376 Evatt to Chifley

Letter, CANBERRA, 1 July 1949

SECRET & PERSONAL

I refer to your letter dated 20th June, 1949, regarding the security of secret Defence information.

All persons in my Department whose duties might involve the handling of secret Defence documents and information have been security checked. Action has now moved to the second stage envisaged in your letter of 23rd December, and a general check is being conducted of all officers. The check of officers of the External Communications Branch and of the greater number of Political Divisions has been completed, and it is understood that the Director of the Commonwealth Investigation Service is entirely satisfied as to the position.

With regard to your fourth paragraph, your letter dated 23rd September, 1948, to the Minister for Defence stated the position clearly. Since that date the following further main steps have been taken:

(1) Security instructions have been promulgated in my Department regarding the handling and custody of all classified information, and we now await receipt of copies of the booklet referred to in your letter of 23rd December, 1948, so that we may circulate them within the Department and to overseas posts.

(2) The Peace Officer guard in this Department has been functioning since October, 1948, and at the same time an iron grille was placed in the ground floor passage leading to other sections of West Block in order to restrict access by visitors after office hours. An after hours attendance book is also maintained by the Peace Officer guard, and a note is taken of all visitors to the Department during or after office hours.

[AA : A5954, 1795/3]