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Return of U.S.A. to ILO

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Return of U.S.A. to ILO 15 February 1980 — The Minister for Industrial Re­ lations, the Hon. Tony Street, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Andrew Peacock, said today that they warmly welcomed the announcement ' by President Carter that the United States would be returning to the international Labour Organisation.

While Australia had understood the reasons for the United States withdrawal from the ILO in November 1977, it had always hoped that the United States would rejoin the Organisation. On this basis, Australia had continued to work within the ILO to

bring about a situation which could lead to the United States rejoining the Organisation, it held to its view that the effectiveness of the ILO could best be served

by universal membership and the participation of all concerned countries.

The Ministers said that arthe time of the United . States’ withdrawal the Australian Government and the peak employer and trade union organisations in Australia had expressed their regret that the tripartite structure of the ILO would be without the valuable contribution of United States Government, employer

and trade union representatives. The Australian Government was now looking forward to the re­ newed United States contribution to the future work of the ILO.

The ILO is the longest-standing specialised agency of the United Nations system and Australia has been an active member since the Organisation was founded in 1919. The United States joined in 1934.

There are now 140 member countries. The primary mandate of the Organisation is the improvement of ; the human rights and working conditions of the world’s labour force. ■

The decision of the United States to withdraw was in pursuance of a notice of intent to do so which the then United States Secretary of State, Dr Kissinger, ■ lodged with the ILO Director-General in November

1975. Under the ILO constitution, member states are required to give two years notice of withdrawal from the Organisation. The notice said that the United States did not want to withdraw and hoped that the

United States would be forced to make the notice of intent operative if what it viewed as a matter of fundamental concern was not dealt with in a satisfac- . tory manner. In particular, the United States had '

been critical of the influence of political consider­ ations which it felt had affected the attitude and actions of the ILO. .