76 Department of External Affairs to Embassy [1] in Washington

Cablegram 1208 CANBERRA, 20 August 1946

Your 1107 of 9th August. [2] Proposals for a World Food Board.

Following may be taken as the Australian view.

1. We agree with most of the principles mentioned in the cable and from that point of view are in general prepared to agree to an examination of a scheme which would give consideration to them. We see practical difficulties of course, but realise more details and greater clarification will, no doubt, be forthcoming.

2. It is clear, however, that most of the proposals are also included in some form or other in those laid down for consideration at the forthcoming International Trade Discussions.

This applies particularly to International Commodity Agreements and the functions of the Commodity Commission referred to in the draft proposals for the international Trade Conference.

3. The manner in which the financial proposals fit in with other Governmental International financial ideas is not clear. There would seem to be two major points in this connection:

(i) The extent to which individual countries would contribute finance. Here obviously much would depend upon the individual commodities and the interest of the various countries in those commodities;

(ii) There appears to be a question whether the International Bank would be prepared to provide credits for the holding of stocks. if so, it would seem to be something of a departure from the role designed for it. The part to be played, if any, by the Monetary Fund would also come under review.

4. We see practical difficulties in arriving at over-all principles which are to apply to the several foodstuffs products.

Difficulties that arise out of one or more major products might hold up consideration of others. Some products lend themselves much more to international regulation than others. Different countries are interested in particular products, both as exporters and importers to varying degrees. Individual Commodity Agreements already in mind (perhaps adapted to meet F.A.0. needs) might be best. At any rate we see confusion arising out of consideration of the International management of foodstuffs by the F.A.0. and the I.T.O. at the same time, as will be the case if the F.A.0. plan is to be under examination in the next few months.

5. The United Kingdom Long Term Bulk Purchase Agreements would come under review, but probably this could be reconciled.

When the question comes before the Copenhagen Conference, it is desired that you put forward these points of view in appropriate terms.

1 The Legation had been raised to embassy status officially on 19 July. See Volume IX, Document 307.

2 See Document 65, and note 1 thereto.

[AA:A1067, ER46/4/16]