94 Record Of Conversation By Upton

30th December, 1954


Trade with Japan Mr Nishi presented a note [1] replying to the Minister's note of 17th November [2] suggesting trade talks between Australia and Japan. In presenting the note, Mr Nishi said that the note should not be regarded as a rejection of the Australian approach.

However, the Japanese Government was anxious that talks should have some assurance of being successful before they were commenced. For this reason they hoped for some understanding about the scope of the talks before they were initiated. He said he would appreciate an opportunity informally to discuss our reaction to the Japanese note before a formal reply was sent.

In receiving the note Mr Plimsoll said that he was unable to add to what had already been conveyed to Mr Nishi. Our ideas on the scope of the talks were not firm and we had been awaiting Japan's reaction to our approach. The Japanese note would, however, be passed on to the Departments concerned and we would give a reaction as soon as possible.

In response to an enquiry as to what matters the Japanese authorities would wish to have discussed, Mr Nishi mentioned:

(a) Tariffs. He said that this was now the most important question and Japan hoped that Australia would agree to their accession to G.A.T.T. and to enter into G.A.T.T. tariff regulations.

(b) Import licensing. There was still some discrimination.

(c) The question of establishing branches of Japanese firms in Australia and of opening a branch of the Tokyo Bank in Sydney which he had mentioned to Mr Shaw on 17th November. [3]

Mr Upton said that some information had been gathered about the questions in (c) above and he intended to pass it on to Mr Yamamoto soon. Briefly though, approval could not be given for the admission of Japanese nationals to establish branches of Japanese firms in Australia although they could come to Australia for short business visits. The question of conditions governing the entry to and stay in Australia of non-Europeans was being reviewed. The refusal of the Tokyo Bank's application was based on purely banking considerations and the fact that the request had come from a Japanese Bank had had no bearing in the decision.

Mr Plimsoll remarked that he assumed that there were arrangements in effect whereby Australian banks acted as agents for Japanese banks and vice-versa.

There was some discussion on the G.A.T.T. Review. Mr Nishi was informed that no finality had yet been reached and discussions appeared likely to last for several more weeks at least. It would then be necessary for Governments to consider their attitude to the results of the Review.

1 Document 93.

2 Document 90.

3 See Document 91.

[AA : A1838/278, 3103/10/2, iii]