312 Mr J. A. Lyons, Prime Minister, to Dr R. Asmis, German Consul- General in Sydney

Letter 29 October 1938,


With reference to your letter of 24th October, 1938 [1], in regard to certain public statements made by my colleague, the Minister for External Affairs [2] on the Mandated Territory of New Guinea, I would invite your attention to the statement made by Sir George Pearce in the Senate on 13th March, 1936 [3], copy of which you no doubt have in your possession.

I would like to say that this statement had the careful consideration and endorsement of the Commonwealth Government at the time.

You will recall that on 9th October Mr Hughes made a somewhat similar statement [4] to the one mentioned by you, and on 14th October, the Acting Prime Minister [5] in answer to a question in Parliament said-'The principle underlying the statement by the Minister for External Affairs is in accord with the views and policy of the Government in connection with the mandate held by Australia'.

I assume that this is the main point on which you desire my comment, and that you do not require my views on the general statements made by Mr Hughes.


1 Document 303.

2 W. M. Hughes.

3 Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, vol. 149, pp. 119-23 Pearce was then Minister for External Affairs.

4 Hughes's statement to the press was that 'there was no question of Australia relinquishing its New Guinea mandate which it held as a sacred duty in the interests of a backward people'.

5 Sir Earle Page. See Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, vol.

157, p. 864.

[AA : A981, GERMANY 22, iii]