Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. John H. Fuqua of the Division of Trade Agreements

Participants: Mr. Keith Officer, Australian Counselor of the British Embassy,
Mr. Hawkins,
Mr. Hickerson,26
Mr. Minter,
Mr. Fuqua.

Mr. Officer called today at his request in order to comment on behalf of his Government on the Standard General Provisions and the [Page 138] list of United States preliminary requests of February 17, 1938. He opened the conversation by reciting practically verbatim the statement made in the attached memorandum27 which he then delivered.

Mr. Officer stressed his Government’s desire for an early public announcement that negotiations with Australia are contemplated. In view of this, he suggested that it might be advisable for the British Ambassador to present the attached memorandum to the Department as a formal note, but he said he would follow our desires in this matter.

Mr. Officer was told that this point would be considered. He was informed that we desire to study the memorandum and that he would be informed as to the Department’s attitude in the near future.

Mr. Officer stated that the two Australian officials still intend to sail from Australia on March 15. They expect to be in Washington for about a month before proceeding to London to participate in Anglo-Australian trade talks. Mr. Officer said that the London discussions would not delay negotiations with the United States as some members of the Australian delegation could be sent from London to Washington at practically any time we desire. He added that if negotiations with the United States eventuate, Mr. Bruce, the High Commissioner at London, would probably head the Australian delegation.

Mr. Officer was reminded that no decision has yet been reached as to whether we would be able to proceed with negotiations in the near future, but he was also informed that the flexibility of the plans of the Australian delegation would be helpful in arranging the “calendar” necessitated by our trade agreement procedure, in case it was found possible to go ahead with negotiations with Australia.

  1. John D. Hickerson, Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs.
  2. Infra.