208 Strahan to Garnett

Letter CANBERRA, 11 November 1946

With reference to your letter of 3rd September, 1946 [1], I desire to inform you that in view of the circumstances set forth in the statements accompanying your communication, the Commonwealth Government appreciates the claims of the Assyrian Community to sympathetic consideration and the moral obligation to the United Kingdom Government to secure a satisfactory settlement for these people if practicable.

There are, however, considerable difficulties in the way of agreeing to a settlement of these people being formed in Australia. At a recent Conference of State Premiers on the subject of migration to Australia, the question of the desirability or otherwise of allowing group settlements of certain classes of Europeans was fully discussed, but all the States were unanimously opposed to the principle of large scale group settlements of foreigners irrespective of nationality.

The Commonwealth Government is also opposed to the establishment of alien units which could not be readily assimilated and in the circumstances it is regretted that no offer of assistance for the resettlement in Australia of the Assyrian Christian Community in Iraq can be made by the Commonwealth.

1 Document 99.

[AA:A1067, M46/10/4]