319 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Mr J. A. Lyons, Prime Minister

Cablegram unnumbered LONDON, 21 November 1938, 10.00 p.m.


Reference to my telegram today's date [1] suggested statement begins.

The Government of the Commonwealth has been invited with the Governments of the other Dominions, His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and the Governments of other Powers to consider the plight of many thousands of unfortunate people as the result of recent happenings in Europe.

It views with feelings of deep sympathy the sufferings of the people both of Aryan and non-Aryan races who have become refugees.

The Government has considered very earnestly the extent to which it can in concert with other countries assist in a humanitarian way to alleviate the conditions of these unfortunate people.

The Government feels that if a solution of this problem is to be found countries must be prepared to receive a proportion of those who have to be expatriated computed in relation to their populations and capacity to assimilate them.

In recognizing this obligation and after careful examination of the position the Commonwealth Government has decided that Australia should assist to the extent of receiving 30,000 refugees over a term of three years.

In connection with this offer the Government will regulate the proportion of non-Aryan and Aryan which will be admitted to the Commonwealth each year and will prescribe the numbers which will be accepted from the several countries in which refugee populations exist. It will also only receive those classes whose entry to Australia will not disturb existing labour conditions.

Farm workers and domestic workers will be given preference.

Special consideration will be given to individuals who have capital and experience necessary for establishing and developing industries not already adequately catered for and in particular those industries which would command a market both within and outside Australia for their products.

In arriving at the figure of 30,000 over period of three years the Government has been influenced by the necessity that the existing standards of living should not be disturbed and of reconciling with the interests of refugees the interests of its own present population and of the people of the British race who desire to establish in Australia.


1 Document 318.

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