PURPOSE: To send you a copy of an internal minute of 20 April of the STR Department.
ISSUES: The minute illustrates the issue raised in my telex of 23 April. It records firm opposition to the proposal that the review of relations with New Zealand should be undertaken interdepartmentally and suggests that an 'in house' STR/Trade and Resources study should be undertaken for possible consideration by Ministers.
- As suggested in my telex we have strong reservations about anything less than full interdepartmental conduct of the review. In addition we have some doubts about whether the New Zealand Government would think it appropriate for us to have STR co-ordinating/controlling Australian examination of the bilateral relationship.
- We have no objection to STR carrying out a study of the matters referred to in para. 6 of the minute (viz. tariffs, the possibility of a customs union, and the likely difficulties in any trans Tasman restructuring exercise) which would form part of the overall study envisaged. However there are broader matters with important implications for the total relationship for consideration which will require inputs from many departments and close co-ordination.
- You will note (para. 1 of STR minute) that the Prime Minister will be writing to Mr Muldoon to advise that work has begun.
RECOMMENDATIONS: It is recommended that you direct us urgently on how you wish us to proceed and in particular whether you wish to write to the Prime Minister and Mr Anthony on this matter.1
[NAA: A1838, 370/1119/18, i]