90 Sir Henry Gullett, Minister for External Affairs, to Sir William Glasgow, High Commissioner in Canada

Letter MELBOURNE, 4 March 1940

Following on our conversations with regard to the general question of the functions, activities, and channel of communication of the High Commissioner's Office at Ottawa, the Prime Minister [1] has decided that recognised international practice be followed in the case of Australian Missions abroad in that the Missions will come under the financial and administrative control and direction of the Minister for External Affairs.

2. I would ask, therefore, if you would be good enough to ensure that all official communications affecting the External Affairs, or other Commonwealth or State Departments, be addressed to the External Affairs Department.

In cases where the subject matter is entirely the concern of another Department, it would be appropriate for the communication to be addressed to the External Affairs Department, followed underneath by the words in parenthesis 'For the so and so Department'.

3. As for your own despatches, I would suggest you write to me as Minister one general despatch weekly, reviewing any political, social, economic and military developments to which you feel the attention of the Commonwealth Government should be drawn.

Important and urgent questions would of course be the subject of individual despatch or cablegram, as distinct from the general weekly despatch.

You will appreciate that this will not affect any personal communications to the Prime Minister, to other Ministers or to myself, but refers only to official matters.

4. So far as routine matters, general administrative and financial questions are concerned, the normal channel of communication would be from Department to High Commissioner's Office, signed by the Official Secretary.

5. In regard to Accounting, I have caused arrangements to be made with the Treasury and Accountant of the Department for the accounting to go through the channel of the Australian Government Trade Commissioners, New York.

This method is followed in the case of the Australian Legation, Washington. It will relieve your office of a large amount of detailed work, but if it should not prove satisfactory in practice, I would be glad to have your views in due course. [2]


1 R. G. Menzies.

2 A similar letter was sent to R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States. (See draft dated 1 February 1940 on file AA: A981, Imperial Relations 1, ii.)