113 Addison to Australian Government

Cablegram 79 LONDON, 26 February 1946, 9.20 p.m.

My telegram No.15 of 14th January. [1] Assisted migration.

We have been informed by the Australian High Commissioner's Office here that the Commonwealth Government desire an early announcement of completion of arrangements for the schemes of assisted migration to Australia to come into operation on an agreed date.

If in the case of the assisted passage agreement the Commonwealth Government's acceptance is forthcoming of the additional clause concerning social service benefits for approved migrants and also the amended final clause renumbered 13 [2] which are referred to in Dominion's Office letter to Australia House of 6th February, His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom would be prepared to conclude both the free passage and assisted passage agreements.

Please telegraph the Commonwealth Government's views as to these clauses and, provided that the proposed clauses are acceptable, whether 5th March would be a convenient date for a public announcement to be made simultaneously in this country and in Australia following the formal completion of the agreements. [3]

The text of the announcement by the United Kingdom Government is as follows:-

1. Arrangements have recently been agreed with the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia for the assisted migration of suitable British subjects who desire to settle in Australia and whom the Australian Government are willing to receive.

2. These arrangements which will operate only so long as favourable conditions for settlement in Australia are known to exist deal respectively with- (a) The grant of free passages to suitable British men and women who were resident in the British Isles or were in the United Kingdom forces overseas on the 1st September, 1938 and have served in a whole time capacity in the armed forces or Merchant Navy of the United Kingdom during the period of the recent war and their dependents, (b) a scheme under the authority of the Empire Settlement Acts of 1922 and 1937 for passage assistance to approved migrants and their dependents who are normally resident in the United Kingdom and who do not come within the scope of the free passage scheme.

Persons of 19 years of age and over will be required to contribute 10 and juveniles of 14 to 18 years of age 5 towards the cost of a passage, the remainder of the cost including free passages for children under 14 years of age being borne equally by the United Kingdom and Australian Governments.

3. The announcement of these schemes which will come into operation on a date to be agreed upon by the United Kingdom and Commonwealth Governments does not imply that ships will now be freely available to take migrants to Australia. The existing shortage of passenger accommodation is likely to continue for some considerable time.

4. Applicants under these arrangements will have to be accepted by the Commonwealth authorities as medically fit and otherwise suitable for settlement in Australia. Men and women who were released from the forces for work of civilian importance, including those released in class 'B', may require the permission of the Ministry of Labour and National Service to leave their employment in the United Kingdom before they can be granted free passages under scheme (a). It will be open to the Ministry of Labour and National Service to withhold approval to the grant of assisted passages under scheme (b) in the case of men and women possessing certain qualifications who are in short supply here and urgently needed in the interests of the United Kingdom.

5. The Commonwealth Government will provide free transport from the port of disembarkation to the settler's destination in Australia and accommodation for a limited period if necessary.

They will arrange for co-operation with the appropriate authorities in Australia for the reception, placement and aftercare in Australia of the settlers approved under these schemes who will also be eligible for certain social service benefits as from the date of arrival in Australia.

6. Settlers under these schemes will not normally obtain employment with individual employers until after their arrival in Australia but a settler will not receive a passage unless there is a reasonable assurance that he will obtain employment on arrival.

The settlers will have at their disposal the services of the Australian Employment Exchanges [4] but will not be eligible for the employment preference now granted for a period of seven years to Australian ex-service men under the Commonwealth Act No.11 of 1945.

7. Until the date on which the schemes are opened no applications can be received but leaflets giving fuller particulars will be available at all local offices (including re-settlement advice offices) and regional appointments offices of the Ministry of Labour and National Service in Great Britain. This Department will be responsible for administering the free passage scheme in detail jointly with the office of the High Commissioner for Australia, Australia House, Strand W. C.2. The leaflets will also be available at local offices of the Ministry of Labour of Northern Ireland and similar information will be circulated by the Service Departments for the information of men and women still in the forces.

8. The Dominions Office will remain responsible for all matters of policy relating to migration to the Dominions including the negotiation of agreements with overseas Governments and voluntary societies operating overseas. [5]

1 It conveyed the U.K. Govt's agreement that assisted migrants' contributions be fixed at 10 sterling per adult, and requested that announcement of the scheme be delayed pending completion of administrative arrangements.

2 A clause stating that, subject to review, assistance would be given for two years from commencement of the scheme.

3 In an unnumbered cablegram dispatched 1 March the Australian Govt accepted the clauses and agreed to the date of the public announcement.

4 The Australian Govt requested that this phrase be amended to read 'the facilities of the Commonwealth Employment Service'.

5 The agreements were signed by Beasley and Addison on 5 Much. The schemes commenced operation on 31 March 1947.

[AA:A3195, 1946, 1.5121]