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137 Letter from Menzies to Gaitskell

London, 17 January 1951

Colombo Plan Finance

I have received your letter of the 9th January, 1951, enclosing an aide-memoire on the subject of financing the Colombo Plan.1 I shall, of course, transmit this aide-memoire to Canberra where it will receive the fullest consideration.

I note in paragraph 8 of the aide-memoire your suggestion that the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand ought to aim, together, to provide external finance of the order of �450,000,000. While it is, of course, most important that we should do our best to close the 'gap' between the contributions already promised by Commonwealth countries and the figure you indicate, I am sure you will agree that the contributions made by each of us must be related not only to the 'gap' but also to our available resources in the light of our existing commitments and budgetary difficulties. I am a little surprised that neither Canada nor New Zealand has, as yet, indicated its intention of making any contribution, and I should be glad to learn whether the United Kingdom Government has been in touch with them on this subject.

You will, no doubt, be aware o f the fact that, since the war, Australian contributions for overseas relief programmes have been very substantial. These include contributions to U.N.R.R.A., the International Childrens' Emergency Fund, and relief for refugees from Palestine. Recently, the Commonwealth Government also agreed to contribute its full proportionate share towards a large relief and rehabilitation programme in Korea.

In these circumstances, I am not in a position at the present time to promise that the Australian contribution to Colombo Plan Finance can be increased. I shall look into the matter carefully, however, and let you know as soon as practicable whether there is anything more that we can do.

[NAA: A 1209, 1957/5406]

1 Document 133.

Last Updated: 10 January 2017

Category: International relations

Topic: History