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DCER : Volume #21 - 780.DEA/12173-40 : THE ASIAN-AFRICAN CONFERENCE

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Volume #21 - 780.

CHAPTER VII

FAR EAST

PART 7

BANDUNG CONFERENCE OF NON-ALIGNED NATIONS

780.

DEA/12173-40

Secretary of State for External Affairs
to Heads of Posts Abroad

CIRCULAR DOCUMENT NO. B.43/55

CONFIDENTIAL

Ottawa, July 27th, 1955

THE ASIAN-AFRICAN CONFERENCE

The purpose of this letter is to try to draw certain general conclusions from the despatches we have received thus far on the Asian-African Conference, rather than to relate the sequence of events. The actual sessions of the Conference were fully reported in the press in spite of the theoretical secrecy of all but the first and last plenary sessions, and a number of despatches have been referred to missions concerned with the Far East.

2. The Asian-African Conference was misnamed in the sense that it was hardly African at all. Only Egypt, Turkey and Iraq among the countries outside East Asia contributed much to the discussions, and even they were overshadowed by the Asian countries which have recently become independent. Because of this, the Conference was filled with the sense of mission which animates these new countries. The Bandung Conference would have been impossible ten years ago when many of the participants were under some sort of foreign rule. Many of the countries of the area consider that while they have gained their independence, they have not yet achieved a position of influence commensurate with their size and the contribution to the maintenance of peace which they are in a position to make. They also consider various aspects of Western policy in Asia, such as the Manila Treaty, to be intrusions into Asian affairs affording evidence that the Western nations are not yet prepared to abandon their positions of influence. Although they claim to have better solutions to Asian problems, they would prefer in any case that Asia be badly run by Asians than efficiently governed by Europeans. It was, therefore, all the more gratifying to these countries that the Conference was a success, and that almost all the delegations gave proof of responsible attitudes in the discussions. The sponsors of the Conference also derived satisfaction from the apparently encouraging results of their efforts at mediation in the Formosa dispute, and believe that they have made significant progress towards reducing tension. While the basis for these attitudes may appear more emotional than Western nations are accustomed to, the end result of the Bandung Conference may be both to increase Asian influence and to make the countries of Asia less insecure in the presentation of their policy.

3. The Conference of Colombo Powers Prime Ministers which met at Bogor in December, 1954, set out the objectives of the proposed conference as follows:

(1) to promote good will and co-operation among the nations of Asia and Africa, and to explore and advance their mutual as well as common interests, and to establish further friendly and neighbourly relations.

(2) to consider social, economic and cultural problems and relations of the countries represented;

(3) to consider problems of special interest to Asian and African peoples, e.g., problems affecting national sovereignty and of racialism and colonialism;

(4) to view the position of Asia and Africa and their place in the world of today and the contribution they could make to world peace and co-operation.

4. There was, therefore, no intention at Bogor that the Bandung Conference should be presented with any particular set of problems to solve. It is doubtful whether any of the Prime Ministers, with the exception of Dr. Ali Sastroamidjojo, was sufficiently enthusiastic about the Conference to look upon it as providing more than a first opportunity for this group of states to discuss common problems and perhaps lay the basis for useful co-operation at some later date. However, even this limited objective of the sponsors demanded, for the Conference to be successful, that a spirit of moderation should prevail between the participants which seemed a priori to be impossible in view of their ideological differences. It was feared that the Conference would either pass from anti-racialism and anti-colonialism to a negative anti-Westernism, or else break up into opposing camps divided by ideologies. In the Department we were impressed by the Indian view that the Conference would be useful in bringing Communist China out of its isolation and we hoped that Indian influence would be such as to lead the Conference along constructive lines. It was a surprising development that, in its current policy of withdrawing pressure from the states of Southeast Asia, China had to give as many assurances of its future good behaviour as it did. The Bandung Conference provided a good opportunity for the Chinese to make public a shift of tactics which may be reversed at some later date when it is convenient for the Communists to do so. In this way, Asian opinion has its effect on Peking. It is also interesting to note that Indian influence, though important, was far from dominant.

5. The importance of the Asian-African Conference lies in the changed relations which developed between the various states represented. The results of the Bandung Conference are, therefore, similar to those of the first Colombo Powers Conference of April, 1954, which established an effective Colombo Powers grouping, although it would be difficult to point to any other concrete act. While much the same may prove to be true of the Asian-African Conference, a study of the communiqué is not entirely unrewarding (it has been circulated in the supplementary papers series?).153

6. The communiqué is in three sections:

(1) economic co-operation;

(2) cultural co-operation, human rights and self-determination, and problems of dependent peoples;

(3) world peace and co-operation.

The Conference also adopted declarations on the problems of dependent peoples, and on world peace and co-operation.154

7. Economic Co-operation. Although this first section of the communiqué is long, it is not of great interest, since it does little more than catalogue as desirable certain objectives with which no one could disagree, and does not propose any specific suggestions. Many of the proposals are not entirely practicable; it is difficult to see, for instance, how any of the countries of the area with the possible exception of Japan could be in a position in the immediate future to provide technical assistance to others. In general, the Conference recognized the importance of economic co-operation without apparently having settled any means to ensure their co-operation, although it is recommended that liaison officers be appointed in the various countries "for the exchange of information on matters of mutual interest". It is also interesting to note that the Conference agreed that economic co-operation within the Asian-African region does not "preclude the desirability or the need for co-operation outside the region, including the investment of foreign capital. It was further recognized that assistance being received by certain countries from outside the region through international or under bilateral arrangements had made a valuable contribution to the implementation of their development programmes". These references were included in spite of the fact that the Chinese delegation had proposed that all foreign aid be condemned as detrimental to national sovereignty.

8. The Conference also supported the establishment of a special United Nations fund for economic development (SUNFED) and the allocation by the International Bank of a greater part of its resources to Asian countries. Mention was made of the need for a unified approach on the question of the stabilization of international prices, particularly in the United Nations Permanent Advisory Commission on International Commodity Trade. It is possible that these recommendations, which do not require the creation of special machinery for their execution, may have some concrete effects. It would seem that there was little reality to the discussions in the Economic Committee. The communiqué gives evidence of a division in the minds of the delegates; economic arrangements on a regional basis were considered to be a suitable economic expression of anti-colonialism, but it was recognized that existing arrangements which are either on a United Nations or Colombo Plan basis should be preserved for more hard-headed reasons. Concrete proposals to set up regional arrangements were opposed although, in contradiction to this, lip-service was paid to the principle in the communiqué. This same approach was noticeable at the Simla Conference, which agreed that bilateral arrangements should be maintained, in spite of the desire of the United States to see a greater degree of regional co-operation among the Asian countries.155

9. Cultural Co-operation, Human Rights and Self-Determination, and Problems of Dependent Peoples. With the exception of the declaration on the problems of dependent peoples, the drafting of these sections apparently presented no difficulties, after a Chinese resolution that the colonial powers should be called on to grant independence to all colonial territories within fifteen years was defeated. It is difficult to say much that is refreshingly original about cultural co-operation, but the Conference recognized, apparently on the initiative of the Philippine delegation, that there was a danger that the participants might fall into the trap of racialism themselves. This point was repeated in the section on racial discrimination. It is also encouraging that the communiqué in almost all instances uses the United Nations Charter or relevant resolutions of the United Nations as the basis for its recommendations.

10. A summary listing all those areas in which the Conference decided that national or minority rights were not being respected is revealing:

1. Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco,

2. "Certain parts of Africa" and South Africa,

3. West New Guinea,

4. Palestine,

5. Aden.

Although this list could stand without commentary, it is interesting that British colonialism is not mentioned except in the case of Aden, in spite of the activities of Archbishop Makarios and of certain Malayan nationalists. The Indians gave proof of their moderate approach towards the question by not insisting on a reference to Goa. However, although the right of all nations to self-determination is emphasized both in these sections and in the declaration on the promotion of world peace and co-operation, Soviet colonialism was not referred to in spite of the fact that Sir John Kotelawa's attack on it was the signal for a strong offensive on the part of the anti-communist delegations and a majority existed in the Political Committee to make a direct reference to the suppression of national aspirations in Eastern Europe. The controversy, which was very bitter, was carried on into the Drafting Committee where it was apparently Mr. Krishna Menon who proposed the compromise of condemning colonialism in "all its manifestations".

11. The reference to the Palestine question in the communiqué, and the exclusion of Israel from participation in the Conference indicates both the strength of feeling on the subject in the Muslim countries, and the willingness of the non-Muslim states such as India to yield to them. Chou En-Lai made a pointed reference in his first speech to the fact that a Muslim religious leader formed part of the Chinese delegation. Only Burma was willing to defend Israel in the debate on the Palestine question, although Mr. Nehru did try to exert a moderating influence. Although the strength of the Muslim grouping, and the willingness of the other nations to cater to them and their own Muslim minorities was not surprising, the Conference did provide a striking illustration of this situation.

12. The Promotion of World Peace and Co-operation. These sections, which are probably the most constructive in the communiqué, give the impression of expressing more closely the aspirations of the participants than do the other parts. An Indian official described the economic paragraphs as being more politics than economics, while the sections on racialism and colonialism do not add anything to our knowledge of the attitude of the Asian-African countries to these problems. The section on world peace and co-operation, however, deserves fuller consideration, for in it the participants give evidence of their desire to formulate an approach that would put Asian and African opinion in a better position to make its influence felt. This seems to be particularly true in those paragraphs which record the opinion of the Conference that the representation of the Asian and African nations in both United Nations and the Security Council is inadequate. There was no mention of creating a permanent seat for India. The attitude in this part of the communiqué is similar to the Canadian view that the representation of the Asian nations on the Security Council could be broadened. However, we have not been in favour of creating a special seat for India, lest such action would prejudice the "Commonwealth seat", and thus make it more difficult for us to be elected. The position of these recommendations at the beginning of the section leads one to believe that they are important to the participants and that these questions will be raised again, perhaps in a more embarrassing manner, in the near future. The list of countries which in the opinion of the Conference were qualified for membership in the United Nations - Cambodia, Ceylon, Japan, Jordan, Laos, Libya, Nepal and unified Vietnam - only includes participants in the Conference. Nevertheless, the proposal cuts across the controversy in the United Nations on "package deals" and so may prove acceptable to the Soviet Union. In any event it is a new initiative and may provide a way out of the present impasse on the admission of new members.

13. We may also expect that the Asian-African Conference will result in increased co-operation in the United Nations between the participants in furthering some of the Conference's objectives. The demonstration that the Arab and Asian nations could agree on a wide range of subjects will increase the tendency already noted in the United Nations for the Arab-Asian grouping to consult on policy matters. Such a development would increase the authority of these countries in the United Nations, and make it more likely that resolutions sponsored by them will be adopted.

14. The question of disarmament was treated in a manner which approaches the Western position, since the problem of the prohibition of nuclear weapons was not disassociated from the more general one of disarmament and the recommendation that experiments in nuclear weapons be suspended is phrased in moderate terms. The recommendation that experimentation in nuclear weapons should be prohibited pending the total prohibition of the manufacture of nuclear and thermo-nuclear weapons has never formed part of the Western proposals on disarmament. Nevertheless, this recommendation which was first put forward by Mr. Nehru a year ago has been incorporated in the Soviet proposals submitted to the Disarmament Sub-Committee on May 18, which must be considered as an indication of the present sensitivity of the Soviet Union and China to Asian opinion.

15. The final conference text is the Declaration on World Peace and Co-operation, a thoughtful and construction document. The ten principles are more concrete guides to international behaviour than the Sino-Indian five principles and their main advantage to the West may lie in the fact that they are as yet not tainted with any aura of communist peace propaganda. It is difficult to comment on principles which should form the basis of the actions of all nations in international affairs, but it has been pointed out that the fact that the Chinese Communists have subscribed to these principles gives the nations of Asia a standard by which to measure their future behaviour.

16. Although Nehru attacked arrangements for collective security, and Chou En-Lai sought to undermine the Manila Treaty by more devious means, the Conference could not condemn outright the Manila Treaty and other alliances because of the participation of Pakistan, Thailand and the Philippines which are members of the Manila Treaty, and Turkey, a member of NATO. The formula in the Declaration on World Peace and Co-operation which resolves the disagreement is obviously the result of compromise:

Principle 5: Respect for the Right of each nation to defend itself singly or collectively in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.

Principle 6A: Abstention from the use of arrangement of collective defence to serve the particular interests of any of the big powers.

17. It would be too much to say that members of the Conference had thereby reached agreement on the desirability or the opposite of defensive alliances. Since the end of the Conference, and during his trip to Europe, Mr. Nehru has continued to attack collective defence systems, which would indicate that this section of the Declaration was merely a convenient means of covering up abiding differences between the participants.

The Role of the Communist Chinese

18. The proceedings provided some interesting light on Communist Chinese policy and tactics. The evidence which has accumulated since the signing of the Sino-Indian agreement on Tibet, and which has been confirmed by the behaviour of the Chinese delegation at Bandung, indicates that the Chinese leaders think that the condition for the extension of Chinese influence in Asia at the present time is the elimination of direct Western influence. An attempt to extend Chinese power by military means would have the contrary effect of confirming Western influence. The Chinese apparently seek to eliminate the influence which the United States exercises over certain countries of the area through the Manila Treaty and economic aid. Over the past six months, policy towards Japan has become important for China, and the statements of Chou En-Lai at the Bandung Conference seem to indicate that they have hopes of developing relations with the Philippines and Thailand as well.

19. The events of the past year have also given some indication of the tactics which the Chinese mean to pursue in order to eliminate Western influence in Asia and to isolate the United States over the Formosa question. By repeated assurances of their peaceful intentions (which they contrast with the West's preparations for war), and the development of diplomatic and trade relations with the non-communist countries, the Chinese hope to develop a climate in which their size and strength and overseas communities will not excite undue suspicion. If they are successful in presenting Communist China as essentially another Asian nation which has successfully completed its national revolution, they may hope that the United States and its allies will not be able to create a viable system of collective security in the Pacific and even that the basis of the present Manila Treaty will be undermined. By holding out the prospect of profitable trade, the Chinese may believe that they can reduce the effect of the aid programmes of the United States and its allies.

20. The behaviour of the Communist Chinese delegation at the Asian-African Conference seems to bear out the analysis that the Chinese have decided not to exercise undue pressure in Southeast Asia in order to keep the situation fluid and to prevent it from crystallizing into the formation of an anti-communist bloc. Chou En-Lai apparently had to adopt a line at the Bandung Conference that was more conciliatory than he would probably have wished, in order to achieve the maximum effect. His first public statement at Bandung, before the Conference opened, spoke of the price that the Chinese delegation had to pay in connection with the Conference, a reference to the crash of the Air India Constellation carrying certain Chinese delegates to the Conference. If this was an indication of the atmosphere that the Chinese hoped would pervade the Conference, events did not conform to their expectations. After this first statement, Chou's attitude became progressively more moderate, and did not go beyond a number of references to the fact that the United States was creating tension in the Formosa Straits. His speech at the plenary session was notably milder than the advance text, circulated some hours before. His statement before the Political Committee on the second last day of the Conference emphasized China's uneasiness in the face of the creation of the Manila Treaty. Nevertheless it was, as were all of Chou's interventions, remarkably free of the tone of strenuous denunciation usually associated with the speeches of a communist delegate. On the other hand, the reports of the New China News Agency, while less violent than usual, were never as moderate as Chou's statements and referred continually to the efforts of the United States to wreck the Conference.

21. It is interesting to speculate how much Chou's performance was dictated by the pro-Western attitudes of many non-communist delegations. The Chinese delegation probably thought that it would only be necessary to emphasize anti-colonialism and China's character as an Asian nation to win over the Conference, and that imputations that the United States was unalterably opposed to the Conference as to all manifestations of Asian independence would be well received. This misconception was perhaps based on a confusion between anti-colonialism and resentment of continued Western influence, and anti-Americanism per se.

22. Since most of the attacks on Communism by Conference delegates were directed against Soviet colonialism, the Chinese delegation was anxious not to allow itself to be associated with Soviet policies but to stress China's similarity with other Asian countries which have recently gained their independence. On only one occasion did Chou say that the Chinese delegation would not accept the criticisms by various delegations of the Soviet Union, because it not unnaturally felt itself involved by them. This attitude of non-involvement was a matter of tactics, but the Soviet leaders may feel that Chou did them less than justice at Bandung. At any rate, the obvious disinclination of the Chinese to stress the Sino-Soviet connection at Bandung indicates that it is a liability to present Chinese policy in Asia.

23. The second question which the conciliatory attitude of the Chinese poses is the degree to which it was successful in allaying the suspicions which most Asian countries entertain of China. It would seem that Chou was at least partly successful in convincing the non-communist nations of his good faith. Although many delegates expressed doubts about Chinese intentions, none attacked China openly, and all were plainly impressed and confused by Chou's attitude. The chief Philippine delegate, General Romulo, even went so far as to say that Chou's first speech "showed democratic spirit". The Chinese made progress towards establishing informal relations with those countries which do not recognize them. They offered to negotiate agreements regarding the nationality of overseas Chinese. It seems likely that the question of Chinese representation at the United Nations will become progressively more difficult and that China will be able eventually to establish wider trade and possibly even diplomatic relations with Japan, if not with Thailand and the Philippines.

The Friends of the West

24. This question brings up the related one of United States influence at the Asian-African Conference. There is no doubt that some of the countries represented saw their role as spokesmen for the West. Nevertheless, what were taken by most observers to be pro-Western stands on the part of certain delegates, appear after closer study to be better described as anti-communist. The Asian countries which are Western inclined seemed to value the Western alliance according to the magnitude of the Chinese (or Soviet) threat. There are other factors which determined the stand of the non-communist delegations, among which was the consciousness of sharing similar political ideals with the Western nations. Nevertheless, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the countries of Asia which are allied with the West support its policies often for negative reasons, the most important of which is fear of Chinese intentions, but among which opposition to Indian leadership should also be mentioned. It seems to follow from this that the Chinese are in a position to undermine Western influence in Asia with some degree of success.

Indian Influence

25. Some observers have concluded that, as Chou En-Lai was so prominent, the Conference was a diplomatic defeat for India. This may be a reflection of wishful thinking upon the part of those who are not favourably disposed towards Mr. Nehru or his policies. It does not describe the facts adequately, since, as despatch 562 of May 9? from New Delhi points out, the Indians did not see the Bandung Conference as "a third force demonstration" and were, in fact, not very enthusiastic about the whole idea. Mr. Krishna Menon played a large part in the drafting of the communiqué and Mr. Nehru was very active in the important task of bringing various delegations together in informal meetings outside the Conference, and was apparently always listened to with respect. However, many of the delegations often took a negative stand in opposing India, and Mr. Nehru is reported not to have stood up very well in debate. Whatever the reasons for the apparent reluctance of the Indian delegation to play a leading part at Bandung, this failure on its part was surprising and has not facilitated the spread of Indian influence.

Other Delegations

26. From the despatches from our missions in the area and especially from conversations in Ottawa with Mr. Raju Coomeraswamy and Mr. John Senduk, both of whom attended the Conference, the former on the Ceylonese delegation and the latter as an Indonesian supervisor of the press arrangements, the following summary of the attitudes and effectiveness of the various delegations is possible. What is most immediately surprising in such a review is that the Japanese delegation, which undoubtedly included officials with a wide experience of international conferences, played a minor role in the Political Committee, although it was more active in the Economic and Cultural Committees. The Japanese doubtless feared that too active a role in the political discussions might both appear insincere and be badly received. For that reason, the Japanese had probably decided that it would be wiser to wait until Japan's position in Asia has been made more secure before attempting to exercise any political influence in the area.

27. With the exception of Egypt, the African states contributed little. Colonel Nasser played a helpful if not a dominating role in his position as chairman of the Drafting Committee and acted as a mediator between the Western-inclined states and the Indians and the Chinese. Even Salah Salem was relatively subdued and left delegates with the impression of being an astute and moderate adviser to Colonel Nasser. The latter was in increasingly close touch with Mr. Nehru and although he seems to have been impressed by Chou, he apparently undertook no commitments to develop diplomatic relations with China. Nevertheless, the Minister for Religious Foundations (Waqf) did visit China at Chou's invitation. In the Conference proceedings, the Egyptians were mainly concerned to have a resolution on Palestine adopted. If this resolution is not more strongly worded than it was, this was due to the moderating influence of U Nu, whose role once again was to infuse the Conference with an aura of peace and good will.

28. Turkey, Iraq and Pakistan lead the anti-communist group, which was mainly composed of the Arab States and was known among the other delegations as the "American bloc". Among these, Syria was the most moderate and Dr. Charles Malik of Lebanon was, according to an Australian despatch, "at his philosophical best". The Pakistan delegation was perhaps the most effective of the Western inclined states, although it sometimes opposed proposals merely because India supported them. The Turkish delegation gave the impression of being able, but somewhat unyielding when it would have profited it to do so. Both the Thai delegation (whose head, Prince Wan, was rapporteur of the Political Committee) and the Philippine delegation were surprisingly restrained. One of the happier results of the Conference may lie in the fact that India seems to have modified its former attitude of disdain towards both these countries and may attempt to develop better relations with them.

29. The Ceylonese Prime Minister came to the Conference with the intention to act as mediator in the Formosa dispute and was apparently greatly disappointed that his first efforts were not taken as seriously as he would have wished. For this reason, many delegations suspected that Sir John's attack on Soviet colonialism was dictated more by pique than because of any sincere desire to place on record the facts of Soviet colonialism in Eastern Europe. Although this is probably too extreme a view of Sir John's role, it is not unfair to speculate whether Sir John would have made his controversial statement if his attempts at mediation had been successful. The final result of this affair would seem to be an unfortunate worsening of Indian-Ceylonese relations. Finally, it is encouraging that not only did Indonesia acquit itself well in laying down the arrangements for the Conference, but seems to have gained a new access of international confidence, which may have the final effect of making its foreign policy less insecure. However, Prime Minister Ali Sastroamidjojo's activities as Chairman of the Conference were not marked by any great firmness or imagination.

30. North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia all sent strong delegations, headed respectively by Foreign Minister Pham Van Dong, Prime Minister Katay, and Prince Sihanouk. In contrast to this the South Vietnamese delegation was rather weak and appeared to be on the defensive, which was in part due to the civil war in Saigon which was going on at the time. Any hopes which the Indians may have entertained of bringing the North and South Vietnamese delegations together were not realized. However, an understanding was apparently reached between India, China and the Viet Minh regarding Laos and Cambodia. Prime Minister Katay and Pham Van Dong signed, in the presence of Nehru and Chou, a protocol in which the Viet Minh agreed to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Laos and acknowledged that the settlement of the Pathet Lao problem was an internal matter. Prime Minister Katay interpreted this as giving him a free hand to deal with the Pathet Lao as he saw fit, while the Indians and the Viet Minh rather interpreted it as an offer by the Viet Minh to lend their good offices to assist in reaching a settlement between the Pathet Lao and the Royal Laotian Government. Prince Sihanouk, in his opening speech at the Conference, asserted Cambodia's support for the Five Principles, and said that he did not consider them inconsistent with assistance from Western countries.

31. The final communiqué did not include a section supporting the Geneva settlement, because it was evident that the South Vietnamese would not agree to such a reference and would probably use the occasion to attack the settlement. For the same reason Indochina was not a subject of discussion at the Conference, in spite of the fact that Mr. Nehru had intended to give an account of India's stewardship as chairman of the Indochinese Commissions. Nevertheless, the understandings reached outside the Conference were of some importance to ourselves as members of the International Supervisory Commission.

32. On April 17, Mr. St. Laurent sent the following message to the Prime Minister of Indonesia:

"On the occasion of the convening of the Asian-African Conference, I would like to convey through you the good wishes of the people and Government of Canada for the success of the Conference. I hope that the Conference will contribute to the welfare of the people of Asia and Africa and promote the settlement by peaceful means of all disputes likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security."

33. On May 3, the Prime Minister of Indonesia replied in the following terms:

"As Chairman and on behalf of the Asian-African Conference, I would like to express our high appreciation for the good wishes of the people and Government of Canada to the Conference. The heartfelt sentiment underlying these good wishes were warmly received by the Conference. I am convinced that you and your Government receive in the same spirit the results of the Conference which I hope may contribute to the promotion of world peace and co-operation. With assurances of my highest consideration, Ali Sastroamidjojo".

34. From other sources as well we learned that the message was very well received by the Conference, the more so as it was the only direct message sent by a Western country.

35. Most of the other aspects of the Asian-African Conference have been emphasized in the press and need only be repeated summarily. In spite of the remarkable diversity of its participants, the Conference was able to agree in formulating a common general attitude on a wide agenda, though this does not mean, of course, that this unanimity would be maintained if more specific problems had been considered. Nevertheless the spirit of compromise prevailed and it was evident that almost all the participants were anxious to make the Conference a success. This may have been in part a reflection of the determination of the Asian countries to make their influence more effective in foreign affairs which would have been impossible if the Conference had broken down. It was also due to the conviction that the countries represented could make a contribution to peace, and there may have been present in the minds of all the delegates the contrast between the responsibility in the Bandung Conference and the controversy which is normal in the United Nations. One point, however, which has not been emphasized to any great extent, is that Asia seems to feel that it has a responsibility towards Africa. It is difficult to see how this development can take place without conflict with the European colonial powers, not to speak of South Africa.

36. This letter does not do full justice to the complex problems raised by this remarkable conference, which seems to have given the independent nations of Asia and Africa a new sense of confidence which will not only increase their authority but may have the final result of bringing closer the time when Asia will be able to co-operate with the West without any of the after-thoughts of colonialism which have impeded good relations until now. If this is so, the beneficial effects of the Asian-African Conference from the Western point of view will outweigh Communist China's undoubted success there.

ARTHUR MENZIES
for Secretary of State
for External Affairs


153 Voir/See Documents on International Affairs, 1955, London: Oxford University Press - Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1958, pp. 429-436.

154 Ibid, pp. 433-434, 435-436.

155 Une conférence réunissant les membres asiatiques du Plan Colombo ainsi que des représentants des États-Unis et du Japon, et tenue à Simla, en Inde, en mai 1955, pour débattre les questions relatives au développement régional. Pour un compte rendu de la conférence, voir United States, Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1955-1957, Volume XXI, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1990, pp. 105-106.
A conference involving the Asian members of the Colombo Plan, as well as the United States and Japan, which was held in Simla, India, in May 1955 to discuss regional development issues. For a report on the conference, see United States, Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1955-1957, Volume XXI, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1990, pp. 105-106.



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