611.4731/252: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consul General at Sydney (Wilson)

Your December 24 [23].2 Please see Mr. Lyons3 at once and say to him (1) that your Government is gratified at the steps which Australia has taken; (2) that it is now willing to accept the Australian point of view that steps have been taken to eliminate all substantial discrimination; (3) that it is not disposed to adopt a technical interpretation which would require a guarantee immediately that intermediate tariff rates which Australia has granted to other foreign countries in trade agreements be extended to the United States; (4) that your Government desires to issue an announcement restoring to Australian products the benefits of reduced duties appearing in existing and future United States trade agreements; (5) that in any event we would hope to take this step when the licensing system is completely abolished, but that we are prepared to take it at once if the Australian Government will provide you for the record with a definite assurance that in the issuance of licenses between now and the abolition of the licensing system on the items still restricted, they will be allocated without discrimination as between products of the United States and any other non-British country.

You may also say to Mr. Lyons that, if you can receive at once such assurance for telegraphing to your Government, you are authorized to hand him the note which follows. The note is intended for release for joint publication at a time which you and he may agree upon, leaving 36 hours for the receipt of your telegram.

Note follows:

“I have been instructed by my Government to inform you that it has derived gratification from the announcement made by the Government of Australia on December 8 [7?], 1937,4 of its intention to [Page 121] abolish import restrictions. It has been observed with satisfaction that restrictions on 34 items were immediately removed, that subsequently 3 additional lists of items freed from restrictions have been issued, leaving only a few items still subject to license restrictions. It also has been noted that it is the announced intention of the Australian Government in due course to remove existing restrictions. In view of this evidence of good will and your assurance that import licenses for items still subject to restrictions will be issued as freely for products of the United States as for those of any other foreign nation, the President is directing the Secretary of the Treasury to apply to products of Australia the duties proclaimed in connection with trade agreements between the United States and foreign countries (except Cuba).”

You may state orally that as soon as the present matter is settled you will be sent instructions regarding confidential informal exploratory trade agreement discussions.

I wish to commend you upon the manner in which you have handled this matter at your end, as evidenced by the contents of your despatch of December 105 and your telegram of December 23.

  1. Ibid., p. 157.
  2. J. A. Lyons, Prime Minister of Australia.
  3. See note of December 9, 1937, from the British Embassy, Foreign Relation 1937, vol. ii, p. 151.
  4. Not printed.