Further to my message of 6 April, I though[t] it would be helpful if I were to set out how my colleagues and I see the discussion on closer economic relations proceeding at our meeting on Monday week.2
We regard this meeting as of very considerable importance in charting the future course of the whole venture. A good deal of work has been completed by our officials and they have come very close to a basis for an agreement on many issues. Other issues can be resolved only at the political level. It is necessary, therefore, as we see it, for ministers to take stock of where we are and reach the strategic decisions required on how we proceed from now. Thus our first responsibility in our meeting will be to review on a broad basis the reports on our officials' discussions and determine whether the points reached are on the track that we can agree is appropriate to the needs and future aspirations of both our countries. The outcome of that discussion could be agreement on the guidance that we would offer to our Prime Ministers and other Cabinet colleagues on the decisions that need to be taken with respect to the major unresolved issues.
As part of the process of review we would hope that it would be possible for us to endorse at the political level, those specific areas of the negotiations where our officials have advised us that agreement has been reached or is close to that point. Naturally any endorsement of these points would be contingent on a satisfactory outcome on the other issues under negotiation.
Clearly we will not be able at this meeting to reach agreement on all issues. It is our hope, however, that we will be able to go a good distance in bridging the areas that remain unresolved and in giving a definite steer on how we move ahead to achieve an arrangement on the lines envisaged at the Prime Ministers' meeting of March 1980.3
We look forward to seeing you and your colleagues.
[ABHS 950/Boxes1221-1226, 40/411 Part 36 Archives New Zealand/Te Whare Tohu Tuhituhinga 0 Aotearoa, Head Office, Wellington]