176 Australian Government to Noel-Baker, Gollan, Cutler and Australian Embassy, Washington

Cablegrams 35, 122, 46, 154 CANBERRA, 11 March 1949, 3.35 p.m.


ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE FAR EAST Meeting of the Committee of the Mole, Bangkok

1. We have been giving some thought to future activity of the Commission, particularly in the field of industrial development.

We feel that governments should be getting more direct assistance and advice. The present Working Party system may be useful for preliminary fact finding but no progress is made merely by collecting facts and comparing plans.

2. On the other hand, we do not feel that, in present circumstances, scope for intergovernmental action is sufficient to justify establishment of committees on a government level as proposed by Industrial Working Party and Executive Secretary.

Unlike Europe, ECAFE region is not integrated economically, consequently Economic Commission for Europe does not afford appropriate model for organisation. Most of functions proposed for Committee on Industry seem more appropriate to expert than to representative body. Representative committee would have to set up qualified subcommittees and would tend to usurp functions of Commission itself, with duplication of effort and confusion of responsibility. It would tend to place another political body between Commission and its operative organisation. We would like to see some effective work done rather than the creation of more organisation.

3. We feel Commission could perform useful function by provision of assistance to governments of region in planning and implementing programmes of industrial development as capital and other requirements become available, or in preparation for this stage. We therefore suggest Secretariat should be directed to provide technical knowledge and experience for the countries of the region.

4. The following are suggested functions for Secretariat in this field:-

(i) To assemble data on the natural resources of the region and promote further studies of natural resources where desirable.

(ii) To conduct research into the economic and technical aspects of industrial development in the region.

(iii) To provide facilities for expert advice, including visits of inspection by experts, on any branch of industrial development.

(iv) To provide for the exchange of technical information of particular value to the countries of the region.

(v) To extend and improve statistical data relating to industry in the region.

(vi) To assist governments in drawing up over-all plans for industrial development, based on the most effective use of available resources and incorporating integrated targets for individual industries.

(vii) To assist governments in planning specific projects, including the assignment of priorities, for implementation as capital equipment, finance etc. become available.

(viii) To carry out continuous investigation into possible sources of supply of capital equipment, basic materials, etc. required for industrial development.

(ix) To make recommendations to the Commission, or, as authorized by the Commission, direct to member governments, on any aspect of industrial development in the region.

(x) To perform such other functions as the Commission may decide.

5. We would be grateful for your comments. [1]

6. For Washington only. Please discuss with State Department and obtain their views. Stress our desire to avoid any further organisation and to see some practical results of Commission's work. [2]

7. For New Delhi only. Please discuss proposal with Government of India, stressing our desire that the Commission should actively assist countries of region and avoid mere creation of additional machinery. We are particularly interested in India's attitude to future of Commission.

1 The NZ External Affairs Department believed it would be necessary to set up a limited number of committees of governmental representatives but preferably in only a few fields where practical results could be achieved quickly.

2 The Department of State agreed with Australia's view and instructed its delegation to oppose the establishment of committees at governmental level.

[AA:A1838, 383/1/2/4, i]