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Historical documents

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

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]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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