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102 Record Of Conversation By Shaw

22nd May, 1955


Japanese-Australian Trade Relations
I told Mr Nishi that I was not sure what he had meant in a recent
talk with the Secretary when he said that the Japanese Government
strongly desired an opportunity of having trade talks before the
Australian Government decided its policy towards Japan and the
G.A.T.T. I said that I had had the firm impression from Yamamoto a
couple of weeks ago that the Japanese Government did not wish to
press on with the proposed informal trade talks immediately. [1]

Nishi said that a month or so ago he had hoped to have had the
opportunity to take to Tokyo some ideas and proposals which might
have been presented to the Australian Government at the informal
trade talks which we had suggested. This timetable had been
interrupted by his reassignment to London. He now proposes to take
to Tokyo this week his suggestions for the basis of a Japanese
approach to Australia. He hopes that this will be considered in
Tokyo next week and that they would then be put to us either by
the Embassy in Canberra or by trade officials who might be spared
to come from Japan for the informal talks. Nishi feared that in
the course of parliamentary discussion on G.A.T.T. the Australian
Government may be constrained to make a decision about Japanese
participation in G.A.T.T. before such a decision was really
necessary. He said he understood our reluctance to apply the
G.A.T.T. to Japan. He felt also that assurances could be given in
Japan to allay our fears about possible Japanese dumping.

I told Nishi that the question of Australia's adherence to the
revised G.A.T.T. would probably come before Parliament within the
next week or two in the form of a White Paper. I was not sure
whether or not there would be a parliamentary debate on the
question of Japan and G.A.T.T. I said that I hoped that the
Government would not feel it necessary to make any mention of our
difficulties in this regard but no one could guarantee that the
matter would not be raised by some Member of Parliament which
would call for some statement of Government policy. However, I
said that I would bring his concern to the attention of the
Government Departments most concerned, with the hope that a public
discussion about Australia's attitude towards Japan and G.A.T.T.

should be postponed as long as possible. I said that we would like
to help Japan in this as, in any case, the decision did not have
to be taken for a couple of months yet.

Nishi spoke again of the great importance which he and his
Government attached to reaching some agreement on trade with
Australia. He said that his Government and commercial interests
appreciated what we had done to help Japanese imports over the
past six months within the framework of existing policy. What they
wanted, however, was an over-all assurance that Japanese trade was
being treated in a nondiscriminatory way as a whole. He regretted
that he would have to leave Australia before achieving one of his
main objectives which was an Australian-Japanese trade agreement.

1 On 5 May Yamamoto told Shaw the Japanese Embassy was not
pressing for early talks and suggested that Nishi would wish to
return to Tokyo for consultations first.

[AA : A1838/278, 3103/10/2, iii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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