114 Department of External Affairs to Legation in Washington

Cablegram 315 CANBERRA, 27 February 1946

Your 199. [1] U.N.R.R.A. Council.

1. It is desired that Brigden should lead the Australian Delegation which must be selected from personnel available in Washington. If possible Garside should attend. Please inform U.N.R.R.A. Headquarters accordingly. [2]

2. The reservation concerning our further contribution concerns supplies, not the ten per cent of free exchange the bulk of which we hope will be spent in Australia. We are not making a fixed money contribution of 12 m. as before but will offer U.N.R.R.A.

broad categories of supplies from which they will select items required. Priority will be given to surplus stocks. The total amount of our second contribution will be governed by the available volume of supplies which are of use to U.N.R.R.A. We have just offered them upwards of 7 m. of surplus stocks and 4 m. of wool.

3. It is not intended that the arrangement should be too rigid. It will still be open to U.N.R.R.A. to request any items urgently required pending agreement on the programme for the further contribution and the Commonwealth will assume financial responsibility for any such requests to supply which are accepted.

4. The main reason for changing the form of the new contribution is past experience in dealing with U.N.R.R.A. In order that the money available should go as far as possible their representatives have continually haggled over prices declining to take the kind of supplies we have easily available and pressing for other items which are difficult to supply. Undue delay in replying to firm orders often lead[s] to subsequent misunderstanding. U.N.R.R.A.'s overall programmes often seem ill related to current availability in Australia. We hope the new approach will overcome these difficulties.

5. We shall advise you later of our views on the allocation of food exports.

1 Document 104.

2 The Australian Delegation comprised Brigden, McIntyre and D. J.


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