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 migrants.

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

(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 contracted.

(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 permitted.

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 agreement.

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 operate.


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]