259 Memorandum for High Commission in Colombo from Arnott
Canberra, 26 August 1953
Colombo Plan – Japan
Thank you for your memorandum No. 928 (File 18/7/2) of 20th August, 1953,2 on the above. We were especially interested in your advice because it is a topic which might be revived at the forthcoming Meeting of the Consultative Committee.
2. We could not, of course, oppose Japan in any proposal to extend aid bilaterally to Ceylon, nor could we attempt to prevent Ceylon from accepting Japanese aid. Any such attempt would almost certainly be unsuccessful and would lose us goodwill.
3. Whether Japan should become a participant in the Colombo Plan is another matter. When the question was raised informally at the time of the Karachi Meeting of the Consultative Committee in March, 1952, we expressed certain misgivings and this, in effect, caused discussion of the matter to be discontinued. If the subject were raised again at New Delhi, we should still have misgivings about Japanese participation although our filial position would probably depend largely on the stand of other countries especially Asian countries.
4. We should be grateful if you would keep us informed of any subsequent developments. However, you should not institute any enquiries yourself but allow the initiative to come from other quarters. We do not want you to take any action which might draw attention to the question of Japanese participation in the Colombo Plan and thus perhaps revive an issue which we think would best not be discussed at the Consultative Committee Meeting.
1 The memorandum was addressed by Amott, on Watt's behalf, to the Australian High Commissioner's Office in Colombo.
2 It referred to a discussion between the High Commission in Colombo and a Japanese diplomat who had declared that the Japanese Government was interested in assisting Ceylon to increase its rice production and expressed the hope that such aid would not 'undermine the Colombo Plan'.