11 Commonwealth Government to Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
Cablegram 461  CANBERRA, 21 July 1941
Your telegram 445 Lease-Lend. 
We are pressing on with organisation for dealing with acquisition
of goods under Lease-Lend. Following is present position in
relation to requirements listed in your paragraph 3. (a) Generally
speaking through import licensing civil imports from United States
of America have been limited to essentials. No relaxation of
standards of what is essential will be permitted but rather the
procedure of progressively intensifying restrictions will be
(b) (1) Instructions have been issued to all Commonwealth
Government Departments to place all orders for goods from United
States of America with Australian Section of British Purchasing
Commission, New York. This applies also to orders which previously
have been placed through the United Kingdom Ministry of Supply.
(2) List of Service requirements for 1941/42 will shortly be
cabled to New York. These will be followed by necessary detailed
specifications etc. as soon as possible.
(3) Lease-Lend Clearing House for non-warlike goods is being set
up on the basis of the existing import licensing organisation. All
private orders for goods listed which are approved by Clearing
House will be placed with Australian Section British Purchasing
Commission as Government orders for procurement under Lease-Lend
(4) Clearing House organisation will not be operating effectively
for few weeks.
(5) Clearing House will (in collaboration, where necessary, with
appropriate Department) attempt to obtain consolidated orders for
goods listed in your paragraph 5 and also for other machinery,
railway, docks and harbour equipment, telephonic and
communications equipment, and civil aircraft as advised by
Australian Minister in Washington. 
(c) No further Government orders for goods in classes referred to
will be placed privately in United States of America. Non-
Government orders will be centralised once the Clearing House is
(d) In distributing goods outside Government departments we cannot
see any satisfactory alternative to charging on the basis of
estimated cost including incidental cash charges which may be
incurred in respect of Lease-Lend goods. Proceeds of sales would
(i) in case of sales to Government contractors to be set against
gross cost to Department concerned;
(ii) in other cases to be used for war expenditure.
We are satisfied that only by this means can adequate control and
economy be secured. Should it be necessary for private interests
to act as agents for government in distributing goods they will
not be permitted to make profits. Any remuneration will be on
basis of commission or direct payment for services.
We will advise as early as possible on further developments.