295 Cabinet Decision No. 483
Canberra, 28 and 29 June 1955
<< STATUS ie Confidential/Unclassified >>
Submission No. 409–Australian Participation in the Colombo Plan1
Submission No. 416–The Colombo Plan2
(1) at the forthcoming Colombo Plan meeting the Minister be authorised to give an assurance of Australia's continuing participation in the Colombo Plan at a level not less than has applied in recent years; (Note: The intention is that the level be not less than the past level of annual appropriations not annual commitments under the Plan).
(2) that funds for Australia's contribution continue to be provided on the basis of an annual appropriation;
(3) that the inter-departmental Committee (External Affairs (convenors), Treasury, Trade and Customs, Commerce and Agriculture and National Development) meet regularly to determine procedural and eligibility questions in connection with Australia's contribution to the Plan; (Note: Cabinet envisaged that the Committee might work in the following fashion:
(a) a regular meeting day–say once a month–would be agreed on for the interdepartmental Committee. Other meetings would be held as necessary;
(b) the Committee would deal particularly with matters of principle such as the supply of goods containing dollar or other overseas components; obligations arising from the international bank loan; availability of goods in short supply; commercial advantages which might accrue;
(c) if there were disagreements in the Committee any two dissenting members may refer the matter in dispute to Cabinet;
(d) for the present the Committee could follow the criteria applied to normal exports when determining eligibility. This principle, however, is to be subject to regular review in the light of domestic circumstances and would be reported on to Cabinet at least annually when the proposals for [the annual]3 appropriation are being made;
(e) where matters did not require consideration by the full Committee, the Department of External Affairs would continue its practice of consultation with individual departments;
(4) that it would like to see in the future a greater emphasis on technical assistance and on the training of students from Colombo Plan countries with less emphasis on supply of materials particularly of goods in short supply.
[NAA: A4940, C353]
1 Document 293.
2 Document 294.
3 Words in square brackets added by hand.