USING THE COLOMBO PLAN4

Considerations of both politics and economics . . . lead us inevitably to the same conclusion: A vigorous program of economic assistance to Asia should be at the core of United States foreign policy.

How can the program be carried out? A new and hopeful means is now available to us. The Colombo Plan, which was originally a family affair within the British Commonwealth, has now been expanded to take in practically all of non-Communist Asia. [The Colombo Plan grew out of a meeting of British Commonwealth prime ministers at Colombo, capital of Ceylon, in January 1950. Non-Commonwealth countries such as Burma and Indonesia were invited to join from the very beginning. The idea was to plan the economic development of South and Southeast Asia on a regional level, discussing the needs and priorities of the undeveloped countries and the possibilities of aid from Britain and other dominions capable of furnishing assistance. The plan was officially initiated on July 1, 1951. The United States has been a member of the plan's consultative committee since 1951 but has carried on its Asian aid programs on a bilateral basis with the plan's member countries. Membership now blankets most of free Asia, with Thailand, the Philippines and Japan joining in 1954. [The Colombo Plan should not be confused with references to "the Colombo powers." The latter is an informal grouping so named because the prime ministers of India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Indonesia and Burma met at the Ceylonese capital in 1954. The main emphasis of their grouping is political rather than economic.--Ed.]

The Colombo Plan has now become the center where a dozen national-development plans are synchronized. What's more, it allows western nations to help Asians without arousing their suspicions. The Asians themselves are spending about $2 billion this year on the Colombo Plan, and loans and grants from the

____________________
4
From "The Job Harold Stassen leaves Unfinished", article by Representative Harrison A. Williams (Democrat, New Jersey). Reporter. 12:32-3. April 7, 1955. Reprinted by permission.

-128-

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