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Historical documents

318 Cabinet Submission by Calwell

Agendum 5381 13 December 1946,


Negotiations were conducted in 1939 between representatives of the
Commonwealth and the Netherlands Emigration Foundation in relation
to a scheme for the introduction of migrants from the Netherlands
to Australia. Agreements were reached on all matters of principle
and minor details were under discussion when war broke out and
prevented the scheme from coming into operation.

2. Broadly the 1939 scheme provided for:-

(i) the establishment by the Netherlands Emigration Foundation of
an organization in Australia which would attend to the reception,
accommodation, placement in employment and after care of Dutch

(ii) the Foundation would arrange for the return to Holland of any
migrant who within a period of twelve months after arrival proved

(iii) the Foundation would give a maintenance guarantee in respect
of a period of one year after arrival on the understanding that
such guarantee would be limited to a maximum amount of 20 for
each adult and 10 for each minor to cover any charges upon public
funds, the amount, however, not to cover any debts privately

(iv) reduced amounts of landing money for each category of Dutch
migrant compared with landing money requirements then existing for
similar categories of foreign migrants.

3. In July last the Australian Minister at The Hague was requested
to make exploratory approaches to the Netherlands Government
regarding the possibility of reviving the scheme for Dutch
migration to Australia. In subsequent discussions with the
Netherlands Emigration Foundation, which is sponsored by and acts
for the Royal Netherlands Government, the Australian Minister was
informed that the Foundation was keen to send to overseas
countries, including Australia, a number of young Dutchmen from
farming families. The Foundation expected that Dutch shipping
would be available to lift a first batch of fifty Dutch migrants
for Australia about May, 1947, another fifty about September,
1947, and thereafter further parties would be sent as shipping

4. In the course of negotiations for an agreement on Dutch
migration, the Dutch authorities asked the Australian Minister
that conditions of the 1939 scheme relative to their undertaking
repatriation of unsuitable migrants and giving maintenance
guarantees for each migrant for one year after arrival be
excluded. It was indicated that the Netherlands Government under
present circumstances would find it quite impossible to undertake
such financial obligations involving as they would foreign
exchange. I feel that the request of the Dutch Authorities should
be acceded to, particularly as the migrants under the scheme will
be required to have sufficient landing money to meet any likely
contingencies. It may be possible to waive any landing money
requirements when we see how the agreement operates.

5. On the 10th December the Australian Minister at The Hague
cabled the following text of a draft agreement between the
Commonwealth Government and the Netherlands Emigration Foundation-

'1. (a) An organisation will be established in Australia by the
Netherlands Emigration Foundation. It will comprise a number of
Reception Committees in the various main ports of entry, which
will all work under the supervision of the permanent
representative in Australia of the Foundation.

(b) The organisation will-
(i) find openings in Australia for Dutch migrants
(ii) attend to the reception, settlement and after care of
migrants after arrival.

(c) The Netherlands Emigration Foundation will select migrants as
to their moral character, physical fitness and suitability for
life in Australia.

At the outset the organisation will direct its activities to the
introduction of farmers and farm labourers (single men and married
men with their wives and families). The possibilities for the
migration of skilled artisans will be a matter for later
consideration when the skilled labour situation in the Netherlands
permits, similarly very few women would be available for migration
at present. 2. Landing Money. The Commonwealth Government is
prepared to approve the admission of migrants from the Netherlands
being Netherlands subjects of European stock, nominated by the
Foundation, coming within the following categories and with the
amounts of landing money indicated:-

Migrants who would engage in farm work after Arrival in Australia-
(a) Youths under 21 years of age 5
(b) Single male migrants of adult age 20
(c) Married men with no children, accompanied by their wives 20
(d) Married men with wife and one child 30
(e) Married men with wife and two children 40
(f) Married men with wife and three or more children 50
Household Workers-
(g) Single women up to 35 years of age who would engage in
household work after arrival in Australia 5
Skilled Artisans-
(a) Single male migrants of adult age 20
(b) Married men with no children accompanied by their wives 30
(c) Married men with wife and one child 30
(d) Married men with wife and two children 40
(e) Married men with wife and three or more children 50
This landing money has been fixed after taking into consideration
the heavy expenditure incurred by the Netherlands Emigration
Foundation in connection with the introduction of suitable ml
grants, guarantees to be furnished and the responsibility to be
undertaken regarding their after care.

3. In every case the Foundation guarantees to undertake the
reception, settlement and after care of the migrants introduced
under its auspices.

4. Applications for the admission of intending Netherlands
migrants with 100 landing money in the case of a single man or a
married man travelling alone, without requiring any guarantee,
will also be favourably considered by the Commonwealth. 5.

Applications will be submitted by the Foundation in the
Netherlands to the Australian Legation at The Hague who will in
due course, if approved, deliver the Landing Permits to the
Foundation. 6. Applications submitted to the Australian Legation
at The Hague or the Australian High Commissioner's Office in
London from Netherlands subjects in the Netherlands shall be
referred to the Foundation in the Netherlands. Applications made
direct to the Department of Immigration will be referred to the
Netherlands Legation in Canberra.

7. Brides. No objection will be raised to the introduction of
brides married by proxy to Netherlands migrants already
established in Australia.'
6. The final selection of all Dutch migrants under the scheme
should rest with Commonwealth representatives either in the United
Kingdom or in the Netherlands and this should be made clear in the

7. As Dutch people represent very desirable migrants and the
Netherlands Emigration Foundation is a responsible body I feel
that it will be advantageous for the Commonwealth to enter into an
agreement on the lines proposed. Due to shipping difficulties the
scheme will only operate in a restricted way during 1947 and this
will enable us to determine, in the light of experience gained
during that year, whether the conditions of the agreement might
require any alteration to adequately provide for large scale Dutch
migration when shipping and other factors permit. For this reason
I believe that the agreement should be completed with a proviso
that it will be subject to review by the Commonwealth Government
at the end of twelve months after the scheme first commences to


I recommend that
(a) the Australian Minister at the Hague be authorized to sign on
behalf of the Commonwealth Government an agreement with the
Netherlands Emigration Foundation in accordance with the draft
contained in his cablegram No.113 of the 10th December, 1946 (vide
paragraph 5 of this Agendum) subject to the addition of the
following clauses:

(i) All migrants selected by the Foundation shall be subject to
final selection and approval of the Commonwealth Government or its
representatives before being accepted under the scheme.

(ii) The agreement shall be subject to review by the Commonwealth
Government at the end of twelve months after the scheme first
commences to operate.

(b) I be authorized, subject to arrangement with the Netherlands
Emigration Foundation, to waive landing money conditions of the
agreement if considered desirable. [1]


Minister for Immigration

1 Cabinet approved the recommendation on 19 December but altered
(b) to read 'that the Minister for Immigration, in consultation
with the Treasurer, be authorized. . .

[AA:A2700, VOL. 7]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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