10

11th February, 1925

CONFIDENTIAL

(Due to arrive Melbourne 14.3.25)

My dear P.M.,

I write to tell you that I had the honour of an audience with the King on Monday, the 9th instant.

This, I think, arose out of correspondence which the King initiated with Hankey [1], commencing with queries as to what my appointment was and what it meant.

I enclose two extracts from this correspondence, not from personal reasons but to show you the attitude that Hankey takes. [2]

The King was good enough to give me 25 minutes' conversation with him, the gist of which was as follows:

He enlarged on the difficulties of organisation of the Empire in order to secure unanimity, by virtue of the fact that Great Britain, the headquarters, was in Europe but not of it, and the constituent members widely separated. He asked if I had read the two articles in the last 'Round Table'. [3] Said that it was, he thought, admitted generally that if Great Britain was at war, all the Dominions were automatically at war too. Enlarged on the difficulty of having the Dominion Prime Ministers come on a five or six months' trip to attend an Imperial Conference and then, as lately happened, a change in Government negatives the most important resolution come to. This must make for great disappointment in the Dominions. Said that it was unfair for other nations to regard Singapore as a menace to them. Said how pleased he was that Hong Kong had voted or promised a quarter of a million towards the expenses of Singapore, being roughly the amount by which they had profited by the war. He did not suppose that Australia and New Zealand could do much financially towards Singapore on account of having started a cruiser programme.

Enlarged on the great value of Sir Maurice Hankey, his ability and energy, and how successive Prime Ministers for 10 years had found him indispensable.

I am, Yours very truly, R. G. CASEY

1 Sir Maurice Hankey, Secretary to the Cabinet.

2 These extracts were from two letters of January 1925 from Hankey to Lord Stamfordham, Secretary to King George V. The first explained Casey's functions, described him as of tile Round Table type ('a keen Imperialist, but also a keen Australian') but expressed some reservation on the score of having other Dominions follow Australia's example ('I am not sure that they would have enough to do'). The second merely suggested that the King might like to meet Casey 'who is doing such good work here'. Both letters are on file AA:A1420.

3 The reference probably was to articles on the British Commonwealth and the Geneva Protocol.