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141 Curtin to Attlee

Cablegram 67 CANBERRA, 18 March 1943

1. The Australian Government regards the subjects raised in your
telegrams [D]149 to 152 [1] as of outstanding importance and
welcomes proposals for international consideration of post-war
plans for improving living standards and promoting efficient
production and distribution of foodstuffs and other primary

2. Our general policy was expressed by me in a public statement on
11th March [2] which contained the following:-

'The Commonwealth Government is convinced that there must be the
widest international agreement in relation to food and nutrition
standards and also to ensure rising living standards in housing,
clothing, social services and above all to ensure a high level of
employment. Only in those ways [can] the promise of the four
freedoms [3] be fulfilled. Only by easing [world] economic
readjustments after the war, by increasing the demand for the
basic needs of the people of all countries [can] the flow of goods
through the channels of international trade be increased. I hope
that the vigorous pronouncements of President Roosevelt and Mr.

Morrison will be followed by bold action. The Australian
Government will urge united action along these lines now and in
the future. Dr. Evatt, on his forthcoming visits to Washington and
London, will leave Allied leaders in no doubt where the
Commonwealth stands on this issue.'
3. In your 149, paragraph 2, you expressed the view that the best
way of making progress was to seek preliminary agreement between
the United Kingdom and the United States after which the Soviet
and Chinese Governments should be brought in. We feel that in all
such matters we should have an opportunity of presenting our views
at the time when proposals are being shaped, and we should never
be placed in the position of simply being asked to endorse plans
on which others have already agreed. We assume, however, that the
subsequent proposal of the United States and your acceptance of
the invitation to the Washington Conference [4] will mean that in
the present case the initial discussion will actually take place
at a full meeting of representatives of all the United Nations.

4. In your 150, paragraph 3, you expressed the preference for a
Conference which would pass resolutions on a limited range of
subjects rather than one which would initiate discussion on post-
war economic problems as a whole. Our opinion on whether the scope
of the Conference should be limited or expanded would be governed
largely by the hope of attaining concrete results. In our view the
time has come to progress beyond general declarations and to
proceed towards working out the measures by which the declared
principles of the United Nations will be applied and we hope the
Conference will be realistically directed towards that end.

5. We share the concern expressed in paragraph 3 (c) of your 150,
lest port-war relief should be relegated to the background. This
matter can best be advanced by proceeding more rapidly with the
proposals already made for a Post-War Requirements Bureau.


1 Dispatched 15 and 16 March (FA:A3195, 1943, 1.12106/111,
1.12115/118, 1.12104, 1.12117/ 119).

2 Curtin's statement was in fact issued on 9 March. See
Commonwealth Government, Digest of Decisions and Announcements,
no. 55, 25 February-4 March 1943, pp. 47-8. Words in square
brackets have been corrected from the original.

3 See Document 42, note 6.

4 Circular cablegram D150 reported that the U.S. Govt had given
the U.K. Govt a copy of an invitation it proposed to issue to the
United Nations to attend a conference on food supplies commencing
on 27 April. The U.K. Govt had warmly welcomed the proposal.

[FA:A3196, 1943, 0.7660, 0.7675]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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