7 Prime Minister's Department to Mr F. K. Officer, Australian Counsellor at U.K. Embassy in Washington

Cablegram unnumbered 8 January 1940,

Following message to be released to Press at 10.30 p.m. Australian

time 8/1/40.

Broadcast by the Prime Minister [1] regarding the appointment of a

Minister to Washington.

'I am taking this opportunity as Prime Minister of Australia to

tell you that arrangements have just been completed for an

exchange of diplomatic Ministers between the United States of

America and Australia. The first Australian Minister, who will

leave shortly to take up his appointment, is the Rt. Hon. Richard

Gardiner Casey, at present Minister for Supply and Development in

the Australian Government and formerly Treasurer or Chief Finance


This is the first time that Australia has made a full diplomatic

appointment to a foreign country and the event is therefore of

great historic interest to us. We have for a long time felt that

the problems which concern the nations surrounding the Pacific

Ocean are of special and vital interest to Australia and that as

an independent nation within the British family of nations we

might quite reasonably expect to play an effective part in the

development and strengthening of peaceful contacts between all the

Pacific Powers.

I may say that we have under immediate consideration the question

of diplomatic representation at Tokyo: but our first appointment

has been made to the United States of America because, as a

British community, we feel that we have a great deal in common

with the United States and that by closer contact with them we may

contribute to a fuller understanding between the English-speaking

peoples of the world and, through that fuller understanding, to

the peace and well-being of the world.

The United States of America has no aggressive designs against any

other country. Neither has the British Empire. We have the same

general ideas of Government: we attach the same supreme importance

to the liberty of the individual: we have in common the conviction

that the proper object of all Governments is to forward the

happiness of ordinary men and women and not merely of a chosen

few. And we are the better able to exchange our ideas and to

forward our ideals by joint effort because we speak the same

language and share the same literature.

I say to you quite frankly that Australia attaches importance to

have [sic] the friendship of the United States and is prepared to

do much to improve it. But may I also say that I believe that the

friendship of Australia as an integral part of the British Empire

is of importance to the United States. The British and American

peoples have too much in common and, may I add, too many precious

ideas at risk in this turbulent world, not to realise that,

whatever their organic relation may be, they are both exercising

similar functions and that the safety and development of each is

of profound importance to the other.

Reciprocally with our own action, the United States Government has

agreed to establish a Legation at Canberra. [2] The American

Minister will be the first person to be diplomatically accredited

to Australia. Housed at Canberra, he will become for all

Australians the living embodiment of a gesture of friendship and

recognition by the United States. You may ask why, when there is a

British Ambassador at Washington, it is thought necessary to

appoint an Australian Minister. Somebody may say to you that this

sort of thing indicates that the various British nations are

falling out with each other. Nothing could be further from the

truth. The presence of an Australian Minister at Washington, so

far from weakening the position of the British Empire at that

capital, will strengthen it. Each British Dominion brings to the

British Empire not only unswerving loyalty to His Majesty the King

as the centre of that Empire, but also its own special knowledge

born of its own conditions. Just as we enjoy great privileges as

members of the British Empire, so we are subject to great

responsibilities. We must each play our own part. Just as we feel

that we are contributing effectively towards the future peace of

the world by sending Australian sailors and soldiers and airmen to

fight in Europe, so do we believe that by increasing our

diplomatic contacts around the Pacific, we will be contributing

powerfully towards that common understanding without which

permanent peace is impossible.

Mr. Casey is uncommonly well qualified to fill the distinguished

office to which he has been appointed. He served throughout the

last war, being awarded the Distinguished Service Order and the

Military Cross. For some years after the war he returned to his

profession as an engineer and was indeed for some time in the

United States. He was for some years Liaison Officer in London

between the Commonwealth Government and the British Cabinet

Secretariat of the Foreign Office [sic]. His experience in this

way has made him very widely known in British political and

official circles.

For the last seven years Mr. Casey has been one of the most

influential members of the Australian Government, exhibiting in

the complex financial and business matters with which he has had

to deal the highest qualities of capacity, energy and patriotism.

Less than a month ago he returned from London where he represented

Australia at a series of brief but important discussions on war

problems. He will thus go to Washington exceedingly well informed

on a great variety of matters.

I am quite sure that he will prove not only a distinguished

representative of his own country, but a real contributor to the

achievement of those national ideals to which I have referred.

If there is one thing that I believe most sincerely, it is that we

must all get to know one another better if the future of the world

is to be a peaceful future. The business of diplomacy is not a

mere business of dexterity in negotiation. Its real purpose is to

remove misunderstandings, not to create them. Its real

justification is peace.' [3]

1 R. G. Menzies.

2 The first U.S. Minister to Australia, Clarence E. Gauss,

presented his credentials on 17 July 1940.

3 This cablegram was also addressed to S. M. Bruce, High

Commissioner in London, and to Lt Col E. E. Longfield Lloyd,

Government Commissioner in Japan.

[FA: A3196, 0.127]