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134 Topics for Discussions on South-East Asia

CANBERRA, 13 November 1949



Specific topics for further inter-departmental discussion

In the light of the general appreciation of Australia's interests
in South-East Asia which has been circulated [1], the following
more specific propositions are put forward for further inter-
departmental exploration and discussion:

1. International action in South-East Asia
(i) Australian Delegations to international organizations should
concentrate on diverting assistance to the area-e.g.

(a) technical assistance programme of United Nations and
associated agencies;

(b) International Bank and Fund;

(c) I.C.A.0. [2]

(d) U.N.I.C.E.F. [3]

(e) G.A.T.T. and I.T.O. [4]

(f) W.H.O. [5] and similar agencies.

(ii) In direct inter-governmental exchanges, e.g. with the United
States and United Kingdom, their support for this policy should be
encouraged. (iii) Wherever opportunity presents itself Australia
should encourage greater United
States direct assistance to the area.

2. Direct relief and reconstruction aid by Australia
(i) As soon as it is possible to make an assessment of relief and
reconstruction needs in Indonesia, Australia should decide on a
programme of supplies-medical, clothing, available materials, etc.

(ii) An assessment should be made of the success of the
educational supplies programme for all South-East Asia with a view
to enlarging it.

(iii) Supplementary to the contribution which it is expected
Australia will make towards the General United Nations Technical
Assistance programme, Australia should aim to provide Indonesia
with technical, administrative and educational experts.

(iv) Consideration should be given to stepping up the annual
awards of free fellowships and scholarships to all South-East
Asian countries (at the same time the facilities available,
including welfare facilities, for private Asian scholars in
Australia should be examined and the information disseminated
through Australian posts).

3. Grant of Australian Government credit facilities
Concurrent with 2(i) and 2(iii) Australia should consider
affording sterling credit facilities to Indonesia, possibly in co-
operation with the United Kingdom.

4. Industrial planning in relation to trade potentialities
(i) More particularly in respect of Indonesia, local industrial
plans should be brought to the attention of Australian industry,
through the appropriate Departments, with a view to encouraging
direct participation by Australians in local production, or
Australian production for trade.

(ii) Restoration of private business connections should be
facilitated as soon as the new Federal Government in Indonesia is

(iii) Visits to Australia of businessmen and government officials
should be encouraged and special attention paid to their

(iv) The possibilities of Government guarantees or other
inducements to private investment and trade might be further

5. Supply availabilities
(i) Australian export policy should be examined to ascertain to
what extent it is practicable, in the light of United Kingdom
contracts, the dollar drive, etc., to satisfy urgent needs in
South-East Asia.

(ii) In a wider context Australia should be prepared to discuss
with the United Kingdom Government the possibilities of diverting
United Kingdom as well as Australian supplies to South-East Asia
for essential feeding and development work (cf C.L.C. [6]
discussions of Asian sterling countries needs to replace dollar

6. General commercial policy
Particularly in relation to Indonesia, where the fluidity of the
situation may make negotiation practicable, there should be a
rapid examination of Australian interests in respect of tariffs,
preferences, double taxation, protection of Australian capital,

7. Shipping facilities

8. Civil Aviation
Extension of Australian airlines, reciprocal arrangements,
assistance by Australia in establishment of domestic services.

9. External Territories and contiguous areas
Collaboration between the services should be encouraged.

10. Information Services
(i) further development of Australian library and other
information services in the region.

(ii) calculated use of Radio Australia for the projection not only
of Australian national publicity but of those policies which it is
in our interests that SouthEast Asian countries should follow.

11. Assistance in training Service personnel
Intake into Australian Service Colleges and training
establishments should be encouraged.

12. General trade policies of China and Japan
The future pattern of Japan's trade, and international attitude
towards trade with Communist China, will affect the economic and
political stability of the area. There should be continuing study
of these considerations with a view to determining Australian
policy in F.E.C. [7], Peace Treaty, G.A.T.T. and I.T.O., and in
day-to-day diplomatic discussions with the United States, United
Kingdom and other powers.

13. Economic Mission to Indonesia
While goodwill towards Australia remains at its peak, preparations
should be directed towards despatch of an Economic Mission at the
appropriate time early in 1950.

14. Particular questions
(i) Siamese claims [8];

(ii) Merchandising of Australian goods;

(iii) Locomotives for China.

1 Document 133.

2 International Civil Aviation Organization.

3 United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund.

4 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and International Trade

5 World Health Organization.

6 Commonwealth Liaison Committee.

7 Far Eastern Commission.

8 Compensation claimed by Ausualia for losses caused by Siam
during the war.

[AA:A1068/7, DL47/5/6]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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