31 Statement by Evatt at Prime Ministers' Meeting
LONDON, 13 October 1948
STATEMENT ON ECONOMIC AFFAIRS BY AUSTRALIAN DELEGATION
1. In the preliminary remarks which I made on Monday I expressed my admiration for the clarity of the analysis which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had given us as well as for the achievement which it represented. I may say that subsequent more detailed consideration of the content of that statement has confirmed our first impressions of its quality.
4. This being said I should like now to turn to one or two major issues with which the Paper deals. Firstly, we have studied, with great interest, the plans which the United Kingdom has for its purchases abroad by 1952/1953. Naturally we have looked to the United Kingdom market as certainly the most important market for Australian products, and we have viewed with concern the limitations which it is been found necessary to impose on United Kingdom purchases abroad and particularly in Australia. I am bound to say that we do not find very great comfort in the forecasts embodied in this Paper of those purchases in 1952/1953. I think I am right in saying that you do not anticipate any very substantial increase in your overall purchases, and I also believe that you expect your future purchases in Australia, to remain at about the present level. At the same time you have indicated that you wish us to increase our production for you of certain staple foodstuffs and raw materials. In these circumstances it is apparent that we would have to expand production of the classes of goods which you need at the expense of some of our smaller primary industries. The industries concerned, while not large in the total value of their production, are of very great importance in the structure of our agricultural and rural life, and, furthermore, they are industries whose market has been in the past almost exclusively in this country.
5. You will, I hope, forgive me for saying that in this respect the picture to be drawn from the forecasts which have been presented to us in a very unattractive one, and, indeed, one in which my Government, for economic as well as for political reasons, would be unwilling to concur.