Records contained in S-0553 document the establishment, expansion and activities of the United Nations Special Fund from 1959 through 1972 and highlight Ralph Townley’s involvement with the Fund.
The Special Fund commenced operations in 1959 as a vehicle for providing technical assistance to under-developed United Nations member states by conducting surveys on the utilization of geographical, material, and human resources and supporting the development of training institutes and research centres. On 22 November 1965 the General Assembly approved the merger of the Special Fund and the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance (part of the Technical Assistance Administration which later became DESA) to create the United Nations Development Programme on 1 January 1966.
Ralph Townley joined the United Nations Secretariat in 1951 as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. Mr. Townley was selected as a Project Officer for the Special Fund in 1959. By January 1963, he served as Chief of the Special Projects section and in December 1965, earned a promotion to Deputy Chief of the Special Fund, a position he retained until January 1967 when he became Deputy Chief of the United Nations Development Programme’s Research Division. By February 1968, Mr. Townley’s title had changed to Chief of the Agricultural Research Division. He held this position until early 1971 when he transferred to the UNDP’s Animal and Fish Programme as Chief of the department. Later that same year, Mr. Townley served as a consultant for the Technical Advisory Services division of the Continuous Cash Benefit Programme (BPC).
The records of S-0553 are comprised of Mr. Townley’s chronological and subject files. The chronological files are further divided into administrative files and personal files. Mr. Townley’s administrative files focus on Fund initiatives and contain funding allocations; project timelines, guidelines, and regulations; and governmental agreements. Interoffice memoranda, external correspondence, trip itineraries and reports, policy briefs, meeting materials and program reviews also found within the files hold additional information about the Fund. The administrative files also contain proposals submitted by the governments of under-developed nations which concern the development of fisheries; desert locust campaigns; food crop improvement centres; land use and agricultural diversification; wildlife management; water resources; animal husbandry; dairy production and training, milk processing and distribution; and the prevention and eradication of animal and insect-born and bred diseases.
There are also four folders of chronological project files, the contents of which match those of the administrative files. An additional folder pertains to the Inter-American Institute of Agricultural Science (IAIAS), while another contains personnel records.
Like the administrative files, Mr. Townley’s personal files document his work with the Special Fund through correspondence, interoffice memoranda and reports. Trip planning correspondence found within the personal files frequently takes on a private tone as Mr. Townley often coupled his trips with visits to colleagues and friends. There are also condolence letters written following the deaths of Mr. Townley’s father and brother, and letters written to him by his children.
Mr. Townley’s subject files are comprised of mission reports, meeting minutes and materials, and memoranda. The meeting materials consist of Consultative Board reports, United Nations Agency reviews, country briefs for the Food and Agriculture Organization’s 1967 review, and proposals discussed at the United Nations Development Programme’s January 1968 meeting. Additional files document the March 1968 mission to evaluate rice production in West Africa conducted by Vu Van Thai, special consultant to the United Nations Development Programme, and discussions regarding the establishment of a Swine Science Institute in Taiwan.
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