22 SEPTEMBER 1944, Page 1

U.N.R.R.A. in Council

The situation in Europe calls for swift decisions and action from U.N.R.R.A. (the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Adminis- tration), whose Council has been meeting this week in Montreal. France, Belgium, Luxemburg and Holland are in great part liberated ; Greece and Yugoslavia may at any moment be accessible to United Nations relief officers ; and there is no enemy-occupied country which may not be requiring help before the end of the autumn. Mr. H. H. Lehman, the Director-General, was emphatic in saying that it was a grave mistake to suppose that the needs would be less than had been anticipated. Though there will be wide variations from area to area, there is no doubt about the results of the enemy's ruthless depredations, and the shortages of the neces- saries for bare existence—meats, fats, grain, clothing and other essen- tial articles. The British and American military authorities have already been bringing in relief supplies in the wake of the armies. I. had been anticipated that military control would last six months, and that U.N.R.R.A. would step in afterwards, but the indications are that in many countries the period of military control can be shortened and that U.N.R.R.A. could with advantage get to work in a very short time. But if it is to fulfil its immense task quickly enough and adequately, all the United Nations must shoulder their responsibilities and contribute their full share in what is essentially a joint undertaking. It is disconcerting to know that up to now many Governments have not fulfilled or are behindhand in their financial contributions. It appears that the United Kingdom and Canada are the only countries which have already paid their full quotas, and that fourteen countries have not yet paid even their share of the administrative expenses. Not only is the effort required a colossal one, but its efficacy depends upon relief reaching the countries that need it in time to avert extreme suffering from hunger, disease and lack of work ; and the problem is complicated by the displacement of millions of persons carried away from their homes by the Germans.