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123 Memorandum From Loomes To Departments Of Commerce &

15th December, 1955


Japan-Proposal for a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation
At the opening session (31st October) of the current trade talks
between Australian and Japanese officials in Canberra, the
Japanese asked for an indication of the Australian Government's
attitude to the conclusion of a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and

2. It was decided to exclude discussion of this item from the
present trade talks. However, the Japanese are anxious to obtain
our views on negotiating such an agreement.

3. Our view on Treaties of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation has
been that we should not enter into any such agreements until we
have concluded an agreement with the United States. We would then
be aware of some of the complications involved in such
negotiations and agreements and would be in a better position to
avoid any undesirable features. The negotiations with the United
States which began several years ago, are at present at a
standstill. There are numerous objections on the Australian side
especially concerning those matters which fall within the
jurisdiction of the States. In the case of Japan, Australian
immigration policy would of course complicate the negotiations.

4. The Philippines proposed concluding a Treaty of Friendship,
Commerce and Navigation before presenting the draft Treaty of
Friendship (1953). They were told that no progress was possible
towards concluding an agreement until the Treaty with the United
States was well advanced. In October, some thought was given to
concluding a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation with
Indonesia but the possibility was ruled out in favour of a Treaty
of Friendship only.

5. This Department is therefore inclined to inform the Japanese
Embassy that because of the federal character of the Australian
Constitution and the diversity of State laws regulating many of
the items usually included in such treaties, the negotiation of
treaties of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation present
considerable difficulties and for this reason Australia has never
concluded such a treaty. We would add however, that we would be
pleased to discuss particular issues affecting trading relations
between the two Governments which the Japanese Government may at
any time wish to raise.

6. Before we take any further action we would appreciate your

[AA : A1838/2,759/1/9, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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