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1 April 1959


Brig. General _;.. :I. Gcodpa s te r , USA St:aif Secretary

The Vib.ite Hens e

The Director asked that the

a ttac hed be for wa.r dcd to you. As you .... .rill recall, the subject of Australian immigration policy carne up at a recent NSC me et iag , Thi~ qucs t.ion cannot be answered in a wo r d or two; hcnc e the Icng th of the znc rnor a aduzn,

J. S. Ea:-r:::un Exec ut ive Officer

Atta chrncnt:

lv:erno for DCI from AD /51,

"S ub je c t: Aus tra l iazi Imrrug r a t ion Policy, " da te d 31 Mar 59


Original - Addressee w/:ltt

1 - JSE ,

l-ER / /-:r-

1 - DCI~-1 0,--{ .~


3 1 hi{;f; i959

MEMORANDUM FOR: Director of Central Intelligence


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Deputy Direc~or (Intelligence) Australian ~1gration Policy


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It is Australian policy to encourage and

assist immigration into the Commonwealth. pr~ily

of white British subjects but also, especially through

formal agreements since World War II, of non-British

Europeans. An immigration target of 115,000 W-coS set .for 1958. Although there is no federel legislation

barring colored persons as such, exclusion of colored

people is in fact achieved by discriminatory interpretation of prohibitions against "undesirables." The

1957 Official Year Book of the Cawmon~ealth states, hoW'ever, that "In pursuance of established policy, the general practice 1s not to permit Asians or other col-

ored persons to enter Austr~lia for the purpose of

settli~ permanently."

2. Imcigr~tion to Australi~ 1s regulated by the

I~igr~t1on P~striction Act of 1901, uuoffici~lly known as the Uhite Australia Act, en~cted by the first Commonvlealth parlianent. Tne Act contains no specific refer-

ence to race but defines c:ltego=ies of '.'prohibited


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immigrants" including the physically, me!ltally and

morally unfit, and those likely to become a public cbarg~. The principal device ,for e%cluding persons

of colored races 1s embodied in the following citation

from Section 3 of the Act: "The immigration into the

Commonwealth of the persons described in any of the following paragraphs of this section is pron'ibi ted:

(a) Any person who, when asked to do so by any officer.

fails to write out at dictation and sign in the presence

of an officer a passage of 50 words in length in an European language directed by the officer •••• " In 1905,

the Act was amended to read "Any person who fails to


pass the dictation test: that is to say, who, when an officer dictates to him not less than 50 worda in any

prescribed language, fails to write them out in the presence of the officer." The I~gration Act p~rm1ts

exemptions at official discrotion; accorGing to the

Official Year Book, percaneot entry (over one year) may

be granted' to bona fide mercu~nts, students and tourists



while they recain in that status.

3. The Uhite Australia policy is commonly regarded

as excluding all persons ot colored race, .al though it is aimed primarily at Asians. Apparently, the dictatio~

tsst itself is not often ~pp11ecl since its mere' existence

is sufficient to keep out most "undesirClbles." It has,

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bowever, been used even to exclude undesirable white

British subjects. In one case, Gaelic was the prescribed language; in the cour~ case R. V. Davey Ex

Parte Freer, concerning the use of an Italian test to

exclude a white British subject considered undesirable,







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the judge co~snted that the dictation test "was never

intended to be a real education test or provision guard-

iog against the entry of illiterates. It was merely a

convenient and polite devlce ••• for the purpose of en-

abling the ExecutlveGovern=ent of Australia to prevent



the 1~igration of persons deemed unsuitable beca~se of

their Asiatic or n~n-European race ••• it was officially stated that the dictation test was never intendEd to be

applied to immigrants of an European race." External

Affairs Mlnister Casey bas defended Australian immigra-


tion policy as seeking to ~intain the integrity, demo-

cratic institutions and living standards ot the Au~tralian community, pointing out that the term "White Australia"


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does not appear in any official document •

4. Restrictive legislation against colored reces began to appear in the separate Australian colo~inl states in 1855 with the large-scnle importation o! Chinese miners







during the gold rush ot 1855-1860 and later of Pacific

Island laborers. Restrictive laws were repealed du~1ng

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the following decade, but were reenacted in 1881. With the establishment of the Comv.onwe~lth in 1901, however, immigration became the responsibility of ~he federal government, and a national policy of racial







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exclusion has been effected through adQinistratlve

means rather than by any specific legislative prohibition. Since 1948, all aliens entering Australia are

classified st~ti6tical1y both by nation~lity and by

racial origin. There are four categories of racial

origin: European, Asinn, Africnn, or Polynesian. Presumably an American Negro entering Australia would

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be classified && of American (US) nationalit7 Qnd of

African race and generally excluded from permanent

imm.1 gra tion.

5. Under the Nationality Act of 1948, creating the status of Australian citizensh1p, "prohib1ted immi-

grants" are generally excluded. While exeeptions are sometimes granted, as in the case of a few Japanese brides of Australian servicemen, raoial restrictions on

naturalization continue. In 1955, for example, accord-

ing toofticial statistics, naturalization certificates

granted non-white persons numbered only two BUrQese,

four Chinese, and one Japanese. ,

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·~UNTINGTO£l D. SE"..ELDON JAssistant Director, Current Intelligence

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