The Cabinet Secretaries' Notebooks (CAB 195/7)

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South East Asia & Far East

South East Asia & Far East

E.B. 

This is a policy.

R.S.C. 

Raises large economic issue – paras. 8-10.  Contrary to dirn in wh. we are movg. to sterling balances.
We shd. mislead if we suggested we are ready to do much by way of unrequited exports to that area.  We shall be able to do v. little.
Hope we may do somethg. for Burma.  But pretence tht. we will fight cold war in S.E.A. by large-scale assistance in econ-developmt. wd. be most misleadg.
At confce we must say we shall do less in next 50 yrs. than we have done in last 4 yrs.

E.B. 

Much is investment for dollar-earning.
Don't swing too far.
Paras 8-10 don't commit us to much.
If you don't have investment e.g. in Siam, must we hand it to U.S.A.
Surely we must study implicns.

R.S.C. 

F/E. Cttee are studying it.  And aren't agreed.  M'while don't create impn we can do more in S.E.A. than we have done.
Remember India is part of it.  In last 2 yrs. it was mainly in I., P. Burma & Ceylon:  £200 m. p.a.  Shall have to cut to 50% or 25% of that.

A.

This is one place in world where we can dollars in return for our investment.
Voice of Britain radio station at Singapore.  Delayed.  R. are now getting ahead of us.

A.B. 

This memo. is pivotal.  World so disturbed tht. it can't attract private capital investmt.  We can't retain political control over these areas & accept responsibility for industrialisg. them. U.S. must do the second.
Also scale of enterprise is too large now for private investors.
We shd. raise this ques. at highest level.
We alone, even as Govt. can do no more than stutter over this.

R.S.C. 

We put this in W'ton.
On sterling balances, we said we can't go on:  but someone else must provide the capital goods if Comm encroachmt. is to be stemmed.
U.S. have at last begun to realise it.
Back to original point.
This must be linked with M/E. & African proposals.
We've said we shall cut down.  We must.  We must get out a p'mme in consultn with W'ton.   And in wh. we must avoid commitment.

E.B.           

x/ V. well:  will instruct Dening accordingly.
My policy is to retain political control in these countries & make U.S. pay for it.  I think they will.

R.S.C. 

Content subject to x/.
Want to get p'mme worked out.

E.B. 

Want continuing body W'ton to get crackg. & aim at mtg. with Acheson & Pearson in New Year in Ldn.

Taken from C.M. 62(49) - Meeting held on 27 October 1949.