201 Evatt to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram E117 WASHINGTON, 26 May 1943, 4 p.m.

IMMEDIATE SECRET

Your telegrams 521 of 18th May and 346 of 10th April. [1] I understand that substantial agreement regarding objectives of monetary plans exists between United States and United Kingdom experts and that there is little probability of competition between the two plans. This view is supported by Keynes' speech in House of Lords on May 18th. I understand that United States plans are:-

(1) To bring together early next month [2] United States and United Kingdom experts and (where they are available) those of certain other countries with whom discussions have been held, to seek a synthesis of British and American plans, taking into account suggestions and criticisms received here of stabilization fund proposals as they at present stand.

(2) To continue on the basis of the revised scheme the individual discussions they are at present conducting at the departmental level.

(3) To request departmental officers participating in these consultations to discuss proposals with their appropriate ministers and to advise (without commitment) United States Treasury of their views.

(4) If it appears from these reports that substantial agreement is likely, to have a ministerial conference, possibly in September or October.

(5) If agreement is reached at this conference, plans will be submitted to the various governments and parliaments.

Before we accept any scheme, even in principle, we should make it clear that it would be acceptable to Australia in detail only if:-

(1) Australia's rights to draw exchange from the fund are adequate to our needs.

(2) The member countries in the fund recognise the international obligation to maintain a high level of employment and incomes.

(3) Member countries recognise the obligation to avoid persistent credit balances of payments and that the scheme provides satisfactory measures for exerting pressure on countries failing to carry out this obligation.

(4) Any modification of complete freedom of action by Australia is conditional upon the obligations referred to in (2) and (3) being effectively implemented and that in the event of any serious failure, Australia could regain her freedom of action without stigma of default.

(5) No single country is in a position by controlling voting power to dominate the fund.

My feeling is that utmost caution is required otherwise we shall have strongest political repercussions in Australia. I do not think our people will readily embrace any scheme which does not take into account its special financial sacrifices as compared with nations like Canada.

EVATT

1 Both cablegrams are on file AA:A989, 43/735/56/3.

2 See Document 104, note 9.

[AA:A989, 43/735/56/3]