37 Chifley to Attlee

Cablegram 28 CANBERRA, 18 January 1946

PERSONAL

I have your cablegram of January 15th [1] about wheat and note your statement regarding the very serious world shortage that will arise for the next six months.

Instructions have been given that every effort be made to export the quantity you mentioned by June next and I shall keep in personal touch with the progress made.

Whilst it is possible that the quantity indicated in your cablegram will be reached I am advised that it will not be practicable to give a definite statement on the matter for five or six weeks, although in three weeks time the position should be clearer than it is now. There are problems of internal transport which we are endeavouring to resolve and the Victorian crop is later than normal.

It has just been arranged to withhold wheat for feed to dairy stock and an examination has been put in train to see whether further reductions in the use of wheat for feed can be made.

Without a full review we hesitate to reduce feed to poultry and pigs any further because of the dislocation it might cause those industries, and the effect it might have on the surplus for export of eggs and pig meat, practically all of which as you know goes to the United Kingdom.

1 Document 31.

[AA:A3196, 1946, 0.1276]