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197 Savingram to Posts

Canberra, 12 October 1951

Colombo Plan

1. During the recent visit to Australia of Indonesian Foreign Minister (Dr. Subardjo)2 and party, we took the opportunity of sounding out the Indonesians on participation in the Colombo Plan.

2. Dr. Subardjo gave a non-committal reply, but both he and his officials indicated that they hoped to continue to receive assistance from Australia by bilateral arrangement. We pointed out that we were already providing technical aid to Indonesia under the Colombo Plan and that, while we did not propose to terminate it, it would be easier to continue to allocate a share of the programme to Indonesia if she did in fact decide to participate formally. We said that it was easier for Australia to decide a clear and effective allocation of aid when all the participants collectively indicated the size and nature of their needs. One Indonesian representative with whom the matter was discussed laid emphasis on the view that it 'complicated' matters politically for Indonesia to join a collective organisation, at least at this stage of the development of her policy. He expressed doubt whether participation in the Colombo Plan could be divorced from political considerations; for example, it was suggested that the existence of the Kashmir problem made it difficult for India and Pakistan to co-operate effectively in the Colombo Plan. We of course indicated that political discussions did not intrude in the Technical Co-operation Council and Consultative Committee.

[NAA: A11604, 704/2/2]

1 Washington, London, Ottawa, Wellington, New Delhi, Colombo, Karachi, Singapore, and Jakarta.

2 Casey welcomed Subardjo and the rest of the visiting Indonesian delegation on 20 September. Matters for discussion included the renewal of a commercial treaty between the two countries and the Colombo Plan.

Last Updated: 10 January 2017

Category: International relations

Topic: History