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Historical documents

33 Tange to Burton

Minute [CANBERRA], 28 October 1948


Have you given consideration to the establishment of machinery
contemplated by Commonwealth Conference for economic liaison? [1]

2. Presumably there is something to be said for this Department
acting promptly when Wheeler and Coombs return next week, and for
participating in a Cabinet submission.

3. The main problem, as I see it, is to avoid duplicating in
Canberra, Ottawa and elsewhere, discussions and exchanges of
information which in the nature of things take place in London.

4. The principle ought to be that each centre will act primarily
for the dissemination of information by the host government on
international issues which predominantly concern that Government.

Canberra can profitably be the centre of information on the
Japanese settlement, Japanese reparations, relief activity in the
Far East and so forth. Confusion will result if we make it a
centre for exchanging information on such matters as E.R.P. for
which London is the logical centre.

5. In addition the Canberra centre could be used for circulation
of Australian views on economic issues arising in the United
Nations and specialised agencies, the I.T.O. and G.A.T.T., import
and export policies and perhaps ad hoc questions such as the U.S.

Treaty of Friendship etc.

6. Structurally there might be
(a) (Very) occasional meetings of a Liaison Committee consisting
of representatives of Missions and interested departments, chaired
by External Affairs.

(b) An External Affairs liaison officer who has contact with and
understands economic questions under discussion in Departments.

(c) Direct contacts between Commonwealth Missions and our own
Departments subject to Liaison Officer being informed.

7. The New Zealand Secretariat [2] would have to be fitted in
while formally kept intact because of its origins in a treaty. [3]

1 Suggested during discussions at the British Commonwealth Prime
Ministers' Conference.

2 The Australian - New Zealand Affairs, secretariat was
established under the Australian - New Zealand Agreement (1944) to
co-ordinate collaboration on matters encompassed by the agreement.

3 A handwritten notation at end reads 'Cumes is in general
agreement with foregoing'. The suggestion were not realised,
however, as Burton decided, on the advice of Coombs and Wheeler,
to set up no additional machinery but to take the matter up with
the UK High Commissioner's office.

[AA: A1838/283, TS708/5A]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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