A Explanatory memorandum
1 The Consultative Assembly, during its second Session, referred a number of Motions to the Committee on General Affairs, during the Debate on the settling of the Agenda and during that on the Report and Message from the Committee of Ministers. The; Committee also had before it motions which were tabled during the Debate on the Report but which had not then been considered by the Assembly.
2 The Plenary Committee held ten meetings. Each of its sub-committees—on the Statute, on security, and on overseas territories—held five or six meetings. This is an indication of the fullness of the discussions which took place in them. Many of these discussions afforded opportunities for an exhaustive study of some of the fundamental problems of the Council of Europe.
3 The Committee examined all the proposals which were referred to it. It endeavoured, whenever possible, to reach balanced conclusions, calculated to receive the unanimous or almost unanimous approval of the Committee. The desire to achieve results of this kind had guided the work of the Committee during the period between the sessions. The Debates which took place during the first weeks of this Session convinced the Committee that, desite certain criticisms and reproaches, no better way was open to them, if they wished to preserve the unity of the Council of Europe and to retain as their objective the realisation of a union of the whole of Europe—which is without doubt the aim of the very great majority of the Assem-bly.
With this general purpose in view, the Committee devoted the greater part of its efforts to the working out of proposals designed to achieve closer political union : this subject had already formed the. First Part of its previous Report. The Committee has based its work on the same principles that the Assembly adopted on 18th August last, after the General Debate on its Report (Doc. 74
a to intensify inter-governmental co-operation, by establishing better co-ordination between existing European organisations.
b to increase the flexibility of the rules governing their operation. The Committee has made a special study of the question of " partial agreements ", which it had already examined between Sessions. It has also endeavoured to work out a general line of policy and it submits a practical suggestion for its application.
c to facilitate the exercise of an effective European Parliamentary supervision—and this time the Committee is proposing that the texts adopted by the Assembly should be transmitted direct to the national Parliaments.
d to strengthen the authority of the Council of Europe.
5 These various Resolutions have been, in every case, adopted unanimously, or virtual so. Not that your Committee has made a fetish of unanimity, but in its opinion the present international situation demanded that everything should be done to preserve the union of all Europe. During the coming months, it will be for the Governments, and for the Committee of Ministers, which is their spokesman, to give proof by positive measures of their desire to advance along such a road. The second part of the Assembly Session will enable us to see where we stand. The Committee therefore proposes to you in its Draft of a Reply to the Report from the Committee of Ministers that a solemn appeal should be addressed to the latter body (See Second Part, I (8)).
6 May I be allowed, at the very beginning of this Report, to tell M. BIDAULT how greatly the Committee appreciated his smiling but authoritative direction of our discussions, and at the same time convey my sincerest tbanks to our Vice-Chairman, M. OIILIN, and to all my colleagues, and particularly to the Chairmen and Rapporteurs of the Sub-Committees, MM. CAPPI, MACCAS, DE LA VALLÉE-POUSSIN, BOIIY, MACKAY, SANDYS and SCHERER, for the confidence they have been good enough to repose in me and the help they have afforded me in discharging my task as Rapporteur.
7 In the following pages will be found certain facts regarding the Resolutions and Recommendations submitted to the Assembly, which will, I hope, facilitate their discussion.
1.1 REPLY TO THE REPORT AND MESSAGE FROM THE COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS
The Assembly had referred to the Committee the Motion of M. PHILIP and several other Representatives( Doc. 43
)and that of M. BEN-VENUTI and his colleagues (Doc. 49
). The Committee had also before it Motions submitted by M. VAN DER GOES VAN NATERS and Mr. MACKAY.
9 Two different conceptions of what the reply should be were put forward.
10 Some representatives were in favour of Mr. MACKAY'S motion and wished the reply to be limited to a simple " covering note, " which would be transmitted together with the summary of the Debates in the Assembly and of the Recommendations adopted.
11 The other, taking M. PHILIP'S motion as a basis for discussion, wished the Assembly to declare more forcibly its disappointment at the inadequate nature of the replies to its Recommendations.
12 The Committee thought it would be wiser to draw the attention of the Committee of Ministers to the tasks which awaited the Council of Europe in the future, rather than to a consideration of the past. In this spirit, accepting the latter point of view, the Committee unanimously decided to propose to the Assembly the text set out in the Second Part, Section I.
1.2 PROPOSALS DESIGNED TO EFFECT CLOSER UNION
1.2.1 Presentation to Parliaments of the Assembly's Recommendations
The Committee received a Motion by M. SCHERER (Doc. 78
). Mr. SANDYS submitted another slightly different Motion during a Sitting.
14 The text submitted by your Committee represents a fusion of these two Motions and was adopted unanimously, there being two abstentions (Second Part, Section II (1)).
This text supplements the Proposal, already adopted by the Assembly, which recommends the Committee of Ministers to invite the Governments to lay Resolutions adopted by the Assembly before their Parliaments (see Doc. 74
,para. 3). Like that Proposal, it seeks to increase the authority of the Assembly by strengthening the links which connect it to national Parliaments.
1.2.2 General Policy of the Council of Europe
The Assembly referred to the Committee a Motion by M. AZARA and other Representatives( Doc. 35
), advocating the signature of a European Federal Pact which might be limited to certain Member States only : subsequently, MM. VAN DER GOES VAN NATERS and SANDYS submitted two other texts. Various attempts, at compromise were made, first by MM. BEN-VENUTI, CAPPI, VAN DER GOES VAN NATERS and SANDYS, and afterwards by the Bureau of the Committee. - It is important to emphasise that the text submitted in this connection (Second Part, Section II (2)) was adopted unanimously.
17 It will be noted that the word " defence " is not explicitly mentioned in paragraph (i) of the Resolution (where the possible fields of competence of the " specialised authorities, " to be set up within the framework of the Council of Europe, are laid down). - The majority of the Committee considered indeed that it would be normal, especially after the recent Debates in the Assembly, to give the widest possible interpretation to the expression " political field " which is used in the text, making it extend to " problems of defence in their political aspects; " but other members of the Committee did not agree. - Finally, in order to enable the Resolution on general policy to reach the largest possible audience, and also in order to avoid a Debate on procedure in this connection, the Committee decided, on the proposal of M. KAPANI, to formulate its interpretation in a separate text (cf. Part Two, Section II, 3). This was adopted by 15 votes to 6.
Together with other measures suitable for giving effect to the policy defined above, the Committee, on the proposal of Mile. KLOMPE, suggested the signature of an additional Protocol of the Council of Europe, which would enable certain partial agreements concluded within the framework of the Council to be implemented, with the assistance of its Secretariat (cf. Part Two, Section II, 4). - This Resolution was unanimously adopted. The Committee will note that this supplements the Recommendation already adopted by the Assembly with a view to giving greater flexibility to the Rules of Procedure of the Committee of Ministers( Doc. 74
,para 5, i) and that it provides a possible method of implementing the Recommendation already adopted in regard to partial agreements (Doc. 74
, para 1, v).
1.2.3 Additional Protocol to the Statute
Some resolutions submitted by MM. MAC-KAY (Doc. 19
and Doc. 64
), BENVENUTI (Doc. 49
), REYNAUD( Doc. 45
), NORTON( Doc. 15
) and PERSICO (DOC. 60
) have been communicated to the Committee; some of these suggest a complete redrafting of the Statute, others the alteration of certain Articles. - The Committee noted that the Recommendations already adopted by the Assembly (Doc. 74
, Ch. II) implied an extensive redrafting of the Statute. It would no doubt be better to await information as to the decisions of the Committee of Ministers in regard to those Recommendations before undertaking any further study. - The Committee, therefore,, proposes that you should instruct it to undertake such work as is thought necessary, during the period between Sessions (Part Two, Section II, 5). This work would be based, inter alia, on the Proposals referred to above. (Resolution adopted unanimously) .
The Sub-Committee on the Statute noted, inter alia, that the Motion of M. REYNAUD( DOC. 45
), concerning the organisation of the Sessions of the Assembly, was in fact covered by the Recommendation already adopted by the Assembly (Doc. 74
,para. 8, ii). - The Committee considered that though the Motion submitted by M. PERSICO( DOC. 60
)(Protocol concerning the appointment of Ministers of European Affairs) was in part covered by a Recommendation which had already been adopted( Doc. 74
,para. 4), it was worthy of further study, which the Committee intends to carry out between Sessions. - Mr. NORTON'S motion (Sessions of Committees in different Capitals-AS (2) 15) will also be examined between Sessions. - Lastly, the Committee on Economic Questions asked the Committee on General Affairs to consider M. BASTIANETTO'S motion( Doc. 58
)on the establishment of a Ministry of European Economy. The Committee decided to include this question in its Agenda, subject to the approval of the Assembly.
1.2.4 Work of the Sub-Committee on European Security
The Consultative Assembly had referred to the Committee on General Affairs the Motions tabled by :
The Committee decided to examine the following points in the first place :
Motions submitted by:
MM. DE MENTHON and BIDAULT( DOC. 37
c M. TSALDARIS'S motion which was subsequently laid before the Committee.
Motions to the effect that a European Minister of Defence should be " subject to European democratic control, " as stipulated in the Assembly's Resolution and in that submitted by M. BIDAULT and some other representatives( Doc. 37
Principles of a European Defence Convention designed to implement these Proposals, referred to in the draft conditions of resolution AS/AG (2) 7; and instructed the Sub-Committee on European Security to undertake a preliminary study of these questions, under the conditions laid down in a Resolution AS/AG 27 quoted below, so as to be able to report on them to the plenary CommitteeNote
23 The preliminary discussions held by the Sub-Committee on European Security revealed that substantial agreement exists as to the way in which these questions should be approached and dealt with.
24 In the very brief time at its disposal it was obviously impossible for the Sub-Committee to submit a final Report on so vast a problem. In view of the extreme importance of this question, it does not appear desirable at this stage to publish provisional or partial conclusions which, after the further examination now contemplated, may have to be modified. The Committee on General Affairs has therefore not thought it advisable to hold a general discussion on these problems in plenary Committee.
25 None the less, the urgency of the question is fully recognised, and the examination of these problems will be actively pursued after the end of the Session. A complete Report will be submitted as soon as possible.
26 In connection with this part of the Report, I must point out that Mr. CHOSLAND informed the Committee that he could not accept it.
1.3 LIAISON BETWEEN THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE AND OVERSEAS TERRITORIES OR COUNTRIES
The proposals of MM. SANDYS (Doc. 33
) MACKAY (Doc. 50
) and BARDOUX (DOC. 76
), were put before the Committee. The Sub-Committee on Overseas Territories considered that Mr. SANDYS' Motion( Doc. 33
)constituted, in fact, an invitation to carry on the work already undertaken by the Working Party on Overseas Territories, established in December 1949, within the Committee, in order to enquire into the terms and conditions under which overseas territories or countries constitutionally linked to Member Countries of the Council of Europe might participate actively in the work of the Council and in the progress of European union. The conclusions of the Sub-Committee's deliberations were unanimously approved by the Committee (Part Two, Section III).
Mr. MACKAY'S Resolution for the convening of a Constituent Assembly for Africa( Doc. 50
)and that of M. BARDOUX, relating to the International Mandate for Libya( Doc. 76
), weere retained on the Sub-Committee's Agenda, with the agreement of the plenary Committee, for subsequent examination.
1.4 VARIOUS RESOLUTION
1.4.1 Creation of a special Committee to watch over the interests of European nations not represented in the Council of Europe
The text, which was unanimously adopted by the Committee (Part Two, Section IV, 1), was the outcome of a study of the Motion tabled by Mr. MACMILLAN and several other Representatives( Doc. 24
1.4.2 Organisation of free elections in Spain
M. BOHY, Rapporteur on this question, emphasized the point that the Assembly had just proclaimed that the right to free elections was one of the fundamental rights which should be protected by the Convention on Human Rights. The Resolution, which had already been submitted elsewhere (Part Two, Section IV, 2) was adopted by 18 votes to 2, after an examination of a Resolution proposed by M. MOTZ( DOC. 44
), with which it was practically identical. The opponents of the Resolution declared that they looked upon it as a direct intervention in the internal affairs of an independent European State, and for that reason were unable to accept it.
1.4.3 Resolution proposed by M. Bardoux, regarding a peace treaty with the Germans Federal Republic (DOC. 56)
31 Upon the request of the German Representatives on the Committee, it was agreed to re-examine this Resolution later on after careful preliminary studies.
1.4.4 Information of European Public Opinion
The Committee examined the Report on this question (Doc. 85
) prepared by the Secretary- General. It thanked him for his help and unanimously approved the Resolution already submitted elsewhere (Part Two, Section IV c). It is desirable that the various specialised Committees (On Rules of Procedure, Legal Questions, Cultural Questions, etc.) should ponder the very interesting suggestions put forward by the Secretariat (Council of Europe Flag, free circulation, sports displays, European Congress, etc.), which might prove to be useful propaganda media.
1.4.5 European Youth Conference
The Committee had before it a proposal tabled by M. BERGMANN relating to a " Meeting of European Youth " to be held at Strasbourg, during one of the Council's Sessions (Doc. 40
). It considered it more desirable and more in accordance with the dignity of the Assembly that the latter should encourage the leaders of the more important democratic youth movements to organise a " European Youth Conference " at Strasbourg, during one of its forthcoming Sessions. The Resolution (Part Two, Section IV, 4) was adopted unanimously except for two votes.