At a meeting yesterday Departments agreed on procedures for implementing the decisions taken by Cabinet last week and on preparations for the discussion of the economic relationship by Prime Ministers on 21 March.
- It was agreed that Mr Scully should ring Mr Lough today to advise points which the New Zealand side needs to know about Ministerial reactions to the Joint Report of Permanent Heads1 and to the nature of documentation which should result from the Prime Ministerial meeting.
- These points include:
- —Cabinet has given positive but not unqualified support to the Joint Permanent Heads Report.
- —It should be clearly understood that we do not intend to enter into any commitments at the Prime Ministerial meeting.
- —We will be looking for firmer undertakings on matters such as import licensing, intermediate goods, customs by-laws, export incentives and agricultural support/stabilisation measures.
- —The 3-month time frame for further studies is over-optimistic.
- —A separate 'Declaration' is not considered appropriate.
- —There should be another meeting of officials before Prime Ministers meet.
- To take account of these points we envisage that the Prime Ministers should have before them two draft documents-a communique giving the background to the meeting and incorporating points of substance from the 'Draft Tasman Declaration' and (possibly as an attachment) a more detailed outline of the framework within which further studies of the possibilities for closer economic co-operation would be carried out.
- We hope to be able to provide the New Zealanders with drafts towards the end of this week. We would propose that a small group of officials travel to New Zealand for a meeting with New Zealand officials on Wednesday and Thursday of next week to reach agreement on the drafts before they are submitted to Prime Ministers for approval.
- The New Zealand High Commission has been informed of the above.
[NAA: A1838, 37011119/18, xvi]