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136 Letter From Mcewen To Mcmahon

23rd May, 1956



You will recall that the Cabinet Submission on trade negotiations
with Japan referred to the value in our trade relations with the
United Kingdom of a flexible arrangement with Japan.

It is of considerable tactical importance so far as our
forthcoming negotiations with U.K. [1] are concerned that they
should have as little idea as possible of the basis we have in
mind for trade negotiations with Japan.

In all, I can see a number of advantages, and no real disadvantage
in so arranging our trade negotiations with the Japanese that no
great progress would be made before say August or September.

Certainly, the initial stage of exchanging requests for
examination by both parties could be a prolonged one.

Altogether, it may prove desirable that the conclusion of the
agreement with Japan await our having some idea of our progress
with the U.K. in the more detailed and second stage of
negotiations with her.

I tell you this before I leave so as to avoid the need for cables
on this point while I am away.

1 McEwen accompanied Menzies to London for the Commonwealth Prime
Ministers' Conference, beginning on 27 June. Menzies announced on
24 June that during the conference Australian Ministers would seek
talks on general trade questions aimed at establishing a set of
principles on which to base a new trade agreement.

[AA : M58/2, 509]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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