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191 Memorandum from Doig to Embassy in Jakarta

Canberra, 21 September 1951

Colombo Plan—Co-ordination with the Specialised Agencies

As you know, it is our intention to achieve the maximum co-ordination between our activities under the Colombo Plan and the activities of the United Nations and the Specialised Agencies. With this objective in view, we are asking our representatives at the Headquarters of the various Agencies to make known our general approach as follows.

2. Firstly, we consider it essential to ensure that we make full use of any studies or enquiries already made by the United Nations or the Specialised Agencies before we ourselves enter any field of technical assistance. For example, it would be unfortunate if we sent an expert mission to study, let us say, the fishing industry in Ceylon, if an adequate, up-to-date report on that industry had already been compiled by the Food and Agriculture Organisation. Similarly, it might be that the needs of, let us say, Indonesia for educational materials have already been satisfactorily established by UNESCO, and UNESCO reports might therefore be invaluable in deciding what educational assistance we could most usefully extend to Indonesia.

3. Secondly, we should ensure that we work in close, practical co-operation with the United Nations and the Specialised Agencies wherever this would mean that the value of our own programmes would thereby be increased. For example, it might be that a high-priority project of the World Health Organisation could not be fully implemented through lack of fiinds for purchase of essential equipment or medical supplies or through shortage of medical experts. In this case, our programme might be most advantageously directed, not to independent activity, but to supplementing the resources of W H O.

4. In the light of these considerations, we have asked our posts at the Headquarters of the various agencies to ask the agencies to let us know if they believe that action by Australia under the Colombo Plan could assist the agencies in bringing to fruition any programmes prevented by lack of money, supplies or other reasons. This does not, of course, imply any commitment by the Australian Government to assist any project.

5. Beyond this consultation with Headquarters, there is a need for constant consultation with the area representatives of the various agencies, particularly at the �field� level. These projects in the various countries of South and South-east Asia and advantage should be taken of opportunities for consultation so that, on the basis of reports received here, our programmes can be planned and integrated to best advantage with the programmes of the United Nations and the Specialised Agencies.

6. I should be grateful therefore if you would ensure that periodic discussions are arranged with representatives of the United Nations and the Specialised Agencies in your area, with a view to promotion of the fullest measure possible of co-ordination of technical assistance and economic development activities. Any facts or views arising from these discussions, of which it might be desirable to take account in framing our own programme, should be reported immediately. At this end, we shall endeavour to give you a speedy response to any suggestions which the Agency representatives may put forward.

7. I should be pleased if you would acknowledge this memorandum and inform me of the action which you are taking.

[NAA: A11604, 704/1]

Last Updated: 10 January 2017

Category: International relations

Topic: History