2001 ASSLH conference – Engagement: The Colombo Plan and Australia’s working relationship with Asia, 1950-1965

Daniel Oakman
Australian National University

Established in 1950, the Colombo Plan was a comprehensive program of foreign aid provided to South East Asian nations. In this paper I argue that the Colombo Plan had a much broader economic, political and cultural agenda, and cannot be understood from a humanitarian perspective alone. By exploring some of the cultural, ideological and political directions of the scheme I illustrate that, as part of a comprehensive foreign policy, it is best understood as being motivated by international security priorities and the need to ally domestic cultural concerns. However, although the Colombo Plan was inherently defensive, it also proved to be something of a progressive force which prepared the ground for a much closer working relationship with (and within) the Southeast Asian region. I will also briefly examine a selection of literature and films designed to promote economic modernisation in the poorer nations to Australia’s north. I argue that the images of Asia under the Colombo Plan drew on a wide variety of influences from social Darwinism, scientific rationalism and a pressing need to justify the expense of giving financial and technical assistance to the hitherto alien world of Asia.

Engagement is often used to describe the progressive and developing nature of Australia’s relationship with Asia, whether in a political, cultural, social or military context. This multi-layered word has many meanings which have evolved throughout history. It can mean an encumbrance, a pledge, an obligation or liability, an appointment, an entanglement. In military terminology it has evolved from the 18th century meaning for “crossing swords” to a description of almost any strategic encounter. It is also, of course, the period of time before marriage. The purpose of drawing attention to this rather nebulous word is to illustrate that, like the word itself, Australia’s post-war “engagement” with Asia through the Colombo Plan was a complex and contradictory venture. It is a point not made often enough that the principal means by which Australia and Asia were introduced, politically, economically and culturally was through the nebulous scheme known as the Colombo Plan. I argue that the Colombo Plan marked the beginning of an ongoing and positive relationship with Asia, despite being motivated by defensiveness and anxiety stemming from the Cold War.

The Colombo Plan for Cooperative Economic Development in South and Southeast Asia developed out of a meeting of Commonwealth Foreign Ministers in Ceylon, in 1950. Initially conceived as a “Marshall Plan” for Southeast Asia, the Colombo Plan was often portrayed as simply a reconstruction plan for Asian countries damaged by WWII. Like the Marshall Plan, the Colombo Plan had a broader political and cultural agenda and cannot be understood from a humanitarian perspective alone. The Colombo Plan was an attempt to counter communist expansion in the newly independent nations of Southeast Asia by raising living standards and therefore removing the conditions likely to create popular sympathy for communist forces. More significantly, the Colombo Plan, with its modernist assumptions about the importance of development, technology and social progress, was to be a vehicle for the transmission of Western values.

In one sense, the plan was inherently defensive because it was born from a desire to secure Australia from the Asian region. David Lowe has persuasively argued that the Colombo Plan was inexorably linked to the Menzies Government’s desire to establish a much closer defence alliance with the United States.1 However, the plan was also a progressive force, for while it was deeply grounded in allaying a wider set of domestic cultural anxieties associated with racial, political and economic security, it simultaneously prepared the ground for a more intimate and far-reaching cultural exchange. The Colombo Plan represented a shift away from the largely insular, domestic concerns of the incoming Menzies Government. It involved allowing non-Europeans into Australia, and encouraging Australians to travel and work in Asia alongside Asian people. In many ways, the Colombo Plan can be seen as a cautious—and conditional—opening of Australian boundaries.

The person most readily associated with the Colombo Plan was the Australian Minister for External Affairs, Percy Spender, who would later write in his memoirs that he conceived of the idea of an aid program on the flight to Colombo before the conference.2 The comment was characteristic of Spender’s brusque and egotistical style, and unfortunately has obscured the intellectual and political origins of the Colombo Plan. Spender was, in fact, deeply indebted to his Labor predecessors and the work undertaken by senior members of the Department of External Affairs (DEA). Indeed, the development of sophisticated regional defence initiatives based on political and economic engagement with neighbouring countries was not a new idea. The philosophical and intellectual roots of regional development programs such as the Colombo Plan stretch back to the late 19th century.3

Spender maintained that without external assistance, Australia was unable to guarantee its own security. The establishment of the Colombo Plan initiated a process whereby Australia aligned itself with US foreign policy and solicited financial support for the development of Southeast Asia. Spender’s attempts to directly engage the United States to help overcome these issues formally commenced at the Colombo meeting in 1950. Spender’s memorandum to the Colombo Conference identified the economic underdevelopment of Asia as an international problem and asked that governments represented at the Colombo meeting make funds available for the development of South and Southeast Asian countries. The principal donor nations were Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Canada. Initially, recipient nations included India, Pakistan and Ceylon and the program was later extended to include non- Commonwealth Asian countries.

Yet, even after the establishment of ANZUS, officials within the DEA expressed doubt about the value of the Commonwealth and United States connection. Only as a “last resort [could] the power of the United States, and to a lesser extent of the United Kingdom” protect Australia’s interests in Asia.4 More importantly, these doubts suggested that far more hope was invested in the Colombo Plan as a vehicle for genuine and progressive engagement with Southeast Asia, rather than merely to cultivate the good will of US policy-makers. Given that the primary objectives of the Colombo Plan as a vehicle for engaging the United States had largely been achieved by the early 1950s, we need to consider why this program was maintained beyond the original six year time-frame.

An appraisal of the Colombo Plan written in 1952 provides one of the more candid and disarming commentaries on the political objectives of foreign aid. The report recognised that the political objectives had not been clearly stated and the London Report of the Consultative Committee had only alluded to the anti-communist principle behind the Colombo Plan, focusing instead on the humanitarian value of providing foreign aid. Indeed it was precisely because of the humanitarian principle on which the plan had been based that fundamental considerations of the Colombo Plan’s foreign policy objectives had been neglected. The paper also reasoned that it was necessary to maintain a public image of the Colombo Plan distinct from private understandings.5

Broadly speaking, the Colombo Plan’s ambitious foreign policy objectives were three-fold: “to halt communist encroachment…to modify any resentment arising from differences between Australian and Asian living standards; and…to strengthen or develop amicable political relations”. Economic aid was one way in which Australia could make a gesture towards distributing its wealth, thus taking the “edge off Asian resentment”. Furthermore, immigration restrictions, which had tended to crystallise resentment against Australia, might be offset by the extensive scholarship program offered under the plan.6

Colombo Plan aid represented a revolution in the pattern of Australian overseas aid spending, although it was unlikely to remedy the substantial economic problems endemic to many of the recipient nations. Firstly, let us consider the scope of contributions made under the Colombo Plan. One needs to bear in mind that, except for a donation of £45 million to the United Kingdom, bilateral aid was almost non-existent before the establishment of the Colombo Plan. Although the Australian government had regularly supported multilateral aid operations designed by the United Nations, a bilateral aid relationship with a Southeast Asian nation did not exist. Contributions to United Nations organisations were progressively reduced from 1950, when Colombo Plan aid became a more important aid priority.

Between 1950 and the end of the 1955/56 financial year, £15 million had been donated in capital assistance and over £2 million had been provided in technical assistance. The total amount of over £17 million represented approximately 70 per cent of the multi-lateral and bi-lateral aid budget.7 Combined with the funding from other industrialised nations, the amount of assistance, in its variety of forms, was substantial. By 1956, Canada had allocated over $165 million and New Zealand had provided £5 million. The United States, under the Mutual Security program, had allocated just over $1.4 billion to Colombo Plan countries.8

The primary weakness of the Colombo Plan lay in the untested nature of the assumption that economic aid would “moderate political conflict”. Spender and departmental officials knew this and proposed the Technical Cooperation Program as a more effective means of promoting development and western values. Such a program was particularly useful in engaging post-colonial nations, such as Indonesia, which were invariably suspicious of the strings attached to large amounts of Western capital. The Program included fellowships, scholarships and seminars to be undertaken at Australian educational institutions, the supply of experts to recipient nations, and the provision of technical equipment. The division of expenditure was envisaged at 70 per cent for training, 20 per cent for the provision of equipment, and 10 per cent for the supply of experts. The emphasis was placed on training because it was considered that the origin of technical equipment was likely to be forgotten quickly and the reports written by Australian experts “if they [did] not gather dust from the start” would be superseded. Furthermore, the entry of Asian people into Australia was believed to offer long term and “self-sustaining” political benefits: “the body of people in Asian countries which is gradually built up with an intimate knowledge of Australia and, it may be hoped, some affection for this country” and provide a “balm” to those who resented Australia’s immigration restrictions.9 It was Spender’s more cautious and measured successor as External Affairs Minister, Richard Casey, who first spoke of the two-way process engendered by the program. At a lecture delivered for the Australian Institute of International Affairs in 1952, Casey said that for Asian students “to see Australia at an impressionable stage of their lives and to exchange views at our universities and with our officials should do a great deal to break down prejudices and misunderstandings on both sides.”10

The possibility of deriving commercial benefit from the Colombo Plan was a secondary objective, although the DEA hoped that economic cooperation would help to ameliorate any political animosity that may have developed with Asian countries, especially non-Commonwealth nations. Even more ambitiously, it was asserted that cooperation and aid might build an attitude of “virtual neutrality…into something more positive”, thus reducing the strategic significance of certain countries.11 For example, the ambivalence of Indonesian officials towards the Colombo Plan would have been less of a concern if some form of commercial alliance could have been established with countries north of Indonesia.

During the late 1940s and 1950s scholars from the West generated numerous economic models around the concept of the “underdeveloped economy”. Key academics contributing to an emerging discourse on development in the third world were W Arthur Lewis, Ragnar Nurske and WW Rostow. Many aspects of their prescriptive theoretical models found their way into Colombo Plan literature. The 1950 Colombo Plan report acknowledged that the increases in productivity might be negated by population increases. However, the report also indicated that the strength of the program was that it would help “lay sound foundations for further development” resulting in a more efficient domestic economy able to “sustain its own investment programme”.12 Even administrators from the poorer countries themselves recognised that although the funds made available were relatively low, a certain process had been set in place which would, in time, lead to development. The important point to note is that the actual amount of finance provided, while important, was less significant than the process it was intended to start. The provision of aid was based on a fundamental faith in science, technology and the capacity of development to lead poorer nations—almost phoenix- like—from of the ashes of underdevelopment.

How was the Colombo Plan and the development process presented to Australian and Asian audiences? A number of mediums were used to promote Australia’s involvement in the Colombo Plan, including publications, pamphlets, radio broadcasts and films being produced throughout the 1950s and 1960s, both in Australia and by the Colombo Plan Information Unit, in Sri Lanka. One of the earliest films produced in Australia by the Commonwealth Film Unit was a 15 minute documentary called, Our Neighbour Australia. In this film Pakistani Colombo Plan students, Agha Ahmad and Rashi Khan reflected on a range of topics, including the virtues of the aid program itself, the ingenuity which Australia had exercised in taming its harsh environment, the tolerance of its people and, most importantly, the valuable lessons and know-how they would take back to Pakistan. Grateful for the chance to work and study abroad, they yearned for Pakistan to develop into a country like Australia: a “well organised, modern society, enriched with the fruits of civilisation”.13

Sentimental propaganda like Our Neighbour Australia was not new to Australian cinema audiences in the 1950s, but there were a number of differences with this particular documentary. Although the content was similar, the traditional authoritative voice-over with Southern English accent was replaced with an English speaking Asian. This was partly a reflection of real changes that were talking place in Australian society with personal contact with Asians, especially in universities, becoming increasingly common. This was also one of the first instances that Asians themselves were given a public voice, but, not surprisingly, a voice which promoted Australian political imperatives. In the film Asians acknowledged the superiority of Western liberalism, they implicitly acknowledge the backwardness of their own countries, and directly acknowledge the desirability of modernisation. There was also an implied notion that modernisation could not be achieved without westernisation. However, the nationalist rhetoric which pervaded this film was tempered with a deeper anxiety: that if the wealth and abundance of the country was promoted too forcefully, the pressure to remove restrictive immigration laws could be mounted more effectively. The film’s message traversed a difficult path: Australia was to be seen as an archetypal model of democracy and progress, able to be transplanted into an Asian context, but Australia was not to be viewed as a land where they should aspire to live.

The limitations of western understandings of Asian societies and an overwhelming preoccupation with short term economic and political goals restricted the images of Asia under the Colombo Plan to a series of paternalistic and technocentric icons. Colombo Plan images were certainly motivated by a multiplicity of meanings and intentions. However, as a whole they stand as a record of the attempts of donor nations to justify the Colombo Plan in a way which best suited their political and economic agendas, reflecting a particular understanding of Asian and the values deemed appropriate and necessary for the transition to modernity.

One of the first attempts to promote the Colombo Plan came in the form of a booklet, entitled New Hope for Asia. Designed as a “popular version” of the Colombo Plan, “stripped of technical language and details”,14 the book was written primarily for a western audiences in donor nations. The text for the book was, in fact, based on the report of the Colombo Plan Consultative Committee after the London meeting in October 1950 which encapsulated many of the political and economic objectives of the Colombo Plan. Although the passage below did not appear in the final edition the text provides a deep insight into the social and cultural constructs which informed Colombo Plan representations of Asians and Asia for the next two decades:

Stress has been laid throughout this Report on the poverty of the peoples in the area. In economic terms that is the cardinal fact which must be held in mind. In another sense, however, these countries are rich. They are rich in the dignity of peasants tilling the soil, and in the wisdom of teachers and scholars. They also possess incalculable capital in the form of the traditions of civilisations which are older than history itself—traditions which have produced treasures and art and learning which still mould the minds and spirits of their peoples. The worst effect of poverty has been to cloud and circumscribe these human aspects. They must be liberated so that they can contribute towards the self-realisation of individuals, towards the fulfilment of national aspirations, and towards the enhancement of the lives of other peoples throughout the world. The progress of science and technology has suggested ways in which this may done; and in an age when other countries are increasingly reaping the advantages of scientific and industrial advance, the hastening of a similar process in Asia cannot safely be delayed.15

This passage neatly illustrates a number of the key themes present in Colombo Plan representations of Asia: an emphasis on regional and national development, a rationalist and technologically deterministic approach to development and economic expansion, a particular use of bodily imagery, a homogeneous and rarefied understanding of Asian institutions, and a paternalistic emphasis on salvation, individualism and liberation through economic and social progress.

The establishment of the Colombo Plan marked the beginning of an important process in Australia’s efforts to engage with South and Southeast Asia. Not only did it indicate a desire to establish closer cultural and economic ties; it signified a realisation that Australian policy makers had a new responsibility to directly represent Australian interests to Asian powers. Post-colonial Asia called for a much more sophisticated effort to engage positively with Asian people. Some Australian diplomats were alive to the importance and subtlety of national images and reputations before the emergence of the Colombo Plan. However, Australian awareness of the importance of international publicity gained significant momentum during the mid-1950s with the push to capitalise on Colombo Plan sponsored development projects.

Of particular concern was the content and style of films which addressed Australian foreign relations with the Asian region. Any films produced were to avoid patronising language, slang expressions, emphasis on the “squalid aspects of Australian life”, or attempt to encourage Asians to adopt Australian customs. By vetting all scripts of films that would be shown in Asia the DEA hoped that it could enforce a loose set of principles. Films were to convey the themes of: the “strength and virility” of Australia, the lack of racial discrimination, the importance of private enterprise, the “thought that Asian countries could also develop to this stage”, the myth of an abundance of arable land and the need for cooperative efforts in the Asian region. It was also agreed that films should be of excellent quality in order to achieve wide commercial distribution and, where possible, “the pomp and circumstance of official occasions should be included, since Asians liked this”.16

Casey also established a subsidy program for selected works of Australian literature to be sold in Asia. The scheme was intended to compete with a similar program initiated by the Soviet and Chinese governments. However, the books also formed an important part of Casey’s plan to educate Asian readers and “remove misconceptions about Australia and Australian policies”. Casey approached Angus and Robertson and Penguin Books who agreed to create a series of Australian texts, selected by the DEA, to be sold well below the normal price of books available in Asian countries. A staggering 10,000 copies each of the following titles were distributed to Colombo Plan countries: Ernest Titterton’s Atomic Energy, Vladimir Petrov’s Empire of Fear, Francis Ratcliffe’s Flying Fox and Drifting Sand: the Adventures of a Biologist in Australia, and Douglas Mawson’s Home of the Blizzard. Substantial numbers of Casey’s own book, Friends and Neighbours: Australia and the World, were circulated under a US series of subsidised publications. The themes Casey hoped to promote via this scheme included:

the absence of racial prejudice in Australia, the idea of Australia as a waterless land unsuitable for mass settlement, Australia’s past and continuing pioneering efforts—the absence of that decadence attributed to capitalist societies in communist propaganda, our progressive social reforms and the egalitarian nature of Australian society, our request (sic) for human and spiritual rights without the extreme materialism of either Communism or American individualism, the primitive nature of our aborigines and of the New Guinea peoples, and even the beneficial aspects of colonial regimes.17

The most significant film to be produced under the DEA’s film policy was The Builders. Released in 1959, the 30 minute documentary was the result of the work of Osmar White (a journalist with the Melbourne Herald) and James Fitzpatrick, a photographer and film-maker for the ANIB.18 These two men were commissioned during 1958 to travel throughout Colombo Plan nations and film a range of Australian sponsored aid projects. The documentaries were then distributed to Asian posts, dubbed and screened in commercial movie houses and mobile cinemas provided under the Colombo Plan. A booklet of the documentary was also produced, The Seed of Freedom: Australia and the Colombo Plan.19 This work was a much more comprehensive guide to the projects visited by White and Fitzpatrick during their tour and many of the photographs in the booklet were still images taken from the documentary. The DEA published 50,000 for consumption in Australia, and an additional 20,000 for distribution throughout recipient nations. 20

The Builders is notable in the history of Australian documentaries about Asia because its development and production was rigorously overseen by the DEA and it was widely considered the flagship public relations document depicting Australia’s involvement and engagement with the Asian region. The opening sequence confronts the viewer with a chaotic and demoralising scene, a far cry from the romanticised travelogue films which dominated cinematic images of the orient during the 1930s. A visual rhetoric of poverty, over-population, unsanitary living conditions, children living in squalid condition often sharing the same living space with animals was reinforced with appropriately chaotic and discordant “oriental” music. White’s melodramatic script, spoken by Don Crosby, completing the atmosphere of desperation and threat. The “teeming cities” of Asia, he cautioned, were no longer the preserve of adventurers, explorers or researchers. But could all now be reached “in a single flight from Australian shores…Only a generation ago these were the far away places…there seemed no link between the destiny of Asian people and Australia. Today the world is smaller, there are no faraway places…no man can afford to ignore this neighbour.”21

A heavily used concept in The Builders, and in much of the literature relating to the Colombo Plan was the notion of “reconstruction”. However, development was to mean much more than simply returning Asian economies to their pre- war levels. Development was a chance to construct something completely new. Indeed the “old relationships, the old conventions, the old compromises and old complacencies, were no longer possible”.22 According to the authors of New Hope for Asia: “The economies of South and Southeast Asia…have never been highly developed, and a new structure has to built almost from the ground up, so that the great wealth which they possess can be tapped for their benefit and that of the whole world”.23It is important to note the totality of the “new structure” envisioned for a largely undifferentiated Asia. The Colombo Plan’s public documents presented Asia’s future as a chance to embrace an idealised notion of industrial civilisation. The development model depicted in The Builders promoted an ethic which had prevailed in United Nations circles since the immediate post-war period. In 1948, H Laugier, Assistant Secretary General of the UN’s Department of Social Affairs, stated that “human progress depends on the development and application to the greatest possible extent of scientific research. When there are regions and nations whose physical, intellectual, and moral development lags behind the general pace of civilisation, immediate concrete measures can doubtless be taken to help them along the path of human progress”.24 Indeed, White’s commentary in The Builders stemmed from a similar intellectual perspective and an evaluation of the Colombo Plan which saw Asian people as in need of an intellectual and cultural transformation: “…the new attitude of mind that comes to people who acquire modern skills, taken in conjunction with the prosperity that stems from the project, encourages social changes— changes in community customs and thinking—without which the countries of Asia can never achieve technological parity with the West”.25

The Builders avoided all reference to racial characteristics. This is not surprising considering the Colombo Plan was to ameliorate the sting of the White Australia Policy. Representation occurred on the more neutral terms of, fiscal policy, health reform, social progress and the more subtle considerations of cultural attitudes, geographic and ethnic traits, associated with backwardness and underdevelopment. The Builders went much further than the DEA’s film policy guidelines which discouraged any attempt to persuade Asians to adopt Western values and customs.26 Informed by a much deeper technocentricism and paternalism the pictorial and literary narrative suggested that a much more profound transformation of Asia was required if stability and progress were to be assured.

Metaphors and images of infancy appeared regularly in promotional pamphlets, films, books and public speeches. Asian people were represented collectively as a child growing to maturity due to the opportunities provided by foreign aid. Perhaps the most common version of this was the “awakening masses” motif. It is ironic, then, that despite the discussion of infancy, over-population and the regular quoting of statistics reinforcing the high reproduction rate in Asia, children and youthfulness more generally became the primary leitmotif for the Colombo Plan and the process it engendered. Photographs and film of children were a prominent feature of Colombo Plan material. They fulfilled a duel role of, on the one hand, emphasising the inappropriateness of children having to labour due to poverty, or being forced to stay in hospital with preventable diseases, like tuberculosis. Children also acted as an emotive and easily recognisable motif of appreciation and gratitude for being freed from manual servitude and disease, or being provided with educational resources.27 Youthful images also reinforced the economic reality of most Colombo Plan projects which were unlikely to generate substantial short-term results, but would yield benefits in the future.

The Southeast Asian region had, in some senses, become a spectacle, a prism through which Western intellectual and spiritual leaders could play out grand theories of development and rehabilitation. Afflicted countries were marked for salvation and the technical experts and teachers sent to recipient countries took on the role of missionaries, sent to spread the virtues of science, technology and education.

It has sent experts to demonstrate modern methods in fields as diverse as elementary carpentry and advanced surgery. It has sent into the field teachers capable of establishing and developing systems of primary or higher education in many remote and hitherto neglected regions—and where, indeed, their schools could well become the nuclei from which a vast enlightenment will spread.28

Colombo Plan representations of Asia and Asian people were not supported by any anthropological or historical evidence, rather they were based on culturally reductive assumptions about the nature of Asian society and an overriding need to justify (to donor nations) the expense of such a radical program of expenditure and assistance. Although the imagery lacked a racialist tone, the consistent presentation of a series of economic and social “truths” based on a fusion of scientific rationalism and social Darwinist philosophy, replaced racially specific justifications for Western intervention and the reconstruction of Asian customs and values. The Colombo Plan narrative remade Southeast Asia in a remarkably consistent, yet ambiguous, way. Asia was a foreboding and threatening region, powerful in potential, yet weakened through poverty and lack of development—vulnerable to forces and values largely alien to the West. Asia, through the social, economic and perhaps moral intervention of the West was a region which needed to be saved, not just from external threat (ie from the Communist north), but also from internal deterioration. In terms of Australian official approaches to Asia during the 1950s and 1960s the paternalism and technocentricism of the Colombo Plan narrative masked a much deeper anxiety about the future, about geographical proximity to a relatively unknown collection of nations, and about Australia’s potential economic, political and cultural isolation.

Beyond the defensive components of this ambitious program, including its link to the ANZUS Treaty, and the effort to establish a political boundary intended to protect Australia from the region, it is evident that engagement with recipient countries was intricately bound up with the realisation that Australia was destined to a future as part of the Southeast Asian region. While this was clearly a recognition of Australia’s geographical proximity, it was simultaneously acknowledged that Australia would develop a much closer relationship with the region than in the past. According to one DEA document, it was the White Australia Policy and Australia’s “history of isolation” that had led to a “wealth of misunderstanding…between Australia and Asian countries”, the Colombo Plan had allowed Asians and Australians to “mix together in a way which [had] not been otherwise practicable”.29 Economic, political and cultural engagement were the keys to regional security. The nebulous Colombo Plan helped establish the political and cultural framework for establishing and maintaining that engagement.

1 D Lowe “Percy Spender and the Colombo Plan 1950”, Australian Journal of Politics and History, (Vol. 40, No.2, 1994), pp. 162-176.
2 P Spender, Exercises in Diplomacy: The ANZUS Treaty and the Colombo Plan, (Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1969), p. 194.
3 For a full account of this topic see D Oakman, “The Seed of Freedom: Regional Security and the Colombo Plan”, Australian Journal of Politics and History, (Vol. 46, No. 1, March, 2000), pp. 67-85.
4 “Political Objectives of the Colombo Plan”, DEA, 1952, CRS A 1838/283 item 3004/11 Pt 1, AA.
5 The Colombo Plan’s role in Australia’s propaganda strategy during the 1950s is dealt with fully in D Oakman, “The Politics of Foreign Aid: Counter Subversion and the Colombo Plan, 1950-1970s”, Pacifica Review: Peace Security and Global Change, (In Press: 2001).
6 “Political Objectives of the Colombo Plan”, DEA, 1952, CRS A 1838/283 item 3004/11 Part 1, AA.
7 These figures exclude funds allocated to Papua and New Guinea. Department of External Affairs, Information Handbook No.2: Australia’s Aid to Developing Countries, (Canberra, 1964).
8 The Colombo Plan for Economic Development in South and South-East Asia, Fifth Annual Report of the Consultative Committee, Wellington, New Zealand, December, 1956.
9 “The Colombo Plan: An Appraisal”, DEA, 1952, CRS A 4311 item 141/1, AA.
10 Current Notes in International Affairs, (Vol. 23, No. 9, September 1952), p. 478.
11 “Political Objectives of the Colombo Plan”, DEA, 1952, CRS A 1838/283 item 3004/11 Part 1, AA.
12 Commonwealth Consultative Committee (CCC), The Colombo Plan for Cooperative Economic Development in South and South-East Asia: a report by the CCC, (London, 1950), p. 44.
13 Australian Commonwealth Film Unit (ACFU), Our Neighbour Australia, (Canberra: 1952), National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA), Canberra.
14 Great Britain Economic Information Unit, New Hope for Asia, (Commonwealth Office of Education for the Dept. of External Affairs: Canberra: 1951), p. 6.
15 CCC, The Colombo Plan…, p. 63
16 “Record of Discussion on Films Policy held in Conference Room on 10th February, 1956”, DEA, CRS A1838/283 item 156/1/1, AA.
17 Letter, Casey to Holt, 14 August 1959, DEA, CRS A1838/283 item 563/6/5, AA.
18 James Fitzpatrick should not be confused with James A. Fitzpatrick, the American producer-writer-director of travelogues during the 1950s.
19 O White, The Seed of Freedom: Australia and the Colombo Plan, (Department of External Affairs, News and Information Bureau, Canberra, 1961).
20 Letter, CT Moodie (DEA) to O. White, 13 January 1960, CRS A6895/1 item N58/134 Part 2, AA.
21 ACFU, The Builders, (Canberra: Department of the Interior: 1959), NFSA, Canberra.
22 White, Seed of Freedom…, p. 5.
23 New Hope…, p.13.
24 H Laugier, “The First Step in the International Approach to the Problems of Underdeveloped Areas”, The Millbank Quarterly, (Vol. 26, No. 3, 1948), p. 256.
25 ACFU, The Builders…; White, Seed of Freedom…, p. 14.
26 “Record of Discussion on Films Policy held in Conference Room on 10th February, 1956”, DEA, CRS A1838/283 item 156/1/1, AA.
27 See for example, ACFU, The Unlucky Country…; ACFU, The Builders…: White, Seed of Freedom….
28 White, Seed of Freedom…, p. 40.
29 “Political Objectives of the Colombo Plan”, DEA, 1952, CRS A 1838/283 item 3004/11 Part 1, AA.