Mr F.K. Officer, Australian Counsellor at British Embassy in Washington, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 89 WASHINGTON, 14 December 1939, 5.30 p.m.

Reference my telegram No. 88. [1]

I am unaware of probable date of Mr Casey’s [2] arrival and realise that there may be special reasons why the Australian Legation should be opened under a Charge d’Affaires prior to his arrival. I would also appreciate the honour of opening the new Legation. But I think and Ambassador [3] agrees that I should point out that firstly all the preliminary arrangements short of actual opening could be made without disturbing the present situation. Secondly although the State Department perceived no objection to course you proposed they would certainly prefer the opening of the Legation to be simultaneous with the arrival of the new Minister and have intimated that they will probably adopt that procedure with regard to the United States Legation in Canberra.

Thirdly to defer opening of the Legation until the arrival of the Minister would avoid the repetition in a short period of time of a number of matters of protocol. Finally opening by the new Minister would have a much greater publicity value in this country than the arrival of the Minister after the opening of the Legation.

_1 Dispatched 13 December 1939, not printed (on file FA: AA1975/5, 1939, Australian Legation (Washington) (Corresp. re Accommodation)).

2 R.G. Casey, Minister for Supply and Development, who was to be the first Minister to the United States.

3 Lord Lothian, U.K. Ambassador to the United States.