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283 Cablegram from Department of External Affairs to High Commission in Ottawa

Canberra, 12 September 1954


Japan and Colombo Plan

Your telegram 1851 and our telegram 146.2

1. Reaction of following member countries to our intimation that Australia would support Japan for full membership have been received. Indonesians believe Japanese admission inevitable and offer no opposition. Indian Government would have no objection. Ceylon Government would welcome Japanese membership and suggested that a recipient country might second application and if so desired, they would do this. United Kingdom approve proposals discussed in Washington. New Zealand, while unenthusiastic, would not oppose and would probably give formal support. We are still awaiting Pakistan reaction.

2. We have not yet conveyed above information to Japanese. We would appreciate clarification of Canadian Government attitude as they are the host country for Ottawa meeting and suggestion in paragraph 2 of our telegram 145 seems to us best course.

3. Please inform Canadian Government that while it certainly is our conception that Japan would be a donor and not a recipient country and while we have made this quite clear to the Japanese here, there is no such distinction drawn in membership of the Consultative Committee and we would not think it appropriate to endeavour to make such a distinction publicly. We agree that Japan cannot be expected to contribute much in terms of capital equipment, but they might help under technical co-operation. We are motivated, however, mainly by the need to encourage Japanese orientation to Western democracies mentioned paragraph 1 our telegram Ottawa 142.3 Japanese participation at Colombo Plan meetings should strengthen Japanese economic links with the area.

4. It is our view that initiative in dealing with Japanese application should remain with British Commonwealth countries. Should Canadian Government agree, we would notify Japanese of members' reactions summarised in paragraph 1 above. Presumably they would then apply formally to Canada. Japanese have notified us informally that should they apply and should their application be accepted, they would be represented at the Officials meeting by a Counsellor from their Embassy in Washington and at the Consultative Committee by their Ambassador in Ottawa.

[NAA: A1838, 2080/13]

1 Presumably a reference to Cablegram 145 (see footnote 6, Document 281).

2 7 September. It informed the High Commission that the Department of External Affairs had asked its representatives in the area to inform the Governments to which they were accredited that Australia would be happy to support Japan for full membership of the Colombo Plan and suggested that it would be preferable for Canada as host country to propose admission and for Australia to second it.

3 Document 281.

Last Updated: 10 January 2017
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