149 Brigden to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 360 WASHINGTON, 27 March 1946



1. On food the Council will probably accept a compromise between- (A) The administration and the receiving countries and (B) in other countries, recommending action by all Governments.


Most of this action is now taken in Australia, but the recommendation will also require full information as to export and reasons for particular decisions. My view at present is that the less said the better to reduce argument, but a system may be worked out later by supplying countries.

2. For Australia this recommendation would require in the first place reasons for a decision to send no more than the 25,000 tons of wheat to U.N.R.R.A. in China, as reported by the Director General publicly last week. The recommendation will apply to all of our exports of wheat, flour, rice and fats.

3. It still remains to be decided whether the Council must meet specifically within a few weeks to renew action taken. Our view is that the Committee on Supplies [2] is adequate, but some compromise is likely.

4. The Central Committee must continue with the subject. Subject to your instructions I would resist any International Authority over Australian exports, whether through an enlarged Combined Food Board or otherwise. [3]

5. I see no advantage in belonging to the Combined Food Board, involving Australia in compromises over allocations of United States of America Food to the various occupied zones, on which U.N.R.R.A. is very sensitive, but this can be decided later.

6. On China, Jackson is not surprised that we are dissatisfied.

action on wheat for U.N.R.R.A. is assumed to be connected with that dissatisfaction. Your 463 noted. [5]

7. Lehman is resigning and La Guardia is succeeding him. This will further delay Jackson, but he hopes to leave soon for Shanghai, Australia and New Zealand. Tsiang is Council Chairman.

8. Nominations for the Central Committee are urgent and I might name myself with McIntyre as second alternate pending instructions. [6]

[AA:A1067, R46/3/5]

1 The UNRRA Administration and a number of recipient countries, dissatisfied with the distribution of scarce foodstuffs, had attacked the functions and methods of the Combined Food Board and argued for greater international control of food exports. See also Document 104.

2 A standing committee of UNRRA.

3 In cablegram 495 of 29 March Brigden was instructed to resist any international authority over Australian exports.

4 See Document 125.

5 Dispatched 26 March, it concerned the availability of shipping for wheat supplied to UNRRA.

6 Brigden was appointed Australian representative on 29 March. The Australian delegation at the UNRRA Council meeting, held in Atlantic City between 15 and 29 March, consisted of Brigden, McIntyre and Munro.

[4] I have said as much on the Far Eastern Committee, and our