Skip to main content

Historical documents

118 Eggleston to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram S24 CHUNGKING, n.d.


Your telegram S.C.4. [1]

1. I saw the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs yesterday and spoke
as instructed. [2] I stressed the fact that while you were anxious
to abrogate extra-territoriality, H.M. Government in the
Commonwealth of Australia was not prepared to go beyond this at
the present time. Articles 5, 6 and 7 were concessions asked by
the British and Americans, but we thought it would be better to
consider these together with all related matters in a
comprehensive treaty. We did not see why we should be asked to
deal with them now. There was a significant difference in the
drafting of Article 5 in the Chinese draft from that settled in
the British treaty and it would certainly arouse unfavourable
comment in Australia. As this treaty made no specific plan for the
future, present negotiations might well be restricted to non-
contentious articles.

2. Dr. Wu, who was accompanied by the Director of the Treaty
Department [3], expressed great regret at our inability to accept
Articles 5, 6 and 7. He said he imagined the immigration question
was the stumbling block, and emphasized that the Chinese did not
wish to raise this issue. The treaty provided for the abolition of
the old regime and begins a new one. They intended to open the
whole of China to foreigners and it would be unfair if we did not
do the same for the Chinese living in Australia. I said that there
were only a few restrictions on the movements of Chinese living in
Australia but these were in the State Laws and an attempt to
remove them would cause trouble. He pressed that Australia should
associate herself with promises for the future by the signing of
the additional articles. The Director also pointed out as the
British treaty specifically excluded us from privileges in regard
to commerce etc., unless we signed Article 6, the Chinese
Government would be at liberty to deny to Australians the right to
travel, reside and carry on commerce. China felt that she had made
great concessions in these Articles and they had aroused
considerable uneasiness amongst the Chinese people. If the treaty
was signed omitting the Articles to which we objected, it would
immediately draw attention to the omission and cause unfavourable

3. Both the Vice Minister and the Director then strongly urged me
to study a redraft of Article 5 which they would prepare on the
lines of the American treaty and transmit it to you. I said that I
would consider this but indicated that my instructions had been
most definite and that I could hold out no hope that your attitude
would be modified and would consider whether I should submit the
Article to you when I had studied it. [4]

4. The question of Article 1 clause (2) was then raised and I
pointed out that the inclusion of contentious Articles would
require a definition of Chinese nationals on the same lines as the
definition of Australian nationals. The Vice Minister said he
believed the Chinese Government would be prepared to accept the
definition of Chinese subjects as those whose domicile or home was
in China.

5. Regarding the Exchange of Notes I said that I had no
instructions but that my personal view was that the abrogation of
rights by reference was undesirable and that any Exchange of Notes
should be more specific.

6. Glad of instructions on this point. It would also be of great
assistance if I knew the lines of the Canadian treaty. [5]

7. I do not think there is any doubt that the Chinese Government
will draw attention to our failure to agree to Articles 5, 6 and 7
so while ready to make a stand when the time comes I consider it
best to keep up friendly parley for the time being. Meanwhile I am
drafting (a) the note abrogating extra-territoriality and to be
used if the Chinese refuse to sign the treaty if clauses omitted
and (b) the note to be attached to the treaty if signed and will
send them to you when finished. [6]


1 Document 116.

2 For a more detailed account of Eggleston's meeting with Dr K. C.

Wu see dispatch 70 of 9 February on file AA:A989, 43-44/305/2, i.

3 Dr Wang Hua-chen.

4 See Eggleston's cablegram S28 (received in Canberra on 16
February) on file AA:A989, 43/305/2, v.

5 A copy of the Canadian treaty was forwarded to Eggleston on 10
February. See cablegram SC5 on the file cited in note 4.

6 See cablegram S26 (received in Canberra on 14 February) on the
file cited in note 4.

[AA:A989, 43/305/2, v]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top