Evatt to Chifley and Keane

Cablegram E27 WASHINGTON, 11 November 1945, 4.31 p.m.


Telegram E.26 [1] dealing with the commercial question represents Liesching’s [2] views and the language attributed to him in the telegram was in fact approved by him. My personal view is that the formula commits us in a practical sense to a policy of tariff reduction and preference abolition leaving it to be determined at the Conference to what extent these principles can be carried into effect.

For that reason the analysis in your 1682 [3] is more than justified. In some respects that telegram understates the seriousness of the position because the formula is based upon an interpretation of Article … VII of the Mutual Aid Agreement which we have never accepted, which we carefully avoided in the case of Canada [4], and which Australia and New Zealand strongly combatted in the Economic Agreement made at the end of the Australia New Zealand Agreement of January 1944. [5]

So far as the employment document is concerned, I refer you especially to Clause Two dealing with effectuation of aims. [6] You understand, of course, that I have not participated at all in the Washington discussions but Liesching’s views were stated to Eggleston and myself yesterday and I thought it better to let you have his point of view at once as far as possible in his own words. If I may say so, I thought your telegram contained a most valuable contribution from Australia’s point of view. It also occurred to me that you might ask the United Kingdom if it accepts the invitation to the Conference to state that under no circumstances will it accept alterations of preference unless all the Dominions fully consent to any such alterations. If that could be arranged party political criticism would, I think, be greatly lessened. My feeling is that when it comes to the point when actual reductions in tariffs have to be negotiated, it will be almost impossible to obtain United States consent owing to vote power of secondary industries and also of the farm bloc.


1 Document 383.

2 Second Secretary, U.K. Board of Trade.

3 Document 374 was repeated to Washington as no. 1682.

4 See Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. VII, Documents 58 and 68.

5 See ibid., Documents 28-9.

6 Presumably COMM/TRADE 4, the proposed text of the U.S.

invitation to participate in a general conference on trade and employment. Clause 2 stated the U.S. Govt view that success of the conference depended on thorough preparation, including concrete plans for reduction of tariffs and trade-barriers. The text is given in cablegram 1016, dispatched from Washington 11 November (on file AA : A1066, ER45/1/5).


[AA : A1066, A45/2/5/4]