104 Cabinet Sub-Committee on Trade and Employment Conference to Australian Delegation, Geneva

Cablegram T67 CANBERRA, 23 May 1947, 5.35 p.m.

IMMEDIATE SECRET

Your I.T.O. 79, 80. [1]

1. Subject to the elimination or adequate modification of Article 24, paragraph (b) [2], you are authorised to proceed in accordance with your conclusions 2 and 3 of I.T.O. 79. Approval is given on the assumption that you will press for adequate exceptions for administrative purposes as foreshadowed in Commonwealth discussions in London.

2. It might be a considerable undertaking to seek out and eliminate all present practices in Australia which contravene Article 15. On the other hand, it is quite reasonable that we should take appropriate action in specific cases which are both within the competence of the Commonwealth Government and the subject of representations by other countries affected. In fact it would be in our interests to be able to raise such matters with other Governments in order to protect Australian exports. We see no reason why we should seek to save existing practices provided there is no onus on us to take the initiative in seeking them out.

Subject to these considerations, therefore, the substance of Article 15 is acceptable.

1 ITO80, dispatched 14, May, noted that the intent of Articles 14, is and 25 was to confine protective action by governments to subsidies and duties. This would be achieved through elimination of supplementary devices embodied in internal taxation and trade laws. The cablegram suggested that Australia approach the matter either by considering it essential that governments retain the freedom to use supplementary methods, thus obviating Article 15, or by making a proviso prohibiting the introduction of new measures and providing for discussions to be held with any government which requested the replacement of such practices with permissible forms of protection.

2 For text of paragraph (b) see Document 90, note 1.

[AA : A1068, ER47/1/29]