611.4731/262a: Telegram

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

Department’s January 19.17 Lindsay duly received a telegram from Canberra and Officer delivered an aide-mémoire on January 22 explaining the Australian position. He also delivered a new list of items which may be imported freely, leaving a residue, the value of which from all countries, British and foreign, the Australians estimate at only 200,000 pounds a year, or a maximum of 25,000 pounds during the next 6 weeks. Of this they could grant and were in fact granting licenses on certain of the items, although they were not in [Page 131] position to announce the fact. In one or two cases only where the American product was alone competitive with the Australian product they had given previous assurances to their manufacturers that licenses would not be issued to American imports pending the imposition of the new tariffs. Officer said the Prime Minister seemed to be pleased that we were trying to find a formula, and that Lyons now hoped that this explanation would be acceptable in the place of those assurances which it would embarrass him to give officially.

In view of the nominal value of the few remaining items and the short time remaining during which they would be restricted, the President has signed a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury in which he rescinds his order of June 26, 1936,18 because he has found as a fact that Australia no longer applies to American commerce the treatment which caused him to issue that order.

We desire that Mr. Lyons receive this news at once and, accordingly, suggest that you proceed immediately to Canberra and after expressing our gratification upon a satisfactory settlement of the matter, deliver to him the following note:

“I am instructed by my Government to inform you that, on the basis of the announcement made by the Government of Australia on December 7, 1937, of its intention to abolish import restrictions and of action subsequently taken which effectively restores to American exporters without discrimination the market possibilities they formerly enjoyed in Australia, the President of the United States has directed that beginning February 1, 1938, the products of Australia entering the United States shall thenceforth be accorded most-favored-nation tariff treatment.”

Please inform Mr. Lyons that we propose to release this note for publication in our morning papers of January 28 and that we presume he will wish to release simultaneously.

  1. Not printed; it apprised the Consul of the nature of recent discussions between some members of the Department and the British Ambassador (611.4731/261a).
  2. See unnumbered telegram of June 29, 1936, 6 p.m., to the Consul General at Sydney, Foreign Relations, 1936, vol. i, p. 763.