19th January, 1927


[Handwritten] 19th Jan. 1927

My dear P.M.,

I have just woken up to the fact that I am subjecting you to an increasing bombardment of material in the form of personal letters. You said once before that you liked this form of attack- but I am wondering if I am overdoing it. I should like to put everything into 'Dear Sir' letters-as they would then go on the files whereas I imagine the 'Dear P.M.' letters don't in practice go much past your own office-But there are in fact so many things that I want to bring to your notice & which contain information that would be out of place on official files that I am tempted-and have fallen-to put them in a personal form.

I am beginning to think that Hankey [1] wants a proper rest. He is beginning to show signs of wear & tear. Others have noticed it besides myself. I am not propagandizing for him for you to get him out to Australia on the Cabinet Secretariat idea-as he hasn't even mentioned the subject since I have been back! But I say off my own bat that such a trip would undoubtedly be most beneficial to him and, if it fits in with your plans would I think be a great kindness-as well, I am sure, as a benefit to your organisation in Australia. I can think of no other way in which he would be forced to take a holiday of useful length. [2]

Sir Hugh Denison [3] gets here in a few days & will be here, I am told, about a month. I have asked him to lunch to meet Vansittart [4] (of F.O., American Dept.) and Batterbee. [5] I will of course be most discreet.

I have not so far been able to bring myself to send you my resignation from this job-mainly because there is so much to do that I haven't had much time to think of it-and also because I hate chucking it. I don't imagine you will come to any decision about the Washington job until you have seen Sir Hugh Denison, and so really I think I can wait until I hear from you (if I do hear) in that regard. [6]

About the Washington job-the more I think of it the more I think it would be more or less an emasculate job unless the Australian Counsellor has some considerable measure of control over the New York office-I think you will see this point.

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

At the time of their appointment in 1924, it had been envisaged that Casey and Henderson each would divide his time between London and Melbourne, but it was not until late 1926 that Bruce decided the time was ripe for Henderson to share the London experience.

However, Henderson's period in London was short, from April to October 1927. While at home in Henderson's chair, Casey supervised the transfer of the External Affairs Branch from Melbourne to Canberra, and he again raised the question of his possible appointment to Washington, but Bruce remained unmoved.

1 Sir Maurice Hankey, Secretary to the Cabinet.

2 Hankey did not visit Australia until 1934. His visit was ostensibly for the Melbourne centenary celebrations but he also conferred with Australian ministers on defence matters.

3 Chairman and Managing Director of Sun Newspapers Ltd, Sydney, and (in succession to Sir James Elder) Australian Commissioner in the United States 1926-28. See Letter 110.

4 Robert Vansittart, Counsellor at the Foreign Office.

5 Harry Batterbee, Assistant Secretary at the Dominions Office.

6 In a letter to Casey of 12 January 1927 (on file AA:A1420) Bruce came down firmly against formal Australian diplomatic representation in Washington on the grounds that such an appointee would be under-employed. On the other hand, he was anxious that the position of Australian Commissioner should have a status higher than that of a trade commissioner and Bruce clearly realised that he was getting into deep protocol water, but he hoped that American dispositions towards informality would allow an Australian appointee with the right personality to achieve a special status for the position.