Mr F.K. Officer, Australian Counsellor at U.K. Embassy in Washington, to Mr J.D.L. Hood, Department of External Affairs

Letter (extract) WASHINGTON, 16 June 1939


I was delighted to receive in last mail yesterday your letter of the 24th May [1] and also a news letter which is extremely comprehensive. I have also now read the debate in the House of Representatives on May 9th [2] and agree with you that it was particularly good and encouraging. I notice, however, on page 193 that there is no reference to this little office as a source of information. Does this mean that my frequent reports go into the wastepaper basket?!!! I have also noted that in the various references to the establishment of a Legation here there has been little reference to the fact that there is already an Australian representative in the Embassy here. Is Curtin [3], for instance, aware of that fact? I was particularly glad to notice the references by the Prime Minister [4] to the United States, and only wish they had received a little more publicity here, but I am afraid the American press is not very well represented in Australia, and, with the exception of the New York Times, the papers seldom carry Australian news. There is no doubt, however, that there is a great deal of interest in Australia here in every way, and the Pavilion at the World’s Fair, which is altogether excellent, is certainly, as you anticipated, helping considerably.

I shall be glad to hear from time to time how the proposal for the Legation here is getting on. I wrote to Hodgson on May 5th [5] suggesting various points that have to be considered. As far as procedure is concerned I imagine the first stage is to ascertain formally that the opening of a Legation here would be acceptable to the U.S.A. Government; purely as a matter of form as I know the reply will be to welcome it but, of course, a necessary matter of form.

There is one thing you will have to arrange when a Legation is established here, and that is a supply of information. In London and here, as you know, we have access to the sections of the Foreign Office print and all the Dominions Office telegrams, but unless some special arrangement can be made, our Legation will not have any of these sources of information and so would be entirely dependent on the press for its news. There are various alternatives-sending a weekly or bi-weekly telegram to our Missions abroad from Canberra, trying to arrange for a copy of the print to be made available to it, arranging for the office in London to keep it and any other Mission advised by sending paraphrases of Dominions Office information telegrams. You are in a much better position to think of a suitable arrangement than I am, so I merely call your attention to it as one of the things to be considered.



1 Not found.

2 Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, vol. 159, pp. 193 ff.

3 John Curtin, Leader of the Opposition.

4 R.G. Menzies.

5 Document 79.


[FA: A2937, F. KEITH OFFICER, O.B.E., M.C., ii]