Volume #21 - 249.|
MEETING OF THE COMMONWEALTH CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE FOR SOUTH-EAST ASIA, SINGAPORE, OCTOBER 17-21, 1955
Extract of Report by Delegation|
to Singapore Conference of the Colombo Plan Consultative Committee24
October 1st, 1955|
DISCUSSIONS WITH THE BURMA DELEGATION DURING THE COLOMBO|
Attached (Appendix 1)? are copies of the correspondence between Mr. Pearson and the Leader of the Burmese Delegation, concerning the cobalt beam therapy unit. The Burmese were happy with this offer and proposed to send a formal reply through appropriate channels from Rangoon.
During our discussions with the Burmese, we asked for and were given an assurance that acceptance of the cobalt beam therapy unit would not prejudice further Canadian aid to other projects. There are three Burmese doctors now in the United States studying on Smith-Mundt scholarships. It was suggested that these three doctors or their leader might come to Ottawa to discuss further details concerning installation of the cobalt beam therapy unit. At the time of their visit, it was also proposed that they would spend some time with National Health and Welfare and Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd., and possibly with some of the medical educational authorities so that on return to Burma they would have a better idea of training facilities available in our country and of the type of experts we might or might not be able to send to Burma in this field.
The Burmese were also told with regard to the cobalt beam therapy unit that if, at the time of the installation of this unit in Rangoon, it seemed necessary to send a Canadian expert out for a period to supervise the work, this could be considered. The Burmese were told also that it would take at least eighteen months to manufacture and set up the cobalt unit and that arrangements would be made for a training programme to coincide with the despatch of the unit from Canada.
. . .
As far as new projects were concerned, the Canadian Delegation suggested that Canada was prepared to undertake some modest and useful capital assistance programmes in Burma subject to the availability of funds. One of the major difficulties was that in Canada there were very few experts qualified to discuss detailed programmes of economic aid for Burma and, for that matter, very few Burmese who understood much of availabilities in our country. The Burmese emphasized the economic difficulties into which they had fallen as a result of the deterioration in their balance of payments position and stated that they were now able to undertake only some 50 per cent of the projects originally planned for implementation in their development programme.
They did not seem to press the request for assistance on the aerial survey very far. Possibly some of Palmer's views on the feasibility of Canada's providing much assistance to Burma in this field are known to them; however, there remains a possibility of Canada's providing some equipment in this field. Palmer has apparently recommended that Canada consider supplying a relatively small amount of equipment for use on aerial survey work.
On several of the Burmese requests, the Canadian Delegation indicated a lack of interest or inability to provide the facilities demanded; for example, we were doubtful of our ability to provide much assistance in the exploration of lignite coal deposits and did not react enthusiastically to the Burmese project for the construction of a fertilizer factory in Rangoon. Similarly, their request for assistance in the exploration for uranium was not taken up. As far as the further requests for medical experts were concerned, we suggested that these should best be discussed with Dr. Clark after his arrival.
However, three projects which the Delegation did agree to put forward as suitable for further investigation in Ottawa emerged from these talks. The first is an application for assistance in providing equipment for a technical high school. As nearly as can be determined, the Burmese have also asked for help on this project and are receiving it from the Ford Foundation, Australia and the United Kingdom. The Burmese would be interested in Canadian experts for assignment to the staff of the high school as well as in Canadian equipment for installation in some of the laboratories. Attached is a copy of the A-4 Form submitted by the Burmese through the Council for Technical Co-operation (Appendix 2).?
The second project discussed with the Burmese was a request for diesel locomotives. The Burmese prepared this request after noting Canadian assistance with this type of equipment to Ceylon. Attached is a copy of their preliminary submission in this connection (Appendix 3).? Apparently, the Burmese Purchasing Mission, which made a tour of Europe and North America in 1953-54, had made plans for the purchase of diesel equipment but these have now had to be abandoned because of foreign exchange difficulties. As will be noted by Mr. Daniel's covering letter to Mr. Ritchie,? the Burmese would like to have a preliminary Canadian reaction to this request before placing the matter formally before us. If our preliminary reaction could be at all favorable, it would presumably include a request for more detailed specifications upon which some conclusion could be reached in Ottawa. It might be useful to consider sending out a Canadian diesel engineer in the near future to assist the Burmese in preparing this programme.
The third possibility for Canadian assistance relates to Burmese requirements created by the necessity of expanding their present electrical system. Attached is a submission giving details of the equipment (chiefly transmission line equipment) which is apparently needed to make the best use of generators already ordered (Appendix 4).? As the Burmese Minister described it to Mr. Pearson unless they receive assistance from someone in establishing a distribution network, some of the large diesel units which they have purchased cannot be brought into effective operation. The same action is required by the Canadian authorities on this project as on the previous one. It may be necessary to sent out two experts on brief survey missions, one in the field of diesel railway electrification and the other in the field of transmission line engineering.
During the meetings, the Burmese on a number of occasions commented that they had a great many outstanding requests for technical assistance which had not been answered through the Bureau for Technical Co-operation. It was explained to them, particularly at the Technical Assistance Group meetings, that some of their requests have not been sufficiently well prepared to enable donor countries to take rapid action. Possibly the preparation in a very tentative way of the diesel engine and electrification requests for us is a sign that the Burmese are giving more thought to the manner in which their requests are put forward. Like the Cambodians, the Burmese seemed somewhat irritated at the slowness with which Colombo Plan aid was developing. To judge from Palmer's experience, it may be very difficult for us to undertake much in the way of a Colombo Plan programme in Burma without a great deal more time being given to the area by a Canadian representative, possibly the one who will be stationed shortly in Singapore.
Also attached is part of a memorandum arising from discussions which the Delegation had with Mr. P.E. Palmer (Appendix 5).?
[2E PARTIE/PART 2]
DISCUSSIONS WITH THE CAMBODIAN DELEGATION DURING THE COLOMBO
We had several discussions with the Cambodian Delegation, particularly with Phlek-Phoeun and Clement Pann, both of whom had, of course, attended previous Colombo Plan meetings.
At the beginning of the meetings, Phlek-Phoeun told us that he felt that he had wasted at least a year on the Colombo Plan. His country had received little or nothing under its auspices. He was prepared, however, to exempt Canada from his rigorous expression of disappointment because we had provided some experts and training facilities and because the two veterinary vans had arrived just before he left to come to Singapore. Phlek-Phoeun was particularly bitter about the failure of the United Kingdom to do anything constructive. Apparently, Alex Simon during the meetings in Ottawa made a number of promises on which no action was taken. Subsequently, the United Kingdom Scientific Advisor, Mr. Mills, who was stationed in Karachi, made a visit to Cambodia and made a number of further recommendations - none of which have been implemented. Phlek-Phoeun's comments were that every U.K. official seemed to contradict every other official with the result that nothing is done.
These comments of the Cambodians on the United Kingdom programme for their country assumed greater significance after a conversation with Sir Alexander MacFarquhar, who as the UNTAB representative has made several trips to Cambodia. Sir Alexander remarked that he thought that the Colombo Plan donor countries would do well to make an especially sympathetic effort to do something in Cambodia because he had sensed some irritation on the part of the Cambodian authorities at the slowness with which practical assistance from the Western countries was being made available.
The Cambodians were informed of our decision to send out an expert as a response to their request for assistance in the form of fish drying equipment. They understood the difficulties of supplying equipment of this kind from Canada without an on-the-spot investigation and welcomed the proposed Canadian expert's tour. They hoped, however, that he would be qualified in other aspects of the fisheries industry. They were not thinking of someone to advise on fishing but wanted someone to help with advice on processing and marketing. It was agreed that the Canadian expert, when he came, would have fairly general terms of reference and would be asked to make suggestions to the Canadian authorities concerning the possibility of Canadian economic aid and technical assistance to Cambodia in this field.
In addition to the possibility of Canadian activity in fisheries, there was also consideration of the possibility of Canadian aid in the generation of electrical energy. The Cambodians agreed to prepare some material on their present facilities in this field and on their requirements for which they had not already placed orders. Cambodia has needs, so it appears, not only in Phnom-Penh but in the fourteen provinces. Their existing equipment is very limited. After receipt of the information to be supplied by the Cambodians, the Canadian Delegation agreed that consideration would be given to sending an expert in the generation of electrical energy to Cambodia to do a survey of possible Canadian assistance.
During our discussion with the Laos Delegation, we were also informed of a medical centre for the training of hospital personnel which exists, or is being established, in Phnom-Penh. This was thought to be another possibility for Canadian assistance, especially since it appears to have some regional training functions.
The major part of our time with the Cambodians was, however, spent in discussing their difficulties in arranging for much participation of their country in the technical assistance programmes. They described their difficulties - which they considered almost insuperable at the present time - in providing housing, transportation and the administrative and technical personnel which were required to make the best use of an expert's services. The Cambodians sketched their difficulties in providing flats at government expense for foreign experts when their own housing needs were so urgent. A building had been put up for the United Nations and United States technicians at United States expense. The Canadian Delegation described our problems in providing funds for similar buildings to house Canadian experts and suggested that the Cambodians might wish to consider approaching the United States for further funds of this kind.
The Canadian Delegation indicated a possibility that we might be able to be more forthcoming in the provision of suitable transport for Canadian experts. Some arrangement by which the United States provided housing and Canadians provided transport for foreign experts might be worked out. Canada could not, however, contemplate the provision of transportation for all foreign experts but only for such Canadians as there might be and perhaps a few others. Perhaps even more important than the provision of four-wheel drive vehicles or other suitable carriers might be the provision of repair facilities, since at the present time these are desperately limited.
On the difficulties which arise in providing administrative and technical personnel, reference was made to the efforts of Mr. Boudreault's and Mr. Grenier's secretaries, to train local personnel. It seemed clear that if Canadian experts go to Cambodia and if they are required to conduct much correspondence with the local authorities or with Ottawa, some provision for secretarial assistance might have to be made. Even more disturbing, however, was the likelihood that there would be very few understudies or counterparts available to assist the Canadian expert and to carry on after he left.
On the subject of trainees, the Cambodians indicated their difficulties in providing people of the appropriate standard of education to take advantage of Canadian and other offers of technical assistance. The Canadian Delegation suggested that, if asked, we might be willing to consider taking trainees at the high school level for fairly basic education in Canada in preparation for university work. We indicated in general terms some of the fields in which training was available.
Phlek-Phoeun asked for and was given clarification of the content of Canada's economic aid programme to his country. It was not possible for us to provide what he called "financial aid". The only way in which direct assistance could be given to Cambodia's balance of payments' difficulties was through the provision of some commodity or consumer goods which could be sold to create counterpart funds for use on agreed development projects. Mr. Ritchie recalled a meeting at Ottawa with Phlek-Phoeun which had come to the conclusion that there was no commodity at present available from Canada which Cambodia normally imports and which could be used to create counterpart funds. After some discussion, it was agreed that there was little to be gained from pursuing this particular avenue of assistance further.
Concerning what Phlek-Phoeun called "economic aid", the Canadian Delegation said that it was now possible to consider some form of capital assistance to Cambodia but that at the present time the volume of such aid would not be large. When pressed for a specific figure which Phlek-Phoeun could use on return to his country, we refused to comply and noted that in 1955-56, we had only $1 million for the three Indochinese States as well as for the other non-Commonwealth countries of the area. As a result, aid to Cambodia would have to be in the tens or possibly the hundreds of thousands. The volume of Canadian aid would, however, depend on the quality and the quantity of projects brought forward for detailed consideration. We emphasized the necessity for providing as much information as possible in support of requests for technical or capital assistance.
[3E PARTIE/PART 3]
DISCUSSIONS WITH THE INDONESIA DELEGATION DURING THE COLOMBO
Our first contact with Indonesia's problems arose from our discussions with Mr. Palmer. Attached is a copy of our memorandum (Appendix 1)? which was done following discussions with him and which reports his generally favorable views on the possibility of Canadian assistance in carrying out aerial photographic work in Indonesia. Copies of Mr. Palmer's letter to Dr. Djuanda of September 30th (Appendix 2)? and to Mr. Mills of September 26th (Appendix 3),? which have already been received in Ottawa, are attached for ease of reference. Palmer gave us a copy of a map which the Indonesian Photographic Survey Department had produced and which, he said, was as good as any maps produced elsewhere in the world. This map is also attached (Appendix 4)? and is perhaps a partial explanation of Palmer's enthusiasm.
Subsequently, we had a Delegation meeting with Dr. Djuanda and Achmad Ali, during which we discussed in more general terms our aid programme with Indonesia. We were given copies of a document, dated October 11th, entitled, "Summary Review of the Mineral Resource Development Programme for 1956-1960". Two copies are attached (Appendix 5).? It is our impression that the Indonesians presented this memorandum to most of the donor country delegations at Singapore. Certainly, it has been placed before the ICA, and one expert has already been promised from Japan. One major point on which we were never really satisfied was the relationship of this Indonesian submission to the Canadian programme already underway in Indonesia for which we are already providing two geologists and possibly a third.
The Indonesians do not contemplate an overall survey of mineral resources for which one donor country would be responsible, but are seeking assistance from abroad for the programme of mineral resources survey which they propose to undertake and organize themselves. The experts who would be supplied under this scheme would be assigned to particular operational posts but might also be expected (as one of the Canadian experts is already doing) to undertake teaching courses. There appears to be considerable possibility of confusion in the organization of this mineral resources survey, particularly as experts are going to be supplied from three or four donor countries and agencies. Dr. Djuanda expressed great satisfaction with the Canadian geologists now on the scene.
There was no discussion with the Indonesian Delegation of possible Canadian assistance to the aerial survey since it was agreed that the next step was up to Ottawa, where action could presumably be taken on the basis of the reports already made available.
The Indonesians welcomed our proposal to send out a team to Indonesia to look into the possibilities of aid to technical training institutions. They referred in this connection to a report by a United States survey team which had been completed recently on the general subject of technical education in Indonesia. Achmad Ali agreed to make a copy of this report available to Mr. Heasman's office for use by the Canadian expert when he came.
The Indonesians are also anxious to obtain the services of Dr. Keyfitz and perhaps another Canadian to help them in the preparation of their census. They wanted to know what the chances were of getting Dr. Keyfitz's services under the Colombo Plan for a further period, perhaps for as much as three more years.
We had some discussion with the Indonesians concerning their undergraduate students' training plan. Ottawa had agreed to accept ten students for such training this year. We were subsequently informed that the Australians were flying (during the period of the Conference itself) 140 Indonesian students who would begin undergraduate training in Australia this fall. So far as the Canadian programme was concerned, the Indonesians promised to be careful in selecting suitable candidates and to ensure that they would be satisfactorily employed on their return.
The Indonesians seemed appreciative of Canadian assistance. There was not very much that the Delegation could do during the meetings in view of the existing close liaison between Dr. Djuanda and his officers and the Canadian Embassy in Djakarta.
[4E PARTIE/PART 4]
DISCUSSIONS WITH THE LAOS DELEGATION DURING THE COLOMBO
At the beginning of the meeting, Mr. Ritchie explained the general frame of reference within which Canadian economic aid programmes with Laos would be worked out, indicating that so far as capital aid was concerned the Laos authorities could not expect more than a fairly limited amount of assistance. He spoke in terms of tens of thousands rather than of hundreds and indicated that the primary emphasis, at the beginning in any case, would have to be on technical assistance.
Concerning technical assistance, the Deputy Prime Minister of Laos had apparently no conception of the type of education that was available in Canada in French. We explained to him in some detail the types of courses given at the French-speaking Canadian universities and tried to interest him in the possibility of sending some candidates from his country. However, he emphasized several times over that Laos had very few people that it could send to training courses abroad. Our general impression was that the Laotians preferred that anybody who could be spared from the country should study in France. In any case there were so few experienced officials that hardly anybody from the public services could be spared.
With regard to experts, the Laos authorities stressed their housing, transportation, and counterpart problems. Our general impression was that for these reasons (and possibly also for the additional reason that the United States and United Kingdom programmes are providing a number of experts), few requests in this field would be received by Canada.
The Laotians were, however, anxious to get some form of capital assistance from us. It was our impression that they would welcome any agreed form of Canadian aid. The Canadian Delegation indicated its desire to provide some economic aid since Laos is the only country in the Colombo Plan to whom we have so far not given assistance. Altogether six possible fields of aid were discussed.
The first priority, according to the Laotians would be for a mining and prospecting survey of their country. They believe there are uranium and various non-ferrous metals to be discovered. The local inhabitants have themselves been working some deposits of precious metals, and it is believed there are also iron deposits close to the surface. The Laos authorities said that they had some maps and that some very preliminary studies had been done during French days. One of the difficulties that emerged from the discussion was that of transportation, there being very few roads in Laos. What is more, the geological survey work would have to be done in very difficult terrain. It was thought that this could only be accomplished properly by helicopter or on foot. The Laotians emphasized that the work would be carried out in the settled and tranquil districts. The Canadian Delegation agreed that this form of aid from Canada might be considered in Ottawa, and after further investigation, someone might be sent out to discover if it would be practical for Canada to offer assistance.
In the field of hydro-electric energy, the Laotians mentioned the Mekong River project and remarked that they had some other projects for the development of electrical energy on which they wanted help. Concerning the Mekong project, it is understood that ECAFE already have a survey team preparing a study. This is a fairly limited study involving ECAFE experts in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. They will be preparing through the ECAFE headquarters a general economic report on the project. Sir Alexander MacFarquhar of the United Nations told us that he had asked for, and received, authority from UNTAB headquarters under a special regional emergency fund available to spend upwards of $150,000 on a more detailed engineering study of the project. He was now negotiating with ECAFE to see how this could be arranged. It was believed it would have to be done under ECAFE leadership. After our talk with the Laotians, we spoke to both MacFarquhar and Lokanathan and indicated that, if asked, we were sure the Technical Co-operation Service would be willing to try and find Canadian French-speaking personnel to work on this project. However, as far as the Laotians themselves were concerned, we told them that Canadian aid would not be on a scale sufficient to undertake a project of the size of the Mekong Dam and that our attention would have to be concentrated on a part of a project of this magnitude or on a smaller project.
The Laotians then indicated some of their difficulties in producing electrical energy at all and referred to the very limited facilities which now existed, even in Vientiane, for generating electrical energy. They would be most interested in any assistance we could give in the form of diesel generating equipment, and the possibility was left open that we might send someone to look into this field in Laos, particularly if someone were going to Cambodia in the same field.
The Laotians also asked for our help in providing hospital equipment and we pointed out to them some of the problems we faced because of the fact that most hospital equipment used in Canada is manufactured in the United States.
The Laotians then expressed their wish to receive aid in the form of agricultural machinery and tractors. They had land available for cultivation but suffered from a shortage of labour. Australia is already providing some assistance in this field and has supplied ten tractors. The size of tractor which they had in mind was 85 to 105 horsepower. Mr. English thought that the possibility of Canadian assistance perhaps in maintenance as well as in the provision of tractors should be carefully studied and that there very well might be Canadian firms that would be anxious to co-operate in sending someone out to Laos to do an on-the-spot study. One of the major forms which our assistance could take would be in the provision of repair facilities since, apparently, there is no adequate centre of this kind anywhere in Laos.
Another field in which the Laotians would be grateful for our help is what they call "sanitary education". WHO and UNICEF are already active in this general area but do not have much money for expenditure on equipment. It was left very much in the air as to whether Canada could become involved in this field and Mr. Ritchie subsequently thought that we might contact WHO for a general report.
Finally, as we were leaving, the Laotians raised the possibility of help from Canada in the form of sawmilling equipment, but this was not thought to be a very likely possibility by the Canadian Delegation.
In general, the problems involved in providing any economic aid at all to Laos are staggering. It is very difficult to know where to begin, and the Canadian Delegation concluded that only by detailed, on-the-spot investigation in practical subjects could anything in the nature of a country programme be worked out.
During the meeting, we drew the Laos Party's attention to our offer of film strips, films and projection equipment for audio-visual and adult education purposes, but discussion of our offer was left over until the Delegation's return to Vientiane.
[5E PARTIE/PART 5]
DISCUSSIONS WITH THE MALAYA DELEGATION DURING THE COLOMBO
During the meetings, the Malayan authorities put considerable pressure on us in connection with the aerial survey. One senior official came down from Kuala Lumpur especially to press us to offer some assistance in this field. Attached is a copy of a report on the Aeromagnetic survey for Malaya which was prepared by an UNTAB expert, George Shaw (Appendix 1).? Apparently, the Canadian authorities had not yet had an opportunity to study this report.
There is no point in this memorandum of recovering the ground that has already been dealt with so fully by Mr. Bartlett and by others who have looked into this project. As to its necessity, the Canadian Delegation during the meetings did not ask for any further background information. However, on a number of occasions the opportunity was taken of discussing our problems in dealing with a request for an expenditure of this magnitude in Malaya. The Malayan authorities were informed unequivocally that: only if the United Kingdom had been approached and was unable to undertake the work, and only if the Malayan authorities themselves were unable to do the work commercially, and only if Canada had sufficient funds available after the needs of the non-colonial territories in the area had been met, could favorable detailed consideration be given to the project in Ottawa.
The Malayans seemed to understand our position and in preparation for meetings with us had obtained authority to say that Malaya would be able to meet a part of the costs of this survey out of its own resources. What the Malayans said to us, therefore, was that they would be glad to know what part of the total cost of the project Canada would be prepared to undertake. The Delegation undertook to look into the possibility of Canada undertaking only a part of the total cost or some specific section of this survey which could be regarded as an autonomous project. The Malayans appeared to be willing to make a contribution even in the form of Canadian dollars if we agreed to undertake the project as a whole.
The Malayans' point was that their country might shortly become independent and that the Malayan people would be grateful for assistance from other Commonwealth countries given prior to their independence. What the Colonial officers were afraid of was that, with the increase in the use of synthetic rubber and the gradual diminishing of tin resources, the country might be faced with severe economic difficulties after independence unless a survey of natural resources showed further possibilities for economic development. In their anxiety to ensure that Malaya after obtaining its independence remains within the Commonwealth, the Colonial administration is anxious to ensure that the advantages of Commonwealth membership should be plainly obvious. The Malayan administration is anxious for a decision on the project to be reached one way or another in the immediate future and expressed some concern that there had been such a long delay (they said over a year) between the request being made to Canada and our giving a definite answer. The Canadian Delegation did not accept the implied Malayan criticism but agreed to stress the urgency of the situation to Ottawa and to suggest that a preliminary view one way or the other be made known to the Malayan authorities as soon as possible.
During the meetings we fairly forcefully drew the attention of
the Malayan authorities to the difficulties there had been in the
past concerning the employment of Canadians in the Malayan
Colonial service. It was our view (which it is believed the
Malayans now appreciate) that Canadians should not be required to
fill in for Colonial civil servants away on a holiday or posted
elsewhere. We also stressed the difficulties which were discussed
in detail in the Technical Assistance Group: of students of this
area returning after courses from abroad to find that their
qualifications were not as highly regarded as similar United
Kingdom qualifications from traditional sources. On both of these
points, the Malayans now are at least fully informed and may
conceivably bear our problems in mind in working out future
projects and technical assistance programmes.
Attached is a copy of a memorandum which was prepared on the Singapore Polytechnic (Appendix 3).? After our discussions with Davies of the Singapore Government, this project was left pending a further submission to us by the Singapore Government. In general, we did not indicate any particular enthusiasm for this project and referred to the financial and political problems sketched above in relation to the aerial survey. The Singapore authorities are also approaching the ICA, the Australians, and the United Kingdom for help on the Polytechnic. The Polytechnic may very well turn into a regional project in which case Canada might be better able to assist it, provided funds were available and provided we manufactured the equipment required for any particular laboratory. Davies suggested and we agreed that, if Canadian aid were offered, it would best be provided in the shape of equipment for a self-contained laboratory unit. The Singapore authorities were not able, however, to press very far at the present time with their request, and all they wanted was an indication of the likelihood of Canadian aid. Not until the Principal of the Polytechnic had been appointed (as was expected in two months' time) and the heads of departments nominated would they be able to make firm and detailed requests. The question of Canadian aid to this project was left very much up in the air.
Attached also is a memorandum from Mr. Armstrong concerning three specific Malayan applications which the Delegation did not discuss in detail (Appendix 4).? Presumably these can best be dealt with further through Mr. Armstrong's office after due consideration in Ottawa.
In connection with the various Malayan submissions, a number of documents are attached describing Mr. Bartlett's discussions with the Malayan authorities; these give a great deal of information about the Malayan requests (Appendix 5).? Another report attached gives information on the technical assistance which the Malayan Government has requested from other Colombo Plan countries (Appendix 6).?
It was to be expected that the Malayans would take advantage of the Conference being held in Singapore to press their requests. In response to our comments concerning the relationship of these requests to the requirements of the non-Commonwealth countries in the area, the Malayan answer was that just because one of the countries in South-East Asia had got its head and shoulders out of the mud while other countries were still up to their neck in economic difficulties, this was no reason for refusing to help the man who was half-way out to get all the way out.
[6E PARTIE/PART 6]
DISCUSSIONS WITH THE VIET-NAM DELEGATION DURING THE COLOMBO
Early in the meetings, the Canadian Delegation took the opportunity of making sure that the Vietnamese understood our position relative to the provision of aid to their country under the Colombo Plan. The Delegation believes that the Vietnamese are sympathetic to our position and understand our problems in providing experts and capital assistance. When we had a full Delegation meeting with the Vietnamese, we suggested that only through the provision of language teachers could we get very much involved in the expert programmes. Sir Alexander MacFarquhar was considerably disappointed when our position was explained to him, and he tried to suggest once or twice that Canada was being unduly sensitive in refraining from sending experts to South Viet-Nam. The Vietnamese themselves didn't seem to be very much concerned.
During the meetings, the Delegation also brought the Vietnamese Delegation and the World Bank representative together as a result of the former's request for help in determining where assistance could be obtained in preparing overall national economic plans. Mr. de Wilde subsequently told us that Viet-Nam might in the near future join the International Bank.
Our main emphasis during the Delegation meeting with the Vietnamese was on training programmes. The Vietnamese accepted our views on the desirability of relating fellowship and scholarship programmes in some way to development programmes. They also were prepared to obtain undertakings from trainees going abroad to return to Viet-Nam. What is more, the Government would consider itself under an obligation to employ trainees in appropriate fields when they returned. The Vietnamese wondered whether, in the light of our comments about annual reviews, we would be prepared to take trainees at other times. We indicated that the Canadian request for an annual review and for co-ordinated submissions on technical assistance did not, of course prohibit requests being put forward at other times.
The Vietnamese pointed out the severe difficulties they faced in finding candidates for fellowships and scholarships from amongst the civil service cadres. Many civil servants could not be spared from their work for the time involved. Similarly, graduates of the high schools who were available for advanced university work were very few in number and many of these were now going to France. (We may eventually run into the same problem in Indochina, which we have run into in the British territories, of Canadian degrees not being regarded as highly as those from the metropolitan area concerned.)
The Vietnamese asked us if we could consider taking students who only recently completed their high school training. The Canadian authorities agreed to consider this possibility for limited numbers of applicants.
We took the occasion also to remind the Vietnamese of the numerous outstanding offers from Canada to which they had not replied with specific nomination requests. Our offer of film strips, films and photographic equipment was also re-emphasized during the meeting.
The Vietnamese also circulated to all interested countries at the meeting a document entitled, "Report of the Government of Viet-Nam on Technical Assistance". Copies of this general survey are attached (Appendix 1).? It should be noted that while the submission is entitled, "Technical Assistance", it is concerned to a large extent with equipment as well as experts and training opportunities. The Vietnamese also reminded us of the requests made to us through the Canadian Embassy, Washington, and gave us a copy (attached-Appendix 2)? of a letter, dated September 23rd, under which the Vietnamese Ambassador in Washington had apparently submitted fifteen specific requests with dossiers for candidates.
We made the point to the Viet-Nam authorities that they should not warn their candidates too far in advance of their acceptance by the Canadian authorities, and that all applications for individual training should be regarded as tentative until word of their final acceptance had been received from Ottawa.
. . .
[12E PARTIE/PART 12]
POLITICS AT THE SINGAPORE MEETINGS
The meetings of the Officials and of the Ministers at Singapore had more political content than at any previous Colombo Plan meeting. This is not to say that political subjects themselves were considered by the meeting or that political considerations affected its discussions, but the period of the Conference coincided with a period of great political change in Singapore itself, which had a considerable influence on the discussions which delegations held outside the meetings. The Canadian Delegation also had discussions of some interest on political problems with the leaders of the Indochinese Delegations. It is interesting to note, however, that according to the Indian Delegation, they had no contact whatsoever with the Indochinese Delegations.
Mr. David Marshall's chairmanship of the meetings also brought the delegations much more closely in touch with Singapore political life than might have been the case if a less controversial figure had headed the Singapore Delegation. Mr. Marshall had rocketed into prominence only six months previously as a result of elections held in Singapore under the new constitution. (Copy attached).?
Mr. Marshall, who is a colourful extrovert, had succeeded just before the Conference opened in securing agreement by the United Kingdom authorities to the appointment by his Labour Front Government of additional Ministers to the Governing Council of Singapore. Marshall had also taken the initiative in establishing closer relations with Indonesia, thus invading the province of foreign relations which had hitherto been reserved to the United Kingdom authorities. Marshall's actions in this respect demonstrated a situation which came as a surprise to the Canadian Delegation, that is that the local governments of colonies are not necessarily subject to much direction from London. The Hong Kong administration is a case in point. The U.K. Treasury has been anxious for some time to close off Hong Kong as a major gap in its network of regulations to protect sterling from the dollar. The Hong Kong administration has simply refused to carry out the U.K. Government's instructions on this issue and as in the case of Singapore, has consistently followed a highly independent course of action whenever the interests of the colony seem to make this necessary.
In his speech to the Rotary Club at Raffles Hotel, Mr. Pearson very clearly stated Canadian appreciation of the difficulties which Singapore was now facing. He commented on the similar Canadian development from colony to nation and went further to express the expectation that one day Canada would have the same relationship with Singapore and the Federation of Malaya that it now has with India, Pakistan and Ceylon as freely associated members of the Commonwealth. The progress towards political independence which Singapore has made has resulted in very recent constitutional changes, but it is clear that the pace of these changes is increasing rapidly. David Marshall has spoken of independence in two years, but the pressure on himself and on his party is already such that he may well have to secure further advances before the two year period is up. He is now scheduled to go to London in the near future to make arrangements for a full-scale constitutional discussion in the Spring.
When David Marshall and the Labour Front first came into power they were faced with considerable opposition from British interests. Now the U.K. authorities and the British community in Singapore cannot speak too highly or too fulsomely of his good qualities. In fact, this very support may prove an embarrassment to Mr. Marshall. As this memorandum is written on Sunday, October 30, Mr. Marshall's party is facing serious internal divisions and it is quite possible that his ascendancy may be brief, unless he is able to control those factions of his own and of other parties that want to proceed much more quickly than is reasonable with the attainment of self-government.
C.C. Tan, a wealthy Chinese lawyer and member of the Singapore Government, until Marshall's victory, had attended the Karachi, Delhi and Ottawa Colombo Plan Meetings. It was natural therefore, that we should be in touch with him and natural also that he should give us his views about politics in Singapore. His was the party which had advocated moderate progress towards eventual self-government, but which when confronted with the more radical and urgent programme of David Marshall's group was heavily defeated at the elections. As one of the U.K. delegates from Borneo remarked, almost invariably the local leaders who successfully cooperated with the British are discarded as soon as independence becomes a practical possibility. It is unlikely that Mr. C.C. Tan, as a moderate Chinese leader, will assume a position of political importance in Singapore again in the near future. C.C. Tan said that his own party had been outbidden in the independence agitation, but had also been defeated because of the division of the right-wing Chinese group in Singapore. He himself belongs to what is termed the "de-cultured Chinese community which acknowledges Singapore as its home. The right-wing group, however, still has some connections with the Kuomintang. This right-wing group was impatient to establish a Chinese university under a most elaborate plan drawn up by Lin Yutang. C.C. Tan says that once the drive towards self-government has begun, it cannot be stopped and that a leader such as David Marshall must be able to ride a storm and keep ahead of dissident elements, if he is to bring the change about without serious conflict. C.C. Tan was bitter, however, at the failure of the British to provide more opportunities for local people to take over positions of responsibility in the Government. "Malayanisation" of the Civil Service might now have to go forward much more rapidly and with considerable loss of efficiency as a result. The Secretary to the Governor of Singapore set this whole conflict in a wider context by referring to the regional and racial problems which condition the pace at which self-government can be attained in Malaya. It was his view that unless the Governments of India and of China work out an amicable basis of understanding, it would not be possible for Singapore to become fully independent. If there remained serious conflict between India and China then Singapore and the Federation of Malaya, as an independent unit, would have to choose between one bloc or the other. He argued that the United Kingdom might have to proceed more slowly than the local population wished in granting self-government, because of the sharp differences which now existed between Singapore, the Federation of Malaya and the Sultanates. The U.K. had contractual obligations of varying types with the different Malaysian units which it could not easily abandon. What is more, the U.K. had a responsibility towards the Malays. Since the British came to Malaya and brought with them over a period of time substantial numbers of Chinese and of Indians, it had been necessary to make special efforts to protect the Malayans who appeared to be incapable of standing up against these two more vigorous cultures.
It might have been expected at the Colombo Plan Meetings in Singapore that the Simla Conference would have exercised an important influence over the proceedings.25 This was not in fact the case. There were very few references to Simla, which is apparently regarded by most of the Asians as having been something of a waste of time, following the abandonment of Mr. Stassen's more elaborate ideas by the United States Government. The Indian Delegation in particular was most anxious that there should be no discussion of the Simla meeting and the only reference during the meetings was a brief one on the last day, in which the Indian delegate "drew attention to the summary proceedings of the Conference at the official level, when the Asian members of the Colombo Plan convened in Simla in May, 1955".
The Bandung meetings, however, had made a great impression on all the Asian delegations present at Singapore and were constantly referred to in private discussions. The value of these meetings was described as that of bringing together both Asians and Africans for the first time. From Raju Coomaraswamy we got our most vivid impressions of the meetings which were, he said, "a great show", but a number of other delegations referred to what they described as "the future importance of the Bandung concept". Coomaraswamy reported the Kotelawalla-Nehru incident. Kotelawalla had made an outspoken comment on the necessity of discussing Communist imperialism, if there were to be a discussion of European imperialism in the area. When Mr. Nehru interrupted him with the question "Why didn't you discuss this with me?" (i.e. before raising this question in the full Assembly) - to which Kotelawalla had answered "Why the hell should I discuss it with you?". Raju says that Kotellawala's willingness to cross swords publicly with Nehru on this and on other occasions was a source of surprise to other Asians, and in particular caused Chou En-Lai to have a considerable respect for the Ceylonese leader. Chou En-Lai himself, so Raju says, made a most favourable impression at the Conference being "smooth and educated".
An interesting sidelight on the Bandung meetings was Raju's comment that while the Portuguese and the Dutch were assailed repeatedly for their colonial policies, the British were not even mentioned during the proceedings as imperialists. Raju reported also that, when confronted with the necessity of re-writing their country chapter, the Nepalese Delegation had commented "How can we do this when we have never had the benefits of British occupation?" Incidentally, Coomaraswamy also tells us that the Philippines are regarded as "suckers" by the other Asians, because they have given up more to secure United States' aid than the other Asians have found it necessary to surrender. Certainly the Philippine Delegation made a most unfortunate impression during the meetings, their leader making several totally irrelevant and uncalled for speeches.
The relations between the Indian and the Pakistan Delegations at the Singapore meetings were publicly cordial but privately not too satisfactory. When the Canadian reactor proposal was discussed with the Pakistan Delegation, the Pakistanis understood our decision to place this reactor in India, but were not hopeful that they could secure any real benefit from the international facilities the Indians have agreed to offer. When it comes to questions of prestige, the Indians at the Conference appeared anxious to ensure that their role as a major delegation was emphasized and the Pakistanis appeared to base their own participation on a decision to balance whatever impression the Indians made. When the U.S. atomic centre was discussed, the Pakistanis commented that India was all in favour of Ceylon for the obvious reason that they would like to avoid any possibility of the centre being set up in Pakistan. Similarly, the Pakistanis referred in private occasionally to the apparent close cooperation between Indian and United Kingdom Delegations. As one Pakistan Delegate mentioned, relations between his country and India change drastically from time to time. It was clear during the meetings that relations between India and Pakistan under the Colombo Plan context had not yet reached the stage of amicable cooperation where joint projects might be possible.
The most important political excitement at the Colombo Plan Meetings was, however, created by the United States' proposal to establish an atomic regional centre somewhere in Asia.26 The United States' proposal, which was the only aspect of their aid programme which was discussed in detail by Mr. Hollister in presenting the United States' section of the contributions chapter, excited great interest amongst all the receiving countries. Because no announcement was made of any decision regarding the site of this centre, the U.S. Delegation was almost immediately exposed to pressure from all sides. The Chairman of the Ministerial Meetings, Mr. Marshall, made a special effort to secure the centre for Singapore, and the Ceylonese Delegation was very much embarrassed by premature speculation in Colombo, to the effect that the centre would be located in their country. The Ceylonese authorities are, however, prepared to go to almost any lengths to ensure that the project is located near Colombo and hope if this were possible, that it might mean the beginning of the end of the prohibition against U.S. aid to their country, because of the terms of the Battle Act.27 Because the Canadian offer of an atomic reactor for India had been made sometime previously, it was rather overshadowed by the United States proposal.
At no point during the meetings was there any criticism of Canadian policy in any of its aspects. In fact, the reverse was the case, and Canada's position in world affairs, as well as our economic aid programmes, came in for repeated public and private commendation. Some of this was due to Mr. Pearson's presence. He was referred to on a number of occasions as the most notable international figure at the meetings.
Attached is a memorandum? on an informal meeting which the Canadian Delegation held with Mr. Angus MacIntosh, a senior official of the Colonial Office, to discuss British colonial policy.
[13E PARTIE/PART 13]
Attached are some very rough notes arising from the discussions held in the Technical Assistance Working Group (Appendix 1).? Most of the points covered in the attached notes have been reflected in the Report of the Technical Assistance Working Group (Conference Document C.C/55(o)-32 Revised) or in the "Technical Assistance" chapter of the Annual Report. The Canadian Delegation was active in preparing both these documents.
The paper which Canada had circulated to all member governments just prior to the meetings was most useful in stimulating discussion. The following is a summary of the discussion on our paper:
(a) It is fairly clear that even the most advanced of the receiving Colombo Plan countries are not prepared to make a special effort to prepare annual priority lists for presentation to Canada. (U.N. programmes are, however, negotiated on an annual basis.) The Government of Pakistan is at present following the procedure most closely in line with that which we have suggested. Some other countries felt, however, that their needs did not arise in an annual pattern and that they would like to feel free to put forward requests whenever new requirements became obvious. It may be that more and more countries will come around to preparing of annual lists as their administration for carrying out the technical assistance programmes improves, but at the present time only a few consider themselves in a position to do so. The Canadian Delegation did not press this point since some delegations misunderstood our position and asked whether Canada would refuse to consider requests which were not put forward on an annual basis. Therefore, the Delegation indicated a preference for annual submissions if possible but agreed that the Canadian authorities would, of course, be prepared to consider requests whenever they were made.
(b) With regard to firm undertakings to re-employ the trainee on his return in the field for which he had received experience abroad, most countries of the area were prepared to do this. However, several specific reservations were made, particularly by the Malayan authorities, who said that the civil service administration of this area in particular was not so designed that openings could be foreseen for individual civil servants two or three years ahead. If the trainee was at a very junior level or in a highly specialized trade, there would be less difficulty than if he were at a more senior level where it was customary to shift officials around in order to give them broad experience. The Canadian view is facing here the different concept of civil service administration which has applied in all the territories once part of the British Empire and which holds that there should be a senior cadre of civil servants capable of being transferred from one job to another as the need arises; e.g., the ICS tradition.
With regard to evaluation, even the Indians and Pakistanis had found that this type of analysis would be premature at the present time and what is more extremely difficult to do. The United Nations Technical Assistance Programme was now embarking on the preparation of an evaluation report, and Pakistan, for example, was also attempting some follow-up procedures and India is considering the establishment of evaluation machinery. The Pakistani experience had, however, been fairly unsatisfactory, and the general consensus of opinion amongst the Asian delegations was that the time had not yet come to devote scarce resources to an extensive programme of evaluation.
(c) In view of the reaction to our points "a" and "b", no particular changes can be anticipated in the nomination procedures and forms used by the Council for Technical Co-operation as a result of our proposals. One alternative idea was, however, pressed by Raju Coomaraswamy of Ceylon and by a number of other delegations.
Proposed Change in Nomination Procedures
Raju's idea was that the donor countries should accept nominations which did not give any individual name but which indicated general qualifications. Both the Ceylon and the Indonesian Delegations felt that a great deal of time and energy was being wasted by the requirement of the donor country that an individual nomination form must be completed in all cases before an agreed training programme could be established. Obviously for highly specialized courses in limited fields of study or for very advanced courses (perhaps at the Ph.D. level), individual names and qualifications would be required before a country, such as Canada, could agree to accept a candidate; however it was suggested that in other cases we might wish to consider arranging a training programme without necessarily knowing the individual trainee's name, providing adequate general qualifications were laid down.
Raju's point was that the donor country in most cases accepts the trainee whose name is put forward by the receiving country if his qualifications on paper are satisfactory; therefore, if we have confidence in the selection procedures of a receiving country, we should not theoretically object to arranging a programme for a geologist without knowing as much as, say, six months in advance what the geologist's name might be.
Both Ceylon and Indonesia had found great difficulty in operating technical assistance programmes because of the requirement exacted up to the present that all nominations would be personal ones. The difficulty arose because individuals had to go through a lengthy selection procedure and, once selected, it was disturbing for them and for the administration in which they were serving to have to wait for as long as six months in an atmosphere of uncertainty as to when they would be leaving. Sometimes it turned out to be impossible to arrange a training programme in response to a particular request with the result that, after an individual had been on the qui vive for a considerable period, the whole procedure had to be started all over again. The receiving governments appear to be developing increasingly elaborate and expensive selection procedures and did not want to overload these channels. They would prefer to start the selection machinery only after approval had been given in principle by a donor government to arrange a particular training course. So far as Canada was concerned, the Canadian Delegation agreed to suggest that Ottawa look into this possibility and, where possible, to consider accepting general rather than particular requests for training facilities.
Regional Training Centres
There was much discussion in the meetings of the possibility for regional training centres. This discussion is reported in the Technical Assistance Group document. What is not reported in that document, however, is the emphasis which many Asian countries placed on national training centres. Pakistan, for example, was afraid that if too much money and time were spent on regional training centres, assistance for national training centres might be affected. The Canadian willingness to consider requests for equipment for training institutions has already borne some fruit, e.g., the Singapore Polytechnic project and the Burmese Technical High School project. It was recognized, however, that the Ford Foundation was primarily concerned with technical assistance to training institutions and that the United Kingdom amongst the Colombo Plan countries was concentrating particularly on this field, for which it was specially suited. Therefore, it may be that a form of specialization is developing both between the Colombo Plan and other donor agencies and within the Colombo Plan itself, as a result of which Canada may not be asked to assist very much in this field.
In the last paragraph of our brief, we make a plea for better preparation of requests for the services of experts. All the Asian countries seemed to appreciate this point which was made by every donor country, but several countries emphasized that they simply did not have the funds or facilities to make what were elsewhere considered satisfactory accommodation, transportation or counterpart assistance arrangements. Nepal, for example, drew attention to the waiver which it had been granted by the United Nations which absolved it from any responsibility for local allowances for experts. The Australians have decided to meet some of these difficulties by sending prefabricated housing with their experts to Indochina. Indonesia likewise drew attention to the great difficulties it was facing in providing adequately for foreign experts. The general consensus of opinion amongst the receiving countries was that the donor countries under the Colombo Plan should consider providing additional equipment or assist in other ways in meeting the expenses arising from the use of an expert's services. The ICA and the UN programmes, for example, are beginning to find it necessary to provide the expert with more and more assistance directly from his home government and to rely less and less on the receiving countries for these services than was the original intention. This receiving country view was greeted with reservation by the Canadian Delegation.
The receiving countries also asked that donor countries pay particular attention to the personal as well as to the professional qualifications of experts sent to this area since adaptability and reasonable willingness to co-operate were as important as outstanding professional qualifications.
In general, it was also concluded that any time spent by either the receiving or the donor governments in making better preparation either for a trainee's or for an expert's programme would be time well spent. However, most of the receiving countries complained at the slowness with which applications were being considered and, while admitting that much of the fault lay on their side, hoped that increasingly effective administrative procedures would be developed by the donor countries also.
When asked by other delegations during the meetings, we said that we did not think the Canadian authorities wanted formal replies to the memorandum which we circulated. The specific issues raised during the meetings were to be discussed more fully at the next session of the Council for Technical Co-operation in Colombo.