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103 Minutes of Interdepartmental Committee Meeting

20 September, 1950

The meeting convened at 10.30 a.m.

Those present were:—

C.S.I.R.O.Mr. C. Donald

Department of the TreasuryMr. N.R. Caffin

Department of Labour & National ServiceMr. H.A. BlandMr. E.P. ElthamMr. B.K. Phelan

Commonwealth Office of EducationMr. C D. RowleyMr. C.R. Morrison

Public Service BoardMr. J.E. Collings

Department of HealthDr. G.M. Redshaw

Department of National DevelopmentMr. S.P Bray

Department of Commerce & AgricultureMr. F.W. BulcockMr. G. Warwick Smith

Bureau of Agricultural EconomicsMr. J.N. Lewis

Prime Minister s DepartmentMr. R. Durie

Department of External AffairsMr. W.T. DoigMr. H.W. BullockMr. J. Ingram

The Chairman regretted that, owing to the insufficiency of typing facilities in the Department of External Affairs, it had not been possible to circulate the general statements of requirements received from India, Pakistan and Ceylon. Arrangements had been made for extra copies to be sent from Colombo had been circulated to members of the Committee.

The Chairman informed the Committee that the British Consultative Committee is meeting in London at the moment and is considering on senior official level the long term development programme of India, Ceylon, Pakistan and the British Territories in South and South East Asia. The Ministers will commence their meeting on Monday next and will discuss long term development programmes, the amount of financial aid to be provided by Commonwealth countries, the technical assistance programmes and requests, and policy in relation to the participating countries, namely, the Associate States of Indo-China, Burma, who will send an observer, and Thailand, who will send a representative. Indonesia has not replied yet to the invitation.

So far as the treatment of requests is concerned the Standing Committee at Colombo has considered only the specific requests from Ceylon and the general requests from India and Pakistan. It is proposed that immediately after the meeting of the British Consultative Committee in London, a group from the Standing Committee will proceed to Karachi andDelhi to meet Departmental heads and consider the more specific requests.

The Chairman asked the Committee to give their comments generally on the statement of ways in which technical assistance could be provided, which was put up for discussion at the previous meeting.

Mr. Collings (Public Service Board) asked the Chairman to confirm that it was his aim to get some sort of document ready to present to his Minister. The Chairman confirmed that this was his intention.

Mr. Caffin (Treasury) asked whether it was envisaged that each year a programme would be prepared and worked out into budget form and that quarterly reviews would be made.

The Chairman agreed with this but mentioned that if the Committee cared to meet more frequently a review of events could be made more often.

Mr. Caffin (Treasury) asked whether it was contemplated that this Committee would look at any ofthe applications. The Chairman doubted whether such action would be necessary. So long as the Committee was agreed on general policy, a good deal of discretion could be left to the Department of External Affairs, in collaboration with the Public Service Board or other appropriate Departments, regarding individual cases.

Mr. Caffin (Treasury) said that would be quite satisfactory to his Department.

Mr. Eltham (Labour & National Service) queried the grounds on which the distinction between fellowships and scholarships under item I was based.

The Chairman replied that fellowships were intended for people who were qualified to take advanced courses in Australia and scholarships were for those who required a lower level of training. In the past payments made to these two classes of students had been �600 & �400 for fellowships and �300 for scholarships for general living expenses.

Mr. Warwick Smith (Commerce & Agriculture) said that Item A21 corresponded more closely to the internal training in Australia of people from the area than did Item A1 and asked if A1 was restricted to training in academic institutions.

The Chairman replied that the only difference between Items A1 and A2 was that A1 was intended to indicate a more individual approach. The other item was intended to cover people who came here in groups to take a pre-arranged course or a tour of inspection or study in various parts of the country or various institutions. He felt that one person, isolated in a specialised field in the country, and out of touch with his own people, would not gain as much benefit from his training as perhaps he might in other circumstances. It might be difficult to fit eight or more persons into one particular course but it should be possible to arrange for 8 to 12 people to take a specially conducted tour during which they would have a series of lectures, study technical problems connected with agriculture, visit agricultural institutions and examine Australian methods of scientific agricultural research and agricultural administration. The Chairman thought this aspect was of particular importance with regard to the growing of wheat in India.

Mr. Warwick Smith (Commerce & Agriculture) said that in his opinion there was no question of the desirability of making provision for training of this type. He had raised the question because he wished to know to what extent the granting of fellowships would be limited to academic training.

Mr. Eltham (Labour and National Service) asked whether it would be possible to bring to Australia persons of a very high standard in vocational or education fields or who might eventually occupy positions such as supervisors of vocational schools or trades, and arrange for them to undertake study courses in organisation, administration, supervision, etc. in technical education, under the guidance of an Australian specialist. Another possibility would be to bring out persons experienced in instructing and train them as potential heads of vocational schools by attaching them to selected schools in Australia where they would work with and under the principal, and also take ad hoc courses. In general, they would study organisation, administration, supervision and the general running of an Australian institution of this type. Mr. Eltham had sounded his opposite numbers in State Government Departments on such suggestions and found them sympathetic.

Mr. Collings (Public Service Board) submitted for discussion a suggestion that the Minister for External Affairs should be informed that at the moment the emphasis should be placed on Items B, C and D, because as yet the Committee had not received any clear direction from Cabinet on the granting of fellowships in Australia.

Mr. Collings was particularly concerned with the security aspect and said that the potential dangers of putting people from South and South East Asia into various places in Australia did not appear to have been realised by Cabinet. He understood that members of the Committee were anxious to be able to inform the Minister for External Affairs that Australia should offer a large, number of scholarships at an early date and this could probably be done in general terms, but very great care must be taken on the security side before such students were sent to any particular place. His own feeling was that better results could be obtained by training people in their own countries than by bringing them to Australia, where consideration would have to be given, not only to the security aspect, but to the possibility of ill treatment of students in their personal or industrial relationships. Such eventualities could greatly harm the good feeling which the Technical Assistance Programme aimed at creating.

Mr. Collings pointed out that many of the requests which had been received from Ceylon referred to public service, and many specialists seemed to be required for long range projects. He assumed that in such cases the Committee's function would merely be to assist in the finding of suitable personnel.

Mr. Donald (CSIRO), asked what would be the basis for the selection of students to whom fellowships etc. would be granted. He pointed out that there were a few Indians working in the various divisions of CSIRO and, in some cases, there had been considerable difficulty with regard to language and general educational standard, In most of the applications which had been received from Ceylon for training in Australia, only a general indication of educational standard was given. if students were to be selected on the basis of these applications, they would probably need extra training on arrival. There seemed to be a lack ofrealism on the part of Ceylon authorities as to the amount of training they were seeking. He would like to know whether the selection of students was to be left entirely to the countries who would send them to Australia.

Mr. Eltham (Labour & National Service) thought that all the applications seemed to be more or less stereotyped. In most cases it would be useless to bring people out for the sort of courses in industry they wanted unless they were degree holders in their particular field.

Mr. Rowley (Commonwealth Office of Education) said that similar problems had arisen under the training schemes at present in operation and it had been found necessary to obtain a full statement of the qualifications of applicants. More information was needed than was contained in A1 and A2 forms.

Mr. Morrison (Commonwealth Office of Education) said that a number of the people from the area were very ambitious about what they wanted to do and sometimes wanted to take a post-graduate course when they had not even done the work normally done by an undergraduate in this country. This would probably apply in the industrial as well as in the academic field. if their qualifications were insufficient, it was up to the Australian authorities to enable them to get the best possible results from their training here. Last year, the Commonwealth Office of Education had run a school for Asian students in which the latter had been encouraged to speak freely about their conditions in Australia generally. They thought the granting of fellowships in Australia was preferable to missions being sent to South and South East Asian countries, firstly because the members of such missions were usually treated as demi-gods and feted on every hand, and consequently had little time to give to a thorough study of conditions in the countries they visited. Secondly, in non official circles, a resentful attitude was often adopted. On the other hand, students who have received training in Australia have left here with a very good impression of the country. The important thing was the technique used in dealing with these people. On the security side, Mr. Morrison said that such questions had arisen before and the general position was pretty well known. He thought it was quite possible to place the desired number of people in fields where security was not a real issue.

Mr. Rowley (Commonwealth Office of Education) said that if it was intended to spend a lot of money to ensure that people brought here under the Technical Assistance Programme should go back to their own countries with a good impression of Australia, and with increased knowledge that would contribute to economic rehabilitation in their own countries, this object could be furthered by doing something for the many Asian students who were in Australia on their own initiative. For the lack of somebody to give such people general guidance, years of time were likely to be lost. He suggested that another heading be inserted among the types of technical assistance, reading 'Guidance of Students from South and South East Asian countries already in the area'. So far only one university—Melbourne—provided any guidance for such students.

Mr. Caffin (Treasury) suggested that such guidance could possibly be provided by External Affairs Officers in the capital cities. The matter need not necessarily require a new heading but could be considered under administration costs.

Mr. Morrison (Commonwealth Office of Education) stated that there were about 2,000 Asian students of this category in Australia at present. In many cases it was not only necessary to make facilities for study available for them; it was also necessary to show them how to study.

Mr. Bulcock (Commerce & Agriculture) said that as far as facilities for agricultural training were concerned, agricultural institutions had reached saturation point. He assmed, therefore, that before granting scholarships in the agricultural field, adequate investigation would be made to ensure that the necessary accommodation and training facilities were available.

Mr. Bulcock then cited the case of certain Indian students who had gone to Mareeba in Queensland to study sugar-cane manufacture and whose behaviour had been unsatisfactory. Partly as a result of this the Queensland Department of Agriculture, that Department had taken the view that it was not a training authority and, because of this, it was difficult to fit people from overseas into the organisation. The Gatton Agricultural College and the Queensland College of Veterinary Science had not yet been opened. It was also necessary to consider the educational level of the people coming here. The recipients of agricultural scholarships must have qualifications to enable them to be assimilated.

Mr. Bulcock thought that, since these people were eventually going to work in their own countries, the maximum effort should be made to train them in their own countries. Efforts should accordingly be made to strengthen agricultural institutions in countries of.the area.

With regard to applications requesting the services of experts, Mr. Bulcock felt that a more precise description should be given of what was required and of the salary and conditions offered. Otherwise it would be very difficult to recruit suitable persons. He also referred to applications calling for the services of a person who could, obviously,not be supplied by Australia, e.g. an animal husbandman with a Royal College background. Australia must not try to provide particular services if any other country were obviously much better fitted to do so.

With reference to the tentative budget, Mr. Bulcock pointed out that there was no mention of agricultural equipment under the heading 'Provision of Equipment' for which �50,000 had been estimated. Hand tools and all farming machinery were readily available and Mr. Bulcock suggested that the figure of�50,000 be amended by the addition of a sum for the provision ofagricultural equipment. He felt that at present better results could be obtained from the provision of agricultural equipment than from the provision of educational equipment.

Mr. Bulcock referred to the growing of linseed where there was need for the control of caterpillar. He thought it would be an excellent idea to send countries in the area one of the sprays which are in constant use in Australia to demonstrate that such plant pests can be brought under control. Such equipment could be given to various organisations with the proviso that it was to be used for demonstration purposes only. Mr. Bulcock stressed that it was necessary to give a visual and ocular demonstration of the practical nature of such equipment before any response could be expected. He suggested that a further sum of money, about �30,000, should be allocated for agricultural equipment.

Mr. Caffin (Treasury) asked if such equipment would be available or was it in short supply in Australia.

Mr Bulcock (Commerce & Agriculture) replied that the equipment was, on the whole, quite easily available, but even if it were in short supply here, Australia was still under an obligation to supply it. If, for instance, India asked for two or three Mackay Massey Harris harvesters, he thought it would be far better to short supply the Australian market to the extent of two or three machines than not to fulfil obligations under the Scheme. However, there would be no hardship to Australia involved in supplying hand tools and rotary hoes to South East Asian countries.

Mr. Bulcock stated that India was buying some of this type of equipment but only in very small quantities. Under the peasant system of agriculture with average holdings of three acres, the project of mechanisation was completely divorced from reality until it had been demonstrated.

The Chairman asked if Mr. Bulcock whether it was his proposal that certain types of equipment should be provided not only for demonstration purposes but for practical use in the field.

Mr. Bulcock replied that the equipment should be used for practical demonstration.

Mr. Warwick Smith (Commerce & Agriculture) said it was clear that a certain amount of equipment, e.g. sprays, could be sent to various agricultural extension districts where it was known that they would fulfil a useful purpose. However, it was clearly impossible to give one to every farmer growing the particular crop for which the spray was needed. Should the authorities decide later that they wanted more of the sprays, then they should be bought through normal' trade channels.

The Chairman agreed that such demonstration equipment could very easily lead to increased trade and quoted an experience in Brazil where the technique of sheep drenching had been so backward that as soon as the farmers saw a sample which he had with him, there was a rush for licences to import them.

Mr. Warwick Smith (Commerce & Agriculture) said that at a later stage his Department would like to have some sort of liaison so that he so that their Trade Commissioners would be able to follow matters of this nature.

Mr. Lewis (Bureau of Agricultural Economics) asked whether, considering the small size of agricultural holdings in South East Asian countries, it was likely that the people would develop some sort of co-operative action for handling demonstration equipment.

Mr. Bulcock (Commerce & Agriculture) said there was no question of the willingness of the Indian people to take co-operative action in the use of demonstration equipment. However it would be necessary to send a team of technicians to handle the demonstrations. Mr. Bulcock stressed that the major problem anywhere in the Far East was the provision of food. At least 25% of the production of Indian and Pakistan and 35% of the production of Thailand was lost by preventable economic wastage. Such wastage could be prevented by the introduction of proper methods, and the first approach to the question of food should be that of preserving what was in the process of growing. He said that the Food and Agriculture Organisation had done valuable work in China and the Far East generally on the eradication of rinderpest and duck cholera and though, at first, they had been met with suspicion and distrust, demonstration had proved the value of the work and the people now were eager to have their annuals vaccinated against such diseases.

Mr. Bray (National Development) thought Mr. Bulcock had made a most valuable contribution to the discussions, and that what the latter had said for agriculture he would like to echo in the industrial field. His Department did not wish to be thought uncooperative but it was necessary to emphasise that the question of training facilities was one which must be investigated thoroughly to see whether or not Australian resources could meet the demand. On the question of people going from Australia, he agreed with Mr. Bulcock that close investigation was needed. He stressed the insufficiency of the salaries offered to such people by the Government of Ceylon.

Mr. Bray referred to Mr. Bulcock's mention of saturation in agricultural institutions; this question was also giving a great deal of concern to his department and he thought it would be the subject of discussions between the permanent heads of his Department and Mr. Watt, Secretary of the Department of External Affairs on the following day. Mr. Bray thought too that Australia must not attempt to provide specialists in fields when they could not be obtained more easily from other participating countries. Australia must link up with the United Nations agencies doing technical assistance work. He mentioned the recent announcement of a big American scheme for technical assistance amounting to something like 6 million dollars.

The Chairman reminded the Committee that the Ceylon applications were directed to all members of the British Commonwealth participating in this programme. He personally had taken the view, when examining these requests, that it would be impracticable for Australia to provide specialists for long-term appointment in these countries. Rather than attempt to recruit Australians for permanent or semi-permanent service in Asian countries, the Committee should deal only with short-term advisory specialists who would be away for a maximum of two years. He thought the only assistance we could offer in procuring Australians for permanent appointment would be to advertise the positions.

Mr. Bullock (External Affairs) stated that when the applications by Ceylon for recruitment for semi-permanent or permanent positions 'had been placed before the Standing Committee at Colombo, it was well recognised that the Government of Ceylon had been advertising these jobs in many different countries. Because of their inability to obtain successful applicants from the advertisements they had decided to submit their applications to the Standing Committee in the hope that a special effort might be made to help them. The low salaries being offered for the positions were mentioned in discussion at the Standing Committee and Mr. Bulcock thought the Ceylon Government would like to be advised as to suitable salaries.

The Chairman said he thought appropriate Departments should be asked to examine in some detail the type of fellowships, scholarships and types of training that could be provided in relation to requests received and to draw up a tentative program.. One of the main objectives of the whole Program was to fit in requests with availabilities.

Mr. Bray (National Development) mentioned that Dr. Raggatt of the Bureau of Mineral Resources could provide some training in a short term school for geophysicists. He understood that the training provided in this school was equal to any in the sterling area.

Mr. Elthan (Labour and National Service) said that technical colleges and universities always had a certain number of vacancies at the beginning of the year but they were constantly receiving applications and unless the Committee made early arrangements, they might not be able to take advantage of these vacancies.

Mr. Bulcock (Commerce & Agriculture) drew attention to the possibility of duplication of services by other countries participating in the program. It was important to avoid a competitive Dutch auction between various Governments, which could lead to bad-feeling.

Mr. Rowley (Commonwealth Office of Education) said that it was impossible to make arrangements in Australia for a hypothetical student, and that it was necessary to know all about the proposed student before any arrangements could be made.

Mr. Bray (National Development) said he thought it was the task of the Standing Committee at Colombo to sort out applications and the task of the present Committee to advise on the overall plan.

The Meeting adjourned for lunch at 12.30 and reassembled at 1.45.

Mr. Bray (National Development) submitted the following resolution—'This meeting is of the opinion that the granting of fellowships, scholarships and training awards and arrangements for selected groups to undertake studies in Australia can make a valuable contribution to the Technical Aid Programme. It is recommended that a number of these be instituted subject to the following conditions: that the number of each be controlled by the requests received from the countries of the region and by Australia's ability to offer adequate facilities, the matter of facilities to be decided by a sub-Committee after consultation with appropriate Commonwealth and State Departments and other authorities'. Mr. Bulcock agreed with Mr. Bray on the consultation angle.

Dr. Redshaw (Health) seconded the resolution.

Mr. Rowley (Commonwealth Office of Education) drew attention to the difficulties of attempting any survey of facilities in the abstract and emphasised that facilities must.be studied in the light of each individual case. He suggested that the resolution be amended to read 'subject to the facilities available in each individual case'.

Mr. Donald (CSIRO) said he felt that such a resolution might be construed to read that the Committee considered the giving of fellowships etc. the most appropriate form ofaid.

The Chairman said he thought the main aim of the meeting should be to highlight certain points which could be used as a basis for general policy. if these points could be put in the form of resolutions it would make things much more clear cut. He thought it would be extremely useful to have a sub-Committee which could consider immediately, in terms of specific and general requests from other countries, the details of fellowships, scholarships and training awards which could be granted.

Mr. Donald (CSIRO) said that in the opinion of the CSIRO Executive, a scheme to take in 150 fellows, scholars and others was a very large undertaking and, in view of the difficulties of educational standards and suitable qualifications, etc. it would be difficult to obtain such a large number of people in the first year of the Programme. In any case most of these fellowships etc. would have to fit in with the University calendar and the earliest any courses could be started would be in March 1951.

Mr. Caffin (Treasury) felt that at this stage it would be better to draw up the first resolution in more general terms than those suggested.

The Chairman stated that there were already a number of fellows and scholars studying in Australia under the United Nations and other Australian schemes. In the last two years there had been about 50 students and a good deal of experience had been gained in the provision of facilities for them. Professor Mills, Director of the Commonwealth Office of Education, had made an examination of the situation and had determined that the limits to be placed on this type of training should be based on availability of living accommodation rather than on training facilities. That was why the figure of 150 had been suggested. He noted Mr. Donald's remarks about the University calendar year, but, although a large proportion of these people would be trained in Universities, a fairly large number would undertake short courses of six months, which would probably not be associated with University training.

Mr. Morrison (Commonwealth Office of Education) said that in the Universities, at the fellowship level, the commencement of the course was not a very material issue and there would be some opportunity of placing fellows even after the commencement of the academic year. In the scholarship field, it would be unlikely that universities or other institutions would take students after the commencement of the academic year and, even if they did, the students themselves would be at a considerable disadvantage.

The Chairman then suggested that a sub-Committee should be appointed to determine what were the best means by which fellowships etc. might be granted, having regard to the information available, past experience and knowledge of facilities.

Mr. Caffin (Treasury) said that the Office ofEducation had prepared this scheme for fellowships etc. with very little regard to the amount of money that was available to spend on it. Mr. Bulcock had suggested that another �30,000 should be allocated to the provision of agricultural equipment for demonstration purposes and the total estimated expenditure for the present year had now reached �667,000. In discussions between the Treasurer and the Minister for External Affairs, it had been decided that only �600,000 should be spent in the current year.

Mr. Rowley (Commonwealth Office of Education) pointed out that when the figure of 150 students was estimated, this was meant to be an outside limit, as it was not considered that accommodation could be found for any larger number.

Mr. Phelan (Labour and National Service) suggested that some figure should be fixed as a limit to which the sub-Committee could work, bearing in mind the fact that accommodation would not be available for more than 150.

The Chairman said that the figure of 150 was very small in relation to the needs of the whole of the South East Asian area. India alone had asked for one thousand students to be placed in countries outside India for special training.

Mr. Collings (Public Service Board) reminded the Committee that the Minister for External Affairs wanted to make an announcement on this in a week's time. If he were to mention any specific number that number would have to be fulfilled, and this might not be possible. He also drew the Committee's attention to the fact that the resolution suggested by Mr. Bray did not, in the industrial field, cover the security angle.

Mr. Bray (National Development) said it was necessary to decide what method would be adopted for consultation with Commonwealth and State Departments and other authorities on the extent of facilities for training.

The Chairman said that this matter should be referred to the Sub-Committee which was to consider details of the fellowships. He suggested that the Sub-Committee might consists of representatives of the Public Service Board, the Department of Labour and National Service, the Commonwealth Office and the CSIRO.

Mr. Warwick Smith (Commerce & Agriculture) suggested that, in matters pertaining to fisheries or agriculture, the Sub-Committee should hold discussions with a representative ofhis Department. It was the opinion ofMr. Bulcock and of Mr. Anderson, the Director ofFisheries, that there was much more to be gained by giving training in an indigenous environment than in Australia.

The Chairman then suggested that a representative of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture might be asked to join the Sub-Committee. This was agreed to by the meeting.

The Chairman then mentioned the matter of the library seminar which had been suggested by the Australian National Co-ordinating Body for Libraries.

Mr. Bray (National Development) thought this matter was one for consideration by the Sub-Committee.

The Chairman then drew the Committee's attention to the matter of recruiting experts from Australia for permanent appointment in the countries of South and South East Asia and suggested that this item should be omitted from the list of ways in which technical assistance might be given. The Committee was agreed that insofar as assistance was to be offered for this purpose, it should act simply as a post office and see that the positions were advertised.

Mr. Bullock (External Affairs) thought that advertisements would not necessarily be the correct procedure. He suggested that it would be more appropriate to refer such requests to the Department of Labour and National Service, who would deal with them through their employment service.

The Committee decided that assistance in this respect should be confined to directing requests for recruitment of permanent staff to the Department of Labour and National Service who would deal with them in the normal manner.

With respect to the sending of experts, instructors and advisory missions from Australia, Mr. Bray (National Development) stressed the necessity for integration with United Nations Organizations. He envisaged that such missions would involve very careful study of the specialists to be selected, their itineraries and expenses. His Department was greatly interested in this angle, since it referred to Australia's interest in the area and could be developed into a trade promotion scheme. He thought the Department of Commerce & Agriculture and his own Department should take a considerable share in the responsibility for these missions.

Mr. Donald (CSIRO) said his Department was also concerned about integration with other agencies. CSIRO had already received a number of requests for research officers to go overseas and some concern was felt lest these requests become so heavy as to interfere with the programme of work being done in Australia.

Dr. Redshaw (Health) said that his Department was faced with similar problems. It received many requests for medical specialists from the World Health Organisation.

Mr. Warwick Smith (Commerce & Agriculture) thought integration would be looked after by the Standing Committee at Colombo, but there was bound to be some overlapping.

Mr. Eltham (Labour and National Service) said that in view of the shortage of specialists both in the States and in the Commonwealth, the State Governments in particular were inclined to the idea that this form of assistance should be supplementary to other forms of help.

Mr. Rowley (Commonwealth Office of Education) asked if there would be an possibility of obtaining the services of some of the unemployed specialists in European displaced persons' camps.

The Chairman informed the Committee that in the brief for the Colombo Conference, it had been assumed that if it were impossible to find experts in Australia, part of the money reserved for this purpose should be used for recruiting specially qualified people from overseas for employment in this field.

Mr. Rowley (Commonwealth Office of Education) thought it would be possible to get specialists from the European camps who had not been sufficiently physically fit to pass immigration requirements.

The Chairman said he thought there might be a good field for recruitment in Argentina. He had received a Delegation there of highly qualified men who wanted to leave Argentina because of the anti-British policy of the Peron Government. Appeals could be made to such people.

Mr. Rowley (Commonwealth Office of Education) suggested that possibly there was a lot of specialised manpower which is not being used among immigrants in Australia.

Dr. Redshaw (Health) pointed out that if they did it would defer the time when they would be qualified to practice in Australia as they would still have to complete their three years' of study.

The Chairman asked whether there was in existence a register of specialists who had come here from Europe and were not working at their special professions.

Mr. Bray (National Development) said there was such a register but in general such persons were not as highly qualified as Australians in similar fields.

The Chairman called attention to the political aspect of recruiting new Australians to serve as specialists overseas and mentioned that there would be difficulties with language, among other things; it might, however, be practicable to attach a few of them to a team that otherwise comprised Australians. He suggested that the Department of Labour and National Service might be asked to go through the register and find out if there were any people available who might work in such a capacity.

Mr. Donald (CSIRO) asked what was the estimated cost per man of sending specialised missions of South East Asia.

The Chairman replied that it had been estimated that 50 specialists could be sent to the area annually at a cost of �2,500 per man, though this might be an underestimate of the actual cost.

The Chairman pointed out that there were certain ways in which specialists could be recruited which would not in any way affect Australia's own programme, and cited the case of Dr. Brasch, whom he had mentioned at the previous meeting.

The Chairman then referred to the suggestion made at the previous meeting that a small team of experts in various fields might be sent to the area to offer help on the spot, to consider the standard of education of people who want to come here for training in various fields, and advise the Standing Committee on the applications it received.

Mr. Bray (National Development) said he thought such reports should actually be attached to the Standing Committee at Colombo.

Mr. Rowley (Commonwealth Office of Education) agreed with Mr. Bray's suggestion and said he did not think a small mission overseas, acting independently of the Committee, could be given sufficient briefing to enable it to answer all the questions put to it.

Mr. Warwick Smith (Commerce & Agriculture) said that if the receiving and processing of requests was going to be spread over some considerable time, he thought it likely that members of the Standing Committee would become quite adept in handling them.

Mr. Eltham (Labour and National Service) agreed that there would be some value in sending a mission of the type suggested because it would gain a background knowledge of the type of problems which had to be faced, but he did not think anything of real value could be accomplished in a short period of time which would be spent on visiting various countries. Also it would be difficult to answer questions as to where trainees could be placed in industry because, until there was a specific person to place, it was impossible to ascertain the attitude of the particular industry.

Mr. Rowley (Commonwealth Office of Education) felt that in a case where a man such as Dr. Brasch offered his services to the scheme, the Committee should thank him for his offer and state that, if, during the period when his services would be available, the Standing Committee felt he could be used, then the Committee would be glad to avail itself of his services. It was important to keep to the basic principles of dealing with requests from the area.

The Chairman asked if there had been any reply from CSIRO to the request from Pakistan for the services of Mr. Munro.

Mr. Donald (CSIRO) said that no decision on this had yet been reached.

On the angle of the present scheme being purely complementary to other schemes, Mr. Bullock (External Affairs) said that at the Sydney conference, the United Kingdom had been careful not to commit itself too much on giving aid to South and South East Asia and had taken the line that there was no need for additional aid because there was plenty of technical assistance available from the United Nations. Australia, on the other hand, had taken the line that although it was itself contributing to United Nations programmes and wanted as great a proportion as possible of the United Nations assistance to be given to South and South East Asia, there was room for a great deal more assistance over and above what the United Nations could give.

The Chairman said that reports received from our representatives indicated that the people of the area were concerned at the lack of technical assistance being received from the United Nations.

Mr. Durie (Prime Minister's) mentioned that one of the objectives of the present Programme was to see that South East Asian countries obtained the maximum assistance from United Nations schemes.

Mr. Bullock (External Affairs) said that the Standing Committee at Colombo would maintain liaison with the United Nations technical assistance scheme to see if technical assistance form the United Nations could not be speeded up.

In relation to the item on provision of equipment, the Chairman said that Australia had been providing equipment for various countries in South and South East Asia unde the UNRA and post UNRA schemes. The Delegation at Colombo had suggested that there was still a great need for relatively simple equipment which Australia was able to provide.

Mr. Bray (National Development) again emphasised the importance of supplying demonstration equipment. D

Mr. Eltham (Labour and National Service) informed the Committee that visual aid equipment had been very successfully used in training New Guinea natives. The estimated sum for this head of expenditure could very quickly be disbursed on the provision of visual aid equipment alone.

Mr. Warwick Smith (Commerce & Agriculture) reminded the Committee that at the Sydney conference the following words had been adopted—'provision of equipment necessary for the effective application of other forms of technical assistance'.

Mr. Eltham (Labour & National Service) said that it would probably be necessary to build and equip institutions in which the people who came to Australia for training could use the knowledge and skill they acquired here.

Mr. Donald (CSIRO) said there were probably a number of institutions in the countries of the area which could do much better work if they were better equipped, and he felt that a large sum of money could be spent most advantageously in equipping such institutions.

Mr. Caffin (Treasury) pointed out that if a new Institution were to be founded, it would be necessary to require the Government of the country in which it was located to undertake to carry it on after the present programme concluded.

The Chairman stated that in view of the discussion the estimated sum for provision of equipment could be increased from �50,000 to �100,000. He suggested that during the current year it might be possible as part of the year had already passed to cut down the sum estimated for fellowships etc. and spend it instead on provision of equipment.

Mr. Phelan (Labour and National Service) asked whether any of the equipment would be used to set up industries which would produce goods for sale. The Chairman replied that such equipment would be limited to demonstration equipment. It was possible that under the economic development programme a loan might later be made to the country concerned, under which it would be able to purchase from Australia the type of goods which had been demonstrated.

The Chairman pointed out that these countries were not entirely devoid of resources. What they lacked most was technical skill. India, for instance, has frozen sterling assets and if the United Kingdom decided to release those assets, then India could purchase equipment from the United Kingdom or other countries in the sterling area.

On the question of grants to Australian institutions, Mr. Rowley (Commonwealth Office ofEducation) said he did not think it advisable to ask for help of State Departments without offering them some recompense.

Mr. Morrison (Commonwealth Office of Education) told the Committee that up to date about one third of the people who had come to Australia wanted training in the agricultural field and that State Agricultural Departments had granted the necessary facilities for it. In addition they had ear marked very senior men to look after students. They should not be asked to do this kind of thing any longer without any recompense.

Mr. Donald (CSIRO) said that this would apply particularly in the case of students doing post graduate laboratory work as such students would immobilise a good deal ofvaluable equipment.

Mr. Rowley (Commonwealth Office of Education) estimated that each student in a University, technical training institution or government department would cost the scheme about�200 per annum.

Mr. Caffin (Treasury) thought that where a student was sent to a University the Fund should only be called upon to pay his fees. Otherwise there might be repercussions among other Commonwealth schemes.

The Chairman asked the opinion of the Committee on whether the same principle of reimbursement should be applied to Commonwealth Departments as to State Departments. It was decided that if a specialist was taken from a Commonwealth Department is salary and allowances should be paid from the Fund, while the unused portion of the Department's appropriation could be used, if possible, to employ someone else in his place.

Mr. Bray (National Development) asked who would be the proper authority to whom requests for further information on the applications should be made.

The Chairman replied that External Affairs would be the appropriate Department for that purpose.

Mr. Bray (National Development) feared that there might be some duplication of effort if requests were sent to more than one Department.

The Chairman answered that it had now been decided that requests should be channelled to one Department which would be entirely responsible for the action to be taken. If necessary, copies of the requests could be sent to other Departments for their information.

Mr. Bray (National Development) asked if, should an occasion arise when it would be necessary for a Department to call some outside person into consultation, the costs of that consultation would be a charge on the funds of the technical assistance programme.

The Chairman replied that this appeared reasonable, but that each case would be treated on its own merits.

Mr. Collings (Public Service Board) asked whether it would be possible for External Affairs to summarise briefly for the information of interested Departments, the requests received and the action that was being taken.

The Chairman replied that it was proposed to put before the Committee periodical reports covering every aspect of the work. This report would be submitted each quarter, or, if the Committee so desired, more frequently.

Mr. Warwick Smith (Commerce & Agriculture) asked for information as to what Committees had been set up to deal with the work of this programme.

The Chairman, in reply, listed the following:

(1) the present Committee, set up by Cabinet and described as an inter-departmental Committee to advise the Minister on technical assistance and to review from time to time policy in the field of technical assistance generally.

(2) a standing committee representing the Departments of External Affairs and Labour and National Service and the Public Service Board.

(3) a standing committee representing the Departments of External Affairs and Treasury and the Public Service Board.

Under the present Committee there was a sub-Committee to deal with the question of fellowships in relation to requests which consisted of the Public Service Board, the Departments of Labour and National Service and Commerce and Agriculture, the Commonwealth Office of Education, the CSIRO and the Department of External Affairs. There had also been a small sub-committee to deal with general administration problems.

It had been proposed that a unit be developed in the Department of External Affairs, comprising about eight or nine officers, two of whom would be in Sydney and Melbourne respectively, and two of whom would deal with administrative matters of finance, clerical work, records, etc. The Department of External Affairs would specifically deal with the handling of requests and the overall recruitment of personnel, preparing the reviews and reports and generally carrying out the day to day work of the scheme. Apart from that the Department would receive all requests and applications and arrange for them to be channelled to other Departments. The Department of External Affairs would examine all requests for training facilities, specialists, equipment, grants and so on under the whole scheme and would channel such requests as appropriate to certain other Departments. In regard to training facilities and fellowships etc. it has been proposed that the Public Service Board be made responsible for arranging training in Commonwealth and State agencies, the Department ofLabour and National Service for training in industry, technical courses and facilities related to them, the Commonwealth Office of Education for training in academic institutions and formal technological courses. The Department of Labour and National Service would be responsible for inviting recruitment from industry for specialists for overseas, but not from universities or the public service. The Commonwealth Office of Education would be responsible for recruitment from Universities and similar institutions and the Public Service Board for recruitment from Commonwealth or State Public Service.

Mr. Bray (National Development) referred again to his former request that, in cases of recruiting specialists from industry to visit countries in the area, the Department ofLabour and National Service should consult with the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture and National Development.

Mr. Phelan (Labour and National Service) asked Mr. Bray to explain from what angles his Department was interested in this type of recruitment.

Mr. Bray replied that there were three:—

(1) what had been referred to as 'cook's tours';

(2) the sphere of development not only in Australia but also in countries of the area;

(3) secondary industry expansion in those countries.

Mr. Warwick Smith (Commerce & Agriculture) asked when the machinery described by the Chairman would come into operation.

The Chairman replied that it would come into operation immediately and suggested that the Sub-Committee on Fellowships should meet at an early date, perhaps within a week.

Mr. Durie (Prime Minister's) asked if the conclusions reached at the present meeting would be submitted to the Minister for External Affairs in London.

The Chairman replied that after this meeting the Secretary of External Affairs would advise the Minister of the decisions that had been reached and of the work done, so that he would be kept up to date.

Mr. Durie (Prime Minister's) said he was concerned to see that the Premiers were brought into touch with this Programme as soon as possible, and asked if, in the report to the Minister, a draft letter to the Premiers could be included.

The Chairman replied that such a letter had already been drafted.

Mr. Collings (Public Service Board) suggested that the matter ofthe letter to the Premiers and also the Security angle should be cleared with the Acting Minister for External Affairs in Canberra.

Dr. Redshaw (Health) asked if the Sub-Committee would take into consideration the requirements asked for by the Department ofHealth for students entering the country.

Mr. Morrison (Commonwealth Office of Education) suggested that medical examinations for students could usefully be made much more thorough than they are at present. In particular he thought attention should be paid to the prospective student's nervous condition.

Dr. Redshaw (Health) reminded the Committee that these students were examined by medical men in their home countries whose standard of integrity might not be as high as could be desired. It might, however, be possible to get medical certificates attested by the Departments of Health and the Governments concerned. The meeting closed at 4.30 p.m.

Attachment

OUTLINE OF WAYS IN WHICH TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE COULD BE PROVIDED BY AUSTRALIA TO SOUTH AND SOUTH-EAST ASIA

(Tentative and for purposes of discussion only)

A. Training facilities in Australia

(i) Fellowships, scholarships and training awards

It is suggested that we offer immediately 150 fellowships, scholarships and training awards in fields to be determined having regard to requests from the countries concerned

(ii) Larger groups (8-15) to visit Australia for short periods (4-6 months) to undertake specially arranged courses and tours e.g. of scientific, agricultural, educational, health institutions.

(iii) Library seminars for South and South East Asians.

B. Experts, instructors, advisory mission from Australia

e.g. Medical and public health specialists

Geological Survey Team

Botanical � �

Educationists

Engineer (Brasch2 of Melbourne Univ.)

Possibly a small team to discuss needs on the spot and Australia's ability to meet them, as well as to give expert advice on local problems.

C. Provision of equipment for training etc. or for use of specialists, instructors or trainees in South and South East Asia.

(i) mobile educational aids

(ii) Libraries, books

(iii) Educational material—posters, teaching charts, pictorial charts, films Laboratory, surveying etc. etc.

D. Grants towards establishing, maintaining (short term) and assisting scientific, agricultural, health, educational etc. centres in South and South East Asia

E. Reimbursement of Australian institutions

e.g. C.S.I.R.O.

Department of Health

State Departments of Agriculture etc. etc. for purposes of providing special training facilities and related assistance, and releasing specialists

[matter omitted]

[NAA: A1838, 708/9/5 part 2]

1 See item list attached to this Document.

2 Not identified.

Last Updated: 10 January 2017

Category: International relations

Topic: History