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Historical documents

72 Stirling to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 386 LONDON, 7 November 1942, 2.45 p.m.


Your telegram No. 359 Nov. 4th. [1] Message passed to Wilson [2]
and the following is his reply.

From Wilson for the Treasury. Begins.

Your telegram Nov. 4th. Please inform Dr. Evatt that the Dominions
including self have been hunting niggers assiduously. [3] The
United Kingdom approach on the papers discussed is very
satisfactory and, if anything, too careful in the attempt to meet
the American views where these may diverge from our interests.

Canada has helped strengthen this feeling of the United Kingdom.

Feel sure the same criticism could not be made on commerce policy
questions where I fear there is greater likelihood that the United
Kingdom may fall short of American expectations than in the
matters chiefly occupying this conference. Trouble here is the
United Kingdom has not given much thought to the problems involved
and does not see clearly how a multilateral attack on purely
tariff and preference questions can be commenced especially as she
has little other than reduction of preferences to offer to the
world. Sentiment in favour of preference still very strong but
think today's expression of Dominion views will help the United
Kingdom to get them in better perspective against the background
of increased world trade and prosperity.

Their attitude towards preference influenced by the realisation
that the limitation on tariff reductions that the United States
can make under current legislation contributes little to the
solution of their problems regarding the balance of payments.

Appears to be natural disposition to postpone consideration of the
preference question until clearer what real steps the United
States can take in directions that will relieve the United Kingdom
post-war position.

Think our position in relation to Clearing Union now fully
safeguarded. [4] The position in relation to the primary products
scheme should be fairly safe if the plan as ultimately developed
proves workable. [5] It assumes much greater measure of
international good sense than experienced in the past or perhaps
possibly in future but alternative so hopeless that I think we
should be prepared to take some risks and play our part in the
attempt to make ordered world economy work. There will be time for
personal discussions before any question of commitments likely to
arise. Say I remembered his admonitions regarding obstinacy when
occasionally fuzzy heads protruded. Ends.

1 On file AA:A989, 43/735/56/1.

2 For details of Wilson's mission see Document 104.

3 This refers to Evatt's suggestion that Wilson report on possible
'niggers in the woodpile'. See the cablegram cited in note 1.

4 See cablegram 10078/79 to Wilson of 4 November 1942 (on the file

cited in note 1) which set out the comments of the Treasury and
the Commonwealth Bank and a preliminary report by the
interdepartmental Financial and Economic Committee.

5 See Document 104, Curtin's cablegram 10266 of 10 November, and
Bruce's cablegrams 107[A], 9753, 10261, 10468, 10525 of 16 and 23
October, and 7, 12 and 13 November respectively. All cablegrams
are on the file cited in note 1.

[AA:A989, 43/735/56/1]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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