Canberra, 10 March 1950
Your memorandum 271,1 Technical Assistance.
We are considering submission to Government on level and conditions of Australian contribution. The Government has agreed in principle to make contribution. One major consideration is that the contribution should not be so great as to prevent Australia expanding considerably its bilateral programme of technical aid to South and South East Asia under the auspices of the Commonwealth Consultative Committee. We have assessed the capacity of Australian training institutions. Limits will be determined primarily by residential accommodation. We are led to believe that it would not be practicable to permit United Nations organisations to spend more than �75,000 a year on intake of say 90 trainees in Australia and indeed might wish to reduce this. If we made a contribution of �200,000 it would be impossible to spend �125,000 on the provision of experts from Australia. Is it foreseen that any large part of the Australian contribution (for example �100,000) would be spent on supplies of a type which Australia might have? Unless this is the case Australia might have to consider the alternatives of
(a) reducing its contribution to a lower figure.
(b) specifically providing (if this is permissible under the proposed resolution) that no more than a certain amount might be spent in Australia and the balance made transferable to other soft currency countries. We do not yet know whether this would be acceptable to the Treasury.
Please comment by bag.
[NAA: A1838, 318/3/1/3 part 1b]