8 Letter from Fraser to Sinclair1

Canberra, 7 June 1979

The Minister for Foreign Affairs wrote to me on 7 May2 concerning the involvement of the Department of Foreign Affairs in the study of a possible closer association between Australia and New Zealand.

I discussed the question of the relationship between Australia and New Zealand with Mr Templeton, New Zealand Minister for Customs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Finance, in Manila recently. In the light of these discussions and given the earlier background, I think we could await the New Zealand preliminary study of this matter before setting up any formal interdepartmental machinery. As you know, it has been agreed on both sides of the Tasman that any initiative for a closer association with Australia should come, and be seen to be coming, from New Zealand.

I would rather not set up any interdepartmental machinery at this stage but I have discussed what work might be done in the meantime with Mr Anthony and I have asked that some preliminary work of a technical nature be put in hand by the Department of the Special Trade Representative in consultation with other Departments.

When the New Zealand preliminary study has been received I propose that we review how our overall examination can best be progressed and what machinery would be most appropriate for that purpose.

I am sending a copy of this letter to the Minister for Trade and Resources.

[NAA: A1838, 370/1/19/18, i]