Mr F.K. Officer, Australian Counsellor at U.K. Embassy, Washington, to Mr R. G. Casey, Treasurer

Letter (extract) WASHINGTON, 16 February 1939


As regards my long letter to you of the 25th January [1], I have had a note from Stirling [2] calling attention to the Various reports regarding our representation here, and asking me my views, and I felt that as we should work in the closest touch with one another it was only reasonable to let him have them on the lines of my letter to you of the 25th January. I will be interested to hear from you your reactions some time. Oldham [3] sent me two cuttings regarding the future representation of Australia in this country, one a leader in the Sydney Morning Herald of December 22nd and the other an article in the Melbourne Herald by Sir George Pearce [4], but it seems rather regrettable that neither the ex-Minister of our External Affirs Department nor the Sydney Morning Herald appears to realise that Australia has direct representation on the staff of the Embassy in the shape of a Counsellor, and that for the past two years it has no longer been a question of representation merely by a Trade Commissioner. The more I think of it the more I press the view that although my opinion now is to favour the opening of a Legation here, I believe that much more important is representation in Ottawa. More important than either is increasing the External Affairs staff to meet further expansion, and equally important is to give the staff abroad some information. I know you are weary of my references to this subject, but I feel quite desperate about it now. I know in the greatest detail through the telegrams, letters, despatches and memoranda from London what the United Kingdom Government thought at almost every stage of crisis. I have nothing from Australia beyond statements in Parliament. To some extent it stultifies any usefulness I might be serving here [sic]. [5]

The Ambassador [6] gets back tomorrow and I am glad to have him available once again to talk to day by day.



1 Document 11.

2 A.T. Stirling, External Affairs Officer, London.

3 John Oldham, Department of External Affairs.

4 Minister for External Affairs 1934-37. On 30 November 1938 the Melbourne Herald published an article headed ‘Ambassador in America- Appointment Urged by Sir George Pearce’.

5 On 29 May in a letter to A.T. Stirling (P & C 9/39) Officer again complained that he seemed to be ‘increasingly less informed by the Department … I realise that it is no doubt due to shortness of staff’ (on file FA: A2937, F. Keith Officer, O.B.E., ALC., ii).

6 Sir Ronald Lindsay, U.K. Ambassador.