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Historical documents

80 Eggleston to Evatt

Letter CHUNGKING, 25 November 1942


I have telegraphed this week my draft of the treaty for abrogation
of extraterritoriality and rendition of the Concession [1]
together with a telegram on the problems of policy involved [2]
and another on the drafting. [3] You will realise that I have had
no precedents, no textbooks on treaties or on international law
and hardly any books of reference on the history of the subject. I
should not be regarded as responsible, therefore, if there is any
point which I have missed or mistaken.

There is a special type of drafting used in treaties in which
strict legal phraseology is avoided but I have been drafting
documents all my life and it is rather hard to get away from the
legalistic formulae. You will see that in my draft I have departed
from the British draft [4] on several occasions and with good
reason, I believe, for it is rather inartistic, and in some
places, hardly grammatical.

I have very little to add to what I have said in my telegrams as
to drafting and policy. I have been in difficulty because I do not
quite know what your objections are to Article VI in the British
draft. If it is because you believe that that clause would break
down the immigration laws and give the Chinese the right of entry
it does not seem to me to do this and naturally the United States
would not sign such a clause. Our only difficulty in signing the
British clause is that we have, in Australia, a certain number of
discriminations against Chinese. These seem to me to be quite
unimportant. In order to meet the situation, however, I have
devised a reciprocity clause based on Australian standards.

Whether the Chinese will agree to it I have no idea. They are
likely to adopt a considerable number of discriminations in favour
of Chinese in China and, if so, they will have no ground for
complaining against ours. The British clause seems to me to be not
only badly drafted but to prevent certain discriminations in
favour of their own subjects which may be most desirable. One
example would be preferences in the allocation of defence

I have been guided in my advice by the desire to avoid a public
controversy either here or in Australia or elsewhere on the
question of immigration restriction. Any difference between our
treaty and the British treaty may bring this question up. However,
if it comes to the point we should be prepared to take the stand
on the principle that immigration is a subject of domestic
jurisdiction. We should receive world-wide support for this and if
we secured a recognition of this we should be prepared to make any
declaration of equality and reciprocity that they wanted. I would
refuse pointblank to discuss the question of relaxation of our
restriction policy during the war and say that if the Chinese want
they can take it up after the war. In a matter of this kind there
are other countries to consider, e.g., India.

Meanwhile, it would be better to talk of our 'immigration policy'
and not a 'White Australia' policy. The Commerce Department could
give you some idea of Australian interests in Shanghai, Tientsin,
Kowloon, and I should say that Bowden's [5] correspondence would
contain references to it. The only other people with interests
here are the missionaries whose property is subject to attack but
is, I believe, owned by missionary organisations and not by


1 See cablegram S149 (received in Canberra on 29 November) on file
AA:A981, China 60B, ii. See also Document 106.

2 See cablegram S146 (received in Canberra on 29 November) on the
file cited in note 1.

3 See cablegram S148 (received in Canberra on 29 November) on the
file cited in note 1.

4 See Eggleston's cablegram S145 (received in Canberra on 29
November) on the file cited in note 1.

5 V. G. Bowden had been Trade Commissioner in China from 1935 to


[AA:A4144, 971 (1941-43)]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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