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116 Cablegram from Gordon Walker to Australian Government

London, 19 October 1950

199. SECRET IMMEDIATE

Colombo Plan

1. As you well know there was general agreement at London Conference that the Consultative Committee report should be published when the Commonwealth Governments had approved it. But, in recognition of the interest of the United States administration in the timing of publication, it was left to the United Kingdom Government to seek their views. What follows is of course based on the assumption that the report is approved.

2. We have now learned that the United States administration agree that the report should be published and are inclined to think that publication should not take place until after 7th November, which is the date of congressional elections. For the purpose of their estimates, however and the President's budget message, they would like publication to take place as soon after that date as practicable, i.e. about 10th November.

3. We feel, therefore, that, subject to any later developments we ought to proceed on the basis of having the report ready for publication by 10th November, although, for administrative and publicity reasons, Monday 13th November would, in our view, be a better date for actual issue.

4. Publication in the United Kingdom would take the form of the presentation to Parliament of the approved text of the report as a white paper which would be available to the public on the same day.�

5. We assume that other Commonwealth Governments in order to secure maximum publicity effect will wish to arrange if possible for simultaneous publication in Commonwealth capitals.

6. We recognise, however, that the time is extremely short for completion of all processes of printing and issue before 10th November and we should, therefore, be grateful to know immediately:

(a) Whether you agree that we should publish round about this date (we will of course give you more precise information as soon as possible).

(b) Whether you would wish to arrange publication simultaneously and if so whether we can give you any assistance in meeting the dead line.

7. We should like to suggest that in any case printing of the report should be put in hand forthwith. The text to be printed would be the final version now with Commonwealth Governments subject to:

(a) Amendment of certain printing errors which have subsequently been noticed and will be telegraphed to you tomorrow.

(b) Agreement on the text of the foreword. This depends on the response of non-Commonwealth Governments about which we will telegraph as soon as possible.

8. In view of the time factor of printing and publication explained above, we should be most grateful for notification of decision on formal approval of the report at the earliest possible moment2

[NAA: A9879, 2202/B]

1 The cablegram was addressed from the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations to the members of the Consultative Committee.

2 The report was presented to the Australian Parliament by Spender on 28 November. See also Great Britain: Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Colombo Plan for Co-operative Economic Development in South and South-East Asia, Report by the Commonwealth Consultative Committee Cmd. 8080, London, HMSO, 1950.

Last Updated: 10 January 2017

Category: International relations

Topic: History