22nd April, 1925


(Due to arrive Melbourne-26.5.25)

My dear P.M.,

I write to give you a short resume of my small affairs at this end.

The work is now on a routine basis. The quantity (and quality) of what is going to you is about the full output of this office on a one man basis.

The job is really that of keeping oneself well informed. This means a lot of reading and a lot of interviewing, a good proportion of each being barren. One has to sift a quantity of chaff to get the wheat to send you. It takes more work to find what not to send than what is worth while sending.

There is a lot of hack work, reading F.O. and C.O. prints, press cuttings, books and reviews. This, and keeping in fairly close touch with the departments at the F.O. and C.O., takes up a lot of time. One does not get much time to go very deeply into things as one would like.

I take it that your object is not only to keep better informed on current questions, but to build up as rapidly as possible a small 'Foreign Office' in Melbourne, with files and knowledge of sufficient prior history of what has gone on in the world in the past to enable current events to be more readily and properly interpreted.

You know now the rate at which I, at this end, can feed Henderson [1] with information, past and present. You may be content with this for the present, but I thought I would write and say that the scheme, at this end, is at a stage at which it could be extended, if you so desire, and I think with advantage, to cover a wider scope.

At present all doors are open to us, and it seems a pity not to take full advantage of the opportunity to build at a faster rate than we are doing.

I could usefully employ an Assistant, not to enable me to do less work, but to enable me to get abroad for (say) two or three months in the year and see things on the spot and not so much on paper through other men's eyes. I would also then have time to go more thoroughly into some matters which are more particularly our concern in Australia than others, and could delegate a good deal of the routine work.

In particular, I look forward to being able to go to Geneva in September, but unless there is someone here to do the work, it would, of course, not be done. Apart from this, I do not know if it is in your mind that I should go out of London. Up to the present, I have made only two hurried visits to Paris-Friday to Monday-to pick up what I can by conversation with the Embassy people and with the representatives of the British Press there.

I can quite appreciate, however, that good reasons may exist for your wanting to go slowly for the present, and if I do not hear from you on the subject, I will know that you wish the present arrangements to obtain.

With regard to an Assistant, I can think of no one better than Longfield Lloyd [2], the Attorney-General's representative in Sydney, whom I imagine is in the Civil Service and whose posting to this office would in that event entail no earthquake. He is the sort of man who would be acceptable to the people with whom he would have to deal at the F.O. and C.O., and he is used to work of this nature. [3]

The Easter period has been particularly quiet as regards the initiation of anything of importance here.

With best wishes, I am, Yours sincerely, R. G. CASEY

1 Dr Walter Henderson, Head of the External Affairs Branch.

2 See note 4 to Letter 8.

3 Bruce replied in a letter of 13 June 1925 (on file AA:A1420) to the effect than any expansion of External Affairs Branch activity in Melbourne or of Casey's office in London must wait until after federal elections later in the year. If his Government were returned, Bruce anticipated developments of the kind envisaged by Casey.