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136 Cablegram from Government of Ceylon to Australian Government

Colombo, 16 January 1951

2. SECRET IMMEDIATE

Reference CROSEC telegram of 16th December addressed to you No. 228.1

Colombo Plan: Next meeting of Consultative Committee

The Government of Ceylon as Convenor, has pleasure in inviting your Government to send a delegate to a meeting of the Consultative Committee proposed to be commenced in Colombo at official level on Monday, 12th February. The main purposes of the meeting are outlined in CROSEC telegram referred to above. Before formal Agenda is drawn up, we would prefer to await suggestions if any, from all participating Governments. It will be convenient if such suggestions are received here early and simultaneously repeated to other Governments. In the light of subsequent agreement by Governments a formal Agenda can be drawn up and other suggestions discussed at the meeting itself, if necessary.

While the meeting should have on its Agenda:

(1) Review of developments since previous meeting of Committee, e.g. action taken by each country since the meeting,

(2) Position of non-Commonwealth countries in the area which have not yet agreed to participate,

(3) Relations with the International Bank,

(4) Position of non-Commonwealth Governments outside the area which wish to participate and

(5) Future organisation for continuing consultations.

We consider it even more important that this meeting should be a clearing-house for ideas and suggestions for early action to set developmental programmes under the plan into motion. Even though aid for these programmes will be on a bilateral basis, it appears necessary that, as in the case of the technical co-operation scheme, countries should give clear ideas on the scope of a procedure for the obtaining and giving of aid. The original United States memorandum to Ceylon in this connection mentioned,2 presumably did to other Commonwealth countries, that contributing Governments might state in precise terms the type and level of their assistance. While it is appreciated that it may not be practicable for a Consultative Committee at official level to make at this stage concrete recommendations with regard to the eventual scope of the aid and the general procedure to govern bilateral arrangements, it is considered that a fair amount of thinking aloud at the proposed meeting may help to give these matters some shape which, after subsequent fuller consideration by Governments, may be crystallised into final form at Ministerial meeting proposed to be convened later. With regard to the invitation to non-Commonwealth countries in this area, we consider that these countries should also be invited to bring, if possible, their development programmes and other relevant information with regard to their countries for co-ordination into the Colombo Plan, as was done in the case of the Commonwealth countries of the area last September. We suggest that our invitation to non-Commonwealth countries in the area may take the following form: Begins.

'The Consultative Committee for Economic and Social development in South and South East Asia will be meeting in Colombo at official level on 12th February. As convenor of this meeting, the Government of Ceylon has pleasure in inviting your Government to participate in the meeting by sending to it a delegate from your Government. The main purpose of the meeting is to review the position since the last meeting of the Committee, and to consider future action under the Colombo Plan.

I f possible, the Committee will be glad to take the opportunity of this meeting to coordinate into the Colombo Plan your own development programmes and such other relevant information regarding your country in the context of the plan. The Committee is confident that your participation in its activities will be an added strength to its endeavour for a more rapid economic and social development in South and South East Asia.

On hearing from you with regard to your delegate, the Government of Ceylon will be glad to make the necessary reservation for hotel accommodation if so desired. Information with regard to the Agenda for the meeting will be forwarded in due course. The meeting is expected not to last more than two weeks'. Ends.

With regard to the invitation to the United States, we suggest that it take the following form: Begins—

'The Government of Ceylon invites the favour of the attention of the United States Government to the recent communication addressed to it by the Government of the United Kingdom regarding a proposed meeting of the Consultative Committee on Economic and Social development in South and South East Asia,3 and as convenor has much pleasure in inviting the United States Government to participate at that meeting which is to commence in Colombo at official level on 12th February, 1951.

The Government of Ceylon would like to take this opportunity to express to the United States Government its very warm appreciation of the active interest that has been evinced by the United States Government in the co-operative activities of Consultative Committee towards the Economic and Social development of South and South East Asia.

On hearing from you with regard to your delegate, the Government of Ceylon will be glad to reserve the necessary hotel accommodation if so desired. Information with regard to the Agenda for the meeting will be forwarded in due course. The meeting is expected not to last more than two weeks'. Ends.

We shall be glad to have your approval or comments on the two draft invitations suggested above. A very early reply will be appreciated to enable the invitations to be sent off by the end of this week.

(To United Kingdom only).

We will be glad to avail ourselves of your kind offer to transmit our invitations to the Governments of Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam through the Good Offices of your Diplomatic Missions in these countries. The invitation to the Philippines may include a reference to action taken by you as set out in your telegram addressed to me No. 5 dated 10th January.4

1 Document 127.

2 The words 'as they' are presumably missing here.

3 See Document 134.

4 The cablegram was addressed to the governments of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan and Ceylon. It stated that: 'All Commonwealth Governments concerned have now agreed that Philippines should be invited to join Colombo Plan. We suggest that next step is for us to instruct our Minister in Manila to convey an invitation, on behalf of members of Consultative Committee as a whole, to Philippines Government to participate. This would clear way for a subsequent formal invitation from Ceylon Government to forthcoming meeting of Consultative Committee'.

Last Updated: 10 January 2017

Category: International relations

Topic: History