6:43 AM May 10, 1993
SUTHERLAND MAKES A 'QUIET' VISIT TO GENEVAGeneva 8 May (TWN) -- The European Community's candidate to succeed Arthur Dunkel as head of the GATT secretariat, Peter Sutherland, who is also backed by the United States, was in Geneva Thursday to meet the Chairman of the GATT Contracting Parties, Amb. Balkrishna Zutshi of India. Sutherland, who ever since his name was back in the picture, appears to have been giving interviews to western media outlining what he was going to do, came to Geneva in an unpublicised visit, met Zutshi and went back without seeing anyone else, according to diplomatic reports. Zutshi would only confirm the meeting and said it was set up by Sutherland contacting him directly, and that Zutshi had sent his car to the airport to fetch Sutherland and drop him back. Zutshi as Chairman of the GATT CPs is conducting the consultations on the choice of a successor. No information was available though on what was discussed between Zutshi and Sutherland, though EC sources implied that the two would have discussed the 'terms and conditions' of his contract. There has been nothing 'official' conveyed to the contracting parties (along with his curriculum vitae) about these terms and conditions, GATT diplomats have been saying that these relate to his seeking assurances that the Uruguay Round would be concluded by end of the year, would result in the creation of a Multilateral Trade Organization (MTO), and that the head of the GATT and MTO would have salary and terms and conditions of employment equal to that of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Other reports in the media suggested that the EC, one of the two major trading parties, was in effect manipulating the process so that one of its men would take over the GATT, and its successor MTO, and shape it for the rest of this decade and into the 21st century. The way the EC and US appear to have decided on a successor and the succession process was being manipulated by them suggested to outsiders that the GATT may now have nearly twothirds majority of developing countries, and all contracting parties are equal but some more equal than others. Earlier, before the information about Sutherland's visit was known, EC sources made little secret of their view that they expected Sutherland to be chosen 'by consensus' -- given the backing of the two major trading partners (the US and EC). They said that the EC favoured raising the status of the GATT chief to that of the World Bank and the IMF, since in their view of the future, this trio (IMF, World Bank and the MTO) would be in charge of international economic issues and the heads of the three institutions should have equal status. At a meeting of the informal group of developing countries in the last week of April, several delegates had said that if Sutherland was seeking the post, he should come and meet with the informal group so that members could have an appreciation of his approach and views. Before he came to Geneva, Sutherland has spoken to British media outlining his views, and functioning on the basis that he was not seeking the job, but the job was seeking him. He has been quoted as saying that while he had earlier turned down the idea, he had allowed his name to be put forward again after the EC President Jacques Delors had telephoned him and persuaded him. A report in the London Times of 3 May, obviously based on discussions with him, had reported that Sutherland was due to "hold discussions with Zutshi, the Indian Chairman of the GATT contracting parties, which has to endorse the appointment of a new director-general". The report, which takes it for granted that Sutherland has been chosen and all this a mere formality, said that the United States was firmly opposed to giving the job to a developing country and that while the 110 cps have to reach a consensus on the appointment, the transatlantic alliance behind Sutherland makes it virtually impossible for other countries to defend rival candidates. Obviously based on his talks with the paper, Sutherland has been portrayed as planning to give the post 'greater political clout and launch a big push' for the Uruguay Round agreement by mid-December and that he wold "shake the trees" to make sure the agreement was not consigned to the graveyard and that Sutherland (now Chairman of the Allied Irish Bank) "showed no fear of taking governments or powerful companies to task". Before the Sutherland visit became known, Zutshi had said he had circulated the information on the three candidates to the contracting parties whom he had been meeting and was waiting for their reactions. He had also said that he had no formal or official information about the 'conditions'. The way western media had been writing about Sutherland (as if the action by the cps was just a formality), and on what he would do and how, had angered several Third World delegations. On Thursday, the same day Sutherland came to Geneva to meet Zutshi on the quiet, the Latin American and Caribbean countries in the GATT (the Grula) had met and decided to keep the names of their panel of candidates. The two other candidates are former Colombian Trade Minister, Luis Jaramillo and the veteran Uruguay diplomat and negotiator, Amb. Julio Lacarte.