109 Memorandum From Shaw To Department Of Immigration

9th August, 1955


Trade Talks with Japan: Admission of Japanese Traders to Australia In November, 1954, the Japanese Embassy was informed that Australia was willing to enter into talks with a view to examining mutual trade problems. A statement explaining the Government's decision was issued at that time by the Prime Minister.

For a number of reasons, especially Japan's pre-occupation with GATT, no trade talks have so far been held. There have, however, been a number of communications between the Embassy and this Department. In particular in April, 1955, we conveyed a suggestion that, before formal trade talks were held, there would be mutual advantages in arranging informal and purely exploratory talks between the Embassy and Australian officials representing the Departments primarily concerned. Japan has now suggested that these talks should commence towards the end of August (see attached copy of record of conversation with the Japanese Ambassador on 4th August [1]).

The Japanese have also indicated that one of the questions they may wish to raise in these talks is the establishment in Australia of branches of Japanese businesses. The only obstacle as far as the Commonwealth is concerned arises from requirements regarding admission of Japanese to Australia. We are aware that consideration is being given to the placing of Japanese on the same basis as other Asians. This would include removal of the existing discrimination against Japanese and their dependents who seek admission to Australia in order to operate businesses.

It would indeed be a helpful contribution to the success of the talks with the Japanese if an early decision could be reached on this matter. Your advice would be appreciated.

1 See Document 108.

[AA : A1838/283, 759/1/7, ii]