Dunk to Watt

Letter CANBERRA, 20 September 1945

Thank you for your two letters of the 1st and 7th September. [1] I have written to Sir Frederic on the staff situation and no doubt you will see the letter. [2] It is the best I can do at the moment. Frankly, I find a very bad administrative and staff situation right through the department. Here it is almost hopeless. The drafting of one officer even on a temporary job has quite severe repercussions on the working of the department. This, of course, is quite an absurd administrative situation which must be corrected and I will do my best, but I do not think there is any prospect of obtaining quick answers.

You know me well enough I think for me not to have to assure you that I am deeply interested in the working of our overseas offices, and of Washington in particular. I am fully aware of Washington’s vital importance as a centre for post-war discussion and political activity and of the necessity for the legation being staffed for its present and future tasks. You will know too that I will always appreciate the frankest possible advice and information from you on any question concerning the department.

I sincerely hope that I can build the position up so that you will not have to complain of lack of information of plans and activity at this end.

I am very sorry in many ways that I am not there now to take part in the very important discussions proceeding on the mandates determination and future commercial policy. I feel that I should be, but there is a man-size job to do here.

Please convey my regards to McIntyre, Brigden and other members of the staff.



1 Both on file AA : A1066, A45/2/6/7.

2 Dunk’s letter to Eggleston, dispatched 20 September (on the file cited in note 1), was in reply to Document 235. He promised to do whatever he could, but pointed out that similar difficulties existed throughout the External Affairs Dept, particularly in Canberra, London and China, and that pro-vision of suitable staff would take time.


[AA : A1066, A45/2/6/7]