122 Record Of Conversation By Critchley [1]

11th November, 1955


Entry of Japanese into Australia

Mr Uyama called to seek clarification of my letter of 3rd November concerning the entry and stay in Australia of Japanese businessmen and their families. [2] He asked whether only Japanese wool-buyers would be permitted to stay indefinitely in Australia or would the same concession apply to other Japanese businessmen, for example, those engaged in the wheat and barley trade. I promised to check the position and let him know.

2. Mr Uyama also raised the question of publicity for the amended policy on the entry of Japanese. He mentioned that at the trade talks which commenced a week or so ago, Dr Westerman had specifically requested that in view of the 10th December general election, the talks should be given the absolute minimum of publicity. [3] He presumed the same considerations would apply in regard to the change in policy on the entry of Japanese nationals.

I replied that I felt that the change in policy should be given no more publicity than was necessary. The wisest course for the Embassy to adopt would seem to be merely to inform all interested parties.

3. After Mr Percival had spoken to Mr Brown of Immigration Department (see record of conversation attached). [4] I rang Mr Uyama and informed him that only Japanese wool-buyers would be permitted indefinite residence-other Japanese businessmen could only enter for a period of six months in the first instance, which might however be extended for an additional six months.

4. Concerning publicity, I informed Mr Uyama that the Minister and Department of Immigration were most anxious that no publicity should be given to the new policy before the elections. The reasons were obvious-it was feared that if the matter became an election issue it could seriously prejudice any future decisions on the entry of Japanese nationals into Australia. Mr Uyama promised that no publicity would be given to the changes in Australian policy.

1 The record was drafted by R.J. Percival of South and South-East Asia Branch, DEA.

2 See paragraphs 7 and 8 of Document 126.

3 See the final paragraph of Document 118.

4 Not published. Brown also told Percival, in confidence, that a Cabinet submission, recommending 7-year residence permits for Japanese merchants with annual turnover of A10,000 and 'reasonable' conditions for establishment of Japanese business agencies, was being held over until after the federal election.

[AA : A1838/283, 759/1, v]