80 Tange to Coombs

Letter [NEW YORK], 15 January 1947

Thank you for your telegram of 24th December advising me about my participation in the work of the Drafting Committee of I.T.O. It can be managed without inconvenience. Although drafting involves the tedium of self-restraint, I am looking forward to it. The discussions on trade policy of the past three or four years have been rather exciting. I would have very much liked to have stayed on in London.

During the past week I have been going through a process of 'familiarisation' as the Americans would call it, and after several readings begin to see the draft Charter as a whole. There is a certain dreamlike quality about it which I imagine Coleridge would envy. But the fantasia also contains an ominous list of invitations to members to litigate over the actions of others.

They are, I suppose, part of the paraphernalia of the rule of law.

It is a disadvantage that the Charter will not always carry with it the explanations and guiding philosophy, which are pretty good, which clothe the accompanying report. In fact, as a matter of drafting, I should think that eventually some of the useful declarations, and statements of intention or philosophy, which are now embodied in Charter articles (for example, the first sentence of para.1 of Article 3 on employment and some others in the commodity section) would probably have to go into a preamble with consequent weakening of their effect. In that event I should hope that a preamble could be placed in each separate chapter in close juxtaposition with the relevant articles which would confer the precise rights or impose the obligations.

To take a not too gloomy view I feel that some of the articles of the constitution may be a dead letter before they are born-which leads to the reflection that the continuing protection of Australia's interests in organisations like the I.T.O. and the Fund [1] will depend on the skilful use in future by our delegations of the rights afforded them by the Constitutions, as well as in our efforts in the constitution-making process itself.

I suspect we are not so adept at the first as at the second.

If the organisation gets going twelve months hence it would be a rather ridiculous affair in the light of world economic conditions as they will then be-like a father's suit idly waiting for the spindly child to grow into it. I should be surprised if the European members were not sceptical, but of course no one east of the Rhine was in the Committee. I suppose the fact is that you can't have tariff cuts without quid pro quo in the form of an agreed Charter and since the next 18 months are the most propitious likely to be found for tariff cuts the organisation must start then too, complete with 'transition period' provisos.

You have undoubtedly had a remarkable success. You seem to have got most of what was required on industrial development. What you got in relation to employment and demand, the right of protection against deflation, and protection of the balance of payments is far in advance of what seemed possible a year or two ago. I am attaching some comments on details which I am sending the Department in case they should interest you. Jock Phillips is arriving in a day or two and will no doubt clear some of the fog for me. [2]

1 i.e. International Monetary Fund.

2 Australia's delegates to the Drafting Committee, which met in New York from 20 January to 25 February, were Tange, Morton and J.G. Phillips (Commonwealth Bank, London, representing Treasury).

Little change was made to the draft articles apart from the preparation of alternative texts in cases where unanimity was not reached at the first session or to incorporate a few new proposals.

[AA : A1068, ER47/1/11]