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198 Department of External Affairs to Evatt

Submission CANBERRA, 15 June 1944


Attached is a report [2] on the matters raised in Mr. D'Alton's despatch No. 44/1/38 of 28th May. [3]

The report consists of comment on Mr. D'Alton's despatch;

suggestions for action requested by the Minister are made separately in the present submission.


I. CONSULTATION (a) Delegations Abroad Mr. D'Alton raises the question whether the maximum degree of unity in the presentation of the agreed Australian - New Zealand attitude was achieved at the I.L.O. Conference and in the talks in London on primary products. (See Report attached.) In another despatch (44/1/39 of 1st June [4]) he suggests, if there were to be a joint approach to Washington on full employment, efforts should be made to secure complete and detailed prior agreement on an agenda and instructions to delegates.

It is submitted that- 1. The suggestion in despatch 44/1/39 (above) be adopted as a general rule to be carried out wherever possible, e.g., in connection with the forthcoming Monetary Conference.

2. To this end the Australian - New Zealand Secretariat, Canberra, be immediately and fully informed of decisions and arrangements concerning special missions abroad.

3. Telegrams to delegations abroad be so drafted as to permit automatic repetition to Prime Minister, New Zealand, personal messages and comment not suitable for repetition to New Zealand being sent separately to the delegations. (This would greatly facilitate the work of keeping the N.Z. Government informed, especially when time is an important factor.) (b) Ministerial Conferences and Visits of Officials Mr. D'Alton emphasises the desirability of implementing Clause 37(a) of the Agreement, and suggests ministerial conferences in connection with island territories, joint planning of industrial development, and monetary and marketing problems.

He believes that a formal conference of Ministers could not be held in Wellington until towards the end of the year, but urges a visit meanwhile by at least one Australian Minister.

Mr. D'Alton further suggests (e.g. in regard to dependent territories) that preparatory exploration by means of exchanges of visits by officials would be useful.

It is learned that the Minister for Trade & Customs proposes to visit New Zealand towards the end of June to discuss questions relating to the Commonwealth Export Committee [5], Price Control and Rationing.

It is submitted that- 4. The proposal for a Ministerial visit to New Zealand (despatch 44/1/6 of 14th Feb. from Wellington [6], referred to the Dept. of Post-War Reconstruction) be further considered with a view to an early visit to N.Z. by the Minister for Post-War Reconstruction.

In addition to questions of supply and exchange of housing materials attention might be given to means of implementing Clause 35(c) ('industrial consultation and, in agreed cases, by joint planning') and 35(d) (full employment and social security).

4.a. As a preliminary step the examination of Clause 35(a), (c) and (d) by the Secondary Industries Committee be continued.

5. At an appropriate stage an Australian Minister or Ministers visit Wellington to discuss means of implementing Clauses 28-31 'Welfare and Advancement of Native Peoples of the Pacific' and Clause 35(b) which reads:-

'Collaboration in external policy on all matters affecting the peace, welfare and good government of the Pacific should be secured through the exchange of information and frequent ministerial consultation.'

6. In these discussions Clause 34 (International Conference on Security, Development and Welfare) should be in mind.

7. As a preliminary step there might be held a conference of Australian officials concerned with Pacific Dependencies (External Territories, External Affairs, Army Directorate of Research L.H.Q., and other departments when necessary) to report on means of implementing Clauses 28-31 and 35(d) of the Agreement-'Welfare and Advancement of Native Peoples of the Pacific'.

8. The New Zealand Government be informed of this step and invited to arrange for a similar preliminary examination, and for exchange of results of these inquiries.

9. At an appropriate stage an Australian Minister or Ministers visit N.Z. for discussions on Security and Defence preparatory to the holding of the international conference contemplated in Article 34.

10. As a preliminary step officials of the Australian Departments of External Affairs and Defence enter into exploratory consultation on Clauses 13 and 25 'Security and Defence' and 35(a) 'Co-operation for Defence', with a view to the compilation of data for the Ministerial discussions suggested under (8) above.

11. Endeavours be made to arrange for the discussions on Defence and Dependencies to be held in Wellington at the same time, preferably, as Mr. D'Alton suggests, towards the close of the year. Other subjects, for example, economic and reconstruction questions, might meanwhile arise which could conveniently be discussed at that time. Such a full Ministerial conference would no doubt be welcomed by the New Zealand Government and it would confirm and advance the purposes of the Australian - New Zealand Agreement.

12. The New Zealand Government be informed of such of the proposals 4 to 11 above as may be approved by the Minister and invited to express views upon them.

11. EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION While recognising that a considerable amount of information is being exchanged, Mr. D'Alton is not satisfied that the fullest exchange of information and ideas on commercial questions and on Pacific Dependencies is taking place.

So far as Australian action is concerned this has been due largely to inadequacy of machinery.

The new Commonwealth Export Committee may prove to be a focal point of information on commercial questions. In any case such information of interest to both Australia and New Zealand might be obtained by External Affairs officers dealing with economic matters and forwarded through the Secretariat.

In regard to Pacific Dependencies, neither the Pacific Section of the Department nor the Secretariat is as yet adequately staffed.

Proposals have been submitted to the Minister, and if these are approved, the collection and transmission of information will be properly conducted.

It is submitted that- 13. The officers of the Department of External Affairs dealing with economic matters be responsible for continuous collection and regular presentation of information on commercial and economic matters involving both Australia and New Zealand, to be forwarded through the Secretariat to Wellington.

14. The Pacific Section of the Department of External Affairs be responsible for continuous collection and regular presentation of information on all aspects of Pacific Islands affairs, to be forwarded through the Secretariat to Wellington.

III. DEPARTMENTAL WORK IN AUSTRALIA Post-Hostilities Planning Proposal for a Planning organisation in External Affairs Dept. is under consideration. [7] See submission 15 below.

Defence and Security See submission 10 above.

Dependencies " " " 7 " .

Joint Planning of Industrial Development See Report (annexed, paragraphs 10-13) and submission 4 and 4(a) above.

Pacific Supply See Report (annexed, paragraph 11).

Commercial Relations See submission 16 below.

It is submitted that- 15. When the Australian planning organisation is constituted, full information be conveyed to the New Zealand Government through the Secretariat, and the New Zealand Government be invited to state what action has been taken or is proposed in New Zealand and as soon as circumstances permit to enter into arrangements for the co-ordination of planning envisaged in Clause 11 of the Agreement.

16. The question of an Australian interdepartmental committee to consider all aspects of commercial relations with New Zealand be considered by the External Affairs Department in relation to the work of the Commonwealth Export Committee, particularly whether such interdepartmental committee is necessary or whether the functions suggested in Mr. D'Alton's despatch (44/1/38 of 18th May paragraphs 10-12) would properly be performed by the Export Committee. [8]

1 Document 26.

2 Not published.

3 Document 155.

4 On file AA:A989, 44/1320/13/3.

5 An interdepartmental committee established by Full Cabinet on 10 May. Its main purpose was to consider applications for supplies (excluding food and assignable munitions) from the Eastern Group Supply Council, New Zealand, Netherlands East Indies, and later, U.N.R.R.A. See S. J. Butlin and C. B. Schedvin, War Economy 1942- 1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1977, pp. 748-52.

6 In AA:A4231, Wellington, 1943-44.

7 See Document 173.

8 This submission bore the inscription: 'H. V. E. Generally approved'.

[AA:A989, 44/630/5/1/11/4]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History