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Historical documents

182 Report by Payne

Conference, Singapore 6 October 1949,


The Session opened in the Victoria Hall, Singapore, on Monday
September 26th, and closed on Saturday October 1st.

The list of Delegates and Observers, and Secretariat, are as set
out on the final page of the attached documents.

It was unfortunate that Burma, China, Ceylon, Siam and the
Philippines were not represented. [1]

The Governor of Singapore, Sir Franklin Gimson, opened the meeting
which was attended by a fairly representative body of the
Singapore Diplomatic Corps and Commercial interests generally.

The provisional Agenda forwarded by you was not strictly adhered
to, although
most points raised came up for discussion.

My comments, however, are based on the Departmental notes [2]
forwarded by you, and are as follows:

Part A. General Comment
No question was raised throughout the Session regarding
Australia's capacity for food production so I did not have any
occasion to comment.

[matter omitted]

See the comments on the back of Page 36.

Mr. Ellis (C.S.I.R.), representative for U.N.E.S.C.O., spoke on
this and later
commented as under:

1.The question of measures for the extension of technical
education is of fundamental importance and high priority. The
question of fellowship, it is felt, needs some revision in order
to make sure that money spent in this manner is used efficiently.

It is suggested that thorough screening of candidates be pursued
and that candidates be selected from those fields which are in
greatest need of attention in the areas concerned. Furthermore, it
should be suggested to the Governments concerned that fellowship
holders be directed on their return to problems in which they have
received post-graduate training. In addition, the Governments may
be persuaded (by assistance perhaps from some of the U.N.

Specialised Agencies) to carefully plan a work programme on some
problem or problems and select suitable people for overseas
training having in mind that they should return to work as a team
to tackle such problems.

2.I understand that Australia alone now appropriates something
like A?0,000 per year on the fellowship programme. This is not an
inconsiderable contribution to the assistance of technology in
Asia. It is my feeling that some portion of this sum would be more
wisely spent by bringing in specially trained personnel to set up
small training centres in determined areas of Asia, so as to equip
local staff to tackle their most important problems. In my opinion
far too many people proceed abroad with the idea of equipping
themselves with further degrees as an end in itself rather than
equipping themselves with the experience to help them tackle their
national problems. To do a job of work in Asia we need people who
will take off their ties and get their hands dirty. These are the
people who will ultimately assist in their countries' progress.

Moreover, when some persons go abroad to study they are engaged on
problems peculiar to the country in which they are working, and on
return to their country they cannot equate this experience with
their own needs. It is suggested that experienced outsiders
working with nationals of the country in question can see the
problems and then, as was said above, train local men.

To carry out such a scheme as suggested here one cannot stress too
much the need for full co-operation on behalf of Australia in
supplying brains and experience. By giving money and neglecting
the question of personnel, I believe, that Australia will come to
realise that money is being spent unwisely. I realise we have in
Australia a dearth of trained men and a plethora of problems, but
if we subscribe to the U.N. in ?s and spirit, (and with the
proposed Technical Assistance Programme Australia is likely to be
confronted with further monetary contributions), and in theory are
trying to promote world peace, we are falling down badly by
neglecting to supplement these two items with experience.

3.On Page 3 (near bottom) it is suggested that countries be
exhorted to prepare well thought out proposals'. It is the
experience of several U.N. persons who work in the regions of East
Asia that many of these countries are not in a position to define
their needs. Here again I would refer to what I have said in (2)
above, that experienced men, established in the region, are

[matter omitted]

1 The countries represented by delegates were India, Pakistan,
Indonesia, the Netherlands East Indies, Thailand, France, the
United Kingdom and Australia. Observers attended for Korea, Japan,
the United States, and for the Economic Commission for Asia and
the Far East, International Labour Organization, World Health
Organization and UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural

2 Document 181.

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