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Historical documents

299 Paper by Department of External Affairs

Canberra, 23 August 1957

The Colombo Plan's First Six Years: Australia's Part


1. The region of South and South-East Asia contains one quarter of the world's population but produces less than its share of the world's goods. The value of output per head ranges from about $200 down to less than $100. In the United States, output per head is about $2,200: in Australia about $1,200: in the United Kingdom about $850. The gap between production per head in Asian countries and production in Western Europe and the United States is in fact widening, not because Asian countries are failing to progress but because the rate of progress in Western countries is much greater.

2. Substantial stepping up of production is essential if living standards in Asia are to be raised above their present inadequate levels (in some places barely adequate for survival). The position is aggravated by the continual pressure of population growth. In the first six years of the Colombo Plan, the population of member countries in South and South-East Asia increased by about 60 million.

3. The conference of Commonwealth Foreign Ministers which met in Colombo in January, 1950 to consider, among other things, economic policy in South and South-East Asia, recommended the establishment of a Consultative Committee to examine what assistance the area needed to increase production and to hear what countries outside the area could do to help.

4. In recognition of Australia's interest in the proposal, the first meeting of the new Consultative Committee took place in Sydney in May, 1950. Australia, Canada, Ceylon, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and the United Kingdom with Malaya and British Borneo were represented. At this meeting it was agreed that Asian countries should prepare development plans for a six year period from July, 1951. Members of the Committee outside the area pledged themselves to help with finance and technical assistance. Agreement was reached on the establishment of a Technical Co-operation Scheme for providing training, technical experts and technical equipment to step up the supply of the basic skills essential for the conduct of developmental programmes.

5. Subsequent meetings of the Consultative Committee have been held in London (September 1950), Colombo (1951), Karachi (1952), New Delhi (1953), Ottawa (1954), Singapore (1955) and Wellington (1956). At the invitation of the original members, other countries in the region, namely Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam joined between 1951 and 1954. The United States joined in 1951 and Japan in 1954.

6. The annual Consultative Committee meetings have regularly reviewed the efforts of countries in the region to stimulate production, the amount of external aid they have received from all sources and their plans and requirements for the future. The results of these reviews are published in the Committee's Annual Reports, the fifth of which was released shortly after the Wellington (1956) meeting.

7. The Technical Co-operation Scheme, which has been an integral part of the Colombo Plan since 1950, provides a framework for the exchange of Technical assistance between member countries. Co-ordination is provided by a Council for Technical Co-operation meeting regularly in Colombo and served by a Secretariat–the Bureau for Technical Cooperation.

8. The help which one member of the Colombo Plan extends to another is arranged bi-laterally. The initiative is with the country in the region. It submits a case for capital assistance (for an electric power scheme, for example), for an expert to advise or train its own specialists, or for training facilities in other countries. Countries outside the region provide the finance, equipment, experts or training facilities to the best of their abilities. To an increasing extent the countries of the region are extending mutual aid to one another. 9. The original six-year limit on the Plan's operations was extended at the Singapore (1955) meeting of the Consultative Committee by four years i.e. to the end of June, 1961. It was also decided at Singapore to consider the future of the Colombo Plan at the 1959 meeting of the Consultative Committee. At the Singapore meeting, members such as Australia which had pledged financial contributions to the development programmes of countries in the region agreed to continue their aid at the (then) existing scale (at least).


10. Economic development is a slow process, particularly where some of the finance, equipment and technical skill has to be imported from other countries. Australia's Snowy Mountains power and irrigation scheme generated power for the first time three or four years after construction work on the Guthega dam began. The opening of Australia's first tin-plate plant was reported to have been preceded by 20 years of planning. Asian countries less favourably placed than Australia so far as skilled manpower and industrial experience are concerned, are tackling many such schemes, some of them with financial and technical aid from Colombo Plan countries. The results are beginning to show now, mainly in the form of increasing production in key industries (both long-established primary industries and secondary industries selected for priority development). Production of basic food crops has risen substantially for the area as a whole. Tea and rubber production have reached record levels in recent years. The following table illustrates progress for the main groups of commodities since July, 1951:

Commodity 1951/2 1952/3 1953/4 1954/5 1955/6 1956/7
Barley 4,643 5,130 5,603 5,380 5,172
Maize 5,612 6,145 4,980 5,876
Wheat 11,968 10,510 11,302 13,275 13,610 13,313
Rice 83,759 90,581 97,439 90,627 96,041
Millet & Sorghum 14,474 17,809 17,572 15,222
(raw value)
3,300 3,170 3,297 3,724 4,130
Non-Centrifugal 4,067 3,706 3,859 4,011 3,991
Copra 2,238 2,011 2,206 2,328 2,395
Jute 1,966 2,040 1,006 1,007 1,738
1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956
Tin Concentrates 100 104 103 108 116 106
Natural Rubber 1,779 1,680 1,612 1,686 1,785 1,742

11. As the fifth (1956) Annual Report of the Consultative Committee points out, not all countries in the Colombo Plan area are at the same stage of development. Some have been engaged for several years in post-war rehabilitation and are only now in a position to formulate comprehensive development plans. Others have made sufficient progress with basic services (transportation, power, irrigation, etc.) that they can now proceed with the industrial expansion on which the stepping up of developmental activity depends. At this stage, therefore, a better measure of the progress of the area (for which, of course, the Colombo Plan can claim only part of the credit) is the growth of public investment rather than output.

* Some of these figures are estimates only

Country 1950/1 1951/2 1952/3 1953/4 1954/5 1955/6 1956/7
Burma 6.4 8.0 7.9 18.6 10.6 7.0 8.6
Ceylon (1) 13.6 18.4 19.2 14.4 18.3 22.3 22.5
(a) Central 76.7 81.1 68.0 78.9 121.0 164.0 267.7
(b)States 96.9 106.5 120.9 126.5 151.8 228.4 274.1
Pakistan 6.3 23.7 20.6 16.8 19.0 30.0 39.1
Japan (1) - - 184.9 238.6 195.8 171.0 171.0
Philippines 16.4 22.3 24.1 28.8 30.7 56.3 75.5
1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957
North Borneo 1.7 2.6 1.7 1.9 2.5 2.5 -
Sarawak 1.1 1.4 2.3 2.9 2.1 2.9 4.3
Malaya (1) 1.2 1.7 2.1 2.0 2.1 3.2 -
Singapore 0.15 0.19 0.26 0.33 0.65 0.71 0.85
Cambodia - 1.08 1.47 1.13 1.36 1.24 -
Indonesia 20.2 32.6 28.5 34.4 31.3 35.9 -
Laos - 0.89 1.46 1.75 0.53 3.17 -
Thailand (1) 15.6 14.4 15.3 22.1 17.1 21.6 -
Viet Nam - 1.97 3.38 3.46 3.85 - -

(1) Includes loans and advances.

* Some of these figures are estimates only

12. The impact of increasing expenditure in the public sector, plus tangible but not always measurable increases in the private sector, would have been stronger but for the growth in population (about 10 per cent) during the past six years. In the words of the Fifth Annual Report 'though precise measurement is not feasible, a review of economic indicators suggests that national income continued to rise slightly in excess of the rate of population growth'. The report goes on to mention that 'much effort went into this achievement, modest though it may appear in relation to the need for further advance'.


Capital aid

13. External Assistance from Colombo Plan countries outside the region to those within has taken many forms. For example, in capital aid the United States has provided both grants and loans, the loans repayable in some cases in local currency, for a wide range of activities some only indirectly related to economic development (e.g. famine relief). The United States contribution was estimated to exceed $2 billion by June, 1956.

14. Canada and Australia have provided equipment for specific developmental activities, and commodities for sale by governments to raise counterpart funds for meeting the local costs of development projects. To the end of June, 1956, the Canadian contribution amounted to about $168 million. Australia had spent �A18.5 million on capital aid by June ,1957.

15. Apart from substantial private investment, capital aid from the United Kingdom has taken the form of grants (mainly to British territories), loans and credits of over �80 million sterling and releases of sterling balances including releases from the United Kingdom contributions to the International Bank. New Zealand has allocated �5 million (N.Z.) for capital aid, of which �2.8 million had been spent at 30th June, 1956.

16. The Consultative Committee's Fifth Annual Report fixed the sum of capital aid from all Colombo Plan sources at about �2.370 million as at the end of June, 1956.

Technical assistance

17. Including the United States, which does not participate directly in the Technical Cooperation Scheme, member countries have provided 10,453 training awards and 2,241 experts (June, 1957). The following table shows the number of training awards and experts received by Colombo Plan countries from Colombo Plan sources, including the United States, and under the United Nations Extended Programme of Technical Assistance.

(EXC. AUST.& U.S.)
Exps.a Training
Exps. Training
Exps. Training
Brunei 7 - - - - 1 6
Burma 185 6 90 154 266 29 282 462
Cambodia 8 5 19 37 7 6 38 82
Ceylon 166 49 4 9 647 213 113 343
India 241 14 666 277 770 125 635 714
Indonesia 492 19 1187 149 325 26 273 496
Laos 1 4 7 32 11 2 38 49
Malaya 248 57 - - 143 17 45 70
Nepal 7 - 45 37 301 1 24 59
69 6 - - 24 11 5 35
Pakistan 222 42 411 167 776 91 399 613
Philippines 91 3 1245 237 108 - 190 230
Sarawak 53 4 - - 30 6 9 22
Singapore 122 19 - - 36 6 21 33
Thailand 83 5 1021 173 74 17 332 392
Viet Nam 46 4 138 177 61 5 28 82
TOTALS 2041 237 4833 1449 3579 585 2433 3688

a That is: 'Experts'

18. In addition to training awards and experts Colombo Plan countries provided equipment for research, training and health services to the value of about �1,277,000 Stg. as at 31st December, 1956.

Other sources of aid

19. Other organisations and countries outside the Colombo Plan have also contributed to development in South and South-East Asia. To some extent their interest has been heightened by the Colombo Plan. The International Bank has made loans to member countries to the value of �A.218 million approximately (to mid 1957). The United Nations (see paragraph 17) and non-governmental organisations such as the Ford Foundation have supplied experts, fellowships and equipment. European countries such as Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway have provided credits for industrial projects and technical assistance.

Mutual aid in the region

20. In recent years, mutual aid inside the region has grown substantially. India has helped Nepal with capital aid and has granted 494 training awards (December, 1956). Other countries in the region have granted another 97 training awards. Countries in the region have contributed something like 10 per cent of the total training awards provided by member countries of the Colombo Plan.



21. The most outstanding feature of Australia's role during the first six years has been in the field of technical assistance to Asian members, primarily by providing awards for training in Australia. Two thousand and forty-one scholars, fellows and top-ranking officials have come to Australia, 540 in the first three years and just under 1,500 in the second three years. Periods of residence in Australia range from a few weeks in the case of senior officials to several years in the case of scholars. Main fields of study include agriculture (140), education (225), engineering (416), nursing (143) and public administration (291). Substantial numbers have trained also in such fields as accountancy, arts, economics, food technology, journalism, medicine, nursing, various branches of science and social studies.

22. The trainees have been received warmly and have responded warmly to the welcome they have had. The practical benefits they will derive from their courses will depend largely on the opportunities they are given on return to their countries. There is no doubt, however, that a substantial contribution has been made to the growing pool of Asian technical and administrative skills as well as to mutual understanding and respect. The cost of the training programme excluding the efforts of voluntary helpers of many kinds had reached �2.1 million by the end of June, 1957.

23. The Colombo Plan training programme has apparently stimulated rather than diminished the interest of private Asian students in Australian schools, colleges and universities. In 1952 (June) there were about 2,307 private students in Australia. By 1957 (March) the number had grown to 4,209. About 47 per cent of those in Australia in March, 1957, had come from Malaya, Singapore, North Borneo, Sarawak and Brunei. By June, 1957, nearly 500 students had enrolled for correspondence courses offered by Australia under the Colombo Plan.

24. Partly because funds are limited and partly because of the growing pressure on educational facilities in Australia, the number of trainees in Australia under the Colombo Plan has been stabilised at between 800 and 850. To do this, the rate of intake has had to be curtailed in the past year. When the bulk of the trainees at present in Australia complete their courses (in the next few years), it will be possible to step up the rate of intake without exceeding the present ceiling. At the same time Australia is making a substantial contribution to the development of training facilities within Asian countries, for example, by providing about 225 awards for teaching training, and 40 experts to organise and teach in educational institutions in Asian countries.


25. Technical assistance provided by Australia has taken two other forms–the loan of experts for advisory and teaching assignments ranging from a few weeks to as long as six years, and the supply of publications and equipment for research and teaching purposes. In all 237 experts have been sent overseas in the last six years at a total cost of a little more than �600,000. Sixty-six were in the field at the end of June, 1957, the majority in Malaya.

Technical equipment

26. About 100 separate requests for equipment and publications for training, research and medical services have been met at a total cost of just under �700,000. Requests for publications, training equipment, films and film strips for technical education and vocational training institutions account for about one third of the total number of requests and about one-half of the cost. They include 69 sets of reference books on Australia, each worth about �150, for use in public and university libraries and similar institutions. A substantial part of equipment supplied is intended for health and public information services which, although not directly related to economic development, indirectly affect the rate at which development can proceed.

Capital aid

The bulk of Australia's financial contribution has been spent on providing Australian-made equipment for major developmental projects in Asian countries or in financing gift consignments of wheat or flour which have been sold to raise counterpart funds for selected developmental activities. About 38 projects in nine member countries have been assisted in this way at a cost of �18.5 million. Present commitments will add another �9 million to this figure in the next three years.

28. The projects assisted by Australia cover a wide range including irrigation and land preparation for food crops in Ceylon (�1.45 million), Indonesia (�.25 million), Pakistan (�2.6 million) and Laos (�.26 million), irrigation and electric power projects in India (�4.9 million), secondary industries in Burma (�.25 million), essential municipal services in Cambodia (�.125 million), Indonesia (�.621 million), Pakistan (�2.44 million), and transport and communications in India (�2.5 million), Indonesia (�.2 million), Pakistan (�1.62 million) and Viet Nam (�61,000).

29. Expenditure on capital aid which has averaged just under �3.2 million for each of the first six years has been heaviest in the past year owing to the maturing of commitments accepted in earlier years. Expenditure will reach a peak in 1957/58 and should then settle down at about the average of the first seven years.


Development plans

30. In common with several other Asian countries, Burma's first problem is to rehabilitate an economy disrupted by war. A new Four-Year Plan is under consideration. It will concentrate on essential services such as transport and communications, fuel and power, and on agriculture. Mining and secondary industry will be left largely to private enterprise. The foreign exchange element in the draft plan is about 22 per cent of total expenditure.

External assistance

31. Burma has received loans from the United States and India and from the International Bank (for ports and railways). Australia has supplied capital equipment for establishing new factories. Australia and other Colombo Plan countries have granted 541 training awards and 189 experts. The United Nations has supplied 462 experts and 282 training awards. The Ford Foundation has supplied experts in management for the civil service and industry, and educationalists.

Australian contribution

32. Pre-war, one-third of Burma's export earnings were derived from mining. After the war, earnings from mining had dropped to less than 4 per cent. Following the visit to Burma of an Australian minerals expert and the visit to Australia of the Secretary of the Burma Ministry of Mines, Australia has proceeded with a programme of training of personnel for the mining industry.

33. A total of 65 Burmans have been or are in training in Australia in practical coal mining and metal mining, assaying, prospecting, diamond drilling and metallurgy etc. In addition study tours for 5 senior officials have been arranged in uranium prospecting, metal mining and general mining.

34. Apart from miners, scholars and fellows have come to Australia to study public administration, education, forestry and agriculture, bringing the total to 185 awards. Nearly a third are still in Australia, 21 at universities and the Australian Forestry School, Canberra. Burma has received 34 awards for correspondence courses.

35. Australian capital aid has been confined to equipment required for preparing sites for factories to be established by the Industrial Development Corporation, a government organisation, and equipment for a title factory set up by the M inistry of National Housing. The I.D.C. factories cover steel rolling, jute, sugar and seri-culture. They are pioneering enterprises.

36. The tile factory will help to conserve foreign exchange spent on importing tiles. Australia's contribution, now being delivered, includes brick-crushing and coal pulverising plant, excavators, pumps, a road roller, a tractor and four fork-lift trucks.

37. The total cost of Australia's contribution so far is �553,858 (�295,554 for technical assistance and �124,680 for capital aid). The technical assistance includes 185 training awards, 6 experts and equipment for some twenty odd research and training projects.


Development plans

38. Cambodia has a Two-Year Plan (1956/57) aiming at providing basic economic and social facilities, increased output of rice, and at completing a survey of national resources as a pre-requisite for future planning. Of 3,500 million riels (about �35 million sterling) expenditure under the Plan, two-thirds will be spent on agriculture and irrigation and on transport and communications.

External assistance

39. The United States, Australia and France, have supplied capital aid. Canada, New Zealand, the United States and United Kingdom and Australia have contributed technical assistance. Cambodia has received 72 training awards and 130 experts from Colombo Plan countries and the United Nations. A large part of the assistance given has been in the field of transport and communications. The French are building the new port of Kampong-Son, and the United States are helping with road construction.

Australian contribution

40. Since 1945, the population of the capital, Phnom Penh has increased from 110,000 to over half a million. New suburbs have had to be built quickly, which meant obtaining heavy equipment for land clearance and road building. Australia supplied bull-dozers, excavators, road rollers, bitumen sprayers, trucks and equipment for a service station, all for use by the Municipal authorities. Deliveries of most items were completed in 1956. The cost was �125,000.

41. To advise on the operation and maintenance of the equipment, and the setting up of the service station, Australia provided the services of a French speaking engineer. [Altogether, 5 Australian experts have served in Cambodia.]1

42. An Australian contribution to the development of rail transport has been promised. It will take the form of 50 wagons and four carriages expected to cost about �400,000. Tenders have been returned and expenditure is planned for 1958/59. The rolling stock will be used on the Bangkok–Phnom Penh line, which is Cambodia's main link with the outside world pending the completion of the new deep sea port at Kampong-Son.

43. Other than capital aid, Australia has supplied or is in the process of supplying training equipment for the Railways Apprentices' School (�31,000), handicraft tool sets for primary schools (�2,000), livestock and equipment for the Veterinary Service (�4,000), radio receivers for the Information Service (�6,000) and pre-fabricated dwellings to be used to house English teachers also supplied by Australia.

44. Eight Cambodians have come to Australia for training in education, medicine etc. Four have completed their courses and returned home.

45. The cost of Australia's contribution so far is �189,011 (�64,331 for technical assistance and �124,680 for capital aid).


Development plans

46. Ceylon adopted a Six-Year Programme of Investment in 1955, primarily to increase employment and the output of agricultural products. The foreign exchange element in the total planned expenditure was 30 per cent. A new Plan, broader in scope, is now being prepared.

External assistance

47. As at June, 1956, Colombo Plan countries had contributed capital aid to the value of Rs. 95 million (�A.9 million) and technical assistance valued at Rs.l million. Canada was the largest contributor ($10.5 million). Colombo Plan countries have supplied 817 training awards and 271 experts (to June, 1957). The United Nations has granted 113 training awards and supplied 343 experts.

Australian contribution

48. In the 'dry zone' of North and North-West Ceylon, old irrigation tanks (reservoirs) which have been breached and abandoned for centuries, are being restored as part of the campaign to place more land under rice cultivation. Australia has supplied flour worth �750,000 to raise counterpart funds, and heavy equipment costing about �172,000.

49. The balance of Australia's capital aid contribution of �2.23 million has been spent on flour (�750,000) to provide funds for the construction of T.B. clinics, a Rice Research Institute and an Institute of Hygiene, and tractors and other equipment worth more than half a million pounds for food production. Electrical equipment valued at nearly �22,000 has been supplied for the Laksapana power scheme.

50. Australia has received 166 trainees from Ceylon, mainly in such fields as education (50), public administration (20), engineering (18) and agriculture (10). Twenty Ceylonese attended a teaching seminar in 1956 arranged by the Office of Education. Sixty awards for correspondence courses have been granted, including 17 in accountancy.

51. The main field in which experts have been supplied is in nursing. An Australian nursing team established a training school attached to the Welisara Chest Hospital about 8 miles north of Colombo. New buildings, consisting of lecture theatres, library, demonstration wards and living quarters for the trainees and houses for the team were constructed by the Government of Ceylon. The course lasts 18 months. Up to the end of April, 1957, three courses had been completed. The fourth and fifth schools are in progress and the 6th school was due to begin in July, 1957. Early schools were attended by Ceylonese trainees only. Later schools included trainees from Malaya and Nepal. Other Australian experts have helped the Ceylonese to maintain equipment supplied under the capital aid program for agriculture and irrigation. In all 49 Australian experts have been sent to Ceylon and nine are still there.

52. Of the �88,458 spent on equipment for research and training etc. �45,000 has been applied to equipment required for teaching handicrafts in Secondary and Trade Schools. A text-book on 'The Marine and Fresh-Water Fishes of Ceylon' written by an Australian expert, Mr. I.S.R. Munro of C.S.I.R.O., has been published in Australia for the Ceylon Government. The book is in demand all over the world as a reference document.

53. Australia has spent so far �2,619,655 on aid to Ceylon (�2,230,805 on capital aid and�388,850 on technical assistance). This amount includes the cost of providing 49 experts and 166 training awards.


Development plans

54. India has completed its first Five-Year Plan and started on the second in 1956. Its objectives are (i) increase national income substantially, (ii) industrialise rapidly, particularly in heavy industry, (iii) expand employment and (iv) reduce inequalities of wealth. The heaviest expenditure will occur in the field of transport and communications. It is hoped to raise national income by 25 per cent. Under the first Five-Year Plan national income rose by 18 per cent.

External assistance

55. Total external assistance received by India during the first Plan amounted to about Rs. 2,970 million. The U.S.A. and Canada contributed the bulk of it. The I B R D, granted loans to the value of about �A. 148,000,000. The U.S.S.R., Norway and the Ford Foundation also made contributions. Technical assistance received from Colombo Plan countries includes 1,677 training awards (770 from the United States) and 416 experts (125 from U.S.A.). The United Nations has supplied 635 training awards and 714 experts.

Australian contribution

56. The expansion of such basic industries as coal and steel is dependent on the capacity of the railways to handle additional goods traffic. During the period of the second Five-Year Plan, the railways will be expected to carry 50 per cent more goods traffic and 15 per cent more passenger traffic. Australia is contributing 2,000 rail wagons and 24 rail cars at a total cost of nearly �5 million. Some of the wagons have been delivered. The United States and Canada are also contributing to the expansion of the Indian railways.

57. Australian commitments include equipment worth nearly �1 million for All-India Radio (some of which has been delivered). Flour, to raise counterpart funds to meet internal costs, and earthmoving equipment, have been supplied for the Tungabhadra Dam project. Another �526,426 has been spent on electrical equipment for the Ramagundam power scheme. Total commitments for capital aid stand at �10.7 million of which �7.4 million had been spent by the end of June, 1957.

58. At 30th June, 1957, India had sent 241 trainees to Australia of whom 36 were still there. The main fields of training were agriculture (67), engineering (33), nursing (31), food technology (25) and science (16). [Indians have received 13 correspondence scholarships.]

59. India has received 14 experts from Australia eight of whom were prominent medical men and a further three concerned with nursing and occupational therapy. Two engineers and an expert in estuarine fishing have also served in India.

60. Australia's total contribution stands at �7,880,399, of which �440,064 represents the cost of technical assistance, including 241 training awards and 14 experts.


Development plans

61. Indonesia has made a start with some of the projects in a new Five-Year Plan (1956–61) in which public expenditure is to be spread over all main branches of the economy. A persistent inflationary position and declining foreign exchange reserves have impeded on development in recent years. Emphasis has been placed on projects which will save foreign exchange and others which will earn foreign exchange.

External assistance

62. The United States has contributed the bulk of the assistance received by Indonesia from the Colombo Plan countries. Allocations for technical assistance totalled $41 million by June, 1956. The U.S. Import-Export Bank provided a loan of $100 million. Sales of agricultural commodities were expected to yield nearly another $100 million during the past year or so. Australia has supplied capital aid and together with United States, Ceylon, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, and Indonesia has supplied technical assistance. Indonesia has received 2,312 training awards from Colombo Plan countries and the United Nations, and 1,130 experts.

Australian contribution

63. Apart from the United States and the United Nations, Australia has been the main source of technical assistance. By June, 1957, 492 Indonesians had received training awards, nearly twice as many as any other country, and 19 Australian experts had served in Indonesia. [Indonesians have been awarded 28 correspondence scholarships.]

64. The emphasis in Australia's contribution has been on technical education and vocational training. About half the Indonesians who have come to Australia have enrolled at universities and technical colleges for courses in engineering (183) and in various branches of science (21). Australia has also supplied equipment valued at about �50,000 for vocational training at centres in Bandung (teacher training) and Djakarta.

65. A team of Australian instructors has been working at the printing trades school in Djakarta since 1954. A new curriculum has been prepared and in the last year or so teacher training has commenced. Australia has supplemented the equipment at the school by providing some of the requirements of the book-binding and photo-engraving departments. As well as teaching young Indonesians printing and other subjects, the school has produced large quantities of printed matter for use by the Ministry of Education in other schools.

66. Australian commitments for capital aid to Indonesia amount to �1.3 million of which just over �1 million has been spent so far. The most important project undertaken was the supply of 100 diesel buses for the Djakarta transport service. All buses have been delivered together with most of the essential maintenance equipment. Two engineers from Australia have given technical advice and trained Indonesian mechanics and drivers.

67. Australia's total contribution so far is �1,762,559 (�680,331 for technical assistance and �1,082,228 for capital aid).


Development plans

68. In Laos, data is being collected which will enable the Government to draw up its first Five-Year Plan for economic development. The early emphasis will be on transport, agriculture and education. Improvements in agriculture are already taking place following the establishment of a National Agriculture Service. New technical colleges have been set up in Vientiane and Savannakhet.

External assistance

69. The United States has contributed $48 million for developmental purposes, mainly for communications. France and Australia have also supplied capital aid. Laos has received 57 training awards from Colombo Plan countries and the United Nations and 87 experts.

Australian contribution

70. Australia's main contribution to development in Laos has taken the form of capital equipment for road making (�259,870). A French speaking engineer has advised the Laotians on the operation and maintenance of the equipment supplied under the Capital Aid Programme. A teacher of English was sent to Laos in November, 1955, to conduct classes for government officials, secondary teachers etc. A replacement was supplied at the end of his term.

71. Australia has also supplied 150 radio receivers for information services, hand tools for use in villages and seed potatoes for agriculture. Equipment for a technical college and a trade school is now being delivered. Total cost of Australia's contribution is �281,341.


Development plans

72. The planning of economic development in Malaya will be based mainly on the report of an International Bank Mission. The Mission's report stressed the need for Government action to stimulate private investment and an increased rate of public investment to maintain and increase living standards in the face of unusually high rate of population growth ( 3� per cent per annum).

External assistance

73. The United Kingdom has supplied the bulk of the assistance received by Malaya, primarily in the form of loans. The United Kingdom, Australia and the United Nations have been the main sources of technical assistance. Malaya has received 436 training awards and 144 experts from Colombo Plan countries and the United Nations.

Australian contribution

74. Malaya has received a little less than one-eighth of the total aid dispensed by Australia since the beginning of the Technical Co-operation Scheme (�401,445 out of a total of �3,440,019). She has received more experts than any other country and only Indonesia has been granted more training awards.

75. Of the 57 experts sent to Malaya 34 have served or are serving at the Lady Templer T.B. Hospital near Kuala Lumpur. Five teachers, four of whom were technical or trade teachers, have taken up appointments at various institutions in Malaya. Training equipment and publications have been supplied for schools in which Australian instructors have been working. Contributions of equipment and text-books have been made to other training institutions.

76. By June, 1957, 248 Malayans had arrived in Australia for training, mainly for nursing (66), engineering (45), public administration (34), science (22), accountancy (19) and medicine (13). The 2000th Colombo Plan trainee to reach Australia (June, 1957) came from Malaya. She will study nursing at the Royal Perth Hospital.

77. Six foreign service trainees spent nine months in Australia in 1956 and 1957 on Colombo Plan fellowships. A further six trainees are expected to arrive in December. They will spend four months working in the Department of External Affairs followed by one or two terms' work at the Canberra University College.

78. Malaya has been awarded 120 correspondence scholarships and two Malayans have received fellowships under the Colombo Plan to enable them to visit Australia to examine correspondence teaching with the object of establishing a correspondence teaching unit in Malaya.


Development plans

79. Nepal has formulated a Five-Year-Plan (1956/61) the emphasis of which in the early stages is on surveys of national resources and the preparation of statistical services. It is anticipated that more than two-thirds of the resources required for development under the Plan will have to be drawn from outside the country.

External assistance

80. India has provided capital aid for roads, an air field and irrigation. The United States and New Zealand have supplied capital aid and technical assistance. The United Kingdom, Australia, Ceylon, the United Nations and the Ford Foundation have supplied experts and training awards. Nepal has received 377 training awards from Colombo Plan countries and the United Nations and 97 experts.

Australian contribution

81. Expenditure by Australia on technical assistance to Nepal amounted to just under �15,000 by the middle of 1957. Seven Nepalese trainees have come to Australia, two to attend a T.B. conference and the others to study in the fields of mining geology, engineering, animal husbandry, agricultural science and sugar technology.

82. Australia has accepted two commitments for the supply of technical assistance equipment–one for studio and transmitting equipment worth �25,000 for Radio Nepal and one to supply an X-ray unit for the Chest Clinic at Kathmandu at a cost of �6,500. The studio equipment should be delivered by the middle of 1958 and the rest of the equipment shortly afterwards.

83. The development of transport and communications has been given first priority in Nepal's Five-Year Plan. In its area of 54,000 square miles, Nepal has only 310 miles of road. Part of this road is metalled and can be used in all weather. The Five-Year Plan sets a long-term target of 4,000 miles of roads within 20 years, 900 miles to be constructed in the first Plan period.

84. India has made available equipment and technicians to help with Nepal's road-building programme. Australia has offered to contribute one compact unit of road-making
equipment (cost �55,000).


Development plans

85. The emphasis on development in North Borneo has been on agriculture particularly on drainage and irrigation, and on communications. A Credit Corporation with an initial capital of �1 million was set up in 1955 to encourage private investment.

External assistance

86. Apart from revenue, finance for development has been obtained under the United Kingdom Colonial Development and Welfare Acts and from the United States. Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Nations have supplied technical assistance, including 98 training awards and 52 experts.

Australian contribution

87. Australia's chief contribution has been in the form of awards for study in Australia (69) and correspondence scholarships (34). Fields of study include medicine, engineering, education, public administration and accountancy.

88. Six Australian experts have .taken up assignments in North Borneo and three, an instructor in stenography, a radio engineer and a laboratory technician, are still there. The North Borneo authorities have requested an extension for the laboratory technician, Mr. R. Layland.

89. Fourteen commitments to supply equipment and publications for training and research purposes have been accepted. Delivery has been completed in eight cases, and the remainder should be completed before the end of the financial year 1957/58. Costs range from �15 for English-teaching texts to �6,500 for vocational training equipment for a Government Trade School at Jesselton.

90. One of the more interesting projects is the production of a Dusun Dictionary and Grammar, the text of which was written by a missionary. The dictionary is the first work of its kind in the Dusun language, and when completed it will help to bridge the language gap between the Dusun people and other sections of the population. A Dusun trainee studying journalism in Canberra has been helping the News and Information Bureau and the Government Printer with lay-out and printing. Two thousand copies of the dictionary will be printed in Australia.

91. Australia's contribution so far to North Borneo amounts to �102,344, three-quarters of which has been spent on the training programme.


Development plans

92. Pakistan recently completed a six-year development programme and is at present engaged on a Five-Year Plan for the period 1955 to 1960. Hitherto emphasis has been on rapid industrialisation. The Five-Year Plan still places great importance on industrialisation (it is intended to expand industrial production by 80 per cent during the period) but more emphasis is being given to agriculture and irrigation. The area under cultivation is to be increased by 2,600,000 acres and a further 5,000,000 acres improved. It is hoped to increase national income by 20 per cent and per capita income by 12 per cent during the period of the Plan.

External assistance

93. Promises of external aid to Pakistan total $621,000,000 of which some $389,000,000 has been utilised. The bulk of this aid is being given by the United States and Canada. The International Bank has granted loans of $77 million. Sweden, the Netherlands and the Ford and Asia Foundations have also made contributions. Technical assistance received from Colombo Plan countries, including the United States, includes 1,409 training awards and 300 experts. The United Nations has supplied 613 experts and 399 training awards.

Australian contribution

94. Two of Pakistan's most difficult problems are communications–not only land communications inside each wing but also radio and air communication between East and West Pakistan–and agriculture. The pressure of refugees, added to natural increases, has strained the amount of cultivatable land available, and the division of the waters of the Indus and its tributaries between India and Pakistan has made necessary the construction of large scale diversion canals for irrigation purposes. Problems of water-logging and salinity have had to be faced.

95. Australia has assisted in the communications field by the gift of 9 locomotives for the railways of West Pakistan, of broadcasting equipment for Radio Pakistan and of telecommunications equipment for the radio link between East and West Pakistan. In the field of agriculture Australia has given tractors, pumping equipment and tubewell equipment and is committed to give cold storage plant and earthmoving equipment to assist in building canal links.

96. Australia has also supplied pipe manufacturing plant for improving Karachi's water supply.

97. Under the Technical Co-operation Scheme, Australia has supplied experts, livestock and equipment for the Commonwealth Livestock Farm in the Thai–a pilot breeding centre which is being developed in one of Pakistan's most harsh desert areas with assistance from Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Australia has also provided books and microscopes for schools and universities and is providing mobile film equipment to assist the Ministry of Education in its plans for extending education in the more remote and backward country areas. At Haripur, in the far north of Pakistan, Australia is providing equipment valued at �67,000 for a wireless training institute.

98. Pakistan has sent 222 trainees to Australia. Fifty-four civil servants have attended Public Administration Seminars in Australia. Another 20 have trained in specialised fields of public administration. A number of trainees from Pakistan have taken courses in fields related to equipment or livestock which Australia is providing, e.g. pipe manufacturing, telecommunications and poultry and sheep breeding.

99. Australia has provided 42 experts for Pakistan, mainly in the fields of agriculture and engineering. Many have worked with the equipment sent from Australia, e.g. tractors (6), telecommunications equipment (3), pipe manufacture (4) or have assisted at the Thai Farm (11). An Australian team earlier assisted in a geological survey of the far northern areas of Pakistan and others have assisted in the fields of health, libraries, dairy development and zone afforestation.

100. The total cost of Australia's contribution so far is �7,315,885, of which �6,835,513 has been spent on capital aid and �480,372 on technical assistance. Only India has received a larger contribution.


Development plans

101. The Philippines began its post-war planning in 1948. In 1950, a new Plan for Agricultural and Industrial Development was adopted. Consideration is now being given to a Five-Year Plan (1956/57 – 1960/61) aimed at raising levels of production, employment and real income, with emphasis on balanced growth.

102. Capital aid has been provided almost exclusively by the United States. Its value between 1951 and 1956 was estimated at about $200 million, half of which was in the form of grants. The United States and other Colombo Plan countries together with the United Nations have provided 1,634 awards for overseas training and the services of 470 foreign experts. The United States alone provided 1,245 training awards and 237 experts.

Australian contribution

103. Because of its close associations with the United States, the Philippines have largely adopted United States techniques and methods. The country has also attracted substantial amounts of American capital. Consequently the demand for Australian assistance has not been great. The chief exception is in the field of training, where the Australian practice of providing awards for periods of years at tertiary institutions has proved an attraction.

104. Of the 91 trainees from the Philippines, 26 have been enrolled in Australian universities for degree (mostly engineering and technology) or diploma (social studies and education) courses. Filipino students now in Australia are taking university courses in engineering, agricultural science, science and medicine. Other fields of training in which awards have been made include post-graduate nursing (11), food technology (5) and public administration (8).

105. Forty correspondence awards have been granted to students in the Philippines and 39 are now in training. Of those in training, two-thirds have enrolled for technical courses.

106. Three experts have undertaken short advisory missions to the Philippines. This year Mr. W. Stening, an orthopaedic surgeon, and Dr. F. Leventhal, who accompanied him as an anaesthetist, performed demonstration operations and lectured in Manila and the provinces. Mr. Stening also prepared a report on the equipment needs of the National Orthopaedic Hospital. Miss G.E. Pendred, Federal President of the Australian Pre-School Association, visited Manila for three months late 1956–early 1957 to advise the Philippines on pre-school child welfare.

107. The cost of Australia's contribution to date is almost �100,000. All but a few thousands has been spent on the training programme: experts' services and four sets of reference books account for the balance.


Development plans

108. Under a Development Plan for the years 1955–60, Sarawak is concentrating mainly on improvements in transport and communications, the diversification of agriculture, the eradication of malaria and the extension of educational facilities. The cost is estimated at more than $100 million (Malayan), most of which will be met from the Colony's own

External assistance

109. Capital assistance has been received under the United Kingdom Colonial Development and Welfare Acts ($9.7 million Malayan to the end of 1955). Colombo Plan countries (mainly Australia, New Zealand and Canada) and the United Nations have granted 92 training awards and supplied 32 experts.

Australian contribution

110. Australia has supplied technical assistance at a cost of �65,948, the bulk of it for training. Fifty-three scholars and fellows have come to Australia for courses in public administration (seminars), engineering, education and agriculture etc. Thirty-two are still in Australia. Australia has sent four experts to Sarawak (agriculture and education) and met ten requests for equipment and publications for training of various kinds of livestock for breeding purposes. [Eighteen correspondence scholarships have been awarded to nominees from Sarawak.]


Development plans

111. Singapore is concentrating on improvements in housing, public utilities, education and health services while preparing a comprehensive programme of development.

External assistance

112. Loans and grants have been provided by the United Kingdom under the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts. Colombo Plan countries (including Australia) and the United Nations have supplied 179 training awards and 58 experts.

Australian contribution

113. Singapore has been interested largely in under-graduate professional training for which local resources are inadequate and in specialised administrative training for officials. There is also active interest in correspondence courses in technical subjects for which over 100 awards have been made. Altogether 122 trainees have come to Australia from Singapore under the Colombo Plan. The main interest has been in–engineering (47), public administration (27), arts and education (14), and nursing (6). Of the 68 still in Australia 41 are studying engineering.

114. Nineteen experts have carried out assignments in Singapore, fifteen in the field of medicine. Early in 1957, Australia sent a team of three lecturers to conduct a special ten weeks preliminary course for medical graduates from Singapore, Malaya and Hong Kong who wished to take the primary examination leading to fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. A team of four examiners then went to Singapore to test the candidates. Eleven candidates, all from Singapore, were successful. The percentage of passes (more than 25 per cent) compares favourably with the Australian and United Kingdom average (about 20 per cent).

115. Australia has supplied equipment worth about �7,800 for technical school courses. Electrical equipment worth �14,000 for the University of Malaya is now being delivered. Early in 1957, Australia agreed to supply the lathes and accessories required for the machine shop in the new Singapore Polytechnic. Steps have been taken to ensure that the lathes reach Singapore by February, 1958. The polytechnic will provide training in engineering, building trades, natural sciences, commercial practice and domestic sciences.

116. Australia's contribution so far amounts to �169,185, three-quarters of which has been spent on training.


Development plans

117. Thailand is proceeding with a series of development programmes under the control of various ministries. They include schemes for developing basic facilities, such as transport, irrigation, communications and power, and the diversification of agriculture.

External assistance

118. Capital aid to the value of about $US 74 million has been contributed by the United States, $44 million in the form of commodities, the sale of which has created funds to meet the internal costs of development. Between 1950 and 1956, the International Bank granted loans for irrigation, port development and railways amounting to nearly �A.20,000,000.

119. The United Nations has granted 332 awards for training abroad and sent 392 experts to Thailand. Colombo Plan countries (including Australia) have supplied 1,178 training awards and 195 experts.

Australian contribution

120. Australia has agreed to design and supply plant for lignite mining as a capital aid contribution. Although in the long run the bulk of Thailand's electric power will be generated from hydro-electric sources, additional thermal equipment will be needed at the centre of consumption, Bangkok, to supplement the hydro-electric scheme. Proven lignite resources exceed 12,000,000 tons and it is hoped to increase production from 50,000 tons to 200,000 tons a year. An engineer will visit Thailand to examine the site and it is expected that deliveries of the equipment (expected to cost about �60,000) will be made in the second half of 1958.

121. Under the Technical Co-operation Scheme, seven requests for equipment, books and livestock have been met or will be met during the next twelve months. They include horses (100 plus a stallion) for the production of serum for combating diphtheria, tetanus etc sterilisers and X-ray equipment for Chulalongkom Hospital, Australian publications for educational institutions, and radios for use in school broadcasting (500) and public information services (100). Deliveries of the radios for information services will commence shortly and should be completed in 1958. An Australian expert (Mr. Hefifer) conducted a survey in Thailand and specifications of the sets have been prepared on the basis of his findings.

122. Australia has received 83 trainees from Thailand in such fields as nursing, engineering, public administration, medicine and social studies etc. Five Australian experts have completed short assignments in Thailand. Two were medical specialists who demonstrated surgical techniques. Another gave advice on blood transfusion. A Thai doctor subsequently came to Australia to study Australian practices in this field.

123. The total cost of the technical assistance given so far amounts to about �115,000, two-thirds of which has been spent on training Thai scholars and fellows in Australia.


Development plans

124. Viet Nam's main problem since 1954 has been the restoration of productive capacity and the establishment of a new financial structure to take the place of the quadripartite system which bound Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos and France. A Two-Year Plan for industry and a Three-Year Plan for agriculture have been put into operation. The first stages in the re-settlement of 800,000 refugees have been successfully completed.

External assistance

125. Substantial assistance from the United States and France has enabled the country to off-set the effects of inadequate foreign exchange earnings and make up deficiencies of consumer goods. Australia has contributed capital equipment. The Colombo Plan countries (including Australia) and the United Nations have supplied 273 training awards and 268 experts.

Australian contribution

126. Since the first Vietnamese Colombo Plan trainee arrived in May, 1955, Australia has received 46 trainees, (22 of them for University Courses) the largest numbers being in the fields of engineering (10), English teaching (10), radio (9), and economics and commerce (8). Four experts have been sent to Viet Nam, a teacher of English, a French speaking engineer to supervise the use of and maintenance of heavy equipment, a radio engineer to carry out a technical survey of radio services and an officer from the Department of Primary Industry to investigate the Ben Cat experimental dairy farm.

127. Australia is supplying an agriculturalist and agricultural and dairy equipment to the value of about �46,000 for an experimental dairy farm at Ben Cat. It is hoped that the establishment of cattle-raising (both beef and dairy) will reduce the large amount spent on imported dairy products and also play an important part in developing the plateau region in the north-west of Viet Nam (which includes an estimated 10 million acres of grass land).

128. Capital aid from Australia has amounted to �261,165 and includes road rollers and telephone cable for public works, road-making and earth-moving equipment to be used in refugee resettlement schemes, excavating plant and pumps for irrigation (now being delivered) and agricultural and workshop equipment for the National School of Agriculture at Blao.

129. The total value of Australia's contribution so far is �357,193, of which about �96,000 represents technical assistance.

Expenditure by Australia

130. Total expenditure by Australia to 30th June, 1957, on both technical assistance and capital aid is shown in the following table:–

� � �
Brunei 7,219 7,219
Burma 295,544 258,314 553,858
Cambodia 64,331 124,680 189,011
Ceylon 388,850 2,230,805 2,619,655
India 440,064 7,440,335 7,880,399
Indonesia 680,331 1,082,228 1,762,559
Laos 21,471 259,870 281,341
Malaya 401,445 401,445
Nepal 14,866 14,866
North Borneo 102,344 102,344
Pakistan 480,372 6,835,513 7,315,885
Philippines 96,838 96,838
Sarawak 65,948 65,948
Singapore 169,185 169,185
Thailand 115,183 871 116,054
Viet Nam 96,028 261,165 357,193
3,440,019 18,493,781 21,933,800
Miscellaneous Expenditure: 151,399
GRAND TOTAL: �22,085,199

[NAA: A1838, 2020/1/12 part 2]

1 Words in square brackets added by hand.

Last Updated: 10 January 2017
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