By Barrie Ireton (auth.)
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Extra resources for Britain’s International Development Policies: A History of DFID and Overseas Aid
The government recognised the inevitability of such a merger of the two Departments but did not think that one Secretary of State could cope with the workload involved over the next few years. It did, however, recognise the need meanwhile to bring together the provision of technical co-operation activities under one roof, regardless of the status of the recipient, to be known as the Department for Technical Co-operation (DTC). It was concluded that financial aid, except to the colonies, was more a matter of policy than detailed administration as at that time most financial aid was for general economic support rather than for individual projects requiring close appraisal and monitoring, and should therefore remain with the relevant overseas department.
Following the problems in the West Indies in the late 1930s, a regional comptroller-general was appointed to oversee assistance to the Caribbean. There were discussions about the feasibility of establishing other regional offices, particularly in West Africa, but these were not progressed. Placing staff overseas in regional and country offices was to be a growing feature and strength of the Department in later years, particularly as information technology improved. The concern with discharging trusteeship responsibilities gave way in the 1950s to a wider international concern with helping to reduce poverty in poor countries more generally.
There remained no formal restriction on the use of aid funds for local costs, apart from CA loans provided by ECGD and funds provided under the Chancellor’s surplus capacity initiative. Britain’s often stated formal position then and later was that it favoured an international decision to untie all aid, not least because it expected to be a net beneficiary of such a move. Also discussed in the 1963 White Paper was the issue of terms of aid. It pointed out that more than half of Britain’s aid in 1962/63 was on grant terms, which primarily meant grants-in-aid and the bulk of CD&W funds for the colonial territories, technical co-operation generally, and the funds channelled through the multilateral aid system.