176 Australian Government to Noel-Baker, Gollan, Cutler and Australian Embassy, Washington
Cablegrams 35, 122, 46, 154 CANBERRA, 11 March 1949, 3.35 p.m.
ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE FAR EAST
Meeting of the Committee of the Mole, Bangkok
1. We have been giving some thought to future activity of the
Commission, particularly in the field of industrial development.
We feel that governments should be getting more direct assistance
and advice. The present Working Party system may be useful for
preliminary fact finding but no progress is made merely by
collecting facts and comparing plans.
2. On the other hand, we do not feel that, in present
circumstances, scope for intergovernmental action is sufficient to
justify establishment of committees on a government level as
proposed by Industrial Working Party and Executive Secretary.
Unlike Europe, ECAFE region is not integrated economically,
consequently Economic Commission for Europe does not afford
appropriate model for organisation. Most of functions proposed for
Committee on Industry seem more appropriate to expert than to
representative body. Representative committee would have to set up
qualified subcommittees and would tend to usurp functions of
Commission itself, with duplication of effort and confusion of
responsibility. It would tend to place another political body
between Commission and its operative organisation. We would like
to see some effective work done rather than the creation of more
3. We feel Commission could perform useful function by provision
of assistance to governments of region in planning and
implementing programmes of industrial development as capital and
other requirements become available, or in preparation for this
stage. We therefore suggest Secretariat should be directed to
provide technical knowledge and experience for the countries of
4. The following are suggested functions for Secretariat in this
(i) To assemble data on the natural resources of the region and
promote further studies of natural resources where desirable.
(ii) To conduct research into the economic and technical aspects
of industrial development in the region.
(iii) To provide facilities for expert advice, including visits of
inspection by experts, on any branch of industrial development.
(iv) To provide for the exchange of technical information of
particular value to the countries of the region.
(v) To extend and improve statistical data relating to industry in
(vi) To assist governments in drawing up over-all plans for
industrial development, based on the most effective use of
available resources and incorporating integrated targets for
(vii) To assist governments in planning specific projects,
including the assignment of priorities, for implementation as
capital equipment, finance etc. become available.
(viii) To carry out continuous investigation into possible sources
of supply of capital equipment, basic materials, etc. required for
(ix) To make recommendations to the Commission, or, as authorized
by the Commission, direct to member governments, on any aspect of
industrial development in the region.
(x) To perform such other functions as the Commission may decide.
5. We would be grateful for your comments. 
6. For Washington only. Please discuss with State Department and
obtain their views. Stress our desire to avoid any further
organisation and to see some practical results of Commission's
7. For New Delhi only. Please discuss proposal with Government of
India, stressing our desire that the Commission should actively
assist countries of region and avoid mere creation of additional
machinery. We are particularly interested in India's attitude to
future of Commission.
[AA:A1838, 383/1/2/4, i]