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121 Letter from Marjoribanks to Brown

Canberra, 13 November 1950


In connection with the recent meeting in London of Commonwealth Prime Ministers, I enclose a copy of a message from the Chancellor of the Exchequer2 which I should be grateful if you could arrange to transmit to the appropriate Commonwealth Minister.



At our recent meeting in London there was general agreement that the Commonwealth Ministers concerned would keep each other informed of any important contacts which they might have with the United States Government which would have a bearing on future progress in regard to the Colombo Plan.

I think it may be of some interest to you to know of the conversations which I had during my recent visit to Washington. I took the opportunity of outlining to the American authorities the general nature and background of work of the Commonwealth Consultative Committee up to date. I was informed that the report was being carefully studied in the State Department and that the United States Government intended to consider the matter in the context of their total foreign policy which had undergone very substantial changes in the last few months. On the other hand it would have to be borne in mind that the total of possible commitments for the United States Government at the present time was a big one. It would inevitably take some months for them to reach final decisions on the matter but they have no hesitation in saying that they regarded the initiative which had produced the report as a most constructive one. As regards the timing of the publication of the record, it was made clear to us informally that the Americans would like to see it appear as soon as possible after the Congressional elections on 7th November.

I was also able to have some discussion with Mr. Black,3 President of the International Bank. While pointing out that there could be no question of a commitment in advance of bilateral negotiations of actual loans, Mr. Black indicated that the Bank were impressed by the workmanlike character of the development plan, that they considered that they would be able to help and that sums involved should be capable of being raised.

It would, of course, be unsafe to build up too much at this stage on these preliminary reactions which are inevitably cautious in character but I hope that you and our colleagues to whom I am sending a similar message will agree they are reasonably encouraging.

[NAA: A462, 587/4]

1 J.A.M. Marjoribanks, Official Secretary, UK High Commission, Canberra.

2 H.T.N. Gaitskell.

3 Eugene R. Black.

Last Updated: 10 January 2017
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