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Historical documents

22 Memorandum From Randall To Woodrow

9th April, 1953

Trade with Japan
Thank you for your memorandum of 30th March giving the background
to the advices we have received recently from the United Kingdom
on this subject. [1]

For your information, the newly installed Japanese Embassy in
Canberra is pressing for a relaxation of import restrictions on
Japanese goods. Embassy officers have been discussing the matter
with the Department of Trade and Customs for some weeks and on the
27th March the attached note [2] was presented to the Department
of External Affairs.

As you know the Department of Trade and Customs has been aware of
the problem for some time and has been conscious that the chief
difficulty on our side is that any significant increase in the
list of goods which may be licensed for import from Japan would
very likely include goods whose import from Japan would raise
political objections. Some relaxations were made last month to
permit the import from Japan of certain types of goods, which are
available from other sources, but they are not expected to add up
to much. We understand that the Department of Trade and Customs is
still examining in detail the possible scope for further

1 Woodrow had reported the United Kingdom's decision to relax some
import restrictions on Japanese goods to prevent curtailment of
Japan's imports from the sterling area. UK Ministers knew that a
similar relaxation of the special category of restriction against
Japanese goods in Australia and New Zealand would attract
publicity. To avoid any appearance of encouraging actions which
might damage UK interests, UK High Commissioners in Canberra and
Wellington were instructed to inform those governments of the UK
relaxation, but at the same time to ask them to avoid concessions
to Japan which might prejudice UK exports.

2 Not published. The memorandum stated that Japan was being driven
'to cut drastically' imports from the sterling area, suggested a
strong demand in Australia for Japanese textiles, porcelain,
chemicals, machinery and metals, and requested that the list of
permissible imports be extended to include manufactures of flax,
ramie and hemp, tyres and tubes, plywood, and porcelain other than
electrical appliances.

[AA : A571/158, 46/1931, xvii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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