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Historical documents

80 Minute from Bunting to Durie

Canberra, 1 August 1950


Submission No. 1492 Economic Development in South and South East Asia.
Cabinet 1st August, 1950.

Cabinet decided that:–

(a) The policy agreed by the Committee of Cabinet on 22nd March, 1950,3 for the supply of assistance to South and South-East Asia including the directive to Departments be confirmed.

(b) The Report of the Sydney meeting of the British Commonwealth Consultative Committee be approved,4 the recommendations of the Committee be accepted, and that other participating governments be advised accordingly.

(c) Financial commitments in connection with U.N. technical assistance programme of �120,000; the Commonwealth Technical Assistance Scheme as set out in paragraph (d) below, and the loan to Burma be confirmed.

(d) The Australian Government should indicate its willingness to spend up to 35% of the total programme under the Commonwealth Technical Assistance Scheme. On the assumption that the total contributions will be �Stg.8 million over 3 years this would mean an annual Australian contribution for 3 years of A 1.164 million (35% of one-third of the 3-year programme). The Australian contribution should be paid into a Trust Account as required. Authority for expenditure should be exercised by the Minister for External Affairs.

(e) The implementation of the programme (and the similar programme of aid provided through United Nations Organisations) will be the responsibility of the Department of External Affairs, calling upon other departments or Commonwealth agencies where appropriate to assist in recruitment of experts to work in South and South-East Asia, in the arrangement of courses of training in Australia for approved personnel brought from other countries, in protection of their welfare, and in performing similar necessary functions.

(f) Pursuant to (e) above, the Department of External Affairs should organise interdepartmental consultation in the following forms:

(i) A standing committee representing the Departments of External Affairs, Labour and National Service, the Public Service Board, with other departments co-opted where necessary, to make recommendations to the Minister for External Affairs concerning the availability and the rate of recruitment of personnel, in various categories of skill, for service overseas;

(ii) A standing committee of External Affairs, Treasury and the Public Service Board to recommend to the Minister for External Affairs the terms and conditions of service of Australians employed by the Government for overseas service;

(iii) A more widely represented inter-departmental committee to advise the Minister on the programme of technical assistance and to review from time to time policy, in the field of international technical assistance generally, upon matters where departments other than the Department of External Affairs are concerned.

(g) The Department of External Affairs in its future public relations work should implement the recommendation of the meeting of the Consultative Committee publicity for the Development Programme and the Technical Assistance Scheme and regarding the encouragement of public support for them.

(h) A committee consisting of the Prime Minister and Ministers for the Treasury, External Affairs, Trade and Customs, Commerce and Agriculture, and National Development should examine the issues connected with the long-term development programme and the Australian delegation at the September meeting of the British Commonwealth Consultative Committee.

[NAA: A1209, 1957/5406]

1 Robert Durie, Assistant Secretary, Prime Minister's Department, 1950-53.

2 See Document 79.

3 See Document 44.

4 Document 71.

Last Updated: 10 January 2017
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