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181 Notes for Payne

CANBERRA, [19 September 1949] [2]

General Comments

[matter omitted]

2. Australia was not originally invited to this Conference by
F.A.O. but representation was sought as it was considered
desirable that Australia should be aware of Asian agricultural and
food policies as they develop. Again, the East generally is often
apt to take an exaggerated view of Australia's capacity for food
production and to look to this country to provide increasing
quantities of essential foods, sometimes with little regard to her
other commitments. Such meetings as this can be a useful means of
placing Australia's food producing capacity in its correct
perspective; of assuring Asian countries, where necessary, of
Australian interest in assisting them to solve their food and
agricultural problems; and of explaining difficulties which might
be in the way of fully meeting their requirements.

3. In these circumstances, it is appropriate that in general,
Australia's part at this Conference should be governed by a
watching brief designed to accomplish these

4. As the conference is likely to be primarily concerned with
problems of the Asian and Far Eastern countries it would seem
desirable not to oppose measures proposed for the region by these
countries unless they are clearly prejudicial to Australian
interests. In the unlikely event that such measures are proposed
you should seek instructions by telegram or abstain from voting.

It will also be noted that many of this meeting's recommendations
will go to the Conference of F.A.O. where they can be re-examined
in the broader light of overall F.A.O. obligations and where
Australia will have a further opportunity to speak on proposals
put forward.

[matter omitted]


Technical Assistance for Underdeveloped Countries
(Agenda Item IV (j) of F.A.O. Regional Conference)

1. This question arises from the proposal (known as President
Truman's Four Point Programme) made by President Truman in his
Inaugural Address [3] that the benefit of technical knowledge etc.

should be made available to assist the economic development of
underdeveloped countries; and from the United States Government's
decision to seek through the machinery of the United Nations and
its specialised agencies, the collaboration of other countries in
carrying out these proposals.

[matter omitted]

10. When Australian Delegates have spoken on this subject [4] in
E.C.O.S.O.C. or Specialised Agency meetings they have emphasised
the special need for consideration being given to South East Asia
and the Pacific. This may be regarded as a cardinal point in
Australian policy, and we would hope that it may be possible for
contributions to be directed to these areas as far as practicable.

11. The second outstanding point in the Australian policy on
implementation of the programme is the emphasis on realistic
projects and on the need of putting first things first. In respect
of F.A.O. this is interpreted to mean projects which will, in the
shortest possible time, having regard to the nature of the problem
to be attacked, result in increased production of necessary foods,
improved nutritional standards, reduction of avoidable loss of
foodstuffs and, generally, improvement in agricultural practice
and in the distribution of agricultural products. In this
connection, Australia would tend to regard measures extending
technical education (e.g. by means of fellowships etc.) as
important elements of the F.A.O. programme.

12. Endeavours should therefore be made by the Conference to reach
recommendations which will enable the November Conference of
F.A.0. to formulate, as far as funds and other resources permit, a
programme which will take account of the immediate practical needs
of the Asian and Far Eastern Region. It is conspicuous that the
widespread clamour, particularly from Asian countries, for
assistance in economic development has rarely been accompanied by
such concrete plans as would attract countries likely to grant
assistance to consider means of helping. Countries in the region
should therefore be exhorted to prepare well thought out proposals
for submission to F.A.0. in such a manner that the countries
contributing the bulk of the funds and the technical experts of
F.A.O., will be satisfied with the practical nature of the schemes
put forward.

[matter omitted]

1 J. Payne, Commercial Counsellor and Trade Commissioner in
Malaya, was to be Australian, representative at the FAO's Pre-
Conference Meeting on Food and Agriculture Outlook and Programs in
Asia and the Far East, to be held at Singapore from 26 September

2 The document is undated but was sent to External Affairs by
Commerce and Agriculture on Ns date for inclusion in the
conference brief.

3 On 20 January 1949.

4 That is, on a technical assistance programme and particular
projects within it.

[AA:A1838, 715/2/4/1]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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