17 Cablegram from Spender to Menzies
Colombo, 11 January 1950
18. SECRET IMMEDIATE
4. The afternoon session was given over to some discursive debate on economic conditions in various countries beginning with statement by Ceylon Finance Minister Jayewardene1 setting forth Ceylon's economic needs and introducing a resolution for a ten year plan for economic development of backward countries in South East Asia. This will probably be considered further when the conference discusses South East Asia together with proposals which I am proposing to submit to form a basis for economic assistance to South East Asia. We have prepared a paper setting forth our proposals and will be circulating it to the conference today.
5. These proposals, which have been discussed with the United Kingdom, will recommend the Government to examine the possibility of affording tangible aid direct and by giving a high priority to South East Asian needs in the operation of international organisations. I am stressing that the main tactical objective is to show a genuine willingness to meet the serious drift in the political and economic situation in South East Asia, as a basis for an immediate approach to United States with a view to enlisting their active participation.
6. I am proposing with the support of the United Kingdom that a consultative committee should be established, possibly in Canberra to consider reactions of the Government and co-ordinate tangible programmes.
7. I have already informed the United States Ambassador in Ceylon2 of the general lines of our thinking and think that our Embassy in Washington should be informed briefly of the contents of paragraphs 4 to 7 of this...3
[NAA: A1838, 532/7 part l]
1 J.R. Jayewardene, Minister of Finance of Ceylon.
2 Joseph C. Satterthwaite.
3 Text missing from original.