4 Chifley to Beasley
Cablegram 22 CANBERRA, 23 February 1948, 5.20 p.m.
Your telegram 39.  United Kingdom. Balance of Payments
I fully agree with your suggestion that, as a supplement to the
work of the Sterling Area Statistical Committee, it would be
useful to obtain periodically a first hand review of the current
balance of payments position and future prospects from the
Chancellor. The Statistical Committee is, of course, essentially a
fact-finding body and not concerned with policy.
As to the lines of enquiry you might pursue with the Chancellor, I
do not think it would be wise at this stage to do anything more
than to seek a clear summary statement of the United Kingdom
Government's latest views on balance of payments prospects for
1948, and latest United Kingdom assessment of prospects of
obtaining adequate relief through Marshall Aid or other means.
Discussion of means to be adopted to finance dollar deficit might
perhaps lead to suggestion from United Kingdom that Australia
should assist by exercising her drawing rights from the
International Monetary Fund or by selling the whole or part of our
gold reserve and, in asking any questions, I should be glad if you
would bear in mind that we wish to avoid discussion of these
issues at this stage if at all possible.
In general I suggest you use the Co[mmitte]e as a means of
obtaining the maximum amount of back-ground information on the
United Kingdom position and on the thinking of the United Kingdom
[AA: 1838, 708/12A]