482 Prime Minister's Department to High Commissioner's Office, London

Cablegram 2768 4 June 1941,

Mitsui and Company are enquiring for 50,000 tons wheat and in view of position regarding Japanese desire for copra and the present proposal of the British Government stringently to reduce lead exports to Japan we would like you discuss the wheat question with the British authorities. This year the Australian Wheat Board have sold 200,000 tons wheat to Japan. Of this quantity 79,700 tons have been shipped and 22,300 tons are provided for, leaving 98,000 tons for which shipping space has still to be fixed. The present enquiry is stated to be for shipment August to December cash before commencement of loading.

In the past our policy has been to supply wheat or flour for what we felt were current food requirements and if, as the British Ambassador [1] reports to his Government, the food position is deteriorating this additional enquiry for 50,000 tons may be regarded as for current consumption.

Please advise urgently result your discussions this subject.

1 Sir Robert Craigie.

[AA: A1608, 1.37/1/4]