§ Mrs. Middleton
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement on the work of the Caribbean Commission, the establishment of a permanent secretariat in Trinidad, and the methods by which the local population are being associated in this work.
Mr. Creech Jones
The Caribbean Commission is an advisory international body of the four metropolitan countries, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, which have territories in the Caribbean. Its purpose, is the encouragement and strengthening of cooperation amongst the Member Governments and their territories, with a view to improving the economic and social well-being of the peoples of those territories. For this purpose, the functions of the Commission are to promote scientific, technological, and economic development in the Caribbean area; to facilitate the use312W of resources, the concerted treatment of mutual problems and the avoidance of duplication in the work of existing research agencies; to survey needs and ascertain what research has been done; to facilitate research on a cooperative basis, and to recommend further research. The Member Governments have agreed that these objectives are in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The Commission has two auxiliary bodies. The Caribbean Research Council was established to provide the Commission with the scientific and technical advice needed in its work. The West Indian Conference, composed of representatives of all the Caribbean territories of the Member Governments, meets biennially to discuss matters of common interest to the territories falling within the Commission's terms of reference, and to make recommendations to the Commission. The former Anglo-American Caribbean Commission was set up in 1942 by the British and United States Governments, and was expanded at the end of last year when the French and Netherlands Governments accepted invitations to join the Commission as full members. Reports of the Anglo-American Caribbean Commission were rendered annually. That for 1945 has just been received and a copy is being placed in the Library.
The first meeting of the expanded Commission was held at St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands, in February, 1946. Its report is shortly to be published. Among its recommendations was one for the establishment Of a Central Secretariat for the Commission, with headquarters in the Caribbean area. This recommendation was accepted by the Member Governments, and at a meeting of their representatives in Washington in July, 1946, it was decided to set up the headquarters in Trinidad. Mr. Lawrence W. Cramer, former Governor of the United States Virgin Islands, subsequently was appointed by the Commission to be the first Secretary-General. An agreement restating the purposes and functions of the Commission was also drawn up at that meeting, and will be published. A successful Conference on the means of developing tourist trade in the Caribbean was held in New York this month under the auspices of the Commission. The association of the people of the Caribbean territories in the Commission's work is provided for in the first place, so 313W far as His Majesty's Government are concerned, by the fact that two of the four members of the British Section are non-officials. The method of selection of these two delegates was left to the British unofficial delegates to the Second West Indian Conference last March. The two unofficial members at present are Mr. Norman Manley, K.C., of Jamaica, and Mr. Garnett Gordon, of St. Lucia, who was appointed after a tie in the voting at the conference. The representative principle is also applied in the case of the West Indian Conference and the Caribbean Research Council. In the British West Indies, one of the two delegates from each Colony to the Conference must be an unofficial. Finally, the Agreement referred to above provides that the staff of the Secretariat shall be recruited as largely as possible within the Caribbean area, and with a view to obtaining a balanced national representation.