181 Beasley and Keane to Evatt (in Washington)

Cablegram PW77 CANBERRA, 7 May 1943


We have been studying the procurement and stock position of raw materials which are required from United States and Canada. The following appears to be the position.

(1) Whereas stock position of large number of commodities was considered satisfactory twelve months or more ago and amounted to nine, twelve and in some cases fifteen months' stock, we now find general stock position is exceedingly low of goods required from United States and Canada. In some cases stocks represent one, two or three months' supply.

(2) Insistence by Lend Lease Administration that requisitions should be based on a maximum of six months' stock will narrow the stock position in an overall sense.

(3) The period taken for procurement which for most countries appears to be a standard feature in United States is now much greater than pre-Lend Lease.

You will appreciate that if there is any failure on the Government's part to import ugently required raw materials during election year such as the present it will have serious repercussions. If large number of small industries or even if several large industries have to dismiss employees because of lack of raw materials the Government will come in for severe criticism.

We feel that we are fully justified in the circumstances in making a joint appeal to you to ensure that the best possible case be made for additional shipping to enable all available supplies to be brought forward.

Up to the present we have been very fortunate in escaping losses from submarine activity in the Pacific. In view of recent developments, however, it is extremely unlikely that this will continue, and therefore it is essential we have additional shipping margin to ensure that replacements which may hastily be made available can be shipped, otherwise a large number of manufacturing programmes will become disjointed and others will have to be stopped because of failure to import one or more components.

Quite irrespective of the manner in which the views of the respective parties have developed in this subject, we feel that if a liberal interpretation were placed on availability of supplies a good case could be presented for additional shipping.

We would appreciate a copy of this telegram being made available to both Macgregor and McCarthy. Would suggest you also see cablegram No. 4658 which deals with shipping priorities in greater detail. [1]

1 Dispatched 5 May. In series FA:A3196, 1943, 0.12217, 12230-3.