ENEMY ALIENS STATUS OF AUSTRIAN SUBJECT IN AUSTRALIA GRANTED PROVISIONAL PROTECTION AS POTENTIAL SUBJECT BY RUSSIAN CONSUL: WHETHER COMMONWEALTH PRECLUDED FROM TREATING AS ENEMY ALIEN
The Consul-General for Russia has issued to A.B,, Dalmatian, an Austrian subject, at present in Australia, a 'provisional certificate', certifying that B. has applied for Russian naturalization, and is declared to have been provisionally taken under protection of the Russian Consulate in Melbourne, and requesting the civil and military authorities of the Federal Government and the Government of Victoria to exempt B. from the restrictions imposed upon alien enemies, short of permitting him to leave the State.
The Secretary, Department of Defence, has asked the Secretary, Department of External Affairs, for advice as to the practice of consuls in regard to nationalising aliens residing in Australia.
The Secretary, Department of External Affairs, forwards the papers for advice, with the following observations:
I do not gather from the certificate of the Russian Consulate-General that they claim the right to naturalize B.. They ask as a favour that certain restrictions be removed from him. The question of his naturalization depends on the Imperial Russian Government. If that Government grants naturalization the question might arise as to whether we would recognise him as a Russian seeing that he is not a Russian by birth nor so far as we know employed in the service of the Russian Government.
The Consul-General does not claim that B. is a Russian subject; but his certificate does more than make a request. It declares B. to have been taken under the protection of the Russian Consulate, and is open to the construction that it claims for him certain rights in the capacity of a potential Russian subject (see Westlake, International Law, Part 1, p. 200).
It does not appear, however, on what grounds B.'s application for Russian naturalization-made whilst he is in Australia-rests, and it appears clear that, whatever the effect of his application may be, there is nothing which can affect the right of the Australian Government to treat him, while remaining in Australia, as an alien enemy.
[Vol. 14, p. 284]
- Date in Opinion Book incomplete.