London, 4 October 1950
4822. CONFIDENTIAL IMMEDIATE
Three meetings have been held with representatives of the non-Commonwealth countries in what appeared to be a responsive atmosphere. The non-Commonwealth representatives and in particular the Indonesian and Burmese Ambassadors, asked a number of questions. The main interest seemed to be in:
(a) The form of the organisation particularly if non-Commonwealth countries decided to join the scheme.
(b) Whether the continuing organisation would be a Commonwealth body or whether it would might be expanded to a regional organisation.
(c) What commitments would be involved.
(d) Whether benefits under the technical assistance scheme could be obtained without joining the organisation.
(e) Whether existing development plans and arrangements for finance could be fitted into the six-year development programmes envisaged in the scheme.
2. These questions clearly reflect the diffidence on the part of Burma and Indonesia to make a new political commitment by joining a Commonwealth bloc and emphasised the need for the scheme to move beyond its present Commonwealth content as soon as possible. The Indonesian representative also asked whether countries already giving assistance to the area would automatically be included in any organisation established under the scheme. He had in mind, as was confirmed in subsequent private conversation, the possibility that the Netherlands might be included in the organisation. It is evident that any early proposal to bring in France or the Netherlands would increase the difficulties for non-Commonwealth countries wishing to join the scheme.
3. Representatives of Siam and the Indo-China states seemed anxious to participate as early as possible but the effectiveness of the meeting was limited by the status of the Burmese and Indonesian representatives as observers. It was apparent that the non- Commonwealth countries could not associate themselves immediately with the report. Nevertheless, Gaitskell,1 as Chairman, tended to rush the discussions and the meetings ended without any clear indication to the non-Commonwealth countries of what steps they were being asked to take next. Their representatives are merely to report proceedings to their governments for consideration as a matter o f urgency. We shall, however, continue to have private discussion with the non-Commonwealth representatives supporting your encouragement to them to join the scheme without delay. There will need to be continuing consultations in the capital and the situation can be reviewed from time to time among the Commonwealth countries by telegram.
4. (For New York only) No further questions have been raised, either by Commonwealth or non-Commonwealth countries in the meetings, concerning external finance needed under the plan on contributions. I have therefore had no difficulty so far in meeting your instructions (cable 73)2 on finance.
[NAA: A9879, 2202/El part 1]