374 Commonwealth Government to Cranborne

Cablegram 335 [1] CANBERRA, 15 December 1944


Your 338. [2] Employment Conference.

We are very glad to receive your offer to support us in our attempts to have concluded a United Nations Agreement on employment policies. We were pleased to see that in the Preamble of the United Kingdom White Paper on employment it was stated 'A country dependent on exports needs prosperity in its oversea markets'. We have been interested to see Beveridge's [3] subsequent comments on international aspects of employment and his emphasis on full employment at home as the first of three conditions necessary to successful international economic collaboration. As you know we have studied this subject carefully, not only from an Australian and Empire point of view but from the point of view of successful world collaboration. We declared our policy almost two years ago. [4] We feel sure that the conclusion that we have reached which has now been confirmed by the studies of many leading English economists is a right conclusion and an essential contribution to planning for international economic collaboration.

2. We have almost completed a statement on the significance of employment levels in international economic relations; the means by which specific international welfare planning can contribute to rising standards of living and high levels of employment; and the terms of an international employment agreement. It is our intention to publish this and circulate it to members of the United Nations at an appropriate time. We shall send you a copy as soon as possible.

3. We suggest that the United Kingdom, Australian and New Zealand Governments should make a joint approach to the United States Government to ask whether the United States Government would join in calling an employment conference or at least attend such a conference if called.

4. With reference to your suggestion for a conference of officials, we consider this might be discussed after we know the attitude of the United States. If the United States is prepared to join us in calling a conference, then they should discuss with us the, agenda, scope and purposes of the conference.

5. If this suggestion is agreeable to you, we will immediately instruct our Minister at Washington to arrange with his United Kingdom and New Zealand colleagues, a joint approach to the Secretary of State. We would hope that the conference could be held in February or as early as possible thereafter.

6. We have communicated with the Government of New Zealand [5] whose policy on employment conference has been parallel to that of Australia. They will no doubt be addressing you separately.

1 Repeated to the Legation in Washington as no. 2053.

2 Document 361.

3 Sir William Beveridge, author of Social insurance and allied services: report, Cmd. 6404-5, and Full Employment in a Free Society, George Allen & Unwin, London, 1944.

4 Presumably the statement quoted in Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. VI, Document 141.

5 See External Affairs Dept cablegrams 249 and 250 of 5 December and no. 254 of 14 December; and Fraser's cablegrams 214 and 219 of 30 November and in December, respectively. On file AA:A989, 44/735/58/7.

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