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43 Dedman to Chifley

Cablegram F9 LONDON, 17 July 1949, 5.22 p.m.


[matter omitted]

10. From the foregoing [1] it will be seen that the Cripps-Snyder-
Abbott communique does not imply any agreement on detailed policy
or action. It is merely that in the light of frank exploratory
discussions the United Kingdom feels sufficiently hopeful to
reaffirm the ultimate objective of multilateralism and 'a one
world economy' and to undertake the further negotiations in
September. It is clear that none of the parties has worked out the
particular proposals which it win pursue at the September talks,
e.g. the six points; [2] given by the President of the Board of
Trade are very general and vague. Nevertheless the Canadians feel
that the talks with Snyder had great value. They have always
feared that the United Kingdom would establish a second trading
world through a series of decisions of expediency, and they feel
that in June the United Kingdom was very near to attempting it

11. The foregoing indicates a change in the United Kingdom outlook
since Mr. Attlee's original message, and explains why the United
Kingdom has sought for the Commonwealth Conference a reaffirmation
of the objective of multilateralism.

12. During the discussions on the long-term problem and objective
we have urged that the general lines of approach set out in the
Board of Trade's six points should be broadened to include the
working towards a geographical pattern of trade which could
provide a basis for the restoration of equilibrium. In this
connection we have emphasised the importance of East-West trade in
Europe as a source of alternative supplies and of Japanese trade.

We have also exchanged views on how the various general lines of
approach can be developed into concrete proposals. Officials are
at present drafting an agreed Minute for the consideration of
Ministers. United Kingdom thinking is, however, still in the
general phase and it is difficult to gain any precise view of the
concrete content of the September talks.

13. It is equally difficult to form any view on the likelihood of
the United Kingdom and the United States taking adequate action to
achieve the long-term objectives of multilateralism. The Canadians
were encouraged by the American attitude in the recent talks and
regard the internal economic programme in the recent Presidential
message to Congress as a hopeful sign. On the other hand they are
worried by the possible repercussions on American attitudes of the
short-term dollar cuts and of the proposed medium-term measures
such as conversion to non-dollar sources of supply. Undoubtedly
one of the big immediate problems is how to put the inevitable
emergency measures in a context which will not prevent the
Americans from accepting a responsibility for necessary and
adequate measures on their part to solve the medium and long-term

14. We cannot feel optimistic about the possibility of adequate
American action or about the possibility of other necessary
measures. On the other hand, in view of the United Kingdom
judgment on the situation and of Australia's great interest in
multilateral trading, we would not wish to recommend that
Australia urge that pursuit of the multilateral objective be
abandoned. At least we gain a breathing space in which to reach a
better understanding of the problem by the Americans.

[matter omitted]

21. The Chancellor did not question my explanation of the reasons
why Australia could not effect in 1949/50 the 25 per cent saving
proposed. But in commenting on New Zealand's exposition of its
commitment problem the United Kingdom officials indicated that the
position was so serious that planning could not in any
circumstances be on the basis of a saving lower than 25 per cent.

Nevertheless we have not in these circumstances yet pursued the
question of alternative finance. [3]

1 Dedman reviewed the meeting between Cripps, Snyder and Abbott.

2 See Document 37, paragraph 8.

3 Chifley replied on 18 July 1949 agreeing with the delegation's
approach to broadening the six points, as outlined in paragraph 12
above, and drew to Dedman's attention the cablegram which is
published here as Document 262.

[AA: A1838, 708/12/1A]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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