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Historical documents

176 Curtin to Bruce

Cablegram 67 CANBERRA, 6 May 1943


Your 86. [1]

We are now considering proposal of United Kingdom in light of your
advices but are still somewhat uneasy on two points.

2. Firstly, having regard to leakage of information relating to
Clearing Union [2] we feel there is danger of similar leakage of
proposed talks and because of highly controversial nature of
commercial policy any leakage would cause serious embarrassment

3. In circumstances, we would normally prefer, for reasons you
will appreciate, that talks should be postponed until a more
suitable opportunity arises. If, however, the United Kingdom
Government is determined to initiate talks with United States at
early date and other Dominions agree to join in preliminary talks
our present inclination is that we should also participate
provided, of course, they are on non-Governmental plane and there
is no Government commitment.

4. Secondly, we are very disturbed that proposed date, viz. 3rd
week in May, conflicts with date of Food Conference in United
States of America. It is quite impossible in the time available
for us to send a representative from Australia. Dr. Coombs now in
Washington is most suitable representative who could reach London
in time, but it would be impossible to take him away from Food
Conference without considerable embarrassment. We have carefully
noted your advices that United Kingdom Government desire third
week in May to be adhered to if possible. We note that Canada is
accepting for that date and we await your advice re other
Dominions and India. Our present inclinations are that in any case
we would prefer talks to be postponed until after Food Conference.

This would have three advantages from our point of view:-

(a) We could send Dr. Coombs without embarrassment to our
representation at Food Conference.

(b) Postponement would obviate any misunderstanding with United
States of America which might result if at this late hour we
withdrew our accredited representative from the Food Conference.

(c) Dr. Evatt would be available in London for reference.

5. The whole matter is still under consideration and the final
decision will be made after further consultation with Dr. Evatt.

In circumstances, we have not yet sent reply to British Government
but are sending you this communication so as to keep you in touch
with our tentative views. You might advise United Kingdom
Government that we will send considered reply at weekend.

1 Document 171.

2 See Document 104, note 14.

[AA:A989, 43/735/57/1]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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