168 Heyes to Burton

Memorandum CANBERRA, 15 March 1949

SECRET

I refer to your secret memorandum of 16th February, No. 1531/1 [1], respecting the decision that in future Eurasians are not to be admitted to Australia as Permanent residents.

The statement in your memorandum that to extend the present restrictions to applicants eligible under the existing regulations without changing the regulations themselves is to put an officer in an impossible position is not understood. No regulations have been made under the lmmigration Act prescribing the persons or classes of persons who may be granted or refused admission to Australia. Such action is, and always has been, governed by Government policy as laid down from time to time. The position so far as Eurasians are concerned is that, following on the Minister's ruling, certain classes who were formerly allowed to enter are no longer eligible for admission.

It is not seen why the new rule should create great administrative difficulties as is suggested by you. In fact, it should prove much easier for an officer to administer the new rule than the former one under which it was necessary for an officer to determine, not only that an applicant was predominantly European by descent, but also in appearance and mode of living. If an officer now finds that an applicant is not of pure European descent all that he is required to do is to notify the person concerned that he is not eligible for admission in accordance with existing immigration policy and his entry has not, therefore, been authorised. This is the practice that is already followed in thousands of cases, British, white alien and non-European, and one that has not so far given rise to any administrative difficulties.

However, other considerations have arisen which make it advisable for an officer of this Department to visit Eastern countries and investigate and report on certain aspects and, in the circumstances, action requested in my memorandum of 20th January [2] may be deferred pending receipt of his report.

1 Document 167 2 Document 166.

[AA:A1838, 153 1/1, i]