In the first 9 years following the opening of the University Hospital in kuala Lumpur nearly 130,000 patients have been admitted (excluding obstetric patients), and, of these, 175 fulfilled the American Rheumatism Association criteria for the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus. This diagnosis was made significantly more frequently in Chinese patients than in other races. SLE is more often reported from Chinese communities in Asia than from India and tropical Africa. There may be a lower susceptibility to autoimmune disease in black Africans than the suspected increased susceptibility to autoimmune disease in black Africans than the suspected increased susceptibility in their American Negro and West Indian descendants. A careful study of racial and geograhical factors in autoimmune disease should throw further light on the interaction between the host and his environment which results in autoimmune disease.