318 Commonwealth Government to Cranborne

Cablegram 281 [1] CANBERRA, 28 October 1943

MOST IMMEDIATE SECRET

The Australian Government is much perturbed at the position of the Trade Agreement discussions in Washington because of the time now available for completion of the negotiations. It is apparent that further delay will make impossible the negotiation of an agreement between Australia and the United States of America before the end of January, by which time, we are advised, the Agreement should be out of the way in view of the commencement of the Presidential Election Campaign.

2. In this connection your attention is invited to the relevant passages of your cablegrams D.467 [2], 244 [3] and 272 [4] and our cablegrams 199 [5] and 230. [6] You will recall that while you stated your proposals were not in fact incompatible with bilateral negotiations and acknowledged our interest in leaving room for bilateral discussions if this proved desirable, you desired the bilateral negotiations between Australia and United States to be deferred pending conclusion of the broader approach by the United Kingdom to the United States on Article 7.

These talks have now been completed. The Australian Government has therefore given instructions to its Delegation to pursue vigorously negotiations for a Trade Agreement without further delay as unless agreement can be completed shortly our bargaining power with the United States will be materially reduced. [7]

3. The Australian Government is firmly of the opinion that the successful conclusion of as many bilateral agreements as possible between members of the British Commonwealth and the United States will materially strengthen the position of the Empire when Article 7 has been more fully discussed. In this connection it is our understanding that the two other Dominions concerned are equally interested in this bilateral discussion.

4. We gather from our representatives at Washington that you did not contemplate continuing bilateral discussions with the United States, but the Australian Government would appreciate advice in confirmation of this.

Having in mind the assistance we were able to render you in making your Agreement with the United States in 1938, at which time we had an understanding that you would assist us in the exploratory discussions then in progress, we would be grateful if you could see your way to advise the State Department that you welcome our bilateral negotiations and are ready to give all possible assistance to facilitate agreement.

In this latter connection we would appreciate your formal concurrence to the modification of United Kingdom preference in Australia on those tariff items which have been under discussion by Australian and United Kingdom officials.

1 Repeated to the Legation in Washington as no. 1315.

2 See Document 252, note 1. 3 See Document 252, note 3.

4 See Document 273, note 7.

5 Document 252.

6 Document 273.

7 See Document 289.

[AA:A989, 43/735/70/2]