79 Mr F.K. Officer, Australian Counsellor at U.K. Embassy, Washington, to Lt Col W.R. Hodgson, Secretary of Department of External Affairs

Letter P & C 13139 (extracts) WASHINGTON, 5 May 1939

PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL

I wrote to you last on March 30th [1], and from April 6th until May 1st I was away en route to the West Coast to meet Mr Bruce and with him there and on the journey back. [2]

[matter omitted]

In the course of it I got word of the Foreign Office telegram regarding the intention to establish a Legation here. Although it was the first I had heard, it was of course no surprise to me as Mr Bruce had discussed it with me in December [3] and Casey had also written asking for my personal views. [4] However, as apparently it is getting imminent, perhaps you would like me to put down a few suggestions on matters that will have to be borne in mind.

First of all, it is now not much use a Minister arriving here until the latter half of September. This place is almost deserted from the moment Congress rises, which will probably be early in July, and, in addition, to any one from Australia is unsufferably [sic] hot in July, August and early September, especially as to begin with they would be living no doubt in a hotel. Finally, of course, there would almost certainly be only a Charge d'Affaires here, the senior officials of the State Department are away as much as possible on leave, and the President [5] is apt to be absent from Washington at long intervals.

F. KEITH OFFICER

1 Not printed (see ANL: Officer MS 2629/1/718-20).

2 S.M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, returned from consultations in Australia via the U.S.A.

3 No record of this conversation has been found.

4 See Document 11.

5 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

[FA:AA 1975/5, 1939, AUSTRALIA-REPRESENTATION (DIPL.) IN WASHINGTON]