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63 Commonwealth Government to Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 592 [1] CANBERRA, 11 September 1941

SECRET

Your circular M.259 [2] and previous related telegrams. [3] The
Commonwealth Government note that the measures adopted by the
United Kingdom Government are being kept abreast of the steps
taken in the United States and this accords with our views on the
general policy towards Japan as outlined in our telegram No. 467
of 23rd July. [4] As regards Australian trade with Japan under
freezing orders, no new machinery measures were necessary to bring
Australia into line with the United Kingdom and the United States
as the existing Exchange Control Regulations required commercial
transactions with Japan to be conducted on a sterling or dollar
basis.

Para. 4, M.259. [5] All exports from Australia are subject to
licence. Outstanding export licences for Japan and Japanese
territories were revoked on 28th July and the issue of fresh
licences for exports to those destinations suspended except under
special authorisation. Only one shipment of goods has been
imported since date of publication of freezing orders. Further
reference to this is contained in our telegram No. 526 of 12th
August and your reply No. 570 of 13th August. [6] Outward charge
consisted of 8534 bales wool paid for in sterling before 26th July
and 3236 bales valued at 74,620 Australian currency. Value of
latter quantity, together with expenses of servicing the vessel,
was set off against the value of the imported cargo on a Clearing
Account basis.

As to future imports the Japanese Legation has been informed that
unless the Commonwealth Government are notified before any further
goods are shipped from Japan to Australia we would be bound to
regard the goods as prohibited imports.

Para. 6, M.223 . [7] Imports from Japan are now under examination
to determine the nature and extent of essential Australian
requirements from Japan. Goods which might be permitted export to
Japan in payment for any authorised essential imports will it is
expected be confined to wheat, flour, and other foodstuffs, and
such quantities of wool as are released from time to time in
consultation with United Kingdom Government or your Wool Control
Committee. The value of these exports would be limited to the
available funds from proceeds of permitted imports from Japan.

1 Repeated to the N.Z. [Acting] Prime Minister as no. 354.

2 Dispatched 23 August. On file AA:A1608, A41/1/1, xxiv.

3 See the file cited in note 2.

4 Document 14
5 Paragraph 4 requested that, in view of the strict policy being
pursued by both the U.S. and U.K. authorities, Dominion Govts
should consider revocation of existing export licences.

6 AA:A3196, 1941, 0.11694 and AA:A3195, 1941, 1.14948
7 Dispatched 8 August. On the file cited in note 2. Paragraph 6
emphasised that the principle governing admission of imports to
the British Empire should be 'the narrowest possible
interpretation of essentiality' and requested information from the
Dominion Govts 'as to the nature and estimated volume of imports
from Japan' in accordance with this principle.

On 11 September the U.K. Govt sought the Commonwealth Govt's reply
to the above query and commented that from replies received so
far, 'in general we hope that throughout the Empire imports will
be confined to exceptional items directly related to the war
effort and that the initiative in arranging barter deals in
respect of such imports will so far as possible be left to the
Japanese'. See cablegram 622 On file AA:A1608, G59/1/3, ii.


[AA:A981, FAR EAST 20A, ii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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