143 Cabinet Sub-Committee on Trade and Employment Conference to Australian Delegation, Geneva

Cablegram T308 CANBERRA, 24 October 1947, 5.40 p.m.


Your 388, 389 Free Entry for Commonwealth goods into United Kingdom.

Cabinet Sub-Committee does not favour any text of agreement which could be applied as widely in modifying the obligations of the Ottawa Agreement as that set out in your I.T.0. 389. It desires to assist United Kingdom in overcoming her difficulties in regard to the free entry of Commonwealth goods, but wishes to confine any agreement to this specific point.

2. Further objections to the text are that the words 'sympathetic consideration' in para (a) may be interpreted too liberally by the United Kingdom and that in the case of some products we could well have a likely future interest although not 'substantially interested' at the 'material time' as in para (b).

3. To meet these objections the following alternative text is suggested-

'In any case where the Government of the United Kingdom has an obligation under the terms of the Ottawa Agreement to maintain free entry into the United Kingdom for the products of any other Commonwealth country and finds that it is impossible to continue free entry for any particular product without serious prejudice to its interests in that product it may raise with the other Commonwealth Government or Governments concerned the question of modifying its obligations to maintain free entry into the United Kingdom to the extent necessary to avoid such prejudice. It is understood (a) That in any such case Commonwealth Governments enjoying rights of free entry into the United Kingdom under Ottawa Agreements will give consideration to any such representations and will have regard to the difficulties confronting the United Kingdom Government.

(b) That in any case where a Government enjoying rights does not consider itself to be substantially interested in the export of the product concerned to the United Kingdom consent to the modification of the rights enjoyed under Ottawa Agreements shall in general be granted.

(c) That in all other cases the Governments concerned shall consult together with a view to agreeing upon an equitable solution.'

[AA : A1068, ER47/1/29]