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Friday, 3 December 1965

Mr HAROLD HOLT - It is a fact that our colleague, the Minister for External Affairs, has indicated, on behalf of the Government, our willingness to participate in the formation of an Asian development bank and to subscribe a total of 85 million dollars to the initial capital of the bank which has been set at an estimated 1,000 million dollars. The Government welcomes the proposed formation of an institution which we think can be a most valuable contributor to economic development and peaceful progress in this area of the world. Australia's contribution is a very large one. It compares with contributions of 200 million dollars each from the United States of America and from Japan; but it does not present as formidable a budgeting problem as the total might suggest, because not all of it is callable in the early years and not all of it is payable, even to the extent that it is callable, in foreign exchange. Over five years half will be payable and, of this half, one half will be payable in foreign exchange - that is about £1.9 million a year for each of those five years. The remaining £1.9 million will be supplied in Australian currency. So the honorable gentleman will gather from these figures that, although not insubstantial, the contribution will not, having regard to the valuable purposes of the Bank, make too heavy a drain on our overseas exchange.

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