6 Prime Minister's Department to High Commissioner's Office in London

Cablegram unnumbered 8 January 1940,

Your telegram 20th December. [1] Production of Foodstuffs War Time

and Post-War requirements. The circumstances stated in your

telegram under heading War Situation is [sic] certainly of

interest to Australia, and we wish you to continue to explore on

lines you indicated and advise as soon as possible.

Dairy Produce and Pig Meat are especially capable of quick

expansion.

Regarding post-war position we have fear serious problem would be

involved if we were to stimulate production to meet war time

requirements without an assurance of adequate post-war markets.

Whole matter will be considered by Agricultural Council next month

when we would like to give them some idea (general perhaps at this

stage) as to how we would safeguard the future should we expand

production to meet war time requirements.

1 On file AA: A1608, A37/1/4, i. Bruce reported that he was

alarmed at the lack of co-ordination between the U.K. departments

responsible for food, agriculture and shipping. He had urged an

immediate survey of U.K. and French commodity needs in the war

situation and of how these needs could be met from U.K., Dominion

and neutral sources. In regard to the postwar situation Bruce did

not consider the U.K. Govt could at that stage make any commitment

because the announcement of any future increase in Imperial

Preference would strengthen the German position in Scandinavia and

have most unfortunate repercussions in the United States.

Furthermore the United Kingdom would insist on reciprocal

preference; which would be difficult to contemplate in view of the

increase of Australia's secondary industries. Bruce nevertheless

believed that if agreement could be reached as to the directions

in which Australia should expand her wartime production some

arrangement reasonably safeguarding the future could be arrived

at.

[AA: AA1973/362, BOX 46, ITEM A39]