At the recent Conference in London, of the Commonwealth Consultative Committee, it was agreed that representatives of the Commonwealth governments should recommend the publication of a popular version of the Colombo Plan for Co-operative Economic Development in South and South-East Asia, provided the Plan was approved by governments and there were reasonable prospects of the Plan being implemented.
2. Because of the importance of the time factor, the U.K. Treasury has gone ahead with the preparation of a popular version of the Plan, and the United Kingdom wish to have the printed copies ready for distribution by the end of November.
3. The British are prepared to bear the initial cost of printing the English version for Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth countries, and to meet the requirements of Commonwealth Governments on trade terms, i.e. 25% reduction on normal selling price. They wish to know most urgently (they requested by October 23)—
(a) how many copies of the popular version will be required by the Australian Government; and
(b) whether, in the event that it proves unlikely that the Plan will be implemented and publication of the popular version is therefore abandoned, other members of the Consultative Committee would share the loss in some equitable manner, with the U.K.
4. The appeal to Australian readers, of the popular version of the Plan, would be approximately the same as that of the Current Affairs Bulletin produced by the Commonwealth Office of Education. The circulation of the Current Affairs Bulletin is 50,000. While we are most anxious to give as wide a distribution as possible to the popular version, it is considered, after consultation with the Commonwealth Office of Education, that about 20,000 would be the most appropriate circulation target.
5. It would clearly be more satisfactory to print this number of copies in Australia, than purchase them in London. Accordingly, we should be glad of your early approval to proceed with the printing of about 20,000 copies of the popular version in Australia, and of approval to arrange for a final p roof and appropriate plates of photographs and drawings to be airmailed to us from London as early as possible. It would of course, be necessary for us to undertake to bear an equitable share of the cost of preparing the final proof and the plates of photographs and drawings.
6. Since it would be impossible to have the popular version published by the government printer in the time required, it appears that the printing could most satisfactorily be done by the printer who produces the Current Affairs Bulletin. Although it will be impossible to obtain a quotation for the cost of printing until further details are available, it is assumed that the popular version will run to about 20,000 words and that the total cost would not be more than �1,000 arid probably nearer �750. In view of the urgency, it would be greatly appreciated if approval could be obtained from the Chairman of the Tender Board to go ahead with these printing arrangements.1
[NAA: A1838, 2082/2]