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Historical documents

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

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.

[ANL : PAGE 678]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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