6 Prime Minister's Department to High Commissioner's Office in London
Cablegram unnumbered 8 January 1940,
Your telegram 20th December.  Production of Foodstuffs War Time
and Post-War requirements. The circumstances stated in your
telegram under heading War Situation is [sic] certainly of
interest to Australia, and we wish you to continue to explore on
lines you indicated and advise as soon as possible.
Dairy Produce and Pig Meat are especially capable of quick
Regarding post-war position we have fear serious problem would be
involved if we were to stimulate production to meet war time
requirements without an assurance of adequate post-war markets.
Whole matter will be considered by Agricultural Council next month
when we would like to give them some idea (general perhaps at this
stage) as to how we would safeguard the future should we expand
production to meet war time requirements.
1 On file AA: A1608, A37/1/4, i. Bruce reported that he was
alarmed at the lack of co-ordination between the U.K. departments
responsible for food, agriculture and shipping. He had urged an
immediate survey of U.K. and French commodity needs in the war
situation and of how these needs could be met from U.K., Dominion
and neutral sources. In regard to the postwar situation Bruce did
not consider the U.K. Govt could at that stage make any commitment
because the announcement of any future increase in Imperial
Preference would strengthen the German position in Scandinavia and
have most unfortunate repercussions in the United States.
Furthermore the United Kingdom would insist on reciprocal
preference; which would be difficult to contemplate in view of the
increase of Australia's secondary industries. Bruce nevertheless
believed that if agreement could be reached as to the directions
in which Australia should expand her wartime production some
arrangement reasonably safeguarding the future could be arrived
[AA: AA1973/362, BOX 46, ITEM A39]