392 Burton to Plimsoll

Cablegram 693 CANBERRA, 12 November 1947


Your UN.1099. Reparations from Japan.

Prime Minister agrees to proposal in general- (a) Whilst there are obvious advantages to be gained from early public announcement of Australian gesture best occasion for introducing it would seem to be next meeting of F.E.C. On assumption that United States Government has given no public hint of its proposal, any Australian announcement linking our offer to a still hypothetical distribution of shares might prove embarrassing to United States Government. If Minister feels public announcement is still desirable he might appropriately make it himself, after consultation with State Department and Secretary- General of F.E.C. In order to make best advantage of offer any such statement, whether made publicly or in F.E.C. itself, would presumably emphasise Australia's recognition of reconstruction needs of South East Asian countries.

(b) Minister of Commerce interested in certain wool combing plant.

We think Australian offer will still appear sufficiently striking without going to length of handing back 7% to pool. By offering to surrender, say, 5%, we would still retain our own use a share which would represent sacrifice of substantial portion of what majority of F.E.C. countries have considered our fair share, and would at the same time leave us with margin in which subsequently to claim other desirable items in addition to whaling vessels and combing machines.

[AA : A1838,479/10, iv]