138 Chifley to Keane

Cablegram 444 CANBERRA, 21 March 1946, 9 p.m.

PERSONAL AND SECRET

Greatly appreciate your informative telegram of 8 March. [1]

Advice from United Kingdom of 4 March indicated 1 September for preliminary trade conference at which bilateral agreements would be negotiated. I agree however it would be preferable if trade negotiations were postponed until after American elections.

With regard to LL settlement cables from Moore indicate that negotiations are proceeding slowly because of requests for detailed information. Latest request is for detailed valuation of inventory and Moore is asking for despatch of officer who compiled quantity inventory. I appreciate importance to Americans of background data but in light high level assurances you have received would it be possible for you to intervene at ministerial level with view to steps being taken by Americans which would lighten work and expedite settlement. [2]

1 Document 121.

2 Keane replied on 26 March that intervention would not be practicable and might lead to embarrassment and antagonism. Since criticism by the Senate's Mead Committee of the U.K. Lend-lease settlement, the administration had taken great care in presentation of facts concerning all negotiations.

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