89 Telegram from New Zealand High Commission in Canberra to Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Canberra, 12 March 1980

No 706. CONFIDENTIAL NEW ZEALAND EYES ONLY

Australia/New Zealand Economic Relations: Officials' Meetings

The significance of the Australian decision to upgrade the status of the group of officials which will be travelling to Wellington next week in advance of Mr Fraser's arrival cannot, in our view, be over-estimated. It reflects the strength of the commitment on the part of both Mr Fraser and Mr Anthony to the success of these negotiations and augurs well for the talks themselves. Since Lusaka it has been Scully who has maintained the momentum of the negotiations on the Australian side, kept alive the interest of other Permanent Heads, and kept both Mr Anthony and Mr Fraser up with the play. As it happens, Mr Anthony leaves Australia on the weekend on an important mission to the Middle East and Scully had been scheduled to accompany him. It is an interesting reflection on the priority the Government attaches to this exercise that Mr Fraser has now directed Scully to go to New Zealand, and that Mr Anthony has not insisted that Scully remain with him.

  1. The other key figure is, of course, Neil Currie. Unlike Scully, however, Currie's role has not been quite so consistently positive, and the re-emergence of the intermediate goods industries and import licensing as key areas for negotiation reflects in large measure the traditional concerns of the department heads.
  2. We hope to talk to both Scully and Currie later this week and will report further.

[ABHS 950/Boxes1221-1226, 40/4/1 Part 25 Archives New Zealand/Te Whare Tohu Tuhituhinga 0 Aotearoa, Head Office, Wellington]