59 Department of Immigration to Gordon Walker

Cablegram 104 CANBERRA, 23 April 1948, 5.15 p.m.

IMMEDIATE Your cablegram G.10 of 13th April, 1948, regarding British Nationality Bill. [1] Indian proposal has been carefully and sympathetically considered in light of views expressed in your cablegram. We feel bound to say, however, that your proposal that Bill should be amended to include alternative designation of 'British subject' and 'Commonwealth citizen' is open to serious objection from Australia's point of view. Objection arises from fact that 'Commonwealth' is in continual official and popular use to designate the Commonwealth of Australia as distinct from the component States.

Assuming uniform terminology for describing the common status is to be maintained by all member nations, confusion would be inevitable here if in Australian nationality law the term 'Australian citizen' were used to designate the specific nationality of an Australian and the term 'Commonwealth citizen' to indicate, even as an alternative designation, the status which an Australian would enjoy in common with the citizens of other parts of the British Commonwealth. On the other hand 'British Commonwealth citizen' would not cause substantial difficulty here.

[matter omitted]

1 Document 58.

[AA: A3196, 1948, O.5855]