87 Prime Minister's Department to Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London

Cablegram unnumbered 30 August 1940,

Canned fruits. Position in relation to unsold portion last pack is most embarrassing. Industry here knows that United Kingdom imported very large quantities canned fruits from United States in 1939-40 and then shut down on Australia. They consider Commonwealth Government indifferent to needs of industry. Unsold stocks are embarrassment to market and next canning season will present serious problem if no export outlet. Industry here repeats charges that United Kingdom advisers apparently more favourably disposed to imports from United States. Is it impossible to induce Food Ministry to reply to our request for undertaking not to import canned fruits from United States? [1] If they are prepared to do so will they revise policy regarding import from Australia.


1 This request was contained in a cablegram dispatched to Bruce on 7 August and repeated in a cablegram dispatched on 29 August.

Bruce replied on 4 September that although the U.K. Govt had prohibited the import of canned fruit from the United States on 19 March it was not prepared to give a definite undertaking not to make such purchases in the future. Bruce understood, however, that imports from the United States would be resumed only if the U.S.

Govt raised the issue as part of a high policy consideration affecting British Empire-United States collaboration. All cablegrams are on file AA:AA1973/362, BOX 46, item A39.

2 Bruce reported on 4 September (see unnumbered cablegram on file cited in note 1) that the U.K. Govt regarded canned fruit as non- essential in wartime and would not give it priority in available shipping space. He did not anticipate obtaining fixed arrangements for more than a very limited quantity, but thought it might be possible to supplement this with an understanding that the U.K.

Ministry of Food would permit the entry of any canned fruit for which shipping space could be found. Bruce believed that although this arrangement would be anything but satisfactory for Australia it would probably be the best that could be obtained.

[AA:A3196, 1940, [0.16217]