Melbourne, 1 September 1954
As you know there has been some discreet inquiry on the part of the Japanese over a year ago and again lately, as to whether they might not be allowed to join the Colombo Plan. A year ago was, from our Australian point of view, too early as public opinion would not have been ready for that sort o f thing at that time. However time has marched on and we are now o f a different mind on the subject. I suggested to our Cabinet lately that we might show more tolerance generally towards Japan—and that, in particular, we should cease to drag our feet with regard to their joining the Colombo Plan—which was agreed.
However, even given the above, I do not think that it would probably be right for Australia to take the lead in proposing Japan for membership of the Colombo Plan. But if Canada (as the host country in October) chose to make the proposal with regard to Japan, I would be glad to support it and to second it.
I may say o f course that the above is based on my supposition that Japan would come in as a donor country and not as a recipient country.
It may be that the Japanese would prefer to start their association with the Colombo Plan by means of membership of the technical assistance side and not, for the time being, concern themselves with the economic aid side. However, what I have said above refers either to the Colombo Plan as a whole (economic aid plus technical assistance) or to the more limited field of technical assistance.
I think I would just say this much to you so that you might consider it—and we might then have a word together about it when we meet in New York.
[NAA: A1838, 2080/13]