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93 Cablegram from Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Washington, 8 September 1950

798. SECRET

U.S. Attitude Toward Commonwealth Consultative Committee

Following information has been given us on strictly personal basis by Canadian Embassy. Information was obtained from Labouisse1, Director of State Department Office of British Commonwealth and North European Affairs, as a result of conversation he had recently with Thorp, Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs and McGhee, Assistant Secretary for Near East and South Asian Affairs. Labouisse dealt with area in three divisions:

(1) Philippines and Indonesia where he implied that U.S. planning was far advanced and that these areas might be regarded as primary responsibility of U.S.

(2) Burma, Indo-China and Thailand. U.S. planning for this area was fairly detailed. McGhee will be in London about 15th September and intends to make available to Commonwealth Group details of these plans. Labouisse said it would be desirable to coordinate Commonwealth and U.S. planning in this area and that he felt U.S. planning should be basis of coordination.

(3) India, Pakistan and Ceylon. Although no detailed planning had taken place, it had been decided that substantial appropriations should be sought for aid, particularly to India, in next fiscal year. U.S. would welcome Commonwealth assessment as to manner in which aid might best be used in this area and Labouisse suggested that Commonwealth planning might well be basis of coordination in this area. He said it would be unfortunate if Commonwealth scheme were presented to U.S. as request for any definite sum of money and added that Commonwealth scheme should be drafted so as to stand on its own and not be conditional upon further aid coming from U.S. Commonwealth plan would undoubtedly show large gap between requirements and aid available and U.S. could then consider meeting part of the deficiency. Labouisse requested that information contained in (3) above should not be made known to governments concerned, particularly India, since it would be most unfortunate if these governments were led to expect assistance concerning which no definite decision had yet been made. Labouisse had had further talks with Acheson who said it would be impossible in any presentation to Congress to tie in aid with any easing of British position on sterling balances. Acheson said however that if Congressional approval were received it might be possible to tie the two together administratively.

2. Please regard above as strictly confidential since it would be most embarrassing to official concerned if source of information became known to Canadian Government.

[NAA: A5460, 301/5]

1 Henry Richardson Labouisse.

Last Updated: 10 January 2017

Category: International relations

Topic: History