Arising out of the forthcoming visit of Commonwealth officials to
London , to take part in talks on international economic
collaboration, there are certain aspects to which I am directed to
invite your attention.
The Minister for External Affairs is responsible to Cabinet for
all matters related to foreign affairs including international
agreements and international conferences.
At the same time, it is fully recognised that topics dealt with by
international arrangements are of direct concern to other
Ministers and other Departments. It is therefore the function of
the Minister for External Affairs and always subject to Full
Cabinet's authority, to consult with the particular Minister or
Ministers who are concerned with the particular topics; for
example, the Treasurer in relation to international financial
commitments, the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture in relation
to international commerce arrangements, and the Minister for Trade
and Customs in relation to many aspects of international
The object of all such consultations is to make sure that the
international agreement finally entered into accords with the
views of Cabinet as a whole.
Similarly, while the appointment of all representatives abroad is
normally a matter for Cabinet to determine, it is essential that
the general super-vision of such representatives in relation to
negotiations on any international matter should be exercised by
the Minister for External Affairs.
It is necessary that the above principles be fully appreciated in
order that the responsibilities of my Department in the
appointment of representatives of Australia at talks like the
present can be fully discharged.
The Minister for External Affairs considers it desirable that in
view of his responsibility in these matters, Mr. Melville should
be temporarily attached to the Department of External Affairs for
the purpose of this Conference and the work relating thereto. He
does not think it right that an officer of a separate
instrumentality should represent Australia while retaining that
character. He should be brought under the authority of the
responsible Commonwealth Minister.
I would be glad, therefore, if you would be good enough to make
arrangements with the Commonwealth Bank to this effect.