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Historical documents

112 Minute From Shaw To Tange

30th August, 1955


Informal Trade Talks with Japan
As you know there were proposed some time ago informal trade talks
with the Japanese as a prelude to more formal trade negotiations.

Japanese accession to G.A.T.T. held up discussions for some time
but now that this is over the Japanese have been asking us when we
are ready to begin.

This Department endeavoured to arrange interdepartmental
discussions for August 15th but, at the suggestion of Mr George
Warwick Smith, called the arrangement off in the belief that
Crawford and Meere would get together to iron out their
differences. So far they have not met. We understand that the
difficulty is (although we would have to handle the information
discreetly) that Warwick Smith and Millwood have not been able to
get Crawford to agree to a line of approach to Customs. We have
been in frequent touch with Commerce and believe that a telephone
call from yourself to Crawford would be likely to speed things up.

The vote on Japanese accession to G.A.T.T. took place on August
11th. The results will be announced on September 10th when it will
become public knowledge (the Japanese Government already knows it)
that we have invoked Article XXXV. There will be pressure on the
Japanese Government to retaliate against Governments which have
invoked that article. Public statements by prominent officials
foreshadowing retaliatory action have already been made.

We saw Uyama this morning and amongst other things he raised the
question of the informal talks. Early next week would be a
convenient time for the Japanese to commence talks.

Perhaps you could give Crawford a ring and let him know of our
anxiety to get the talks started so that the Japanese Government
will have something tangible to resist pressures for retaliatory
action against Australia. We understand that a broadly based
interdepartmental discussion would not be helpful but it is just
possible that talks between Commerce, Trade and ourselves would
help to get things going.

Depending on the results of your conversations with Crawford you
might also consider ringing Meere.

If you have not the time to ring these men I will have personal
notes to them drafted for your consideration. [1]

1 A handwritten note in the margin, initialled by Tange, reads:

'Crawford is away: I am trying to see him later this week'. A
second note, dated 15 September, reads: 'I spoke to Crawford
today. He is keen to get talks started, thinks it should be
possible to work from the Canadian model. I will see Meere on
Monday.' See also note 1 to Document 113.

[AA : A1838/283,759/1/7, ii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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