418. Letter From President Nixon to Prime Minister Gorton 1

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

Your letter about the arrangements on meat imports from Australia and other countries into the United States was received with a full appreciation of the problems which they cause.2 I assure you that this Administration is thoroughly aware of the significance of Australia’s meat trade with the United States and of the importance which your country attaches to its access to the U.S. market.3

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During the last several months we have undertaken a complete review of our meat import policy for the remainder of 1969. In this review the interests of Australia and the other suppliers of meat to our market were kept fully in mind. I recognize the difficulties that the restraint program has caused for the Australian meat industry and the Government of Australia, and regret that we were unable to grant an increase in Australia’s allocation. We received similar requests for increased allocations from several other countries, also with compelling reasons. Under these circumstances, and given the quota provisions of the Meat Import Act, no revision of the current program was possible.

As you know, however, we were able to reallocate nearly 15 million pounds of the expected Canadian shortfall to Australia. I hope that this amount will be of benefit to your country.

You have my deep appreciation for the cooperative attitude demonstrated by your government and the Australian meat industry. We will do all we can to further the spirit of goodwill and cooperation which exists between our two countries.


Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 72 D 320, Australia: Nixon to Gorton 12/6/69. No classification marking. Typed notations at the bottom of the first page indicate that the letter was pouched to Canberra on December 9 and also sent in telegram 203867, December 8. Copies of both are ibid.
  2. Prime Minister Gorton’s letter was forwarded to President Nixon under cover of a brief September 16 letter from Australian Ambassador Keith Waller. Gorton reviewed the restraints on Australian meat exports to the United States, begun in 1968 to avoid the imposition of quotas, and requested an increase in the permitted level of imports over the remainder of 1969. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, Houthakker, Box 17, Meat: Australia/NZ)
  3. On September 8, under cover of a memorandum to Houthakker, Palmby forwarded a copy of an undated paper entitled “Considerations Supporting Increased Imports of Australian Meat During 1969,” which he had received from representatives of the Australian Meat Board. (Ibid.)