88 Extract from Telegram from Ministry of Foreign Affairs to New Zealand High Commission in Canberra
Wellington, 12 March 1980
No 789. IMMEDIATE CONFIDENTIAL
A/NZ Economic Relations
- Following is to keep you in the picture rather than to enable you to engage in any line by line exchanges with Australians. That can wait till the advance officials party is here next week. However, you may take from this preliminary outline of our views at official level that the most recent Australian thinking does pose problems for us.
- We welcome the suggestion that Australian officials should come to Wellington on the eve of the Prime Ministers' meeting to work on the communique and discuss what should be done about the Permanent Heads' joint report. The thought that the Prime Ministers should release a public version of the report is a new one to us, and has not been put to Ministers. We are sensitive to the need to keep people informed about what is going on between the two Governments at present, but have real doubts that a sanitized version of the report would have enough meat left in it for it to be credible? Australian side will be well aware of likely effect here of public statements on Government's intentions with regard to import licensing and therefore sensitive of comments on this issue contained in the report. On the other hand, in his discussion with Clark, Flood referred to a public paper 'on the issues to be further studied', and we might not face too many problems with this approach. (Scully's line on this point seems to be closer to that adopted by Flood, than to the one reported in your 671).
- We will also give further thought to possibility of incorporating wording of declaration in the communique. Thinking of NZ ministers on question of declaration was that it would provide appropriate framework within which the various issues traversed in the communique would be set. The approach adopted to this issue will in some measure be influenced by decision on whether or not a 'public version' of the joint report is released along with the communique. Both questions will have to be resolved next week by officials.
[ABHS 950/Boxes1221-1226, 40/4/1 Part 25 Archives New Zealand/Te Whare Tohu Tuhituhinga 0 Aotearoa, Head Office, Wellington]
- 1 Matter concerning the Australian Cabinet omitted in accordance with advice from the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.