1

27th November, 1924

My dear P.M.,

I write this private note to tell you that I have arrived-and am over the most acute stage of official introductions-Sir J.C. [1] has been most helpful from the start-and is making the way easy as far as he can. I think quite luckily Shepherd (Official Secretary) [2] is away in Geneva (Opium Conference) -and I am installed in an office (particularly good one too) in Australia House-but not of it. Once Sir J.C. became seized of your intentions with regard to direct communications with me-he set about having the matter put down in black & white-and on file for the Official Secretary. The latter apparently always sets about a newcomer in order to get him into his official clutches-but in this case there should be no heartburnings on his part-as the whole position is cut & dried-and clear cut-& he will come back and find me installed & my method of working clearly proscribed-as far as he is concerned at any rate.

I am writing officially to P.M.'s Department today-saying what has happened. All one can say in addition is that I have had a cordial reception & protestations of all assistance & cooperation in carrying out what you want -from Amery [3], Chamberlain [4] and Baldwin. [5] I am glad you agree with the suggestion that I should go into Hankey's [6] office-as it seems the best solution from this end -The F.O. is really overcrowded -it is not a bluff to keep one out. And I think Hankey's office is a better location from other viewpoints.

There is a favourite story that is apparently retailed to all newcomers -I have had it from both Amery & Chamberlain-as well as from Leeper [7]-to the general effect that a certain Foreign Secretary in conversation with a leading press personage in one of the lobbies of the House of Commons was suddenly asked 'Why ever did you decide to do so & so?'-Look of surprise on Foreign Secretary who is made to say 'Who told you that?'-followed by publication next day-as to the Government's intentions in this direction which had been previously secret. The morals the young man is supposed to draw from this story are many.

There is nothing much more to say at this stage-except that the search for a flat & a car is rather wearing-too few of the one and too many of the other.

I hope soon to be installed with main office at 2 Whitehall Gardens [8]and another to fall back on at Australia House.

Yours sincerely, R. G. CASEY

1 Sir Joseph Cook, Australian High Commissioner.

2 M. L. Shepherd, Official Secretary to the Australian High Commissioner.

3 Leopold Amery, Secretary for the Colonies and (from 11 June 1925) for Dominion Affairs.

4 Austen Chamberlain, Foreign Secretary.

5 Stanley Baldwin, Prime Minister.

6 Sir Maurice Hankey, Secretary to the Cabinet.

7 A. W. A. (Allen) Leeper, Australian-born diplomat, then First Secretary at the Legation in Vienna. Earlier in 1924 he had been seconded to Melbourne to advise S. M. Bruce on the administration of the External Affairs Branch. A brother, R. W. A. (Rex) Leeper, was at the time First Secretary at the Legation in Riga.

8 Location of the offices of the Cabinet.