Saturday, January 1, 2005
The National Archives of Australia have, as part of their standard
document release cycle, released thirty year old documents from the
The centre piece of the 1974 archives are a series of documents from
the Australian Cabinet and the Treasury pertaining to the attempt to
obtain a $US4 billion loan by the Whitlam government from the Middle
East. The obtaining of these loans and the scandal generated became
collectively known as the "Loans Affair," and contributed
significantly towards the dismissal of the Whitlam government by Sir
John Kerr the following year.
The documents from Treasury, which include descriptions of both the
loan itself and the people involved in arranging them, are scathing.
The "Points that might be made" document of December 13, 1974 clearly
states that Treasury believed the distinct possibility that the loans
might be part of "a confidence trick of major proportions". Minutes
from another meeting five days later state the "incredulity" on the
part of the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
regarding the viability of the loan.
Those documents now available comprise the beginning of the Loans
Affair, from the initial offers to the end of 1974. The remainder of
the Loans Affair documents, as well as everything else from 1975 will
be released on January 1, 2006.
== references ==
various. "1974 Cabinet Records" — National Archives of Australia, January 1, 2005