167 Curtin to Bruce

Cablegram 64 [1] CANBERRA, 29 April 1943

SECRET

Dominions Office telegrams D.234, D.235 and D.236. [2] We appreciate great importance of matters proposed for discussion at informal conference on official and expert level and are now considering our reply.

Before replying we would be glad of your advice on the following points:-

(a) Any brief comments you may feel able to make on broad lines as to proposed method of approach to United States of America particularly as we previously understood that British policy was to allow United States to take the initiative on commercial policy. Our view has always been that removal of trade barriers could be fruitfully discussed only after plans for international economic collaboration had been well developed. We are by no means convinced that discussions on trade policy should now be pushed on as the urgent immediate need in pursuing the objectives of Article VII. We regard formulation of considered programme for Article VII discussions as in any case an early necessity.

(b) It is noted that United Kingdom desires to open discussion of trade policy in the first instance with United States of America.

But United States might regard prior discussion among Empire countries as confronting them with British Commonwealth version of obligations under Article VII. Is it intention of United Kingdom to inform United States of America of proposed discussions? (c) Owing to short notice and conflict with date of food conference in United States of America, we would find it difficult, if not impossible, to send suitable representatives to reach London by third week in May. In circumstances suggest you ascertain whether third week in May is latest possible date for proposed discussions.

(d) We would be glad of your advice as to type of officials and experts required.

(e) In view of foregoing we suggest that alternative procedure might be for United Kingdom Government to assemble Dominion permanent representatives in London for discussions at intervals, sufficient to enable them to ask for and receive information on special points from the countries they represent. If this were done we assume you would still desire expert assistance.

1 Repeated to Evatt in Washington as no. 70.

2 Cablegrams D234-5 are published as Documents 165-6. Circular cablegram D236 of 22 April (on file AA:A989, 43/735/57/1) conveyed the text of supplementary instructions issued by the U.K. Govt to Halifax.

[AA:A989, 43/735/57/1]