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206 Telegram from Lord Ismay to Australian Government

London, 18 December 1951

CIRCULAR E14 .CONFIDENTIAL PRIORITY

Arrangements for next meeting of Consultative Committee

In a personal message to the Finance Ministers in other Commonwealth countries conveyed through United Kingdom High Commissioners in November, regarding arrangements for the forthcoming Finance Ministers Meeting, the Chancellor of the Exchequer promised a further message as soon as possible about the proposed meeting of the Consultative Committee of the Colombo Plan.

2. It has since been agreed that the Finance Ministers will meet in London on January 15th. The United Kingdom Government have reconsidered the original proposal that the Consultative Committee should meet immediately before or after financial talks and have now reached the conclusion that this would be impracticable mainly because of preoccupation at that time with important financial matters affecting the Commonwealth. Moreover, as the Chancellor said there are considerable advantages in holding the meeting of the Committee in the Colombo Plan area, and some member governments have strongly recommended this course. The Finance Minister of Pakistan has suggested to the United Kingdom High Commissioner that Karachi would be a convenient venue, and for their part the United Kingdom Government would gladly accept formal invitation from the Pakistan Government to meet in Karachi.

3. As to the timing of the meeting the United Kingdom Government feel it is necessary to avoid:

(a) period of official and ministerial financial talks from 8th to about 20th January (for the reason mentioned above)

(b) 8th Session of ECAFE being held at Rangoon from 29th January to 9th February and;

(c)the period of the Colombo Plan Exhibition from 16th February to mid-March.

4. They therefore propose for consideration of other member governments—

(a) that the Ministers should meet about 24th March, 1952, and that a preparatory meeting of officials should commence about a fortnight earlier. The proposed timing for the officials meeting is on the assumption that some preliminary work can be done to produce a first draft of the report for consideration by officials.

(b) that if the suggested timing is agreed, copies of completed questionnaires and country chapters for the report should be sent by completing countries to other members to reach them by February 1st.

(c) that when the venue is agreed, the host government should invite the International Bank to participate and non-Commonwealth countries in the area, who have not yet joined the plan, to send observers to the meeting.

5. Grateful for comments of member governments on these proposals and in particular for suggestions on how preliminary drafting of the report could best be arranged (see paragraph 4(a) above).

6. Suggestions about the agenda for the meeting are contained in immediately following telegram.3

7. Similar communication regarding arrangements and agenda is being made to governments of the United States, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and to the United Kingdom territories in South East Asia.

[NAA: A6364, LC1951/01]

1 Lord Hastings Lionel Ismay, UK Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, 1951–1952.

2 The telegram was also addressed to UK posts in Washington, Saigon and Singapore.

3 Not published.

Last Updated: 10 January 2017

Category: International relations

Topic: History