Mr A. Eden, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram 161 LONDON, 2 December 1939, 5.48 p.m.


With His Majesty’s [1] approval proposal for the establishment of a Separate Legation of the Commonwealth of Australia at Washington has now been submitted informally by His Majesty’s Ambassador [2] to the United States Government. The United States Secretary of State [3] has replied that he is delighted to learn of the proposal, which is most welcome to that Government, and that there is no objection to the Legation being opened under the direction of a charge d’affaires pending the appointment of a Minister some two or three months hence. The United States Government will promptly prepare to establish a United States Legation at Canberra, but will probably not officially open it until an American Minister has been duly appointed and confirmed by the Senate. The United States Secretary of State hoped that the arrival of a United States Minister in Australia would in general synchronize with the arrival of an Australian Minister in the United States. His Majesty’s Ambassador is now addressing a formal note to the United States Government on this subject, and a copy of the correspondence will be forwarded direct to you in due course.

The State Department leaves to His Majesty’s Government in the Commonwealth of Australia the decision as to when to announce the intention to establish an Australian Legation in Washington but they would like to have advance notice on this matter so as to make announcements simultaneously in Canberra and Washington. No doubt you will communicate direct with His Majesty’s Ambassador at Washington in regard to the date and terms of the announcement.

It would be in accordance with recognised practice that the charge d’affaires should be accredited to the United States Government by a letter addressed to the United States Secretary of State by the appropriate Minister of the Commonwealth Government. The name of the individual to be selected for appointment would, however, be first submitted informally for agreement of the United States Government.

At a subsequent stage when His Majesty’s Government in the Commonwealth of Australia have decided upon the name of the Minister to be appointed, the appropriate procedure would be that the name should first be submitted to His Majesty for approval, before steps are taken to secure the agreement of the United States Government.


1 King George VI.

2 Lord Lothian.

3 Cordell Hull.


[AA: CP 290/6, ITEM 1]