Compiled for OzSportsHistory by Brian Membrey

On 1 October, 1954. the Melbourne Organising Committee issued invitations to attend the Games to 91 nations (printed in English only).  68 eventually competed :

Afghanistan, Argentine, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, British Guiana, Bulgaria, Burma, Canada, Ceylon, Chile, China (Republic of), China (People's Republic of (Formosa)), Colombia, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Denmark , Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany - East *, Germany - West *, Gold Coast, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Greece, Guatemala, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Lebanon, Liberia, Luxembourg, Malaya, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, North Borneo, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Rumania, Saar *, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad, Turkey, Uganda, U.S.A., U.S.S.R., Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam and Yugoslavia.

Ethiopia, Fiji, Kenya, Liberia, Malaya, North Borneo and Uganda were competing  for the first time.

China (People's Republic), Egypt (the first to withdraw), Gold Coast, Guatemala, Holland, Iraq, Lebanon, Malta, Panama, Spain and Switzerland subsequently withdrew because of the political situation in the Middle East and in Hungary.  

The Egyptian Olympic committee some two weeks prior to the Games asked the International Olympic Committee "to prevent the participation in the Olympic Games of nations guilty of cowárdly aggression against Egypt", but Mr. Otto Mayer, Chancellor of the I.O.C., replied from Lausanne that there was no action he could take except to acknowledge receipt of the cable.

The Dutch team was already housed in the Olympic Village and were recalled by their national government, although the O.O.C. declared they were welcome to remain without necessarily competing if they desired.

Switzerland reconsidered their position and were believed likely to arrive with a 60-strong team on 16 November, but were unable to re-arrange air transport; their non-arrival was unexpected and the team was actually included in the official programme for the Opening Ceremony.  Critics of the pair’s stances however pointed out that neither country withdrew form the Nazi Germany dominated Berlin Games of 1936.   

Barbados, Bolivia, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Dutch West Indies, El Salvador, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Paraguay and Syria declined the invitation.

United Team of Germany

* The Olympic Committee of East Germany was recognised by the International Organising Committee on the condition that Germany sent one united team, which it did.  

Saar was a short-lived protectorate (1947–56) partitioned from Germany after its defeat in World War II; it was administered by the French before being returned to West Germany in 1957.

It competed under its own name in Helsinki in 1952, and in anticipation of the re-unification, the Saar Olympic Committee which had accepted the invitation was dissolved just prior to the Games and their athletes (number unknown) were included in the combined German Team which became the only Olympic team ever to comprise athletes from three German states.

1954 : The Invitations