Volume #18 - 628.|
COLOMBO PLAN TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs|
to Representative, Council for Technical Co-operation
LETTER NO. V|
January 31st, 1952|
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE COLOMBO PROGRAMME FOR TECHNICAL CO-OPERATION AND THE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMMES OF THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE SPECIALIZED AGENCIES|
When the Government gave its final approval to the Canadian contribution to the United Nations Expanded Programme, and to the Colombo Technical Cooperation Programme, in June 1950, the Prime Minister was most explicit about the relationship which should be established between the two programmes. In his opinion it was important to ensure that there be no duplication between the United Nations Programme and the one agreed to at Sydney and that Canadian efforts be directed towards integrating the two programmes to as large an extent as possible. It was his opinion that the most satisfactory arrangement might be to have both programmes handled though the same organization. Canadian representatives were instructed to endeavour to have measures taken to ensure that there be no duplication between the work of the Consultative Committee's technical assistance programme and that established by the United Nations and that everything possible be done to merge the two schemes.
2. Earlier, the Secretary of State for External Affairs had assured United Nations officials of our intentions in participating in the Colombo Programme. In February 1950, he wrote to Mr. F.L. McDougall, Special Assistant to the Director-General of the F.A.O., "nothing must be done without the clear understanding as to what is already being done by the United Nations Economic Committee for the area, F.A.O., etc."
3. The Canadian Delegation to the Sydney meetings in May, 1950, had been instructed by the Government to make clear that before considering any contribution to technical assistance for the Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth countries in South and South-East Asia, the Government would wish to have information concerning the way the programme would fit in with United Nations technical assistance.
4. Mr. Pearson thought it necessary to seek the assurance of the Australians about their intentions and Mr. Spender39 had replied that he was urging "the greatest possible use of all United Nations agencies in the area and the smallest practicable Commonwealth organization, which we envisage would cease to function at an early date when participation by other countries was achieved."
5. In his report on the meetings of the Standing Committee on Technical Cooperation which met in Colombo in August 1950, prior to the setting up of the Council for Technical Co-operation the Canadian Representative reported that the United Kingdom and New Zealand representatives were in agreement with him that we would be advised to exercise vigilance against the tendency of Australia and the Asian countries to overlook the fact that aid under the scheme must be only supplemental to aid which might be procured under other schemes, particularly those administered by the United Nations.
7. When Mr. Coomaraswamy, President of the Council for Technical Cooperation, spoke to the Interdepartmental Group on Technical Assistance in Ottawa last autumn, he referred to the usefulness of his conversations with United Nations officials and of the need for coordination between the two programmes. He added, however, that whereas the Colombo Programme had been designed to supplement United Nations activities in the area, it was proving so successful that it was, in fact, becoming complementary to the United Nations programme.
8. We have been encouraged by the reports we have received of the visits of Mr. Geoffrey Wilson, Director of the Bureau in Colombo, made to New Delhi and Karachi. These reports would seem to indicate that he attaches great importance to co-ordinating Colombo Programme activities with those of the United Nations and other agencies giving technical assistance to South and South-East Asia. We were particularly interested in the specific suggestion he made for consideration by the Council in Colombo to the effect that all requests for experts might, in the first instance, be directed to the United Nations and should regret it very much if the Council did not give sympathetic consideration to proposals of this kind.
9. I attach for your information and guidance the text of a statement of policy on this subject which was approved by the Interdepartmental Group on Technical Assistance at its twenty-second meeting on January 30.
10. You will note that this statement underlines the fact that the Canadian Government considers the Colombo Programme for Technical Co-operation as a temporary supplement to the programmes of the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies. It means that plans for Canadian activities under the Colombo Programme will be drawn up in the light of our opinion that the Colombo Programme and the United Nations Programmes should be merged in a few years. We must at the same time avoid the danger that the existence of the Colombo Programme will result merely in replacing during the next few years technical assistance which the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies would otherwise have given to South and South-East Asia. The essential thing is that technical assistance under the Colombo Programme should supplement United Nations technical assistance; we should not compete with it or replace it. It could, however, provide "a missing component" for a United Nations project.
11. Copies of this letter are being sent to our High Commissioners in New Delhi, Karachi, London, Wellington and Canberra, to the Embassy in Washington and to the Permanent Delegation of Canada to the United Nations, New York.
Déclaration de principes
Statement of Policy
Technical Assistance at its twenty
meeting on January 30, 1952."
The Canadian Government regards the Colombo Programme for Technical Cooperation as a temporary supplement to the technical assistance activities of the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies in an area where the needs are specially urgent. The Canadian Government considers it important, therefore, not only to avoid any duplication or overlapping between the United Nations Programme and the Colombo Programme but also to insure that every effort is directed towards integrating the two programmes to as large an extent as possible.
We have noted with satisfaction the appointment of a United Nations Liaison Officer to the Bureau in Colombo and the steps which governments participating in the Colombo Programme have taken to co_ordinate technical assistance activities at a national level.
Nevertheless, in view of the fact that in our opinion the Colombo Programme and the United Nations Programme should merge in a few years, we would continue to urge:
1) The greatest possible use by both recipient and donating countries of A United Nations agencies offering technical assistance to the area;
2) That requests for assistance by countries in South and South-East Asia, through the Bureau in Colombo, be made with due regard to United Nations activities in the area and, where advisable, in consultation with the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies;
3) That offers of technical assistance to countries of the area by other countries participating in the Colombo Programme be made with due regard to United Nations activities in the area and, where advisable, in consultation with the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies;
4) That the Council in Colombo recommend that member governments give sympathetic consideration to proposals for joint projects to be undertaken by the United Nations or the Specialized Agencies and a country giving assistance under the Colombo Programme in which "a missing component" for a United Nations project might be supplied through the Colombo Programme.