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253 Letter from Plimsoll to Kevin

Canberra, 21 May 1953

Thank you very much for your letter of congratulations which I appreciate very much.2 I will not be moving down to the Geographical Regions for another four or five weeks, as I am taking over from Alan Watt while he is away in London for the Prime Ministers' Conference. He is going by way of America, but will come back through Colombo, so that you will see him in Djakarta, though probably only at the airport. He leaves Canberra today to go down to Melbourne to see the Minister, who is in bed with amoebic dysentery; and Alan will then go on direct to Sydney and get his plane. He is expected to arrive back in Sydney from England on 20th June.

We may be getting some difficulty from Treasury on our Colombo Plan vote for 1953–54 and it would be useful if you could let us have a despatch showing how the Colombo Plan has been received in Indonesia and how it has helped to ease tension between our two countries and develop co-operation. I notice in the Canberra Times to-day a quotation from an Indonesian newspaper referring to this and I am enclosing this cutting for your reference. You have sent quite a lot of material of this sort to us in the past, but I think, it would be helpful if you could gather it together in one despatch from yourself which could be handed over to Treasury or even (the Minister is thinking) attached to a Cabinet memorandum on the Colombo Plan. You will know how to do something of this nature without it looking a cooked-up job, and there would be nothing wrong in expanding the subject a little to contain some analysis of the problems confronting us in carrying out the Colombo Plan.

We are also having some trouble with Treasury on another aspect of the Plan and this is what is holding us up on the trans-migration project. Treasury is strongly opposed to us giving anything under the Plan which is similar in type to goods being imported from America with loans supplied by the International Bank. There are quite a lot of things, such as trucks and excavating equipment, which are slightly different from what we are importing from America but nevertheless could be regarded as 'similar in type'. The Treasury has queried the gift of trucks to Indonesia and is insisting on clearing it with the International Bank. I do not want to alarm you on this particular transaction, because I think we will get it through the Bank. We are having similar difficulties with a gift to India for excavating equipment, and this, of course, is relevant to the trans-migration projects.

I hope you are keeping well. Parsons3 has taken up duties in the Department, up in the Technical Assistance Section.

[NAA: A11604, 704/1]

1 J.C.G. Kevin, Minister and Charg� d'Affaires, Australian Embassy, Jakarta.

2 Kevin wrote congratulating Plimsoll on his promotion to Assistant Secretary of the Geographical Regions Division.

3 Alfred Parsons.

Last Updated: 10 January 2017
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