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104 Record Of Conversation By Shaw

6th July, 1955


Japanese Membership of G.A.T.T.

Mr Kakitsubo called to enquire whether the Australian Government
had yet defined its attitude to Japanese membership of G.A.T.T.

I told him that the Government had carefully avoided any reference
to Japan in the recent Parliamentary discussions on the review of
G.A.T.T. and that there had been no public statements about Japan,
one way or the other.

I said that Cabinet had not yet considered the explicit question
of Japanese membership of G.A.T.T. and would not have an
opportunity to do so before some meetings beginning about the end
of July. We realised, however, that we would have to define our
attitude before 11th August. I told Mr Kakitsubo that it would be
idle for me to forecast any Government decision or to give any
departmental thinking. Most Cabinet Ministers held views about
G.A.T.T., trade and Japan, and the decision would be essentially a
Ministerial one.

Kakitsubo volunteered the information that the United Kingdom
would probably agree to the accession of Japan to G.A.T.T. but
invoke Article 35 against Japan. I asked whether Japan would
regard this as a satisfactory course. He said that it could be
satisfactory enough if it resulted in Japan being admitted to
G.A.T.T. The United Kingdom might feel that Japan would profit by
having increased trade relations with other G.A.T.T. members which
would enable Japan to earn more foreign exchange with which to buy
British goods. Kakitsubo expressed no strong views against the
invoking of Article 35 against Japan. He did, however, say that
every vote in opposition to Japan's accession to G.A.T.T. would
count. He said that 23 affirmative votes were required and there
was some doubt as to whether they would be obtained. Australia's
vote of assent, dissent or abstention would therefore be

Kakitsubo was not importunate or threatening. He did mention that
after accession to G.A.T.T. Japan would then have two tariff
rates-most-favoured-nation and general tariff.

I said that we would let him know as soon as we had any
information we could pass to him on the subject.

[AA : A462/20, 602/2, iv]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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