345 Commonwealth Government to Cranborne

Cablegram 300 CANBERRA, 13 November 1944


Your 293. [1]

The recent Conference in Wellington between Australia and New Zealand representatives has given consideration to the proposed Conference on employment and also to the views of the United Kingdom Government in that connection.

The Conference expressed their keen disappointment at the reply to the suggestion that the United Kingdom Government should approach the United States Government on the subject of a Conference on employment, and in particular paragraph 5 of your telegram. The Conference felt after full consideration that they were not prepared to alter their previous determination to press for a special Conference at an early date for the purpose of an Employment Agreement.

2. They desire to point out also that they have never disagreed that the subject of domestic policies of employment belongs to the general field of Article (7). But that does not in their view mean there should be no separate Conference or separate agreement.

Other subjects within the Article (7) field have been discussed separately at special Conferences and incorporated in separate draft proposals. The suggestion you make that the proposal for an international agreement on employment might be considered not by a separate Conference but along with other proposals for international arrangements within the framework of Article (7) as they take shape is therefore quite inconsistent with procedures which have been adopted in respect of other subjects and must have the effect of pushing employment obligations into the background.

For instance at Bretton Woods employment was held to be outside the terms of reference of the Conference and no binding commitment to Governments regarding domestic policies was recommended. [2]

3. Both Australia and New Zealand regard this subject as fundamental and one which cannot be dealt with by the inclusion of a resolution or declaration in each of the other agreements. Not only do they consider that a special Conference should be held but they believe it should be held before other proposals are incorporated in agreements.

4. The representatives of the two Governments have at the Wellington Conference therefore agreed as follows- We regard an Employment Agreement by which signatories undertake to pursue internal policies of full employment and increased consumption as fundamental to the success of all aspects of international collaboration designed to increase living standards.

The calling of an Employment Conference with this objective in view should take precedence over all other international Economic discussions. We propose, therefore, to approach the United States Government with the proposal that a Conference be called by the United States Government, in conjunction with the United Kingdom, Australian and New Zealand Governments. [3] 5. Draft documents are in the course of preparation which should in the first instance be discussed with the United Kingdom and the United States Governments and these will be forwarded to you as soon as possible.

1 Document 327.

2 See Document 224 and the Attachment to Document 260.

3 See Document 337 for the full text of the Wellington Conference resolutions.

[AA:A989, 44/735/58/7]