269 Department of External Affairs to Bulcock

Cablegram 783 CANBERRA, 25 May 1946

IMMEDIATE SECRET

F.A.0. CONFERENCE

With reference proposed establishment of International Emergency Food Council [1] you may support proposals in principle if sponsored by United Kingdom. Support is conditional upon Australia retaining its freedom of action in regard to contracts with the United Kingdom and provided that immediate commitments generally to the new organisation should not differ substantially from present commitments under Combined Food Board allocations. The general outline of machinery contemplated in draft conveyed Canberra by Dominions Secretary [2] is endorsed as also the proposed relations between F.A.0. and the New Organisation. [3]

2. Should conference attempt in detail to review contributions to world food supplies now being made and contemplated by member nations, the following points might be borne in mind. First, emphasis could be placed on the substantial contribution already being made in terms well known to you. If seasonal prospects remain favourable Australia's 1946-1947 exports of grain and dairy produce likely to expand over recent years, probably emphasizing shipping and domestic transport difficulties. Secondly, investigations are now proceeding with view to consideration by the Government of further measures which might be taken to secure additional supplies over the next twelve months. Special attention will be given to fats and oils and sugar. Grain position will also be further examined although it is doubtful whether at any time for many months, other than few weeks before next harvest, whether transport will be able to handle available exports. Accordingly raising extraction rate of flour would probably be gesture of doubtful value in view of difficulties of converting mills. All these matters will be reviewed on assumption of 12 to 18 months food crisis. Meanwhile present policies as known to you stand. In any case governmental decisions unpracticable before your conference ends and accordingly suggest no great emphasis to limited results which further measures might produce.

(High Commissioner's Office. Please pass on main tenor to Dominions's Office.)

1 See Document 267.

2 See Document 267, notes 1 to 4.

3 i.e. that F.A.0. be entitled to representation at all meetings of the Council and its committees.

[AA:A1067, ER46/4/14]