Diplomacy in argumentation

Sydney, July 1929

Interviewed for the Brisbane Telegraph, Ross warns of overcrowded Asia and argues for white settlement in the tropics. Curiously, he doesn’t apply those lessons to Australia in the interview.

Ever the smooth talker, Ross likely didn’t want to alienate the Australian leadership by decrying Australian immigration policy directly. Rather than use Australia as a model case, Ross makes his argument in relation to Africa, especially East Africa (which includes, not coincidentally, the area of the former German colony of German East Africa). “There, Europeans and  Asians are competing for free space”, he claims, and proceeds to stress the conflict between racial and imperial allegiances. “There is a strong feeling amongst white settlers against Asian immigration, but it is difficult for the British Government to keep its Indian subjects out of the African colonies.” Ross argues for strengthened solidarity between “the white races”, from which (without mentioning it) Germany, stripped of foreign-policy power, would stand to benefit.

The second main point Ross makes, again referring to Africa, is about “the possibilities of white settlement in the tropics.” He argues for the benefits of measured intermarriage, with examples from South America and the Netherlands East-Indies, again  neglecting to say that he came to a similar conclusion about Australia. (See “The olive peril”) In his grandiloquent fashion, Ross provides ‘proof’ of the white man’s ability to settle in the tropics by referring to his own travels there: “Me and my wife and family lived there for years and I found that one could stand the tropics in altitudes up to several thousand feet.”

Joachim Schätz

Anonymous. Colour problem. Views of German traveller. Whites in the tropics. Telegraph: 1929 Jul 22; 2.

Topic: Volk ohne Raum
Case: Oceania-Asia trip 1928-30

See also

in Geo Map
Colour Problem

Scroll to page top