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12 Letter From Norma Williams To Menzies

3rd November, 1951

Are you aware that two months after the signing of the peace
treaty with Japan, and before its ratification by the
representatives of the Australian people, goods are on sale in
Sydney which could have been obtained from Britain, but were
instead obtained from Japan? Are you also aware, that according to
newspaper reports, British textile workers are unemployed because
of Japanese competition in the textile market?

These goods are on sale, so I am informed by a relative who
unwittingly bought them, at Murdochs, a large Sydney Department
Store. My relative was told she could have the goods, pillowcases,
at a cheaper rate if she would take those with the printing from
the end of the roll of material on them (which will boil out). She
did so, and on unwrapping the parcel found the printing consisted,
in part, of the words 'Made in Japan'. This woman's husband fought
the Japanese, when the threat to Australia was grave, for years in
New Guinea.

Both Government and Press have told us that only those goods which
are indispensable to Australia will be bought in Japan; we have
also been informed that the only goods for which contracts have
been signed are cement and steel. What are we to believe-the
Government and the Press, or the evidence of our own eyes?
Material for pillowcases is not indispensable, and could in any
case have been obtained from Britain.

I am reluctant, personally, to see my country have any trade with
Japan. Japan's rulers have not changed; Japan is ruled by the same
gang, her industries owned by the same industrialists, who made
war on this country and its allies only seven years ago. Her war
criminals have in many cases been given their freedom. Her war
potential is to be increased. It may be only another seven years,
or less, before the capacity of Japan to make war, built up
partially on Australian money, is sufficient for her unrepentant
rulers to attempt invasion of this country once more.

However, some trade may be necessary in Australia's own interest.

I urge your Government to look into very carefully every
application for licence to import Japanese goods, to make
absolutely sure that no other possible source of those goods has
been missed, and to review such licences frequently and
rigorously. And, above all, I urge your Government to revoke such
licences for textiles immediately, and never again, while Britain
can supply our needs, allow Australian businessmen (though they
are hardly worthy of the name Australian) to import goods from a
country still technically our enemy. If we cannot obtain our needs
from Britain, what is wrong with trading with India? Slave-wages
prevail there, I hear, just as in Japan, but at least India is a
member of the British Commonwealth and was our ally in the late

Personally, I shall boycott all Japanese and German-manufactured
goods whenever I can buy goods manufactured elsewhere, and I shall
urge everyone I know to do likewise.

[AA : A463/17, 56/984]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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