Mr Nishi got in touch with me today and said he would like to have a talk.
In the course of a brief discussion he said that his Government was at present very much preoccupied with GATT and he did not think that they were anxious to receive a speedy reply to their last note. I gathered from him that it would suit Tokyo fairly well if formal trade talks were not begun until the results of the GATT Review were fairly clear.
He said that he personally did not expect that his Government's wishes in connection with trade negotiations with Australia would be fully realised. These 'wishes', it appeared, were that trade relations between Australia and Japan should be governed by GATT.
Mr Nishi's instructions from his Government, he said, were to explore the position. He said that he had suggested to Plimsoll that informal talks might help matters along.
I agreed that I would see whether there was any prospect of informal talks where each side's difficulties and possible proposals might be examined quite privately and informally and without any commitment at all on either side.
In relation to the establishment of a branch Japanese Bank in Australia, he asked for this Department's support on the grounds that it would facilitate the wool trade. I asked him if he could give us some further particulars. He will ask Tokyo for details.