10 Cabinet Decision 184

2nd October, 1951


Admission of Japan as Observer to 6th Session of Contracting Parties to GATT The following submission from the relevant inter- departmental Committee was read:

'Japan has made application to the GATT Contracting Parties for permission to send an observer to the present GATT Session. Such an observer would have no voice in the present deliberations, but it can be interpreted as an indication of intention to make formal application for admission to GATT-probably at the 1952 session.

The Leader of the Australian delegation [1] reports that there is, as far as he can ascertain, no formal opposition to the application and when it comes up for decision today or tomorrow it will be approved by a large majority. The United Kingdom delegation, although not wishing to go on record as opposing the application, has instructions to seek deferment of the application, apparently with the intention of making it impracticable for a Japanese observer to attend this Session.

Our delegation has asked for instructions as to how he should vote:-

(a) on the Japanese application; and (b) on the United Kingdom move for deferment.

There is general agreement at the Departmental level that nothing is to be achieved by formal opposition to a Japanese observer, especially when there is an overwhelming number in favour. We have to accept the fact that eventually Japan will apply to be admitted to GATT and if the application is approved by two-thirds of the Contracting Parties we will then have to decide whether we will use the provisions of Article XXXV [2], i.e. whether we would wish the provisions of the GATT not to apply between Japan and ourselves. For the moment, however, there are no valid arguable reasons which we can advance against admission of an observer.

On the second point, i.e. the United Kingdom move for deferment, it is extremely likely that in the face of almost unanimous support for the proposal, the United Kingdom will not proceed and no vote will be taken, However, if United Kingdom does go ahead it is felt that we should add our support even though it seems that the move will inevitably fail.

It is therefore suggested that our delegation be instructed as follows:-

(a) If the United Kingdom proceeds with a motion for deferment we should support the motion.

(b) On the main motion for admission of an observer, we would not oppose but if it is pressed to a formal vote our delegation should abstain.

Departments concerned concur in these recommendations but have had no opportunity to discuss with their Ministers.'


Cabinet considered the application by Japan to the GATT Contracting Parties for permission to send an observer to the current GATT session.

Cabinet decided that the Australian delegation be instructed as follows:-

(a) if the United Kingdom proceeds with a motion for deferment of consideration of the application by Japan, to support the motion;

(b) not to oppose the main motion, but if it is pressed to a formal vote, to abstain from voting.

1 J. Phillips.

2 Non application of the Agreement between particular Contracting Parties. Paragraph 1 of the Article read: 'This Agreement ...

shall not apply as between any contracting party and any other contracting party if., (a) the two contracting parties have not entered into tariff negotiations with each other, and (b) either of the contracting parties, at the time either becomes a contracting party, does not consent to such application.'

[AA : A4907, VOLUME 1]