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179 Ward to Australian Government

Cablegram B36 BANGKOK, 29 March 1949, 9 p.m.



Today's session devoted to preliminary statements by delegates.

Indian delegate submitted draft resolution for the establishment
of a Committee on Industry and Trade at Government level to
promote implementation of specific projects particularly those
already past the planning stage. The Committee would appoint sub-
committees to carry out the tasks along the lines suggested in our
proposal for Secretariat.

The statements of the Indian delegate made it clear that he was
not very interested in detailed functions but promoting action to
assist E.C.A.F.E. countries at Government level. Little indication
was given as to what such action would be, but it may be assumed
that financial assistance and supplies of capital goods are the
main objects. I made statements pointing out the necessity of
examining the working party's report and distinguishing clearly
what kind of action the Commission could profitably take and
whether any further Government call on machinery was necessary to
implement it.

The Indian delegate displayed sharp impatience with any attempt at
precise definition of functions of the proposed Governmental

United Kingdom delegate supported our general position but
proposed that the Committee of the Whole should be transformed
into general committee on Industry and Trade to meet once a year
between regular sessions of the Commission. It would, therefore,
amount to a commission meeting with limited terms of reference on
matters not so far in the province of any other specialised
agency. Stress placed on limited frequency of meetings and on
carefully defined terms of reference. United Kingdom proposal
essentially a compromise designed to go some way towards Indian
proposal but avoiding anything like a permanent standing
committee. Provided terms of reference strictly limited, I suggest
we might support the proposal on these lines and would appreciate

As you will have gathered, the issue is now not entirely the
merits of any particular proposal, but a political one in view of
India's insistence on the Committee. China supported the Committee
in some form, but other Asian countries lukewarm from, to some
extent, suspicion of India's motives. Siamese delegate has
informally frankly expressed such suspicion to me. United States
delegate made a brief guarded statement along the lines that his
delegation had an open mind until the kind of action the
Commission could take was made clear.

Actually, of course, the United States is on guard against any
pressure from Asian countries, particularly India, for large scale
aid. [1]

1 The Government replied that the India. proposal was expensive
and elaborate. The delegation should endeavour to get agreement to
the UK compromise provided that terms of reference were limited
and the role of the secretariat was clear.

[AA:A1838, 383/1/2/4, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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