The purpose of this memorandum is to examine the proposal to
extend the present Canadian technical assistance arrangements to
all the underdeveloped areas of the Commonwealth whether
dependent or independent. This broadening of the geographical
coverage and of the scope of our technical assistance scheme
should be the subject of consultation with other Commonwealth
governments to the end that it may be agreed that a general
extension of these programs by a number of Commonwealth
governments might be decided upon at the Montreal
Conference. The proposal should be examined with four aspects of the problem in mind:
What is now being done by Canada and other Commonwealth countries?
How would any expansion of the Canadian program be integrated with the present Canadian
arrangements for the Colombo Plan, the West Indies, and Ghana?
- What form might the new arrangements take? Suggested for consideration are two related schemes:
a Commonwealth scholarship scheme to be operated in close consultation with other
Commonwealth governments; and
technical assistance on the present pattern.
What institutional machinery would be required?
- The Present Technical Assistance Arrangements
Most of the more well-developed countries of the Commonwealth contribute to the United
Nations Expanded Technical Assistance program and would presumably play some part in any
new United Nations arrangements that may be made such as the Special Fund. The present
Canadian contribution to UNETAP is $2million a year. In addition to this the United Nations
Specialized Agencies provide some technical assistance from their regular budgets, to which
Canada and of course other Commonwealth countries contribute.
In addition, the United Kingdom makes substantial contributions of a technical assistance
character to the Commonwealth through the Colonial Development and Welfare Funds and other
programs such as the technical scholarships offered by the U.K. Board of Trade. Other
Commonwealth countries have similar arrangements; for example, Australia provides a good
deal of help for Papua which it administers as a trusteeship territory. The most important form of
such assistance offered by Commonwealth countries (except South Africa) is through their
Colombo Plan programs.
The present Canadian arrangements within the Commonwealth may be summarized as
|(a)Colombo Plan New
||Appointments in Calendar 1957
||Expenditure Fiscal 1957-8
(Note: Activities in non-commonwealth countries are excluded from these figures.)
(b) West Indies, present fiscal year:
Experts abroad (to September 1) 7
Funds available $215,000
(c)Ghana, present fiscal year:
Experts abroad (to September 1) 2
(d)Canada Council (Calendar 1958)
Scholarships and fellowships awarded or planned for nationals of underdeveloped Commonwealth countries 7
Approximate expenditure $23,500
(e) National Research Council (1957-8)
Scholarships and fellowships awarded or planned for nationals of underdeveloped Commonwealth countries
Approximate expenditure $300,000
Most of the Canadian contribution at least at the Federal level, in what might be called the
international exchange of persons has been arranged through the Colombo Plan and through
Canadian aid programmes to the West Indies and Ghana. This is technical assistance in the
narrow sense of the term, and differs from broader international exchange programs in that it
must meet the following criteria:
the object of the exchanges must be associated with the economic development of the
country assisted; work in the humanities or other non-economic fields is thus not included.
the candidates must be nominated formally by their own governments. In practice,
thismeans that most of them are in government service and return to fill government jobs.
Consideration should be given to extending Canadian programmes beyond technical
assistance thus defined, for the following reasons:
The expanded program of assistance could therefore be adjusted to meet their changing needs
The underdeveloped countries of the Commonwealth have in the past drawn on the
Westfor a great many of their trained people in the humanities and other non-economic fields, and this has
given the Western viewpoint strong spokesmen. Independence in much of the Commonwealth
and the limitations of present technical assistance arrangements together make it likely that in
many countries this group of western trained leaders may not be replaced, except to the extent
that existing scholarships, most of them from University endowments or private funds, are
providing some opportunity for replacement.
The prime need in many of the underdeveloped countries is not so much for technicians
andengineers (of which there may be too many) but for administrators, political leaders, teachers and
other people who must have broad education and background rather than narrowly specialized
training. Present technical assistance arrangements do not meet this need; and may well be one of
the reasons why the existing stock of technical personnel in underdeveloped countries is not
being better used.
Training in the humanities and other non-technical fields would be popular and welcome
both in recipient countries and also among certain groups in Canada, who feel that the present
Canadian programs are unreasonably biased.
Relationship of New Scheme to Colombo Plan Programmes and Other Canadian Technical
There may be problems in fitting a new Commonwealth Scheme into the technical assistance
which countries in Asia now take for granted through the Colombo Plan. The problem arises
because the Colombo Plan is not primarily a Commonwealth scheme, although it was of
Commonwealth origin. The criterion for membership is nominally geographical rather than
political. Countries like Burma and Indonesia, which are not Commonwealth members, are full
participants in the Colombo Plan. At the same time it would be unfortunate and undesirable to
exclude the Commonwealth countries of South-East Asia from the workings of any new
Commonwealth scheme. It is suggested that one approach to this problem might be to divide the
new scheme into two programs, one to be Commonwealth wide and the other to apply only to
Commonwealth countries not now receiving Canadian technical assistance. Suggested programs
are discussed in the following section. No significant problems are foreseen in the West Indies
and Ghana, or in coordination with the United Nations or other international programs.
Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme
Consideration might be given to establishing a Scheme of Commonwealth Scholarships to
which the countries and dependent territories of the Commonwealth might contribute
(approximately in proportion to the facilities which they can make available) and within which
the nations of each country or territory might secure awards.
If Canada were to offer (as suggested below) about 100 scholarships, then the total scheme
might be from five to ten times as great, or even larger. Aside from awards granted by the
developed Commonwealth countries (U.K., Australia, and so forth) it might well be that India,
Pakistan, Malaya, Ceylon, and others would also wish to contribute. These countries are now
providing worthwhile technical assistance to others through the Colombo Plan, and feel strongly
about their position as donors as well as recipients.
Awards might be limited to underdeveloped countries or extended to the full
Commonwealth; the broad political attractions of the latter alternative are obvious. In line with
the views set-out above, it is suggested that these scholarships not be limited to technical
assistance in the restricted sense, but rather the awards should be open to the best candidates in
each country, regardless of their proposed field of study. The awards offered by any country
might therefore be open for study in every field in which suitable facilities are available.
Candidates would not have to be sponsored by their own governments, but would apply in their
own right; intellectual and personal qualities would be the sole criteria for selection.
A possible Canadian contribution to such a Commonwealth Scholarship scheme is outlined
below merely as a basis for consideration. It is possible, of course, to adjust the calculations to fit
any desired scale of operations. It is suggested that Canada might offer one scholarship for every
two million people in each underdeveloped territory, of the Commonwealth, with a maximum
of ten a year for any one country and a minimum for each country of one in four years. This
would mean approximately 70 Canadian scholarships a year according to the attached
(AnnexA). If the awards were tenable for a maximum of four years, with an average duration of three
years, then the cost (on present Canadian Colombo Plan rates) would be about $260,000 for the
first year, $420,000 for the second year and $580,000 for the third and succeeding years.
The scheme would apply both to present Commonwealth Colombo Plan countries as well as
to Commonwealth countries and territories not in the Colombo Plan area. For the Colombo Plan
countries, the money could be found from the Canadian Colombo Plan vote; this would cut the
need for new money almost in half. (It might be desirable to allocate rather more of Canadian
Colombo Plan funds to technical assistance so that present activities would not have to be unduly
curtailed.) If developed countries were to be included in the scheme, the number of
scholarships would rise by 29 as outlined in the attached Annex B. An estimate of all the costs
involved is summarized in Annex C.
If some such scheme as this were undertaken, the first awards could not take effect before
September 1959 and would be possible only if arrangements are put in hand urgently next
These awards should be invested with as much academic distinction and prestige as possible.
This is partly at least a public relations assignment, although the scholarships themselves should
be sufficiently attractive financially to secure application from the best available candidates in
To this end it is suggested that selection of scholars be made in each country by local
committees which would include representatives of each donor country as well as nominees of
the candidate's own Government. These committees should be established at the highest possible
level, although in practice most of the work might be done by alternates. The object should be
that the people who are successful in securing these scholarships should gain wide recognition by
The field of study in which Canadian scholarships might be offered would have to be
examined in some detail. In principle there should be no restriction except that imposed by
academic facilities available here. It is suggested however that in setting up the awards the
Canadian Governments should specify for most countries how many of the scholarships would
be for under-graduate and how many for graduate study. In many of the more under-developed
countries it is difficult to find candidates of ability to undertake graduate work; in other countries
(e.g. India) both the candidates available and administrative considerations would indicate
limiting the awards to graduates.
Placement in Canadian universities of candidates of the calibre expected is unlikely to present
a serious problem. The undergraduates could be fitted into the appropriate faculties across the
country without causing noticeable extra pressure, while graduates, considering their calibre, may
be expected to know what they wish to study and where. Anyone successful in getting one of
these awards is likely to be sufficiently strong academically to secure admission to any faculty of
- Expansion of Technical Assistance (in the narrow sense)
It is suggested that while the proposed Commonwealth Scholarship scheme extend to the
whole Commonwealth, it be supplemented by a technical assistance program for Commonwealth
countries not now receiving Canadian Technical Assistance. This program would be similar in
principle to the existing Canadian arrangements and would be limited by the same criteria.
Assistance both in experts' services and by the grant of fellowships and scholarships would be
made available only for purposes which contribute to the economic development of the country
concerned, and would be limited to specific requests by governments.
Assuming that about one million dollars additional is available in the expansion and that the
contemplated Scholarship arrangements as outlined above are acceptable, the balance for
technical assistance for the countries not now covered would be about half a million dollars. This
would be sufficient in the early stages of the expansion of the programme (assuming the present
arrangements for Ghana are to be subsumed under the new Scheme, but the West Indies to be
dealt with separately.) However, unlike the scholarship scheme the technical assistance program
might well grow so that more money could be used effectively in later years. If any significant
amounts of equipment and supplies were to be provided these funds would have to be increased
However, since realistic requests for assistance are likely to be lower than available funds for
the first few years, it is suggested that no formal public allocation of funds between countries be
made at the beginning, at least. Undue concentration on any one area or country can be avoided
by informal negotiation and administrative control. This approach has proved satisfactory,
simple, and acceptable by recipient countries under the Colombo Plan Technical Assistance
It is suggested that administrative arrangements be similar to those which have been
developed in dealing with the Colombo Plan and the West Indies and Ghana. The Canadian
Government would receive applications from the governments of the Commonwealth countries
and territories, would examine them to ensure that they fall within the terms of reference of the
program, that they were likely to be possible and practical of execution, and that they fall in a
field where assistance from Canada could be effective. If they met those criteria, then the
assistance would be provided according to the procedures already being applied.
It is suggested that while both experts' services and training facilities might be provided, the
bias should be in favour of the former because:
In summary, and as a very general rule, experts probably provide better value and meet higher
priority needs than trainees.
Experts probably provide more value for money, both in promoting economic development
and in political impact;
In most of the underdeveloped territories, there is an acute shortage of people with the basic
education which is needed to take advantage of training abroad. The trained people in many areas
already have scholarship programs open to them under other schemes;
The Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme outlined above would provide training opportunities
for the best available local people.
- Institutional Arrangements
In Canada, it would probably be most reasonable to administer the new programs through the
Technical Co-Operation Service of the Department of Trade and Commerce, which has been
established to look after Colombo Plan, United Nations, and other technical assistance for which
Canada has taken some responsibility. Experience available there in detailed administration of
technical assistance will be valuable, since many of the same problems will be encountered in the
new operation. In placing scholarship holders the Service would have the advice of its own
university advisers, and of the Canada Council and National Research Council where the field of
study is within the orbit of these organizations.
Experience with the Colombo Plan has been that the most effective technical assistance can
be arranged bilaterally. It is most important in practice to bring the professional people concerned
in donor and recipient countries into close contact so that the assistance provided will fit and
reflect the actual problems to be faced. A standing international secretariat serves only to
introduce a complicating factor in the Scheme. This has been the experience with the Colombo
Plan Bureau, which now contributes very little to the operation of the Colombo Plan Technical
Assistance Program. It was of some use at the beginning of the Scheme, but as the program
developed participating countries found it desirable to by-pass the secretariat in the interests of
speed and efficiency.
The Bureau now has only three functions of any real significance. First, it collects statistics of
the operation of the Colombo Plan Scheme. These are useful but not essential. It is suggested that
this function might be performed for the new Program, as well as for existing Commonwealth
Schemes by the Commonwealth Economic Committee. The Colombo Bureau also has an
Information Unit. For the new schemes this function could be performed by national information
agencies, as happens in practice for the Colombo Plan. Visits by the Director of the Colombo
Bureau to participating countries can be useful, but probably do not in themselves justify the
existence of the Bureau. It is suggested that for the new program this function could be
performed more cheaply and effectively by arranging for occasional visits to recipient countries
by Canadian officials concerned with the Program and by officials from recipient countries
visiting Canada. Experience has demonstrated that such visits are necessary, in any event.
The Colombo Bureau continues to exist for historical reasons and it is not the purpose of this
paper to suggest that it should be abolished. However, Canadian experience with it indicates that
there is no need to set up a similar organization for a new Program. It is significant that the West
Indies and Ghana programs have started to operate without a separate intermediary body, and
with no obvious need for one. It is relevant to point out that technical assistance was a new idea
when the Bureau was established. National administrations, in both donor and recipient countries
were feeling their way. Most countries now have a good deal of experience in working in this
field with the United Nations, the Commonwealth Development and Welfare Program, the
Specialized Agencies, the United States I.C.A. Program, and so forth. The principles of operation
of all of these agencies are essentially similar and are well understood by the officials throughout
the world who have to deal with technical assistance.
The detailed arrangements in the programme could probably best be established at a
conference where officials could come together to work out the administrative arrangements and
to exchange views on the fields of activity in which they are most concerned. Beyond this the
need for continuity would adequately be met through tours by individuals as mentioned above,
and by occasional (perhaps annual) meetings of senior operating officials from participating
In short, the cost of a continuing secretariat might better be spent on providing more technical
Summary and Conclusions
Given funds, a Canadian technical assistance program for the underdeveloped areas of the
Commonwealth not now receiving Canadian aid is perfectly practical. As far as Canada is
concerned it could be handled largely by machinery and procedures developed to deal with the
Colombo Plan, West Indies, and Ghana Programs. More people would of course be required, but
the basic structure exists.
A program of Commonwealth Scholarships is equally feasible as far as the Canadian portion
of the Scheme is concerned, and would fill a gap existing in the present Canadian programs.
Machinery for the administration of the Scheme in Canada exists, not only in the Technical
Cooperation Service, but also in the National Research Council and the Canada
Council. Co-ordination and co-operation between these agencies would be required, but should cause no
Experience with the Colombo Plan provides a valuable guide in establishing the new
program. Most of the procedures and criteria developed through the Colombo Plan can be
applied with only minor changes. There seems little need, for administrative purposes at least, to
establish a Secretariat as was done at the beginning of the Colombo Plan. The Commonwealth
Economic Committee might collect such common statistics as are required.
COMMONWEALTH SCHOLARSHIPS COSTS
Assuming arbitrarily, but not unrealistically that the average duration of each award is three
years, that the average cost of transportation is $1,400 for each award and that the average annual
cost of maintenance, fees and medical coverage is $2300 a year, the following cost figures result
for the proposed Canadian Program.
||Third and Succeeding Years
|Underdeveloped Territories (Annex A)
|Less Colombo Plan Funds (29 of 70 awards)*
|Net Cost for Underdeveloped Territories
|Plus cost for Developed Territories (Annex A)
|Total for all Commonwealth for Which
|New Money needed
* Transportation averaged @ $1,700 each because of consistent long distances
Note: These figures are approximate only, and should not be taken as firm estimates. They give,
however, a reasonable pictures of the general order of magnitudes involved.