337 Hodgson to Davis

Letter CANBERRA, 27 November 1943

In regard to your letter of November 23rd to the Minister for External Affairs regarding the Extraterritoriality Treaty with China [1], I am directed by the Minister to ask if you would be good enough to send to your Prime Minister a telegram along the following lines:-

'The Australian Government has noted with concern that you are considering the negotiation of a treaty with the Chinese Government on Extraterritoriality in which the three contentious clauses of the United Kingdom Treaty (Clauses 6, 7 and 8) [2] are to be included.

We still adhere strongly to the view expressed to you by the High Commissioner in February last that we would negotiate a simple treaty of abrogation only, or preferably make a simple exchange of Notes. [3] You will recall that your reply of 17th February stated that Canadian policy was substantially the same as Australian, and that you had no intention of including anything in the Treaty beyond the abrogation of Extraterritorial rights. [4] On the footing of your assurance we had maintained that position consistently.

Should you now negotiate a treaty on the terms indicated, you would leave Australia in the position of being the only country with diplomatic relations with China which has not formally abolished Extraterritoriality, and would weaken considerably our position. We have good reason to believe that the failure of the Chinese Government to reply to our desire to exchange Notes [5] was because they hoped that Canada would accept the Treaty on British lines-in other words, persuade Canada to depart from the policy indicated by you on 17th February last.

In the circumstances we suggest that Canada should not complete the matter nor commit itself to proposals which may subsequently prove of great embarrassment to our countries. I need not remind you that it was Australia which first suggested the abolition of the exploded doctrine of Extraterritoriality, and we are perfectly willing to exchange Notes with that end in view; but I am certainly not agreeable to vague general propositions which may be used as a basis for China's calling into question so fundamental a national policy as that of "white Australia".'


1 On file AA:A989, 43-44/305/2, i.

2 See Document 65, note 4.

3 See cablegram PO1 of 10 February on the file cited in note 1.

4 See cablegram 30-1 of 16 and 17 February on the file cited in note 1.

5 See Document 150.

[AA:A989, 43-44/305/2, i]