112 Minute From Shaw To Tange

30th August, 1955


Informal Trade Talks with Japan As you know there were proposed some time ago informal trade talks with the Japanese as a prelude to more formal trade negotiations.

Japanese accession to G.A.T.T. held up discussions for some time but now that this is over the Japanese have been asking us when we are ready to begin.

This Department endeavoured to arrange interdepartmental discussions for August 15th but, at the suggestion of Mr George Warwick Smith, called the arrangement off in the belief that Crawford and Meere would get together to iron out their differences. So far they have not met. We understand that the difficulty is (although we would have to handle the information discreetly) that Warwick Smith and Millwood have not been able to get Crawford to agree to a line of approach to Customs. We have been in frequent touch with Commerce and believe that a telephone call from yourself to Crawford would be likely to speed things up.

The vote on Japanese accession to G.A.T.T. took place on August 11th. The results will be announced on September 10th when it will become public knowledge (the Japanese Government already knows it) that we have invoked Article XXXV. There will be pressure on the Japanese Government to retaliate against Governments which have invoked that article. Public statements by prominent officials foreshadowing retaliatory action have already been made.

We saw Uyama this morning and amongst other things he raised the question of the informal talks. Early next week would be a convenient time for the Japanese to commence talks.

Perhaps you could give Crawford a ring and let him know of our anxiety to get the talks started so that the Japanese Government will have something tangible to resist pressures for retaliatory action against Australia. We understand that a broadly based interdepartmental discussion would not be helpful but it is just possible that talks between Commerce, Trade and ourselves would help to get things going.

Depending on the results of your conversations with Crawford you might also consider ringing Meere.

If you have not the time to ring these men I will have personal notes to them drafted for your consideration. [1]

1 A handwritten note in the margin, initialled by Tange, reads:

'Crawford is away: I am trying to see him later this week'. A second note, dated 15 September, reads: 'I spoke to Crawford today. He is keen to get talks started, thinks it should be possible to work from the Canadian model. I will see Meere on Monday.' See also note 1 to Document 113.

[AA : A1838/283,759/1/7, ii]