Eggleston to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 254 WASHINGTON, 16 March 1945, 12.57 a.m.


Further to my telegram 172. [1]

Employment Conference.

We have received a letter signed by Stettinius dated 13th March which, omitting the formal parts is in the following terms.


The Government of the United States of America fully recognises the urgency of the development by all nations of effective domestic programmes for the attainment of high and stable levels of productive employment if the objective of freedom from want is to be realised. My Government further recognises the desirability of international collaboration for the attainment of full employment and is in agreement with the view of the Australian Government that the employment policy should be considered at an international conference.

My Government feels however, that the employment problem is inextricably linked with the problems of exchange and trade which have been under consideration by several Governments for some time.

While the maintenance of a sound and stable commercial and financial system may not be possible if serious unemployment exists in any major country, there can be no sound basis for stability of productive employment at a high level in the various nations if there is not a general international agreement to remove excessive barriers and prevent discriminatory practices which have restricted world trade in the past. Because of this close inter-relationship between employment and trade, my Government is convinced that it is necessary to achieve a consistent definition of over-all objectives and … [2] action in these fields.

It would be most unfortunate if full employment were sought in some countries by measures which have the effect of reducing employment in other countries, as for instance by the encouragement of uneconomic production or by the erection of positive barriers to the free flow of international commerce. Only through co-ordination of employment policy and trade policy will it be possible for each country to achieve the fullest and most economic use of its resources and high levels of production and consumption which are essential if the general goal of freedom from want is to become a reality.

Therefore my Government feels strongly that the desirability of proceeding as quickly as possible to promote international co- operation, with respect to trade and employment policies calls for joint, rather than separate treatment. Discussions of these matters amongst the several Governments … [3] desired in conference with their reciprocal undertakings under article seven of several mutual aid agreements that have been negotiated.

Accordingly my Government would be pleased to participate at the earliest practicable date in an international conference on trade and employment. The conference would consider the entire problem of post war international trade relations including not only the proposals for an international agreement for the reduction of trade barriers and the establishment of an international trade organisation, but also the problems of the commodity agreement policy and Cartel policy. The conference would also give full consideration to the international aspects of the problem of maintaining high and stable levels of productive employment in all countries, and would explore the essential areas of international co-operation with a view to achieving agreement on the methods of the objectives and the procedures of coordinated action in this field.

It is the earnest hope of this Government that the Governments of Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand will agree with this approach. If they do, my Government feels that steps should be taken promptly to hold the necessary preliminary discussions.


Stettinius has forwarded copies of the letter to the British Ambassador and the New Zealand Minister.


1 Document 38.

2 A sign here indicates ‘mutilated’.

3 A sign here indicates ‘mutilated’.


[AA:A1066, ER45/2/3/2]