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281 Cablegram from Department of External Affairs to Posts

Canberra, 28 August 1954

142. SECRET

Your telegram 826.2

Japan's Association with the Colombo Plan.

1. We have considered this problem in relation to contributrion Japanese could make to area in technical knowledge and experience in training facilities and industrial capacity. We have also examined it from viewpoint of advantage of Japanese interests being directed towards South East Asia as an alternative in China and more generally of need to encourage Japanese orientation towards Western democracies.

2. It has been decided that Australia should support Japan's admission as member of Colombo Plan and we ourselves would consider sponsoring Japan.3 It must be clear that Japanese participation in Plan would be as a donor and not as a recipient country.4

3. Minister on 26th August spoke to Japanese Ambassador and asked whether his country wanted to join Colombo Plan on this basis in which case Australia would adopt helpful attitude.

4. With reference to State Department's suggestion that Afghanistan be invited to attend Ottawa Conference as an observer, we are not enthusiastic as Afghanistan can barely be said to fall within Colombo Plan area and we would be reluctant to divert part of our contribution to that area.5 Before expressing a view we would want to know attitude of Pakistan.6

[NAA: A8411, 112/2/1/2]

1 Addressed to Washington and Ottawa and repeated to London, Tokyo, Wellington, New Delhi, Karachi, Colombo, Singapore, Bangkok, Rangoon, and Manila.

2 It referred to a meeting of the US State Department with Canadian and Australian officials on 23 August. It was revealed then that the United Kingdom and New Zealand had indicated that they would agree to the Australian suggestion that Japan's association with the Colombo Plan be considered, if other Asian countries approved. Canada indicated that, if the issue seemed likely to prove difficult, the matter should not be raised in the Colombo Plan meeting at Ottawa. Australia foreshadowed that it would not oppose Japan's association if other countries wished it.

3 See footnote 2, Document 278.

4 Some posts thought that the Australian Government was considering admitting Japan to the Colombo Plan as a recipient. See Document 275.

5 Afghanistan attended the 1960 Tokyo meeting of the Consultative Committee as an observer and formally joined the Colombo Plan in 1963.

6 Cablegram 145 to Ottawa (2 September) informed the High Commission that the Japanese Government intended to apply formally to the Canadian Government as convenor of the Sixth Consultative Committee meeting for foil membership of the Colombo Plan and thanked the Australian Government for its attitude towards membership.

Last Updated: 10 January 2017

Category: International relations

Topic: History