UNITED NATIONS (Jul. 30)
The United Nations Committee on Conferences decided today to hold the fifth Congress on Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in Geneva on Sept. 1. The Committee rejected a proposal by Canada to postpone the congress until next year.
The conference was to have been held in Toronto but the Canadian government announced last week that it had asked Secretary General Kurt Waldheim to postpone the conference because the government did not want to hold it in the Canadian city at this time. The Canadian action came after strong opposition developed in that country to admitting representatives from the Palestine Liberation Organization to Canada to attend the congress as observers.
The committee yesterday was considering whether to hold the conference in either Vienna or Geneva. The Austrian government told the committee today that due to technical difficulties it would be impossible to hold the conference in Vienna.
After today’s decision was announced, Canadian Ambassador Geoffrey Bruce expressed his government’s “disappointment and concern” that the committee was not willing to agree to Canada’s request for a postponement of the congress. “You have turned down that request,” he told the committee, “I have difficulty in remembering when Canada has turned down a request from the United Nations. It is extremely disturbing that the United Nations has seen fit to refuse a modest request from Canada.”
Algeria requested at yesterday’s and today’s meeting that the Canadian government provide the $170,000 needed to cover the cost of transferring the congress. Bruce said today that he had forwarded the request to his government and will give an answer at a later date.