284 Mr R.G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Mr S.M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London

Cablegram unnumbered (extract) 11 October 1939,

SECRET

Wool.

Last portion of my telegram 5th October [1] referred to our desire deal with representatives of friendly neutrals. So far only neutral country specifically mentioned between us and the United Kingdom Government is Japan and following the favourable re-action of the United Kingdom Government to our early cables Central Wool Committee have appointed Japanese appraisers to deal with Wool Committee in regard to wools which will be allotted to Japan from time to time. Consul-General, Italy, now expressing perturbation that no Italian appraisers appointed and was under mistaken impression that Italian buyers discriminated against. [2] Glad if you can immediately secure understanding with the United Kingdom Government that we may deal with appraisers of neutral nationalities to whom wool is allotted. Please ascertain also if United Kingdom Government proposes to allot wool to Italy.

MENZIES

1 Document 264 2 On 9 October 1939, the Italian Consul-General, Andedeo Mammalella, sent a cablegram to the Minister for External Affairs, Sir Henry Gullett, complaining that the failure to appoint Italian wool appraisers would lend itself to 'regrettable consideration within the framework of the present international situation'. The Secretary of the Department of External Affairs, Lt Col W.R.

Hodgson, subsequently informed the Secretary of the Italian Consulate in Melbourne that no discrimination had been intended against the Italian Government, which had in any case made no request for wool. It appears, however, that this information was not passed on to Mammalella, who sent further cablegrams of protest on 7 and 9 December 1939. The matter was settled On 12 December 1939 when the Chairman of the Central Wool Committee, Alexander F. Bell, invited the Italian Acting Consul in Melbourne, Commander L. Buoninsegni Vitali, to submit the names of three Italians for appointment as appraisers. All correspondence on this subject is on file AA: A981, Trade 6.

[AA: A1608, L37/1/5]