291 Department of Immigration to Steele

Cablegram 222 CANBERRA, 16 December 1947, 2.30 p.m.

Your 206, Partizanka. [1]

Local Agents have advised that 680 passengers booked on ship comprising about 380 Jews. These apparently include approximately 150 bookings accepted from American Joint Distribution Committee for some 150 Jews who were to sail from Marseilles and join Partizanka Haifa. This Committee was fully aware of limitations imposed by Australian Government on number Jews that could be carried any vessel and were specifically warned that Jews on Partizanka could not exceed 25 per cent irrespective of where they were booked or embarked.

Local Agents have been notified that as correct position as to number Jews booked was misrepresented to Department Minister's final and irrevocable decision is that number Jews carried Partizanka shall not exceed 25 per cent total passengers and it should be made perfectly clear their principals any excess will not be permitted land and owners will be obliged carry excess back on return voyage their own expense.

Understand thirty-three Jewish orphan children are at present at Haifa for embarkation on Partizanka. They are being sponsored by Australian Jewish Welfare Society and under previous approval it was arranged that these children, on whatever ship they might travel, would not be included in 25% quota but would be additional. Agents should be informed that 25% limitation will be waived to extent it may be exceeded by these children.

Please cable soon as possible after departure Partizanka from Port Said particular passengers on ship giving number each nationality, number disembarking each port and total Jews [2]

1 Cablegram 206, dispatched 4 December, advised that the Department's instructions to reduce the numbers of Jewish passengers booked on the Partizanka had been passed on to authorities.

2 On 18 December the Department responded to a further appeal from shipping authorities by reaffirming its decision.

[AA : A1068, IC47/31/14]