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240 Press Release by Department of External Affairs

P.R. 58.

9 October 1952

Colombo Plan—New Programme of Australian Supplies

The Minister for External Affairs (the Rt. Hon. R.G. Casey) announced today that the Australian Government would, during the current financial year, apply Australia's financial contribution under the Colombo Plan to an enlarged programme of supplies of Australian-manufactured goods. These supplies would be sent to India, Pakistan and Ceylon—the countries which prepared developmental programmes for presentation to the Consultative Committee for South and South-East Asia and which are seeking external aid to enable their plans to be brought to fruition.

2. Last year, Australia shipped about �3.7 million in wheat and flour to India as a gift. The proceeds from the sale in India of this wheat and flour will be applied to developmental projects, including the important Tungabhadra project in the State of Hyderabad. The nature of the programme of further supplies—which this year will be confined to Australian-manufactured goods needed by India for essential developmental purposes—is being worked out in consultation between the two governments.1

3. The Australian Government has agreed to supply to Pakistan Australian-manufactured goods to the value of �3.7 million, including �2 million which was allocated to Pakistan last year. Many orders have been placed with manufacturers, and other contracts are in process of being drawn up. The supplies to be shipped will include tractors, electrical and communications equipment, pumping machinery, pipe-manufacturing plant, fishing vessels, livestock and agricultural equipment.

4. The Government of Ceylon has brought to the attention of the Australian Government a programme for overcoming food shortages, and for reducing Ceylon's dependence on uncertain supplies of rice from overseas services. The intention is to apply mechanisation to Ceylon's rice fields and to extend the acreage under cultivation. The Australian Government has decided that it can make an effective contribution to this programme in the form of a gift of 100 tractors with ancillary agricultural equipment and spare parts to the value of �200,000.

5. Australian manufacturers were co-operating fully in providing lists of goods which could be made available, and were showing their willingness to undertake contracts for equipment of many kinds which would be of great use in various developmental projects.

6. Mr Casey added that this programme of supplies was in further fulfilment of our undertakings to join with our neighbours in Asia and with other co-operating countries in an effort to attain the objectives of increased food production, higher standards of living and greater economic stability. Other more highly developed countries, particularly the United States, were giving very substantial aid to the countries of South and South-East Asia, according to their respective capacities. The United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand—as well as international institutions such as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development—were all giving valuable assistance. Australia's role was consistent with our resources and our interest in the region, and demonstrated the cooperative attitude of the Australian people towards the area in which we live.

1 For a brief report on the Tungabhadra project see Document 238.

Last Updated: 10 January 2017

Category: International relations

Topic: History