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252 Savingram to Posts

Canberra, 19 May 1953


Colombo Plan: Director of Bureau of Technical Co-operation

Following is a summary of the views of member Governments as we know them at this stage on the Australian nominee, Dr. P.W.E. Curtin.2

2. On 28th March we nominated Dr. Curtin. On 14th May the Government of India nominated Shri R.A. Gopalaswami, I.C.S.3 who is at present Special Secretary (Reconstruction) to the Government of India. There were no further nominations, the time limit for which was May 15th. It is proposed to endeavour to arrange for election to the position by the first week of June.

3. (a) The United Kingdom have advised their views as follows:–

(i) They favour an appointee from outside South and South East Asian area.

(ii) They would not nominate a candidate themselves.

(iii) They would support the Australian nomination although they are aware that India is putting forward a candidate.

(iv) They express the hope that the Australian nomination would not be withdrawn in the face of competition.

(b) Pakistan has promised to support Dr. Curtin.

(c) Indonesia has promised to support Dr. Curtin.

(d) On April 16th we were advised that Ceylon would support Dr. Curtin subject to views on any further candidates. Ceylon was at that time aware that India intended to nominate a candidate although his identity had not then been disclosed.

(e) We were advised on 14th April that Canada had indicated informally that she favoured Dr. Curtin's nomination but, before taking a firm decision, wished to obtain the reactions of other Governments, particularly those of the Asian countries.

(f) We were advised that Dr. Curtin would be acceptable to New Zealand but before indicating support they wished to see whether India would nominate a suitable candidate. It seemed that New Zealand would in those circumstances incline to support India.

(g) We have no definite indication of Burma's attitude but it seems that she would probably support India.

(h) We have not received any information on attitude of Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia but in view of the fact that India does not formally recognize the Indo-Chinese States the latter would we think either abstain or support the Australian nomination.

4. We would not withdraw Dr. Curtin's nomination. We agree with the United Kingdom view that the post of Director should be filled from one of the non-Asian countries. Pakistan's view-point must also be considered; she would not contemplate an Indian appointee with any equanimity and we believe she would have nominated a candidate if Dr. Curtin had not been in the field.

5. Please approach the Government to which you are accredited (where appropriate) and endeavour to canvass Dr. Curtin's nomination actively. You could point out that Dr. Curtin has outstanding qualifications for the position. It would be difficult to find a candidate with qualifications, background and experience so appropriate. It is most desirable that the Director of the Bureau come from one of the donor countries to avoid any suspicion being voiced on the possibility of inequitable treatment among the recipient countries. Pakistan for example might harbour such fears in the event that an Indian were to be appointed. The newest members such as Indonesia might have similar misgivings particularly as it is inevitable in the normal course that India should in fact receive a larger proportion of Technical Assistance than the other members whose populations and areas are so much less.

[NAA: A 1838, 3004/11 part 1]

1 Addressed to Colombo, Ottawa, Wellington, Karachi, Saigon, Jakarta, Rangoon, London, New Delhi and Singapore.

2 See Document 249.

3 Indian Civil Service.

Last Updated: 10 January 2017
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