T HE Supreme Economic Council (Vesenha) had beenset up in December 1917, composed of representa-tives of the Government departments and, trade unions together with technical experts in an advisory capacity, with the aim of bringing some co-ordinating element into the activities of the organs of workers' control and of systematising the process of nationalisation. It was to be the highest economic organisation in the land-a kind of economic general staff-and its functions were visualised as being wider than a mere department of industry, extending to a general supervision of the economic activities of other State departments, of transport, agriculture and foreign trade. Attached to it was a special advisory council of scientists and economists, a commission for foreign trade, and a department of public works; while sub-sections were formed corresponding to the main industries of the country, and local economic councils composed of representatives of local bodies, which should act as local organs of the central council. For some time it remained little more than a co-ordinating body-a general staff, issuing general instructions, but having few direct links with the units in the field. It drew up the general plans for nationalisation and issued general decrees wl1ich laid down the guiding lines of economic policy; and it was the body whose sanction was nominally necessary for any act of nationalisation. But its industrial sub-sections were not made directly the administrative boards of the nationalised industries except in cases of special importance.