195 Department of External Affairs to Hood

Cablegram 268 CANBERRA, 18 April 1946

SECRET

Reference your 245 of 10th April paragraph 3. Refugees Committee.

[1]

Immigration authorities advise that large scale migration into Australia is governed by the housing problem, rehabilitation of the services and shipping shortage which may continue for two or three years.

2. Seven thousand refugees from Nazi oppression were admitted in the two years before the war and landing permits have been issued for over 4,000 of their relatives for whom they have guaranteed maintenance. Very few of these will obtain transport before 1947.

3. Australia's general immigration policy is indicated in Ministerial statement on Migration Policy of 2nd August. [2]

1 See Document 144. Cablegram 245 reported establishment of the committee's timetable and priorities, and a proposal for sub- committees, including one to examine possibilities of resettlement.

2 In the House of Representatives on 2 August 1945, Calwell had said that the Pacific War had demonstrated Australia's need for population, that an annual ceiling of Some 70 000 was dictated by the need to provide employment, housing and other amenities necessary to ensure efficient absorption of migrants, and that it would be perhaps two years before organised migration could be resumed on a large scale.

[AA:A1838/2, 861/1, i]