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Asian Development Bank

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The Treasurer, Mr. Harold Holt, announced today

that representatives of a consultative committee appointed

at the March 1965 annual session of the Economic Commission

for Asia and the Far East, had visited Australia last

week for talks on the proposed Asian Development Bank.

The visiting group consisted of the Honourable

Cornelio Balmaceda, Secretary for Commerce and Industry of

the Philippines, Mr. C. S. Krishna Moorthi, Joint Secretary

of the Indian Ministry of Finance and Mr. A. Maglaque, an

official of E.C.A.F.E. who was the Technical Secretary to

the visiting mission. · ‘

Mr. Holt said that it was proposed that the Bank

would lend for development projects in member countries in

the E.C.A.F.E. region and that its operations would be

governed by sound lending principles in a similar way to

those of the International Bank for Reconstruction and

Development. It was hoped that the Asian Development Bank

would make a major contribution to economic progress in the

E.C.A.F.E. region. ■

He said it had been suggested that the Bank

should have a capital of $1,000 million of which $600 million

would be subscribed by countries of the E.C.A.F.E. region.

It was hoped that ,$400 million would be contributed by

countries outside the region. It v/as too early to say

whether these targets would be reached but a number of

countries including the United States and Japan had already

indicated that they would be prepared to contribute.

. After hi3 own talks with the visiting group, the

Treasurer said that detailed discussions on the proposed Bank

had been held with representatives of the departments principally

concerned. As the Government had not had an opportunity to

consider the full implications of the proposal, the discussions

with the visiting members of the L.C.A.F.S. consultative committee

had been purely exploratory but the Australian representatives

had been instructed to adopt a sympathetic and positive attitude.

Mr. Holt said that he hoped to be in a position to put

to Cabinet at an early date, the question of Australian

participation in the negotiations for the establishment of the

Bank. He did not expect that a final decision on Australian

membership would be taken until the negotiations had reached a

more advanced stage.

Canberra, A.C.T. 21st July, 1965-