Canberra, 14 August 1953
I realise that Colombo Plan is not now one of your direct responsibilities—but I think it would be a good thing if you were to discuss with Watt as to how you might keep a general eye on it—particularly in respect of any of the larger applications for Colombo Plan aid.
Amott brought to me today a project for something approaching �500,000 worth of equipment for the reticulation of electric power from the proposed thermal station at Ramagundam. I told Amott that I would like you to get a reaction about it from the Chief Engineer of either the State Electricity Commission in Victoria or his equivalent in Sydney—and I have asked him to do this.
I would like everything possible to be done to have our Colombo Plan aid directed (to the maximum extent that is possible) towards projects in which our Australian contribution would not be sunk (or unidentifiable) in some large project. If possible we need to direct our aid into directions in which it will be easily identifiable and, so far as possible, self-contained. I know that this would not always be possible, but we should take some pains to bring this about as much as we possibly can. I think that attention should be given to a series of plaques of different sizes and applicable to various types of equipment. It is worth having some real attention given to this. If this is done in a not too obtrusive way, it would go some little way towards having a permanent record that they would be aware of, of the fact that Australia had provided this equipment, even if the equipment were to be more or less subsidiary equipment in a large project. I think it would be worth while spending a little money on this sort of thing. It is something that we ought to get outside technical advice on.
By the way—on another subject—I must make every effort to spend at least a couple of days at Colombo on the way back from the Colombo Plan Ministerial Conference.
As I think I told you before, the Ceylon people are getting rather sensitive on the point that none of us ever seem to go near them. Would you please see that I am provided, with sufficient general notes about the Ceylon Government and Ceylon itself to enable me to deal with this sort of thing in speeches, broadcasts, etc., when I am there.
[NAA: 10299, Cl5]