid, no prisoner be released on bail;

  3. That Judicial Courts be requested to expedite trials of persons charged with the offences described above;

  4. That, in order to curtail the international movements of cocaine traffickers, laws and regulations should be adopted whereby visas, seamen's papers and documents for airline crews be denied to those persons already convicted of narcotic law violations or strongly suspected of being engaged in such illicit activities;

  5. That in the case of any person who has been deported after conviction of violation of the illicit cocaine trafficking laws, a note to this effect should be made in his passport;

  6. That, where not already a part of the legislation of a particular state, measures be enacted to make it compulsory for a special medical prescription to be made out for the sale of narcotic drugs;

  7. That a state monopoly be set up for the importation, sale and manufacture of narcotic drugs or, should this not be possible, and in accordance with the international legislation in force, that the following measures be adopted:

    1. Limitation of the number of ports through which narcotic drugs are allowed to be imported;

    2. Strict surveillance of the system of import and export licences for the international trade;

    3. Prohibition of the practice of sending narcotics through the mails;

  8. That, in accordance with the legislation of each state, an attempt should be made to secure suspension of civil rights for habitual drug addicts, so long as they fail to rehabilitate themselves and discharge their debt to society, and thereby deprive them of control over their estate and person, with the understanding, however, that this and other measures should always be taken in such a way as not to interfere with the rehabilitation of the drug addict;

  9. That, in their extradition treaties, the states include infractions of laws and regulation for the control of narcotics among the grounds for extradition; and that, in such treaties, these infractions be included amongst the cases in which detention awaiting trial (or on suspicion) may be envisaged.


The delegation taking part in the Inter-American Meeting on the Illicit Traffic in Cocaine and Coca Leaves, held in the city of Rio de Janeiro from March 21 to 25,

Considering that, notwithstanding the enforcement of existing legislation on control of the illicit traffic in crude and refined cocaine, coca leaves and other drugs, additional measures can be taken with even greater benefit to the populations of the continent,


  1. That, wherever necessary, police, customs and excise services encharged with the responsibility of suppressing the illicit cocaine traffic be augmented at land, sea and air frontiers;

  2. That, within the present framework of existing police, customs and excise administrations, there should be delegated to one special section the responsibility of co-ordinating all matters pertaining to the suppression and repression of the illicit cocaine traffic;

  3. That the authorities of those countries where the manufacture or refining of cocaine has been or still is legal, exercise strict surveillance over former employees who have had knowledge and/or experience with the technical processes involved in order to avert their application of this professional knowledge and experience to criminal ends;

  4. That in effort to locate clandestine factories and laboratories engaged in the illicit conversion of coca leaves into crude or refined cocaine (cocaine paste or cocaine hydrochloride), surveillance be made of procurement of chemical equipment for use in such conversion processes;

  5. That in the states where the growing of coca leaves is illicit, and above all in remote, inaccessible areas thereof, programmes of detection be considered and studied with a view to the eradication of such plantations; and that, in the states where coca leaves can legally be grown, a cadastral survey be prepared carefully limiting the regions in which this is done;

  6. That provisions be made in regulations of agencies encharged with the responsibility of repression and suppression of the illicit cocaine traffic, for the payment of rewards for information and assistance leading to the apprehension of illicit cocaine traffickers and the seizure of illicit cocaine supplies;

  7. That efforts be made, within existing laws, to develop criminal conspiracy prosecutions against organized international groups engaged in the cocaine traffic;

  8. That, to the extent permitted by legislation and rules of practice in the respective states, programmes be adopted for the training of police officers in the suppression and repression of the international illicit cocaine traffic, special courses being instituted, wherever possible, on the struggle against the illicit traffic in narcotics;

  9. That measures tending to reduce the medical and scientific use of cocaine, and the manufacture thereof, be adopted, and that, at the same time, research be intensified with the object of discovering substitute drugs that are not habit-forming;

  10. That measures be considered with a view to promoting the disappearance, as soon as possible, of the habit of chewing coca leaves;

  11. That, whenever this seems advisable in a particular situation, intensive campaings be undertaken, making use of all up-to-date means available therefor, to disseminate an understanding of the harmful effects of the use of narcotics;

  12. That, as soon as possible, steps be taken to increase number of beds available in each state for the clinical treatment of cocaine addicts;

  13. That coca leaf and cocaine production and sale statistics be kept up to date, as recommended by the international control agencies.


The delegations taking part in the Inter-American Meeting on the Illicit Traffic in Cocaine and Coca Leaves, held in the city of Rio de Janeiro from March 21 to 25,

Considering the advisability of better co-ordination of the activities of the states and international agencies in the repression of the illicit traffic in crude and refined cocaine, coca leaves and other narcotics,

Recognizing the impossibility of securing effective vigilance in a state, when not accompanied by and co-ordinated with the steps taken by other states, especially the neighbouring ones,


  1. That the states not yet belonging to the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL or ICPO) should become members of that organization;

  2. That in those states not yet belonging to ICPO, a correspondent be assigned for the purpose of exchanging information relating to the international illicit traffic in cocaine; and that, as soon as feasible, the names of these correspondents be communicated to all the American states and to the Secretary-General of ICPO;

  3. That, without detriment to the engagement arising out of bilateral and multilateral agreements on the subject, there may be a direct interchange of information between the American states in the course of enquiries into the illicit traffic in cocaine, whenever mutual interests are at stake; and regarding states which are members of INTERPOL, such an exchange should be made from one central national bureau of this Organization to another;

  4. That the preventive measure be adopted of distributing to all American states and to the Secretary-General of ICPO:

    1. Lists of known or suspected illicit traffickers in cocaine, in accordance with the legislation of the corresponding state;

    2. Names and known or suspected movements of former employees of raw or refined cocaine manufacturers;

    3. Lists of automobiles and other vehicles (including descriptions and registration licence plates) known or suspected of being engaged in activities connected with the international illicit cocaine traffic;

    4. Lists of cocaine addicts or consumers;

  5. That, upon the invitation of an American state, the United Nations or other American states may dispatch narcotic law enforcement specialists to supply technical assistance in connexion with the joint development of an international illicit cocaine investigation, wherein a mutual interest is involved, for the purpose of bringing such investigation to a successful conclusion;

  6. That, in so far as this may be permitted by the legislation of the corresponding countries, provisions be made among American states to permit police officers of one country to participate in the interrogation of illicit cocaine violators arrested in another country, for the purpose of identifying new traffickers and apprehending sources of supply;

  7. That those American states which have police training programmes should afford the opportunity of police officers of other American states enjoying scholarships;

  8. That periodical inter-American conferences should be held concerning the international illicit cocaine traffic;

  9. That close co-operation should be established among the police of the various American states for the purpose of taking joint and efficient action against the clandestine traffickers in narcotic drugs;

  10. That each state acquaint the other with the channels most often used for the illicit traffic in coca leaves and cocaine;

  11. That in cases of the international illicit traffic in narcotics, each state should distribute to all the others, for dissemination, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, a photograph and finger-print criminal identification card of every delinquent arrested or fugitive and communicating same to ICPO and other international agencies;

  12. That, without detriment to international engagements already assumed, the American states exchange, regularly and with the least possible delay, specific legislation enacted in relation to the illicit traffic in cocaine and other narcotic drugs, together with the jurisprudence connected therewith.


The delegations taking part in the Inter-American Meeting on the Illicit Traffic in cocaine and Coca Leaves, held in the city of Rio de Janeiro from March 21 to 25,

Considering that the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs thereof, in successive recommendations and resolutions during the period 1956 to 1959, has been proposing the adoption of measures relating to the supply of technical assistance by the United Nations to the countries that apply for same, in combating the illicit use of narcotics,

Noting that the Fourteenth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations passed Resolution No. 1395 (XIV) whereby authorization was granted to include special allocations: in the Budget of that International Organization for the execution, on a continuous basis, of a programme of technical assistance in the control of the illicit use of narcotics and in dealing with cognate problems,

Taking account of the fact that the reports of the Delegations to this Meeting provide ample evidence of conditions existing in the American Continent characterized by a lack of equipment and means of surveillance to restrain the cultivation, trade and industrialization of coca leaves and the traffic in the illicit use of raw and refined cocaine,


  1. That American states take full advantage of the opportunities of technical assistance offered by the United Nations, the specialized agencies and other international organizations, with a view to remedying the defects indicated, and in particular with regard to the following points:

    1. Assistance to the national authorities of coca producing countries for the effective implementation of the international conventions and the internal laws and regulations dealing with the seeding, cultivation, manufacture and commerce of coca leaves and crude and refined cocaine;

    2. Adoption of priority criteria to enable personnel specializing in combating the illicit international cocaine traffic to obtain study and training grants;

    3. Aid of technicians in order to draw up, in co-operation with the authorities of the countries concerned a co-ordinated regional programme for combating the international illicit traffic in narcotic drugs;

    4. Acquisition of fuller information about the medical and sanitarian measures applicable to the treatment of drug addicts.

  2. That it be recommended to the World Health Organization that of the technical assistance financial allocation of each country concerned, a certain amount should be earmarked for use in connexion with problems of narcotics.

  3. That the purport of this recommendation be communicated to the Fifteenth Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, to be held this year, with particular emphasis on the wisdom of such applications for technical assistance in this field being made by American countries and granted in order to further the common interests of the continent.

South-East Asian Regional Conference on Illicit Drug Traffic, 18-23 January 1960, Pakistan

At the thirteenth session of the Narcotics Commission, in 1958, it was again noticed that in the Far East there was a heavy flow of opium from the Burma-China-Thailand border areas of clandestine cultivation through Thailand and on to the Federation of Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong. Clandestine cultivation reported in Burma, Laos, the Republic of Korea and Thailand was another source of illicit supplies. There was a traffic in opium from India to south-east Asian ports; there was a traffic across the Indo-Pakistan and Afghanistan-Pakistan borders. No abatement was noticeable in the flow of crude morphine from clandestine sources near northern Thailand through Bangkok to Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan province of the Republic of China and other routes. Clandestine manufacture of diacetylmorphine in Hong Kong continued at a high level, and a traffic between Hong Kong and Macao continued to be reported. A traffic was also reported from Hong Kong towards the Taiwan province of the Republic of China and Japan. An important traffic in diacetylmorphine continued to be directed towards North America, and particularly the United States. There was also extensive trafficking in cannabis obtained from sources within the region. The view was expressed in the Commission that close co-operation amongst the authorities of a number of countries in the Far East was absolutely essential in particular to stop the heavy flow of opium and opiates; and the Commission considered that, in view of the volume of illicit traffic in the Far East, co-operation at the international level between the enforcement services should be developed in that part of the world, and it would welcome such steps as the ICPO might take towards that end-for instance, in the form of a regional meeting of officers responsible for the repression of the illicit traffic. The following year, in 1959, the Commission's attention was drawn to the reports of Thailand and Viet-Nam indicating an absence of co-operation between the authorities concerned of several countries in the Far East. The Commission considered it regrettable that there was still no improvement and again called upon the Governments of Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Viet-Nam to encourage close co-operation of the authorities concerned in order to curb the traffic in opium and opiates in the region.

Acting upon the above suggestion, the ICPO, with the concurrence of its General Assembly, undertook the organization of a meeting of enforcement officers of south-east Asian countries, the first of its kind in that part of the world. After preliminary negotiations with interested governments, it was agreed that the conference would be held in Lahore, Pakistan, in the latter half of January 1960. The main aims of the conference were indicated to be: ( a) to have a better knowledge of the illicit traffic in drugs in south-east Asia and ( b) to improve active international co-operation in the day-to-day suppression of the illicit drug traffic in the region. The conference was planned to be of the round table type, each delegation having the opportunity to make statements or give information on each question on the agenda, and it was expected that sessions would be in plenary without the necessity of committees.

The conference was opened in the West Pakistan Legislative Assembly Building by the Minister for the Interior of Pakistan on 18 January 1960. The following countries were represented: Ceylon, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macao, Pakistan, Philippines, Sarawak, Singapore and Thailand. Observers for Australia, the Federation of Malaya, United Kingdom and the United Nations were present. In all, there were forty-one officials who participated in the meetings, and they were more or less directly concerned with the suppression of the illicit traffic in drugs. The Inspector General of Police of West Pakistan and the Deputy Director-General of the Excise Department of Thailand were unanimously elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively. The arrangements made by the Pakistan Government for the conference were extremely satisfactory. The meetings were closed to the press and the public, but the press was kept informed through official statements.

In the discussions the following items were covered: general aspects of the illicit traffic (an expose of the situation by drug and by country; the main known traffickers, their influence and activities); special problems arising from the

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Delegates visiting Lahore

illicit traffic; organizing suppression on a national level; the common struggle against the illicit drug traffic; the international system for controlling drugs, and miscellaneous subjects. A final report was adopted by the conference which was intended for communication to the national control bureaux of the ICPO and for the information of the Narcotics Commission.

While the pattern of trafficking in drugs was known in general terms, the conference helped to focus attention on the main sources of supplies and the direction of the main flow of opium and opiates in the region. In some instances, additional information not contained in official reports was forthcoming. Statements made by delegates underlined the difficulties of getting at the top organizers of the traffic because of their financial resources and connexions in official circles, or because of existing legislation hampering the collection of evidence. The close links of the narcotics traffic with other illegal activities such as gold smuggling and violation of currency regulations were stressed by some delegates; almost all the delegations agreed upon the existence of corruption; the use of juveniles as carriers for the retail traffic (mostly in cities) was noted. The conference recognized the serious economic and social aspects of trafficking and addiction, the heavy costs to governments in combating the drug evil, and the dangers of increased addiction to the "white drugs ". Information was exchanged on the national arrangements for enforcement and suppression, and details of the mechanics of continuing co-operation between authorities of different countries were discussed. There is already substantial direct exchange of information on the illicit traffic between the countries of south-east Asia, and the conference pointed out the need for improvement in respect of some countries.

The conference worked in an atmosphere of sincerity and cordiality. It helped to bring about direct contacts, and there were some useful exchanges of information. It also increased understanding of the broader aspects of the illicit drug traffic, and gave an opportunity of bringing the serious concern of international bodies at the situation in the region to the attention of officials concerned with suppression of the traffic. It highlighted certain situations, such as sources of illicit supplies, absence of full co-operation between some countries, etc., which needed redressment through action at higher policy levels. As the first of its kind in south-east Asia, the conference left a favourable impression, and many of its participants expressed the wish that regional meetings on narcotics control in that part of the world should be more frequently organized in the future.

Third Arab Conference on Narcotic Drugs, 7-11 March 1960, United Arab Republic

The Middle East is a region where there has been heavy trafficking in drugs obtained almost entirely from countries within the region. In some respects, the traffic in opium and cannabis (hashish) has been traditional. The Arab countries have been seriously affected by this trafficking, and estimates of addicts in the Egyptian province of the UAR showed that country as a principal target of the organized regional drug traffic. In view of this situation, the League of Arab States created in 1950 the Permanent Anti-Narcotics Bureau, with headquarters in Cairo, UAR, hoping thereby to establish close co-operation amongst the several agencies combating the illicit traffic in the Arab states. The chief purpose of this bureau was "to control all measures taken or to be taken by each member State for combating the cultivation,

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lnterpol meeting in Lahore: the bureau

manufacture, addiction to and trafficking in narcotic drugs within its boundaries and for the prevention of smuggling narcotics from or to any of these States ". More recently this bureau has been holding an Arab conference on narcotic drugs at convenient intervals of a year or so for the purpose of assessing the over-all traffic situation in the region, reviewing the effectiveness of measures during the period under consideration, and adopting further measures that may tend to improve the situation. The resolutions and recommendations adopted by the conference are communicated for the information of the Narcotics Commission. It has also been customary for the Director of the Bureau to transmit an annual report on the traffic situation in the Middle East for the information of the Narcotics Commission.

Following upon the Middle East Narcotics Survey Mission, September-October 1959, the third Arab conference on narcotic drugs was called for the first half of March 1960 in Cairo, UAR. This year, the Arab League invited a number of other countries affected by the illicit traffic in the Middle East and some international organizations to send observers to the conference. The conference was opened at the Police Club, Cairo, by the Governor of Cairo Province on 7 March 1960. The following countries were represented: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, UAR (Egyptian and Syrian provinces), Morocco, Lebanon and Yemen. Observers for Pakistan and the United States of America were present. The League of Arab States and the International Criminal Police Organization were represented. The United Nations, at the request of the Government of the UAR and Yemen in accordance with the current arrangements for technical assistance, provided the services of a consultant and other conference facilities such as interpreters and steno graphers. In all there were twenty officials who participated in the work of the conference. The representatives of the UAR and Yemen were unanimously elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively. The meetings were closed to the press and public, and the press was kept informed of the work through short official statements.

As in previous years, the conference dealt with the narcotics traffic affecting the Arab countries in particular. It was thought useful to review the report of the Survey Mission, and in the light of that report to considerer what further measures should be adopted for combating the traffic in drugs. The delegates present informed the conference of the drug traffic affecting their respective countries, and useful information was given by the observers of Pakistan and the United States of America. The conference learned of the machinery of international control of drugs, and of the facilities for prompt exchange of information on the illicit traffic available through the International Criminal Police Organization. The conference adopted a final report with recommendations for communication to the participating countries and the Narcotics Commission.

During the discussions, attention was focused on the sources of supplies of illicit opium and hashish which entered the regional traffic. It was expected that measures already taken or in progress would soon lead to an improvement in the control of narcotics raw materials at the sources of production. Particular emphasis was laid upon the recommendations of the Survey Mission's report for strong national policies to control trafficking and deal with addiction. The conference considered it useful to reiterate the proposals of the Survey Mission for improving national enforcement machinery and international co-operation through the use of technical assistance programmes of the United Nations. In concluding, the conference recorded the usefulness of the work done and considered that such meetings would in future be very helpful, hoping at the same time that all countries invited would be able to attend.


While it is too early fully to assess the effect of the intercountry meetings on control of illicit traffic that have taken place as narrated above, these meetings were the first practical steps towards improved international co-operation in the fight against the international illicit traffic in drugs. When informed of them at its fifteenth session in 1960, the Narcotics Commission was gratified at the reponse of governments to its previous requests and expressed appreciation particularly of the actions of Brazil, Pakistan and the ICPO for their initiative in organizing these meetings. The Narcotics Commission thought that the meetings had been important and useful. The direct contacts and exchanges between officials of different countries, the first-hand information obtained on the illicit traffic and the adoption of common measures to control trafficking were some of the fruitful results. Experience clearly showed that there was a place for such meetings in national and international programmes for controlling the drug traffic. The Commission hoped that there would be further development along these lines in the future, and observed that for the maximum benefit to be obtained such meetings should be well-planned, intensively organized and attended by officials more or less directly concerned with control of the drug traffic. The participation of international bodies in such meetings would provide valuable help, guidance and information. The Narcotics Commission also strongly supported the idea of holding periodic informal regional conferences to be attended by narcotic law enforcement specialists, which should have fruitful results. And the Commission unanimously adopted a resolution on the subject of regional conferences for narcotics control, inviting governments to consider the possibility of furthering such conferences either on their own initiative or through the United Nations. Finally, the Commission emphasized that there are other methods of improving regional co-operation for narcotics control besides regional conferences and missions such as the Middle East Survey Mission. It invited the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in drawing up the programme of work of the Secretariat, to give special attention to ways and means of furthering the development of co-operation between governments with common or interlocking regional problems, and between these governments and the international bodies.