Towards a Foreign Policy, 1914-1941

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Towards a 1914-1941 ...

Edited with an introduction by

W. I. Hudson Lecturer in History, University of New South Wales


CASSELL AUSTRALIA LTD 210 Queen Street, Melbourne, Victoria and at SYD EY






© Cassell Australia Ltd 1967 First Published 1967


£71 Au.s'M'alia for transmission

by Post as a book Printed and bound by Wilde and. Company Limited, 19-47 Jefkotl Street, Ibfelbourne F.667


1 I 2


1 7 13







1919 1921-2




63 67 73



Extra-Imperial Relations AUSTRALIA AND THE U.S. AND JAPAN


91 97

Domestic Aspects IGNORANCH








25 26 35

Australian Initiatives VERSAILLES,


13 22



Labor and Foreign Policy A WARNING






Basic Secondary Sources Index


140 143

Introduction States may enjoy varying degrees of sell-government but their freedom to separately form and implement foreign policies, to pursue interests in competition or harmony with other nation states, to make war O1` peace, to enter into alliances or to remain aloof, to sign treaties or to join organizations of states, are dis-

tinguishing marks of independent states as independent, way, as the realities of power distribution permit. Some achieve this status in a very clear way and at a proclaimed whether by constitutional acts of departing colonial powers

anystates time,

or by

international conference decisions. Australia, on the other hand, developed politically within the context of membership of the

British Empire and then Commonwealth, institutions which themselves evolved in curiously irregular and imprecise ways. As early as 1905, Joseph Chamberlain decribed Britain, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia as 'sister states' as

though there were some sort of parity between them. In 1911, Andrew Fisher spoke of the British 'family of nations' and, in the same y e a r s . Asquith described Britain and the overseas communities each as 'masters in our own house'. During *A/'orld the oratory soared higher: J. C. Smuts spoke of a 'system , of states', VJ. M. Hughes of a 'League of Free Nations', Sir Robert Borden of 'an Imperial Commonwealth of United Nations', X-"V, F. of #je Empire being on equal terrns'.1 In fact, Mas"s"e'j[ of course, these were not states on equal terms: law, custom and United Kingdom, pre-eminence. one of them, power Spurred on largely by Canada, South Africa and the Irish Free State, Britain gradually surrendered this superiority, but to different degrees in different l i e ] .



1 W'. K. Hancock, Survey of British Commonwealth Affairs, Vol. I , P-robierrzs of' Nationality 1918-1936, Oxford, 1964 (first edition, 1937) , pp, 1-3.




The Imperial War Conference of 1917 resolved that the question of constitutional relations between the components of the Empire should be settled after the war. A conference in 1921 dealt briefly with the question and only in 1926 did that §*ear's Imperial Conference appoint a committee under the chairmanship of A. J. Balfour to seek definitions. The result was the Balfour Report, a 'delphic utterance',2 which saw partial legislative enactment as the Statute of `Westmin.ster in 1931. The decisions

of the 1926 conference, and more taken by the 1930 Imperial Conference, did much to transform the Empire into what tlle Balfour Report (still Inisleadingly) described as 'autonomous communities, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another . _':s These ranged from the imposition of various limitations on royal and local gubernatorial powers, to the removal of the repugnance provision of the 1865 Colonial Laws Validity Act and extension to the dominions of freedom to enact extra-territorial legislation. Impediments on Australia's legislative competence remained: even today, it might be argued that Australia is less than a sovereign state in that a parliament in the United Kingdom probably could with legal propriety repeal dominion constitutions and the Statute of Westminster legislate for all the realms of Queen Elizabeth II. Much of the new autonomy allowed to the dominions 'girded by conference decision and not by statute, by convention and not by law, but an essential aspect of British Empire and Commonin fact transcends the wealth history is that 'convention law'.4 \'Vell before the writing of the Balfour Report, usage and convention had given Australia much the kind of actual autonomy she was subsequently to enjoy under somewhat heavier legal




While the legal aspect was important, the issues of custom and power were more important. In terms of these latter issues, the V W'ar I status of the clominions developed piecemeal. V'orlcl experiences greatly boosted the notion that the imperial components should be consulted before commitment of the Empire by London; participation in the 1919 Peace Conference and subsequent League of Nations membership gave Australia and the J'


D. B. Miller, Britain and the Old Dominions, London, 1965, p. 106. For analysis of these conference decisions and their effects, see cspedally, K. C. Wheare, The Statute of Westminster and Dominion Status, Oxford, 1953. * Royal Institute of International Affairs Study Group, The B?"it£s=*a Hrnpire, London, 1937, p. 208. 3



other dominions the status of 'international person',5 in 1920, Canada forced acceptance of separate dominion diplomatic representation and, in 1922, of treaties negotiated and concluded directly with non-British powers, in 1923, the Imperial Conference approved the pursuit by dominions of their own foreign dealings provided other British states were kept informed. The

Balfour Report of 1926 balanced the Qlity of status' concept with a reservation to the effect that 'principles of equality and similarity . do not universally extend to function' in the fields of diplomacy and deface; but this was not held to be an 'enduring feature of the Commonwealth system' so much as a reflection of the .current facts of superior United Kingdom power and diplomatic organizations* In the 19305, British Commonwealth members developed a virtually diplomatic network of high commissioners within the Commonwealth. In the late 19305, Australia was forming and seeking to implement policy as substantial as that involved in a Pacific pact; in 1939, she began a late but rapid development of a diplomatic corps; in 1941, she put her national security into the hands of a non-British power-'free', as .John Curtin put it 'of any pangs as to our tradi tonal links or kinship with the United Kingdom? Australia's emergence as an entity in international affairs was effected, at least in part, then, by changes in the British imperial structure for, if one dares so to simplify the magnificently obscure legal and conventional relationships involved in the structure, it could loosely be said that Australia in 191-4 was a self-overning unit in a larger imperial body and by 1941 was a more or less independent component in a somewhat fragmented commonwealth of nation states. However, Australia's emergence was also effected by the course of her leaders' responses to new international situations: participation in war overseas on a large scale, involvement in a new kind of international organization by licence from which Australia administered New Guinea, new and aggravated power problems in the Pacific. In part, too, it doubtless reflected the growing confidence and expertise of. Australian politicians and government officials. It seems then, that, while Australia had attitudes and occasionally expressed sensitive iNterest on some external issues in the


= .]. G. Starke, 'The Commonwealth in International Affairs' in ElseMitchell, ed., Essays on the Australian Constitution, Sydney, 1961, p, 349. *' Nicholas Mansergh, Survey of Briatisfz Commonwealth Alfi's, Problems of External Policy 193/-1939, London, 1952, p. 70. 'Sydney Manning Herald, December 29, 1941.



period to 1914, her governments had by 1941 formed and sought to implement what can validly be termed foreign policies. It is the purpose of this selection of readings to introduce the reader to the major questions and episodes involved in the emergence of Australia as an actor on the stage of world politics in the period 1914-1941. Attention is paid in turn to Australia's changing imperial relations, to particular initiatives relevant to her emergence, to aspects of her extra-imperial relations and to domestic attitudes. A ilnal section deals with the Australian Labor Party. This last is Of' some importance because, while Labor enjoyed minimal electoral success in the period under review, it was the return of Labor to office at the end of the period, as well as the advent of new personalities and new external situations, that did a full-ffedg§§ so much to launch Australia in the 19405 energetic and utterly independent diplomacy. A word should be said about sources. The period under review here is fairly recent and, consequently, there is not yet a great deal of scholarly work on which to draw for a volume such as this. Some of the work which has been done could not for various reasons be included. However, there was enough available to make the task of selection diilicult and the reader's attention is drawn to the list of secondary sources which appears at the end of this book. It is hoped that this collection of extracts from published work will introduce t& reader to key aspects of the subject and indicate where oti s more detailed and primary material may be found. I wish, in conclusion, to acknowledge with gratitude the cooperation received from authors and their publishers in making material available for inclusion in this volume. _..

.]. Hudson,

University of New South Wales. R{ay,1967.

Note; The quotations on page 5 are from, in

Lurn, Com:»non.weal£¢*z Par-

liameratary Debates, Sept. 10, 1919 (p. 12,169) ; CPD, March 1, 1923 (p. 81) ; W. K. Hancock, Australia, Brisbane, 1964 (first edition, L011L10I1, 1930) , PQ 204, Paul Hasluck, The Government and the People 1939-/94/, Canberra, 1952,

p. 118.



. no one can speak for Australia those who speak as representatives of Australia herself .. 1. Britain has very many interests to consider besides ours, and some al thou interests do not alway co-inside with ours.




"Te have tried to ensure that there shall be an Empire foreign policy . . . S. M. BRUCE, 1923.

In Australia we are as foreign policy.


rule hardly conscious that we have a

w. K, HANCOCK, 1930.

. . . in the Pacific Australia must regard herself as a principal, providing herself with her own information and maintaining her own diplomatic contacts with foreign powers.


c. WIENZIES, 1939.

An Over- View This extract [rom PROFESSGR


D. B. MILLER'S Australian

(Duckworth, London, 1964) serves as Governme11id.Pol£tlcs lilli an introduction to this volume, putting into perspective subsequent readings II issues described by him. The author is Professor of International Relations in

the Australian National University,

Canberra, and. the extract is reproduced by permission of Professor

Miller and his publisher.

Between Federation and the outbreak of war in 1914 Australia had her first experience of unified control over external relations and deface. This control was exercised by Liberal and Labor governments alike in terms of imperialist nationalism. At imperial conferences Deakin and his Labor successor Fisher both argued for a Royal Australian Navy instead of Australian money contributions to the cost of the Royal Navy, despite strong opposition to the Deakin policy fro m elements further to the Right. Deakin called for a system of: imperial preference which would bind

Britain and the Dominions together but enable the Dominions to develop their own industries. He established the Australian preferential tariff, the essence of which was a lower duty on British imports than on those from foreign countries, with protection for Australian manufacturers against competition from both British and foreign imports. 'Australia fir Britain second, the rest nowhere', was the basis of the policy. It was a bait to induce Britain to abandon the poll@ in to,~w. iikfast table, but Britain did not rise to it. This period was the high noon of imperialist nationalism: a period of rising prices and population, of recovery from the depression of the 1890s, and an expanding sense of national pride. III

The Royal Australian Navy, once established, was a symbol of



national achievement, and of the relationship which the great §=R.A.N. majority of Australians wished to have with Britain: would be a separate force in terms of pay and conditions, but its tradition, and in war it officers would be trained in the .

would operate as an essential part of the R.N. `World 'War I brought Australia for the first time into world politics. She did not appear as an independent sovereign state: she was at war because Britain was at war, But her troops were kept distinct from those of Britain, and Australians were able to derive a sense of national pride from their soldiers' deeds in France and

the Middle East. Enlistments

and casualties were heavy. The war was essentially an overseas war, ir1 the sense that the security of Australia was not

threatened after German control in New Guinea had been replaced by an Australian military administration- But it was intensely personal, because the Australian soldiers were all volunteers, and because they were widely regarded as providing, not protection for British interests, but the special Australian contribution to the British family effort. The bitterness of the con~ scription issue lessened this feeling towards the end of the war, but it was still predominant when the Armistice was signed. At the Peace Conference in 1919 Australia was represented by her Prime Minister, W. M. Hughes. His policy was very largely of his own making, indeed, at one stage he was telegraphically repudiated by his cabinet at home. But he carried through his policy, which involved safeguarding Australia against an attack

in the Pacific, and preserving her right to practise the White Australia policy. It was concerned with the future of New Guinea, and the extent to which the new League of Nations might have power to interfere in the immigration policy of member nations.

In New Guinea Hughes demanded that Australia should have full powers over the former German colonies. He was one of the principal influences in the creation of the special 'C' class mandate, under which a territory was administered as part of the

mandatory nation, although subject to surveillance from the League. The question of the 'White Australia policy arose indirectly from Japanese insistence that the Covenant of the League should contain an assertion of racial equality as a condition of world peace! This was interpreted by Hughes as a possible source of attack upon the Vtfhite Australia Policy as an 1\~Vhe11 the U.N. Charter was drawn up a t San Francisco in 1945 a similar issue arose over the question of 'domestic jurisdictions Australia pressed successfully for a narrowing of U.N. powers in matters of domestic concern.



act of racial inequality which could be said to create international tension. Again he managed to gain his point. His vigorous demands met with a popular response in Australia, since they combined an assertion of Australian rights with a recognition of possible danger from Asia. At the same time, it was characteristic of Hughes that he made his demands as a British imperialist as well as a n Australian nationalist. He was quite happy to remain within the close union of the Empire- so long as the Empire accepted his policy on the particular points which he regarded as vital to Australia. Australia was now a nation, he said, 'by virtue of God and the British Empire.' Despite the deep rifts caused by the conscription issue, his combination of loyalty and insubordination was well suited to prevailing Australian opinion. The same attitude was characteristic of the non-Labour governments which held office in the Federal parliament between the wars, with the exception of the two years (1929-1931) in which the Scullin Labour government struggled desperately with the problems of the depression. S. M. Bruce and J. A. Lyons, l~lughes's successors, did not have his spectacular qualities, but both pursued the same policy. Each wished to see Australia participating in a common Empire foreign policy, to the extent that she would be consulted about major decisions and not be presented with a fait accompli in the shape of a British declaratio-noi war. Neither had any desire to see Australia take an opposing line to Britain's; any disagreement should be expressed in private, within the family circle. But the family circle must provide means tor dis-

agreement to be expressed. After the Nanak crisis of 1922, in which Lloyd George had asked the Dominions to supply troops for a demonstration against Kendal Ataturk, Bruce said:2 "Vile have to try to ensure that there shall be an Empire foreign

policy which, if we are to be in any way responsible for it, must

be one to which we agree and have assented. . . . If we are to take any responsibility for the Empire's foreign policy, there must

be a better system, so that we may be consulted and have a better

opportunity to express the views of the people of this country. . . . \ ='Ve cannot blindly submit to any policy which may involve us in war.' In an attempt to find better means of consultation, Bruce established an Australian Liaison Officer in London in daily touch with the Foreign Office and reporting direct to the Australian

Prime Minister. As well, there was an expansion and reorganizer= 2 In a parliamentary debate of March, 1923, quoted by Paul Hasluck, The ` Govemmcrzt and the People, 193941, p. 15.



son of the External Aliairs section of the Prime Minister's department, although External Affairs did not become a department in its own right until 1935. The aim was to express Australian views in time to affect British policy, especially in the Pacific and Middle East; at the same time Bruce was anxious that Australia should act as British representative in the South Pacific, and help to carry out Empire policy. The non-Labour governments were not so much concerned about world politics in the 19205 and early 19305 as they might have been if there had been no League of Nations. But it was a feature of their thinking, as with other governments of the British of peace and war had been largely Commonwealth, that the issue n settled by the establishment of the League. If there was aggression, the decision about punishinfr it would be made primarily byJ' the League, and only secondarily by Britain and Australia. There would be League action (the new way of doing things) instead of Empire action (the old way). This formula did not appeal to the fire-eaters amongst the governments' supporters, but it was sufliciently plausible to eliminate any sense of urgency from those governments' interest in external relations in the period between Local and the invasion of Abyssinia, especially since the international problems which seemed most important at the time were economic, not political. The new definition of 'Dominion status' which was a c e red demand? by the 1926 Imperial Conference to saris-fy Canada, South Africa and Eire" did not arouse much interest in Australia. The Statute of westminster, based upon it and enacted


by the British Parliament in 1931, was not ratified by Australia until 1942.1 The attitude of non-Labour governments between the wars was that Australia's relationship with Britain was a close

family one which would not be improved by putting it into words. They still spoke of Australia as being part of 'the Empire' and schoolchildren let ol-E their lifeworks on 'Empire Day without any sense of ambiguity. During the period of growing international tension in the late 19305, the attitude of the Lyons government was essentially one of dependence upon British policy (in contrast with the *'The document containing the definition is officially headed 'Report of the Inter-Imperial Relations Committee, Imperial Conference, 19261 I t is known in Britain as the Balfour Report. A British professor complains that Australians habitually refer to it as the Balfour Dcclaratioli, thus confusing it with another masterpiece of ambiguity from the same pen,

*There was a languid approach to ratification by the Lyons government in 1936-37, but the Bill was not proceceded with.

AN ovER-v1Ew


Labour government in New Zealand, which pursued an independent 'collective security' line at Geneva) and of attempts to influence that policy in the direction of further appeasement, in accordance with the decisions of the 1937 Imperial Conference. Telegrams from Lyons were significant elements in the British decision at Munich. The government acquiesced in the imposition of sanctions on Italy in 1935-36, but did so with an ill grace. It sent a goodwill mission to Japan in the late 1930s. The government shared fully the sentiments of other Commonwealth governments at the time. Like them, it was opposed to 'war' rather than to 'aggressions In this it was typical of the majority of its people. Apart from growing apprehension about Japan, there was little general interest ir1 foreign aiiairs. Labour attitudes during the inter-war period came to much the same in the end as the non-Labour attitudes. Certainly there was no official opposition from Labour to the Munich settlement, only opposition from minority elements within the A.L.P. and the trade unions. Throughout the period Labour thinking was dominated by the opinions generated by W'orld W'ar I and the conscription issue. 'War was essentially horrible; armies were imperialist and provocative, expenditure on deface was a waste of money that might otherwise be spent on social welfare; any future war would be the creation of the international financiers, a war for markets and colonies; Australia should not interfere in other people's affairs; her concern was with the deface of her own shores if she should be attacked; the likelihood was that she would not be attacked, but, if she was, it would be [rom Asia, not Europe. The attitude was essentially one of isolationist nationalism. In the latter half of the 19305, however, another attitude cut across it. This was the 'collective security' approach, which, like its counterpart in Britain, owed some-thing to the Popular Front tactics being pursued by Communist parties throughout the world, but something also to growing awareness that Japan, Germany and Italy were essentially aggressive forces and could only be stopped by collective action. The issues of China, Abyssinia, Spain, Austria and Czechoslovakia were vigor~ ously debated within. the Labour movement, though more in the un.ions than in the A.L.P. In parliament the Labour Party remained overwhelmingly isolationist, although in 1937 it modilied its deface policy by calling for an enlarged Air Force rather than a concentration upon naval deface, the form most popular with tlle Lyons government. It was majority Labour opinion that, no matter what happened overseas, Australia should defend her-



self and herself alone, and should do this by voluntary service. It is not surprising, in view of the attitudes taken by the main political forces in the 19305, that Australia was unprepared for 'I-°\f'orlcI 'War II. It can be imagined how great was the country's sense of danger and shock when, in l 942, it found itself inenaced directly by Japanese forces in Indonesia, New Guinea and the islands, without assistance from British seapower after the sinking of the Prince of Wales and Repulse, and with neither a formal

alliance nor an understanding with the United States.

Borzcls TREATY

of Empire


Some understanding of Australia's constitutional position as a component of the British Empire is a prerequisite to an understanding of what may in retrospect seem to have been her slowness to initiate foreign policy and practise diplomacy. Having said that, one faces the almost insuperable difficulty of doNning the constitutional position at any given time, a difficulty which gave rise to a spate of legal and political arguments in the years following the admission of dominion leaders to the inner Whitehall councils during World 'War I and of the dominion governments to quasi-indepcrr dent status at Versailles in 1919. The decisions of imperial conferences in the 1920s, and the enactment of the Statute of 'Westminster in 1931, gave states like Australia a much higher status and greater freedom but the extract which follows, while it perhaps represents even for the time a somewhat conservative legal viewpoint, stresses the limitations on Australian activity in the international T1'£ (not that Australian governments necessarily felt inhibited or sought radical changes in Australia's position) until the end of the 1920s. It also comprises a distinguished sample

of the legal debate o£ the time on Australia's national standing. Now High Commissioner in Ottawa, SIR KENNETH BAILEY

was formerly Professor of .Jurisprudence in the University of Melbournc and then Commonwealth Solicitor-General. This extract is from a chapter by Sir Kenneth, 'Australia's Treaty Rights and Obliga.tions', in P. Campbell, R. C. Mills and G. V. Portus, eds., Studies in Australian Ajairs, published by Macmillan in association with Melbourne University in 1928. It appears here with the permission of the author.

Australia's Lr€aLy rights and obliger sons cannot be ascertained merely by collating the treaties to which the Commonwealth is a signatory. For, although Australia is a member of the League of



Nations and of the International Labour Organization, she is not a sovereign state, and two capital facts have constantly to be kept in mind. Australia is on the one hand a self-governing Dominion within the British Empire. She is on the other hand a federal state. Only by reference to those trier capita--of the League member, the British Dominion, and the Federal Statedo Australia's treaty rights and obligations. become explicable. W'e shall consider first her status within the Empire.

From the point of view of international law the capital fact in the constitution of the British Empire is that the treaty-making power belongs to the King. It is one of his Royal prerogatives. He alone can make treaties; all treaties properly so called are made in his name. From these familiar propositions have been drawn three important consequences. Firstly, it is to His Majesty that foreign powers have looked for the negotiation, the ratification, and the performance of international agreements, and in

point of strict form this is still the case to-day. It is true that a Minister who is in .fact the representative of a Dominion may negotiate and sign a treaty affecting that Dominion, and that His Majesty may ratify the treaty in fact because the Dominion advises him to do so. But in point of form, the King acts in all treaty matters on the advice of the Imperial Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. It is on his advice that His Majesty accredits a Minister to foreign capitals to transact diplomatic business concerning a Dominion--as he has done in washington, Paris, and Tokyo in respect of Canada. In such cases the foreign power will negotiate directly with the Dominion Minister. In the case of Australia, no diplomatic representatives abroad have been appointed. The proper channel of negotiation with Australia is,

therefore, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. This is clearly true when the foreign power desires to enter into treaty relations

with the Dominions generally. Thus when early in 1928 the United States decided to invite the Commonwealth to become go Pact, the invitation came at ' to the Kellogg an original signatory the instance of and through the Imperial government! But the same is probably true also in cases where the foreign power desires to conduct separate negotiations with one Dominion alone. This process is, however, a circuitous one, and it has given rise to a tendency . , to conclude more or less informal agreements, not



The invitations to the Dolnillions were sent through diflfcrcllt channels,

those to Canada and the Irish Free State being delivered by the U.S. Ministers a t Ottawa and Dublin, and to Lhe other Dominions through the Foreign O$ce.



in treaty form, directly between governments concerned. Further, it is on the advice of the Secretary of State that His Majesty grants full powers to a plenipotentiary to negotiate and sign a treaty on behalf of a Dominion. It is in the King's name that the plenipotentiary signs. The treaty itself will be expressed, both in title and in preamble, to be a treaty between His Britannic Majesty and the head of the foreign state. Lastly, it is on the Secretary of State's advice that His Majesty will deposit a ratification of the treaty. The amount of independent responsibility exercised by the Secretary of State when he advises His Majesty to accredit a Minister or name a plenipotentiary or ratify a treaty on behalf of a Dominion is in controversy, and the determination of the question is not significant for the purpose now in view. But the very fact that it is possible to contend that in all these respects the Secretary of State is acting merely as the channel whereby responsible advice from a Dominion may reach the Sovereign will serve to indicate at the very outset one of the main theses of this paper, that Australia's own will and consent have played an increasingly large part in determining her treaty rights and obligations. [The Dominions] until after the Imperial Conference of 1911 were not effectively consulted even on matters affecting their own interests. Since Australia's protest at that Conference, however, consultation has been regular. At the outbreak of war in 1914

Australia was bound by a number of treaties (including arbitration treaties, extradition treaties and treaties of alliance), as to some of which she had been consulted. No enumeration of these will be attempted. Sound, indeed, do sur'l°', mainly by way of. renewal. But they have been overshadowed


embody the world settlement after the Grew


may 'h'O"w-

ever, be noted, as an early recognition of the separate interests of a Dominion that in the Anglo-American arbitration treaty of 1908 (renewed most recently in 1924) the Imperial government re-

served the right, in the case of any question affecting the interests of a Dominion, to obtain its concurrence in the special agreement

required in terms of the treaty for a reference to arbitration. The eiiorts made by the Dominions during the "War were comparable with those of some of the smaller belligerent powers, and even before the end of the V\7ar it became clear that thenceforward they would take a more active and independent part in the foreign relations of the Empire, political as well as commercial. No Dominion has, indeed, entered into a political treaty imposing



obligations on herself alone. But the Dominions have been accorded the same degree of independence with regard to recent bilateral political treaties negotiated by the Imperial government

as they have been accustomed to exercise with regard to commercial treaties. A number of arbitration treaties-as with the United States, Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netller~ lands-were, indeed, either made or renewed in the customary way during or at the close of the l'Var, the Commonwealth with the other Dominions being consulted in each case. The extradition treaties with Austria and Germany were revived, and the liquor tragic convention of 1924 wiM the United States was concluded, likewise after consultation with the Dominions. But recent extradition treaties, like the commercial treaties, have

granted separate rights of adherence and denunciation to the Dominions. By virtue of this provision Australia acceded to ex» tradition treaties with Finland in 1925 and Latvia in 1926. Similar treaties with Czecho-Slovakia and Estonia were extended to Australia in 1927. But so far as the British Empire is concerned, it has since the l=Var been even more true of political than of commercial treaties that the centre of interest is shifting from bilateral to multilateral agreements, and with them also the :Dominions as such have been closely associated. From the nature of the subject matters it might be expected that their action would not be as independent as it has been in respect of non-political conventions. lt is a matter of relative indifference to other parts of the Empire whether or not Australia adheres to the convention concerning diseased animals. But it is a matter of considerable Imperial concern whether or not she adheres to the Rhineland pact in the

treaty of Locarno-. On such matters the Empire might be expected to act as one. The expectation, however, is not altogether realised, for the Dominions, Canada perhaps in particular, have shown a distinct tendency to form independent conclusions as to the commitments which would be advisable for them. The procedure as to representation at international conferences has varied widely. Upon the Council of Ten at the Peace Con-

ference in 1919, and at 'Washington in 1921, the Dominions had separate representation within the British Empire delegation. In each case the Dominion representatives] signed the treaties for the King in respect of the Dominion. It may be noted that in the plenary sessions of the Peace Conference the procedure _was the same as that at the Radio-telegraphic Conference of 1912.



There was no distinct Empire delegason, the Dominion representatives speaking and voting on the same footing as other members of the conference. This method was recognized by the Imperial Conference of i926 as the appropriate mode of represent

cation at non-political or technical conferences, and even possibly at some political conferences. But it would, of course, be available only by consent of the convening government and other member governments.

lie single Empire delegation seems to have been

the method most f a v o r e d by the Imperial Conference. In 1928 the Kellogg Pact was negotiated by correspondence, but it seems to have been in Empire delegation, on the Peace Conference model, which Ectually signed the Pact. But an 'Empire delegation' has not been uniformly employed. The definite treaty of peace with Turkey at Lausanne in 1923 was negotiated and signed by British plenipotentiaries alone, and so was the treaty of Locarno. But it was recognized by the Imperial Conference of 1926 that if this method is to be used in future the representatives should be the common plenipotcntiaries of all the Empire governments participating, and all should participate in the issue of lull powers to them. The choice of method must depend a great deal on the subject matters, the degree of urgency, and the wishes of other governments. Australia's obligations under the general international treaties so negotiated must now be considered. In the first place, it may be stated categorically that Australia is bound by the Peace

treaties as a whole. Secondly, she is bound by the Washington treaties of 1922. Her solitary capital ship, the Australia, has been 'scrapped' under the terms of the ageernent for the limitation of armaments, but as against this Australia is benefited by the agrcerricnt not to build any new fortifications or naval bases in the

islands set out in the treaty, including the principal islands south of Japan. Australia also reaps the benefit of the Four-Power Pact, which substituted for the Anglo-Japanese alliance an agreement between the United States, the Empire, France and Japan to respect each other's insular possessions in the Pacific (including Papua and the Mandated Territory of New Guinea), to refer differences in respect thereof to a joint conference, and to confer

together in the event of aggression by other powers. Thirdly, Australia is bound by the Kellogg Pact of 1928, renouncing war as an instrument of national policy. The treaty is not significant as a specifically Australian commitment. But Australia's signature may perhaps serve to strengthen the Elnpire's pledge not to use international force except as force is used municipally in self-



deface and in repressing the disturber of the peace--and to settle all disputes by pacific means. A word may be added as to the treaty of Lausanne. The precedent set in the earlier Peace treaties was not followed, and no Dominion representatives took part in the negotiations. The Dominions were consulted before ratification merely-a return to the old order. The British ratification was deposited for the whole Empire, and Australia is bound by the treaty just as by the other Peace treaties. Canada's view was that without her definite assent she could not constitutionally be bound to any active obligations under the treaty* (e.g., to preserve its stipulations by military action). Accordingly she refused to advise ratification. Her contentio-11 gained recognition in the Loearno negotiations, at which the Dominions were not represented: the treaty was declared not to impose any obligations on a Dominion unless it adhered separately. Finally, the Canadian contention was adopted, as already indicated, by the Imperial Conference- of 1926: a treaty shall not impose active obligations on any part of the Empire without the definite assent of that part. l t has been said that, in order to avoid the strict consequences of the doctrine that all British treaties must be conducted with the King, both Dominion and foreign governments have been

willing to forego the solemnity of a treaty, and to make agreements directly between themselves without the intervention at

any point of the head of the state. This practice was expressly recognized by the Imperial Conferences of 1923 and 1926, and the rules then laid down to secure communication and co-operation with other parts of the Empire apply to such agreements, just as they do to treaties. Australian examples of such agreements are the trade 'treaties' with Canada, South Africa, and New Zealand,

and the two series of

imation agreements. One series, beginning

in 1904, provided that the dictaLiorl test under the Immigration .Acts would not be administered to merchants, tourists, students

and ministers of religion, natives of the signatory countries, provided that they held passports in proper form. Such persons mlght remain in Australia for a period of one year, renewable on application, so long as the authorities should be satisfied of their bona }ides. These agreements were concluded in the first instance with Japan, India, and China. Similar agreements -have been made with Hong Kong, Annam, Siam, Straits Settlements, Burma, Ceylon, Egypt, the Philippines and the Hawaiian Islands. The second series of agreements was made in 1924-5 with }Southern European governments for the restriction of immigration. The



governments of Greece, Albania, Czedlo-Slovakia, Yugoslavia, and Malta agreed not to issue passports to their nationals except within an agreed monthly number. The agreement with Italy has already been referred to. On turning to treaty rights and obligations flowing from Australia's status as a member of the League of Nations, one is at once in a different order of thought. lt cannot, indeed, be said that the League does not recognize the British Empire as such. The curious form of the list of original members annexed to the Covenant is itself significant. The Dominions are enumerated -"arately, but they are set in a little from the left side of the u , A peering under 'British Elnpire,' as it were like subheadings; some [iistinction is apparent between them and the other members of the League Nevertheless the whole emphasis within the League is upon the separateness rather than upon the unity of the self-governing communities of the Empire. They do not sit together nor vote as one in the Assembly. Canada has been elected to the Council. Their delegations to the League meetings are accredited by their own governments. Tig communicate directly with the League. They adhered separately to the Protocol



Statute of the Permanent Court of International lus-

tice. They have had mandates conferred up them. are separate members of the International Labour Organisation, and as such enter into international treaties without the intervention of the Imperial government. They are, in fact, for such League purposes as these, indistinguishable from other states which are members of the League. It would, however, be easy to exaggerate the separateness of the Dominions within the League. In the first place, there has

been enough consultation between Empire delegations lO excite

some criticism from other members, and the differences of opinion that have been manifested from time to time serve only to throw into relief the unity of the Empire on central issues. A striking illustration of this is the agreement of the Imperial Conference in 1926 not to adhere to the 'optional clause' of the Statute of the World Court, and not to take any steps in the direction of adherence without further consultation. In the second place, the very existence of the British Empire as a fact both of constitutional and international law affects the inter-Imperial application both of the Covenant and of agreements negotiated under League auspices. The view of the Imperial government (diallenged, however, by the Irish Free State) is that neither 'are intended to govern the relations inter se of



various parts of the British Cornmonwealtlm' The legal committee

of the Arms Traffic Conference of 1925 agreed. It would follow that neither the guarantee under Article X of the Covenant nor the sanctions under Article XVI are to be regarded as binding within the Empire. That the acceptance of these obligations within the Empire is not a necessary part of League membership seems to be demonstrated by the membership of India, for whom such a position is as yet unthinkable. As to the Covenant, and con~ venations concluded before 1926, the British view will probably stand. For the future, the Imperial Conference found a solution in 1926. All treaties proper are to be made in the name of the head of the state, so as to avoid the contention that they are binding as between different parts of the Empire. ii such parts are prepared to apply conventioris Inter se, the conventions should be drawn, not as treaties proper but as governmental accords. This ought for the future to render impossible the recurrence of such

disputes as that concerning the registration with the League of the British agreement with the leaders of the Sinn Fein party in Ireland in 1921, Linder which the Irish Free State was established. As a mandatory, however, Australia. has incurred obligations for the performance of which the Council of the League will presumably look to the Commonwealth alone. Over the former German possessions in the South Pacific, other than German Samoa and Nauru, a mandate of the 'C' class was issued to His Majesty, to be exercised on his behalf by the Commonwealth. The obligations are both positive and negative. On the negative side there are safeguards against the exploitation of the natives. These in~ c elude prohibition of slavery and of forced l a b o r (except for essential public services, and then for adequate remunerations; of .

tranche in arms, except as regulated by the Arms Convention of

1919, of the supply of intoxicants to the natives; of the military training of the natives, otherwise than for purposes of police and local deface, of the establishment of military or naval bases and of the fortification of the territory, of interference with freedom of conscience and the entry or residence of missionaries, nationals

of any member of the league. On the positive side the Commonwealth is enjoined to promote to the utmost the material and moral wellbeing and the social progress of the inhabitants of the territory. In order that its performance of these obligations may be scrutinized, the Commonwealth is further bound to make a report annually to the Council of the League. As against these obligations, and subject to them, the Commonwealth has full powers of administration and legislation over



the Territ r y , as a n integral part of the Commonwealth. It is not bound, as 'B' class mandatories are, to provide equal opportunities for the trade and commerce of all other members of the League, and has, in fact, not done SO. It has applied the immigration policy of the Commonwealth to the territory, and has been clearly within its treaty rights in doing SO. It is precisely because the 'C' class mandates permit such exclusive policies that the United States and Japan were unwilling to recognize them. Japan did accord recognition in 1920, without prejudice to subsequent claims. The United States still withholds its assent to the

New Guinea mandate. The Commonwealth has also a share in the rights and obligations of the mandate over the phosphate-yielding island of Nauru, The mandate was granted to His Majesty simplicity, but the British, Australian and New Zealand. governments agreed that Australia should appoint the first Administrator, while the phosphate deposits should be controlled by a Commission of three (representing the three governments r e s p e c t i v e . The extent to which the Commonwealth assumes responsibilit for the performance of the mandate is obscure. lt may be noted that only the High Commissioner for Australia seems to attend the Permanent Mandates Commission when the report is discussed. The Commonwealth's share in the phosphates is safeguarded by the t

agreement referred to. Only after the agricultural requirements of the three countries have been met are the Commissioners at liberty to sell phosphates elsewhere.

DOMINION STATUS Dominion status was never officially defined, but the following short

extract from an article by th e late SIR ROBERT GARRAN gives something of the Havour of reaction to developments in status resulting from Imperial Conference decisions in the 19205 and 1930.

Sir Robert., like Sir Kenneth Bailey, was a Commonwealth SolicitorGeneral and this extract

is from 'Diplomatic Relations i n the

Pacific', a chapter in I. Clunies-Ross, ed., Australia and the Fm' East, published by Angus and Robertson in Sydney in 1935. It appears by permission of the publisher.

The machinery of the 'old diplomacy' was comparatively simple. So far as the British Empire is concerned, it consisted of the Foreign Oiiice and the Embassies, with a background of treaties, mostly bilateral. To the old machinery lhcrc has now been added a bewildering



array of cogs and levers. To begin with, Dominion status has given to the Dominion Governments certain rights and responsibilities in diplomatic matters. The King may be moved by his advisers in a Dominion to appoint a plenipotentiary-as was done by all the Dominions at the Peace Conference of. 1919-or to appoint a Minister at a foreign capital--as has been done by Canada and the Irish Free State. The theory of the Constitution, as set out in the Balfour Memorandum of 1926, declares Great Britain and the Dominions to be 'autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status and in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of external or domestic affairs, although united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.' It is true that, as pointed out in the same memorandum, 'the prin-

ciples of equality and similarity, appropriate to status, do not universally extend to function'; and that the Foreign Office still functions, and must continue to function, as the diplomatic headquarters of the Empire. But the fact remains that the Dominions not only may have, but do have, direct diplomatic relations with foreign countries. Canada, for instance, has a Minister at W'ashington. Australia has not as yet thought fit to make any such ambassadorial appointments; but the recent visit of a Commonwealth Minister to the countries of the Far East on a diplomatic mission of goodwill is an example of the exercise of a definitely diplomatic function*

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS pO'L\,r ER This third extract on Australia's status and powers comes from an article by a contemporary scholar and deals with the question in at

slightly different way and on different bases. PROFESSOR H.

WOLFSOHN is Professor of Politics in La Trobe University, Melbourne. The extract is Erom an article, 'The Evolution of Australia. in World AtEairs', published in the March, 1953, issue of The

Australian Outlook. It appears by permission of the author and the current editor of the journal.

Although the Australian Constitution gives the Federal Parliament power to deal with 'external affairs" the authors of the did not envisage any independent Australian activities in the Iield of foreign affairs. In the Convention Debates of 1897, Sir Edmund Barton explained to the delegates that 'the * The Minister was Sir ]ohn Latham [Ed.]. Section 51, placitum XXIX.




sole treaty-making power is in the Crown of the United Kingdom'.2 Typically enough Barton limited the exercise of this power to 'certain trade arrangements. Similarly, Lord Selbourne explained in the House of Lords to a questioner that the words 'external affairs' should not be stretched so far as to invest Australia with the paraphernalia of consuls and embassadors separate from the British Empire.'-* Early commentators agreed that Australia was not a 'sovereign' country, and that the exercise of that power must be limited by considerations of Imperial unity and 'the responsibility of the Imperial Government in respect to foreign afl'airs.'.'* In view of

the absence of judicial interpretation of this power, its scope remained extremely vague until at least 1936. Hfhilst Barton thought it 'probable' in 1906 that the 'external affairs' power enabled Parliament to legislate as to the observance of treaties bctween Great Britain and foreign countries, Higgins was inclined in 1921 to put no limits on the exercise of this power except those the Australian people would voluntarily impose upon themselves. I-Ie realized that, 'complications may arise should the Commonwealth Parliament exercise the power in such a way as to produce a conflict between the relations of the Commonwealth and the relations of the British Government with foreign Governments', but he felt confident that the Australian people would

be desirous of continuing co-operation with Britain in foreign affairs. As the real issue was all along how far the prerogatives of the British Crown to make treaties, declare war and peace, and so forth, had been conferred upon the Commonwealth under Section 61 of the Constitution, the implications of justice Higgins' in so far as they seemed t o indicate that all the King's prerogatives had been conferred upon the Coinrnonwealth, a view considerably a t variance with the

view were of the greatest importance

practice of the Commonwealth Government in 1921. It was, however, Justice Isaacs who, in 1922, gave the external affairs power its greatest scope when he stated, 'It is a n axiom of the

public life of the British Commonwealth of Nations that the King's agents to exercise the Royal authority with respect to each "Nat.ional Federal Convention, Ofllcial Record, Sydney, l8'El'7, p. 259. a Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Bill-Reprint of the Debates of Parliament, the Official Correspontlencc with the Australian Delegates, debates reprinted from the Parliamentary Debates, Loudon, 1900, p. H I . 'Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia, Melbourne, I 910, p. 460-462.



Dominion are those chosen by the people of that Dominion.' I-Ie added significantly, 'It cannot be laid down as a rule of law that there is unlimited application of the common law as exercised by the Kings Government in England. \'Vhatever of it is included in the Constitution

belongs to the Commonwealth


As Professor K. H. Bailey pointed out, in commenting on Isaacs' statement, Imperial developments 'have been uniformly along the lines then indicated by Sir Isaac Isaacs'.5 which is tantamount to saving that the full recognition by Britain of Australia as a 'sovereigN nation left any further extension of the scope of external affairs power to the discretion of the Commonwealth Government . . . Commonwealth Governments during the inter-war period were hesitant to make full use of the external affairs power. Speaking O11 the powers of the Commonwealth to ratify treaties with foreign powers, Sir Robert Garrard in his evidence to the Royal Commissioners on the Constitution refused to commit himself on the grounds that no judicial interpretation on this matter had been given up to then.'3 He was emphatic, however, in rejecting the view that the external affairs power would enable the Commonwealth Government to ratify and legislate on the conventions of the International Labour Organization. If it is remembered that the Balfour Report of 1926 had already made it clear that it was left to the Dorninions themselves as to how far they were going to make use thei r recognized independence in matters of external relations, Sir Robert Garrard's stand in 1927 was probably due to his fear that an extension of this power might seriously jeopardize the position of the States

in the Australian Federal System. It was only in 1936 that .justices Evatt and la/IacTiernan ex~ tended the scope of the 'external affairs power to cover both the

conventions of the International Labour Organization and Australia's relations with foreign powers. This case assumes special importance in view of Dr. Evatt's foreign policy, which consisted not only of a rapid extension and consolidation of Australia's diplomatic services, but also his attempt to carry the hill employment objective of the A.L.P. into the very field of international politics. 6

AustIalia and the International Labour Convert sons by K. H. Bailey, in

Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law,

Melbourne University Press, 1955, p, 108. o Royal Commission on the Constitution

of the Commonwealth, Two

Volumes, section 978. [S. M. Bruce had a Royal Commission appointed in 1927 to inquire into the operation of the federal system; it reported in 1929 -Ecl.]



If the attempts of the Labour Government to obtain binding* agreements from other powers, notably the United States, on such matters as full employment, working hours, etc., had succeeded, it would have enabled the Commonwealth Government to enact far-reaching social reforms under the external affairs power, thus increasing the powers of the Federal Parliament without recourse to a Referendum? ORGANIC DISINTEGRATION Much of the inter-war controversy over imperial relations sprang from the efforts of Canada and South Africa to loosen the bonds of the Empire and from the desire of constitutional lawyers to resolve the conseF.1ue1'1ces. Here, SIR ROBERT MENZIES, though a lawyer, expresses what seems likely to have been general lay attitudes in Australia, a t least on the non-Labor side of politics. Sir Robert also refers to the peculiar 'Londocentrism' of the imperial structure, an aspect not often considered, then or since. Sir Robert, then Mr. R. G. Menzies, was Commonwealth AttorneyGeneral, when the article from which the following extract is taken,

'The Relations Between the British Dolninions', was published in the December, 1935, issue of The ,4ust¢°aZzla~n Q~u,arle't'Zy. It is reproduced by permission of the author and the current editors of the journal.

During the last fifteen years a great deal of attention has been paid to the problem of the relationship which exists, or ought to exist, between the United Kingdom and the individual Dominions. The events of the war and the circumstances attending the signature of the Treaty of Peace gave rise to a widespread feeling that the Dominions were entitled to a status as closely approximating to that of independent nationhood as the essential ties of an imperial structure would permit. The direct results were the Imperial Conference of 1926 and the resolutions carried by it. The et/ect of those resolutions was that each Dominion was to be regarded as completely selbgoverning and as an equal partner of every other part of the 'British Commonwealth of Nations', including the United Kingdom, the Crown remaining the symbol and means of union. This development was regarded with comparative hostility by New Zealand, with a somewhat indifferent approval by Australia; with marked approval by Canada, and with the greatest possible TSee Dr. Evatt's speech to Parliament, February 11, 1944-, p. 150. Also, for Mr. Menzies' view, Represents times, February 23, 1944, p. 454.



enthusiasm by South Africa. My own view is that the average Australian is well content to be closely associated with Great Britain and is not inclined to devote very much attention to considering the exact legal status of his own Government. He believes in Great Britain; he believes in the British Empire, he Ends any reference to the 'British Commonwealth of Nations' something of a mouthful and not altogether self-explanatory; he knows that in the last resort Great Britain will not seek to interfere in the domestic problems of Australia; and he is normally quite content to leave it at that. The passage of the Statute of \»Vestrninster has almost completed a process of organic disintegration which many in Australia may have regretted as unnecessary and legalistic.

While the process outlined above has been going on, we have, perhaps not unnaturally, been inclined to forget that while what I may call the vertical strands of Empire are important, the horizontal strands which join Dominion to Dominion are equally

essential if we are to produce a strong Imperial fabric. Let me illustrate what I mean by one examplq. The knowledge which Australians possess of the resources, thdarnbitions, - [ h e signilicance of the Union of South Africa is deplorably small. \Ve have no political or trade representative in the capital of the Union; South Africa has no political or trade representative in Australia. Political contact between the two countries is purely


occasionally exchange occasional and, in a senses accidental. cricket teams which have so far been able to act as ambassadors of friendship and not as the harbingers of RCW controversies. "That


the reason for this somewhat extraordinary indifference?

lt is not that in a deliberate way we have decided that the fortunes of South Africa mean nothing to us, it is simply that we have

been so obsessed with the problem of where we stand in relation to Great Britain and where Great Britain stands in relation to us that we have overlooked the importance of determining where we stand in relation to a great sister Dominion.

CONSULTATION If Australian governments were not much interested in structural changes in the imperial body, they were Josefa and constantly in-

§"¢ field of terested in admission to the confidence of Britain foreign policy They were adarnang that Australian I Bws should



be heard before the implementation of British policy, that there

should be consultation, they were not notably successful, according to PROFESSOR FRED ALEXANDER. This extract is from 2111 article, 'Inter-Imperial Consultation', published i11 tlte September, 1938, issue of The Australian Qualle'rly, and it appears by permission of the author and the current editors of the journal. The author is Emeritus Professor of History in the University of Western


judged by the frequency with which they have appeared in the last couple of decades, proposals for the establishment and maintenance of more adequate machinery for inter-imperial consultation seem likely to develop into quite a hardy annual. Scarcely a meeting of Empire Ministers has taken place in London since 1917 without an Australian Premier or his depew to appearing with this symbol of a reconciled imperial unity and dominion autonomy prominently displayed in his buttonhole. It's an attractive

little flower, usually well marked in stripes of red, white and blue; yet, somehow, it doesn't seem to thrive outside Australia or New Zealand. In England, it is best kept under glass, where it may be admired discreetly by specially conducted visitors. Its presence will doubtless be commented upon in the correspondence columns of the best newspapers, but it is to be handled with the greatest care. Even then, it rarely lives long, if a Canadian or a South African should breathe upon it, it may be seen to will immedi-

ately. One wonders sometimes whether even in Australia the plant grows naturally or whether it is the result of careful cultivation [or

exhibition purposes.

It is not difficult to make out a case for more regular and more speedy consultation between British and Dominion


on all vital matters of common concern. Despite the centrifugal

tendencies in inter-imperial relations since the war there is not a Dominion to-day, however advanced its views, which does not still look to continued membership of the British Commonwealth for more than sentimental reasons and does not regard membership of the Commonwealth as more than a mere nominal associatioI1.1 Yet if the British Government has practical services to 1 Opitlions may differ as to whether this statenit-nt would apply to southern Ireland but the argument still holds. It is the writer's view that Eire is not

really a British Dominion any more than the Irish Free State was, despite the fortuitous eircui stances of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. Irish nationalism was not something horn within a devel oping and broadening imperial system, as was the case in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and even in South Africa, Irish nationalism was something anterior to the imperial association and should not be allowed to cloud the issues of the present Commonwealth.



render to its constituent parts, these services must be co-ordinated in the common interest. This cannot be done merely by meetings of Empire Prime Ministers every three or four years. Such meetings may result in much useful exchange of information; imperial Conferences may even produce agreement as to general lines of policy to be followed by the constituent states of the Commonwealth during the interval until their Prime Ministers meet together again. But no combination of wisdom, foresight and restraint will prevent the emergence of unforeseen circumstances and a resulting demand for quick decisions. This is particularly so in the field of foreign policy, with which this article is chiefly concerned. If such decisions are to be made, and action is to be taken, without danger of injury to any one Dominion and with some advantage to the Commonwealth as a whole, all governments should be able to consult fully through well-prepared channels. In matters where by common agreement it is desirable that the British Commonwealth should act as a unit, effective action presupposes adequate consultation, even in matters of regional concern, where constituent member states are determined to act separately, to inform other member states before action would not

only be a family courtesy but might also, on occasion, produce valuable advice or constructive criticism. In either case it is clear that there is a distinct difference between prior consultation and mere information, at or after the event, by the particular government within the Commonwealth which has been most immediately concerned and which has acted, either in its own name

specifically or, itnpliedlv, on behalf of the Commonwealth as a whole. On paper the case for prior consultation is overwhelmingly strong. It has, nevertheless, proved insufficient to move the several

governments of the British Commonwealth either to lay down fixed rules and regulations for the conduct of such consultations or, in more characteristically British fashion, to work out an effective technique in practice. It is true that there have been many discussions on this subject at Imperial Conferences, notably in 1907, 1918, 1921, 1923 and 1930. On some occasions-at the Conference of 1923, for example-the discussions extended much further than the published Proceedings would suggest, the absence of agreed resolutions is to be explained by the persistence of divergent views. It is also true that some important improvements in machinery have been effected while others have been considered. Examples of the former are the right of direct eornrnunication 01 Prime Minister with Prime Minister (which dates back



to the later war years and was formally approved by the Imperial Conference of 1918, though it is not much used today), the appointment of British High Commissioners in Dominion capitals as well as of Dominion High Commissioners in London (an arrangement which now extends to all four Dominions with the recent appointment of Sir H. Batterbee to Wellington) and the valuable Australian experiment of establishing a Liaison OHicer between Australia House and the Foreign Office in 1924, followed a decade later by the strengthening of the London tail of the Australian Department of External Affairs. Some advantage has been taken of improved facilities for communication by wireless, cable and air mail; a hesitant and short-lived experiment was made, again by Australia, in the appointment of. Mr. Bruce as Resident Minister in London from February, 1932, to October, i933, while the parts played by the I-Iigh Commissioners of the several Dominions as members of the Council or Assembly of the League of Nations have given them authority and experience in the international field. The fact nevertheless remains that many, if not most of the important decisions on foreign affairs in recent times have been made without prior consultation between Great Britain and the Dominions. 1/Vhere the decision has been that of the Government of Great Britain, which it generally has been,2 the device of keeping the other governments. of the Commonwealth 'fully informed' has sufficed to give Downing 8treet the free hand it seems to have desired while leaving the Dominion governments the satisfaction of not having to commit themselves beforehand. This doubtful satisfaction appears to have out-

weighed criticism of the inadequacy or the belatedness of the information supplied. It is not possible for a layman who lacks close contact with departmental circles and access to more or less confidential com~ munications to speak in more precise terms than those of the last

Jew sentences. The dividing line between 'consulting the Dominions' and 'keeping the Dominions fully informed' may in practice he very fine. lt is possible that on certain important occasions in recent years consultation has taken place without the fact having been announced in public, either because of British reluctance 2 That this has not always been the case is indicated by' semi-oliicial London comment upon Mr. Menzies's protest against inadequate prior consultation by Great Britain. Australian press cables dated London, ]un 27, reporting views of "Whitehall officials,' stated that 'in the case of the Far East it was gently hinted that the boot was on the other foot. The Commonwealth ban on iron

ore exports, it was suggested, did not coincide exactly with the Empire policy of allowing Japan to secure arc from Malaya.'



to reveal differences of opinion thus displayed or from the desire of a Dominion Government to escape domestic criticism. It is, however, clear that, on a number of very important occasions, major decisions of British policy were made or were in process of being made without the Dominions having been given any official intimation of what was being planned by Downing Street. The negotiation of the Hoare-Laval pact iS a case in point; the re-alignment of British foreign policy at the time of and after the resigna.tion of Mr. Eden seems an equally good illustration, notwithstanding 'no change of' policy' protestations by Mr. Neville Chamberlain and Br Mr. Lyons. On none of these occasions could information alter the event be deemed equivalent to prior consultation.

¥»Vhat is the explanation of this failure of the governments of the British Commonwealth to maintain and to use effective machinery for inter-imperial consultation? Four factors must be taken into account in the search for an adequate explanation.

These are: the reluctance of Downing Street to share leadership; the unwillingness of Canada and South Africa to accept responsibility; apathy and indifference in Australia and, least in im-

portance, some technical diflicultics. It is easy for Dominion writers to indulge in cheap criticism

of the red tape and. exclusive habits of the British Foreign Otlice to-day, just as, a century ago, our ancestors and sympathetic English contemporaries inveighed without discrimination against the Colonial Office and 'Min l\»Iotllercountry.' The tact and restraint of post-war British political leaders in formal inter-imperial discussions should be recognized, especially in the critical years after 1924, The important Imperial Conference of 1926, [or instance, was a model of British statecraft at its best----and its

vaguest. This more than compensated for British blundering in the earlier post-war years which had helped to bring the question of Dominion status to a head. Yet it seems clear that, from pre-war years to the present day, the Foreign Office has been iigliting a steady rearguard action against admission of the Dominions to the inner citadel of British foreign policy. The several stages of its strategic retreats are now well enough knowI1.3 An early important step at the time of the Imperial Conference of 1911 brought Dominion Premiers an exposition of British "These may be studied in detail in the documents repair red with a lengthy Intrnfluction in Dawson, R. McG., Devcloprncnt of Dominion Status, $900-1956 (Oxford, 1937). Sec also Hancock, *AK K., Survey of Biétish Commonwealth Ala£rs, vol. i (Oxford, 1937)




foreign policy by Sir Edward Grey and a vague promise by Mr. Asquith of prior consultation in regard to the negotiation of treaties affecting the Dominions 'where time and opportunity and the subject matter permit! `Wartime necessities compelled more rapid changes. During the premiership of Mr. Lloyd George, Dominion. Prime Ministers entered both the councils of war and the halls of peace. Nevertheless, the procedure contemplated in London for the Washington Conference more than three years after the close of the war showed that Mr. Lloyd George interpreted prior Dominion consultation as no barrier to subsequent United Kingdom action. 'Let the several governments of the British Commonwealth consult and agree upon a common policy; then, if necessary, let one of them act for the rest' was, in effect, the British attitude in 1921. It was even possible that action might precede consultation, as the publication of the Chanak telegram of 1922 and the exclusively United Kingdom representation a t the Lausanne Conference of 1923 revealed. The protests of some Dominions at exclusion from that Conference and the reluctance of others to ratify its resulting treaty were too pointed to pass unnoticed in London. In 1925, moreover, the British l e g oral foreign Foreign Oiiice itself took the initiative in | reg without Dominion policy by negotiating the Locarno Trea collaboration and by explicitly excluding the Dominions [rom the obligations of the treaties, unless and until they individually contracted into them. The pacification of western Europe was too vital to British interests to allow diverging Dominion views, based on geographic, demographic and economic differences, to interfere with the necessities of British policy in Europe. The Balfour Report of: 1926 did nothing to alter this situation . The declaration of equality in status featured in section II of the Report was followed by practical recognition of diversity in function and an admission that, in the conduct of foreign affairs generally, 'the major share of responsibility rests now and must for some time continue to rest with H. M.'s Government in Great Britain.' The course of events during the last twelve years also indicates that the Foreign Office has maintained its control over the detailed direction of British foreign policy. Dominion Prime

Ministers gathered in London for Imperial Conferences have been admitted to authoritative surveys of British policy; they have not hesitated then to express their views. But these views have sometimes been so markedly divergent that a hoped-for J

pronouncement 011 the details o[ the British Commonwealths foreign policy has given place to phrase-making, E1s the brief



published record of the 1937 Conference reveals. Meanwhile, in the intervals between Imperial Conferences, the Foreign Office seems to have maintained its independence. The extent to which the Dominions have been consulted during the successive international crises of recent months has not been made clear, despite the well-meant, if not always well-timed, efforts of the irrepressible Mr. Mander in the British House of Commons. As already sugin Chamberlain's discreet silences may be due in part gested, Mr. to an intelligible desire to avoid needless emphasis upon known divergence in Dominion views. l t would seem, however, that the Prime Minister's reticence has also been the result of the deliberate policy of Downing Street not to seek formal expression of Dominion views which might embarrass or tie the hands of the Foreign Office while, at the same time, leaving the Dorriinioris free from any responsibilities. The alternative course of keeping the other governments of the Commonwealth more or less 'fully informed' has at least this merit in the eyes of London that it forces upon the Dominions the initiative in offering advice or demanding consultation. This is a risk which the Oilice has been able to take without serious qualms since a Dominion 1°eqL1est for consultation would imply readiness to accept some responsibility for an agreed policy. Post~war experience of the attitude of the Dominions suggests that the initiative is likely to be taken but rarely by a Dominion when the foreign issues are primarily of European concern. 'Nith rare exceptions# therefore, post-war British governments have displayed a noticeable coolness to proposals for more effective use of machinery for inter-imperial consultation. This coolness was reflected in the brief references made in the London Press to the speech of Mr. Menzies at the Chatham I-louse dinner in -Lune-un-til the matter had been forced upon the notice of some British papers by the cabled comments of their Australian correspondents.

It is well that Dominion observers should recognize that this British coolness towards proposals for 'accelerating the process of consultation' is not based solely on a selfish or superior exclusive-

ness in London, but has some justification in the attitude of the Dominions theinselves. United Kingdom enthusiasm for prior 1.One such exception may be found in the initiative taken by Mr. Ramsay

MacDonald in 1924 in inviting the Dominions no take preliminary steps for an inquiry into the deficiencies of existing methods of consultation. The fall of the MacDonald Government prevented further action being taken a t the time.



consultation is hardly to be expected in view of the manifest unwillingness of at least two Dominions to accept what the early post-war British Government regarded as the logical consequence of consultation, a readiness to share responsibility. The first indication of this unwillingness came from across the Atlantic. Canada led the way out of what, even before the war, her statesmen were coming to regard as the stranglehold of British foreign policy, by refusing the 'bait' of effective consultation. In the eyes of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Australian insistence upon the right to participate in certain decisions of British foreign policy might have a boomerang effect upon the developing i:)onlinion nationalism of the pre-war decade. It was Laurier's failure to support Mr. Andrew Fisher, as well as Asquith's caution and l5lisher's own moderation and limited vision on the imperial issue, which explains the half-hearted character of the British promise of 1911 noted above. South Africa led the demand for separate Dominion representation at the Ylfashington Conference in 1921, but Canada again took up the challenge at the time of the Chanak telegram in 1922; it was Canada which used the blundering of British tactics over Lausanne in the following year to make clear the trans-Atlantic view that there might be regions of legitimate British foreign policy whit lay outside the field of Canadian interest, and, therefore, of Canadian responsibility. In 1924 the initiative passed to General 1-Iertzog who led the campaign which produced the 'definition' of Dominion autonomy by the 1926 Imperial Conference. Both Dominions made the most of their independent status at Geneva, neither showed any anxiety to seek prior consultation as a means of avoiding declarations of policy there which not infrequently differed from those expressed by the British delegation. LONDON REPRESENTATION A slightly more optimistic view than that of Professor Alexander is taken by LORD BRUCE who, as S. M. Bruce, Australian Prime Millistcr of the day, 2Ctt?5*ETi'IE!&"iEE'1'9H Imperial Conference determined to improve Anglo~Australian co11suItati0I1 procedures. Lord Bruce's'EE'§H'1F1Ei§t5TilTE 8T'Ui% outcome was published by his b i o g i a l , Cecil Edwards, 111 Bruce of Aiellourne, M'an of Two Wo1*ld.s, Heinemann, London, 1965. Mr. Edwards was formerly editor of The I-Ie1'aM, Melbourne; the extract is reproduced here by his permission. It should be explained that Bruce arrived late for the conference and missed Lord Curzon's opening statement on behalf of Britain. I-Iowcver, Curzon sent Bruce a copy of the statement, inviting him

to submit questions arising from it:



Being fairly young and possibly a little dashing, I told him it was an admirable exposition, but there was not even a hint of the United Kingdom Government's policy. Curzon, who was a somewhat superior person, was obviously annoyed and we had a fairly crisp exchange. However, two or three days later he made a further statement in which he gave some indications of the views of the Government. I left no doubts that we expected to be fully informed on foreign policy, and had every intention of expressing our views. \=-'Ve did not want a repetition of the 1922 episode, when were were nearly involved in war with Turkey, at Britain's heels, without knowing what was going on. Foreign relations do not remain. static. They change day by

day and week

be week. At first the change is appreciated only by

the Foreign Secretary. VbTlien they have moved any substantial distance, probably the Foreign Secretary informs the Prime Minister. The rest of the Cabinet, however, remain in ignorance until a decision has to he taken. The issue comes up at a Cabinet meeting, which is the Iirst time the ordinary members of the Cabinet have ever hoard of the matter. Probably an immediate decision is necessary and is taken, and doubtless in due course the Dorninions would be advised of it. Unless we had known what was taking place, and of? the gradual change, we would probably be faced with the position where, having agreed at the Imperial Conference on some line of policy,

we would suddenly be advised of a decision which was in direct conflict with what we had agreed. To get over this difEculty I got the idea of having a liaison officer in London who would be in the Foreign Office and would gradual change know of the g fig in the position and would keep me advised. I approached Baldwin and agreed with him that I should do this. Before I left England, Baldwin had fallen and the Labour Government came into power. I made a smililar arrangement with Ramsay MacDonald. When I arrived back in Australia, our Richard Casey . . .came to sed: me one night as a personal friend. While I was talking to him I said I had the perfect job for him and outlined the proa liaison #Leer in London. He left, saying the job posall sounded very attractive, but of course it would be quite impossible for him to consider it. The next morning when I arrived a t the office, Richard was on the doorstep and told me tha.t if I had been serious the night before he was prepared to drop everything an.d take on the job.

1 appointed him and walked into one of the best political



storms we had to meet. The appointment was attacked as being a social venture . . Anyway, we weathered it and Richard went to London. We managed to get him into Hankel's Cabinet secretarial office instead of the Foreign Olhce. There he saw and knew everything that was going on, and the regular personal letters he used to write to me present probably the best picture that exists of the political and international situation at that


time. lfVhen I was sacked as Prime Minister in 1929 I went to London. I told Richard it was time he got out, otherwise he would become just an ordinary civil servant, and that he ought to go back to Australia and get into politics. . . . The post was abolished after the Depression but I was in London then and, without saying anything to anyone, I got Shedder [Sir Frederick Shedder] into the Cabinet office. Later I got the position restored and had Officer [Sir Keith Officer] and then Alfred Sterling there. From the time Casey went to London as my liaison officer until I ceased to be High Commissioner in 194-5, Australia was invariably better informed on international affairs, and had far more influence on the U.K. Government and its policy, than all the rest of the Empire put together. PARTICIPATION As the Australian Prime Minister's agent i n London, R. G. Casey (now LORD CASEY, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia) could probably claim to be the father of Australian

diplomacy. Like Bruce, he, too, expressed satisfaction with the mechanics of Anglo-Australian communication and consultation,

and with the notion of an Empire foreign policy in which Australian interests were represented. This extract,

reproduced by

permission of the author and the publisher, is from 'Australia's Voice in Imperial Affairs' in W. G. K. Duncan, ed., Ausl1'aZIa's Foreign Policy, Angus and Robertson., Sydney, 1938.

In political lIlzltters the British Government usually takes the initiative. The normal practice followed is for the initiating government to inform the other governments o_f. the British Qommonwealth of the policy it intends to pursue in any matter, L _ to proceed with that policy unless objections are raised. If opposition to the proposed policy is expressed, the points at issue are discussed, and a decision is frequently reached by agreement . q 1



It should, of course, be appreciated that in certain kinds of rapidly moving negotiations it is impossible for the governments primarily concerned to keep the other government is of the Empire informed in advance, and it is inevitable that consultation on

some points of policy is ex post factor in character . . . It is now an axiom of British foreign policy that it should be conducted with the active assent of other members of the Commonwealth.

Australia, today, is fully informed and freely consulted by Great Britain on all questions of foreign policy, and Great Britain welcomes Australian criticism and comment. There are some who consider that Australia plays no effective part in the affairs of the British Commonwealth of Nations. This attitude, I think, largely is due to a thought that this coun-

try should take an independent line in foreign affairs. I would remind you, however, that the foreign policy of the British Government is one which is pursued after consultation with Australia and the other Dominions, and the representations of the Dominions have at times served substantially to alter the course

of action o1"iginalIy proposed by the British Government. lt will, I am sure, be agreed that the task of the Australian Government is, not to pursue a foreign policy whidi differs, for the sake of differing, from that of Great Britain, in the belief that this serves to assert Australia's status as a nation, but rather to be heard as an equal in the councils. of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and to co-operate in framing a foreign policy which will attain the common aims of all members, and at the same time serve Australian national and regional interests. I may .say without exaggeration that the Prime Iiflinister of

Australia today receives as much information on the foreign affairs of the United Kingdom as most members of the British Cabinet. DEPARTMENT


An indicator of a government's attention to the formation and implementation of foreign policy is the strength of its diplomatic corps and its appropriate department: in Australia's case, the

Department of External Affairs. Like PROFESSOR woL1=soHn's contribution earlier in this volume, this extract is from his article 'The Evolution of Australia in W'orld Aitairs' published in the March, 1953, issue of' The Australian Outlook.



The Commonwealth was the first among the Dominions to create a Department of external. Affairs, but not all of its functions where those usually associated with such a department! Until 1908 the portfolio of 'External Affairs' was held by the Australian Prime Minister, a natural enough arrangement when the relatively small importance of international affairs during this period is remembered. In addition, the most important information on intern tonal affairs was probably given to the Prime Ministers during their presence in London on the occasion of imperial Conferences; view of the almost complete absence of Commonwealth machinery [Mai with external relations, the influence of the Prime Minister over this Department was decisive. The Prime Minister's authority was, as Harrison Moore pointed out, 'more personal and less purely official than in other departments, where the Minister can hardly be expected to have an intimate knowledge of extensive and intricate details.' From only cursory reading of the discussions at Imperial Conferences, the impression is inescapable that Australian Prime Ministers, speaking on matters of broad Imperial concern, did so as a rule without being briefed carefully by the Department under their control, whereas other Ministers, holding the more technical portfolios appeared to be well prepared for the discussions.2 'When the Department was taken over by the Prime Minister's Department in 1916, the further extension and development of the Department cane to a standstill, leaving Mr. Hughes practically illllillilliarge of Ans-tralia's foreign policy. Even when Hughes revived the portfolio of external affairs in 1921, he assumed the oiiice himself and failed to appoint additional staff, with the exception of an officer in charge of League of Nations material. As the late Mr. Piesse pointed out in his evidence tO the Royal Commission on the Constitution, there was no staff for non-League affairs available at the Department until 1924 when the Bruce Government appointed a liaison ofliccr at the British Foreign Office. Piesse complained about the inadequate amount of information available to those interested and attacked the exaggerated tendency towards marking papers 'conlldential' as a matter of routine rather than from any consideration of national security. Among the advanced nations Australia was the only one not to publish a regular series of reports and papers for the use of Parliament and public. As a remedy Picsse sug,al


1 Argus, January 18, 1901, also W. Harrison Moore, Colonic! Na.t£onaEzlsm (address to Victorian Imperial Federation League, August 25, 1905) , p. 172. "Notably on such matters as Imperial Preference.



wested the formation of a Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs as well as the publication of a Parliamentary paper of non-confidential despatches. The progress of the Department was, however, slow, until 1935 when the Lyons Government took the important step of again separating it from the Department of the Prime Minister, and the basis was laid for its fairly steady growth, speeded up by the emergencies of the Second YVorld 'War. In 1935, during the

1, Senator DuIlcan~Hughes

debate on the Appropriation

sharply attacked the understalling of the Department. According to him the Department could then boast a permanent staff of 12 officers all tolcI-the secretary who u p to the time was also

the secretary of the Prime Minister's Department, a private secretary, an External Affairs Officer stationed in London, five answering ljurlcanclerks, three typists and a messengers Hughes' criticism, Senator Pearce gave some interesting information as to the difficulties of the Department- The Italo~Abys-

sinian crisis had over-burdened its small staff to the extent of forcing it to work all night and on Sundays. As a rule there was a regular [low of communications from London to Canberra, which however ceased altogether during the absence of both the High Cornrnissioner and the External Affairs Oilicer at International Conferences at Geneva, only to assume the nature of a true 'avalanche' on their return to London. As to the nature of the communications sent, Senator Pearce explained that many of them were 'of little interest,' although some were 'ilnportantl On the whole Pearce admitted that much of the Duncan-Hughes'

criticism was justified and prom~

ised redress. He announced

the re-organization @§ the De-

par trent on a separate l o o t i n e l appointment of its own

secretary, and the creation of a research staff to furnish regular reports to Parliament on international affairs. His scheme to increase the trained staff of the Department promised a somewhat leisurely progress. He announced that an additional officer would be sent to London to 'understudy' the Australian liaison officer at the Foreign Office. After some time, the additional ofliccr would be recalled to Australia to acquaint himself with Commonwealth conditions and another Officer

sent in his place. In this way it was hoped to build up a staff of trained diplomats.


Senat::, December 3, 1935, p. 2338.



[ED1Ton's NOTE: In 1937, Sir Keith Ofliccr took up duty as Australian Counsellor in the British Embassy in 'Washington and, in 1940, Mr. Casey became first Australian Minister to the United States. In 1940, too, Sir John Latham became Australian Minister to ]apart and representation was then extended to Canada (1940), New Caledonia (1940) '1`imor (1941 ) , Malaya 3 1) , Chill (1941), ctl1c1'1a1'1ds (1942), . Soviet Union (1945) and India F

(1944) -]



VERSAILLES, 1919 In Australia's name, though not always with the approval of his government at home, w. M. Hughes waged many battles overseas for what he saw as the national interest. On none did he right more strongly than on the need for se rate Dominion representation at the 1919 Peace Conference.i-success elevated Australia's status to that of at; 'international person' and took Australia into the mainstream of world politics outside the imperial boundaries. Among the junior members of the Australian party at the conference was J. G. (later Sir john) Latham, subsequently to become Commonwealth Attorney-General and Deputy Prime Minister, (.hief Justice of the High Court and diplomat. The extract which follows is from a speech delivered by the late SIR .IOI-IN LATI-IAM to the Melbourne University Association in 1919

and printed as a pamphlet by Melville and Mullen Pty. Ltd., Melbourne, in 1920 under the title 'The Significance of the Peace

Conference from an Australian Point of View'.

It is not always realised in Australia that the Peace Treaty marks much more than the end of the war. It is often said that the war has given Australia a new status, and that this status is recognised in the Treaty of Peace. But

the nature and significance of the change of status have not yet been worked out, and but little attention has been devoted to the questions involved. The ernlianced status which Australia has undoubtedly gained means a great deal more than an international compliment. l'Vhen an infant comes of he acquires new responsibilities and new duties and new with Australia.. Australia has won nationI1oodrisks. and nationhood brings responsibilities, duties and risks, as well as benefits l i advantages. The benefits and advantages are



of the same general character as in the case of an infant attaining his majority. Australia has now an opportunity of taking a greater share in the moulting of her own destiny. In the past Australia has had no self-conscious foreign policy, and the foreign affairs which concerned Australia were dealt with by the Imperial Government. Now that Australia is to have a larger share in the handling of this important and, indeed, vital subject, she will need all the ability and wisdom of her people. It is my object to indicate some of the new responsi-

bilities and duties which have fallen upon Australia, to say something of the stages in the evolution of our new national status, and to make some surges sons as to the means whereby these responsibilities may be fulfilled, and these duties discharged, in a manner worthy of our country. Mr. Lloyd George succeeded in persuading the other Allied leaders to concede separate representation at the Peace Con-

ference to the Dominions and India. Some idea of the difficulties which he had to overcome may be obtained from a

consideration of the discussion now proceeding in America upon the subject of the representation of the Dominions on the League of Nations. France, Italy and the United States. were to have only :Eve representatives each on the Conference. The admission of the claims of the Dominions and India to separate representation meant that the British Empire had in all fourteen representatives. That Mr. Lloyd George succeeded in gaining' his point is an illustration of that remarkable skill in negotiation for which the future will assuredly give him full credit. If the actual result of separate representation at the Peace

Conference had been what most people would have considered was its logical effect, the result would have been most serious.

If the Dominions had, in fact, assumed a separateness from Great Britain §

the same character as- that, say, of Romania

or Brazil, which also had separate representation, it is clear that the Empire would have ceased to exist as a single and united Empire, But the logical result was, as is often the case with our race, not the actual result. In the First place, after the press had won its light for admission to the proceedings of the Peace Conference, it soon became apparent that the position at the actual meetings of the Conference would have been much the same ii the Dominions had had 20 representatives each instead of two or one (as in the case of New Zealand).




The proceedings at these meetings were invariably and necessarily prearranged and formal, except on one occasion, when the interests of the Dominions were not specially affected. In the second place, it would have been clifhcult for the Dominion

representatives to complain if the Imperial Ministers had said, 'You wish to be separate; then be separate, and we will work apart.' If the Dominions had been put into this position they would not have had access to the documents of the British Delegation, they would not have had the benefit of consultation with British Ministers, and they would not have enjoyed the services g o British Hal. They would have been as separate and distinct as Uruguay or Siam, though they might Uruguay or Siam. have been mm influential What happened was not at all logical. The Dominions received the benefits of separate representation and a t the same time the benefits of union between themselves and the rest of """" Empire. """' representatives consulted in Cabinet with British and other Dominion Ministers, and had the full benefit of the diplomatic and other knowledge of the Foreign Office, and of the great Imperial Departments. Further, the case [or the Dominions 'Hs put not only by themselves, but also by the British representatives. Mr. Lloyd George, in the meetings of the Big Four, was able to speak on behalf of the :Dominions aS well as on behalf of Great Britain. Mr. Balfour was in the same position in the Council of Foreign Ministers. In addition to this, the Dominions, in relation to matters particularly affecting themselves, were regarded as 'nations with special interests,' and were admitted to what were called the Informal Conventions at the Quai d'Orsay, and were given the opportunity of putting their own case. This happened when the destiny of the German _carnies .was under discussion. Thus


the signifieanel of separate representation was, in practice, not as great all at 'first sight it appeared to be. Reference to $ actual Treaty will show that the unity of nature. The party the Empire is recognised in the form to the Treaty is-


M. P.




Thus there is but one party to the Treaty on behalf of the whole Empire-the King. The continued unity of the Empire is also recognised in the ratification of the treaty which has just taken place. The Treaty has been submitted to the Parliaments of all the self-governing Dominions, and they have passed bills or motions which are described as 'ra.tifying' it, but the actual ratification is a single act which has been performed by the King. Thus I do not attach a great deal of importance, from a practical point of view tO the separate representation of the Dominions at the formal meetings of the full Conference, or to the separate signature of the Treaty. But when the subject of the League of Nations is considered, it will be seen that a very real separation is established for the future, and that this may bring about most important developments. The subject of a 'White Australia in connection with the Conference has been dealt with by Mr. Hughes in some detail. It may be interesting, in the first place, to explain how the matter arose. The Japanese delegates formulated a demand for the recognition of the principle of racial equality in the Covenant of the League of Nations. As; the time when this question was first raised by the Japanese Delegates in Paris (it had already been raised by Mr. I-lughes in an interview which he had given to an American pressman), the Covenant of the League of Nations was under discussion Br the Commission on the League of Nations. President 'Wilson was Chair-

man of this Commission, and the representatives el the British Empire were Lord Robert Cell and General Smuts. Before bringing their amendment before the Commission,

the Japanese representatives--who, as the result showed, were very skilful diplomats--endeavoured to enlist support, and to remove obstacles in as many quarters as possible. They interviewed all the representatives of other nations on the Commission of the League of Nations. As soon as they approached the British representatives they were at once met with diHiculties arising from the immigration restriction policies of Australia, South Africa and, in a smaller degree, Canada. They interviewed the Dominion representatives and made various proposals, altering their formula in many ways,



but, as Mr. Hughes has now stated publicly, they would not give an undertaking that any of the proposed formulas would

not cover the subject of immigration. It is a mistake, therefore, criticize the Australian representatives, as some people have . that the Japanese request for a recognition on the gr of racial equality was a harmless generality, which might safely, wise1y~, have been conceded. At the stage which so indeed matters hail" then reached, it was clear that the concession would not have been harmless, and the Dominions refused to accept the proposed amendment. The attitude of the British delegates on the Commission of the League of Nations was on this subject determined by the attitude of the Dominions, and they therefore opposed the amendment. When the amendment was put to the Commission of the :League it was carried by I I votes to 7. (This announcement has been made in the press.) President Nilson took the responsibility of ruling that it was not carried, declaring that any

amendment of the draft of the Covenant then before the Comrnissi "W could only be made by a unanimous vote, (At the immediately previous meeting of the Commission, Geneva had

been selected as the capital of the votes, " & % is possible to between the two cases.) This was, however, a bold step seen, had gained but little support.

League by a majority of only draw a technical distinction to take. Our view, it will be I cannot say what efforts were

or to prevent the question being made to enlist support for raised, but *whatever was done had proved to be ineffectual. The be taken as an indication of the vote of the Commission I vote at a full meeting of the Conference. It was forprobe tunate for Australia that President \Vilson adopted a procedure, remarkable as it may appear, which resulted in the .Japanese amendment not being included in the Covenant as submitted to the Peace Conference. But there was still another stage. It was open to Japan to move the amendment at the Peace Conference itself. If this had been done, the position would have been very serious. It was not done. Baron Makino confined himself to a protest, delivered in digni-


fied and weighty language. How it came about that the Japanese representatives adopted this course, instead of moving the amendment in a Conference which they had reason to believe would have supported their claim, is one of the interesting stories of the Conference which higher authorities have not yet told, and upon which I cannot, therefore, speak.




The terms of that protest should be read by every Australian, in order that they may understand the point of view from which the Japanese public criticises our policy. The principle of White Australia is almost a religion in Australia. Upon it depends the possibility of the continuance of white .democracy-indeed, of any democracy, in a real sensein this continent. Any surrender of the policy is inconceivable-it rests upon the right of every sell-governing community to determine the ingredients of its own population. If that right is surrendered, the essence of self-government disappears. But it must be remembered that there are various methods of expressing a policy, and various means of applying a principle. It also should not be forgotten that the principle underlying a policy is frequently misunderstood in foreign countries. lt is vitally important for Australia to understand her 'White Australia policy herself-to get at the root of it, and view it in all its aspects. When the policy is so considered, it will be found that it contains nothing that can justly be regarded as offensive by any foreign nation. The next step, after understanding it ourselves, is to explain

it to those who object, or are inclined to object, to it. This explanation must be the work of well-instructed and skilful leaders. It has not proved impossible to adjust our similar cliiiiculties with India. It may be that a similar solution will satisfy the Japanese, and, at the same time, preserve, and even strengthen, our White Australia policy. It is regrettable, but not surprising, that the principle of mandates for former German Colonies has been misunderstood, and consequently abused, in Australia. Let me mention a few general considerations in the first place. l. Again and again our leaders declared that the British Empire did not enter the war [or the sake of aggrandisetnent, and that Great Britain did not desire to secure any annexations. The war was a war of deface--it was a right E security-ii was l o t a Fight to extend the boundaries of our already_vast Empire. Any annexations of territory by the Empire would have exposed us to most serious charges of breach of faith, and would have! most gravely damaged our moral prestige. 2. In the next place, the British race has always claimed that its occupation of territories inhabited by backward native races was in the nature of a trusteeship for civilisation. We have called _ w e he1-v.,~¢ • a n d ag.-gain .el.ei:sct't¢c1 IL the 'white m a n ' Q burden'being or the rratiuees, strict not the "ero:.h:¢¢: r»11 le ¢~1~jf.-cs was the will




motion of our own interests, commercial 01' otherwise, The principle of mandates in relation to the former German colonies only states in explicit terms what the British race has always professed to be the real terms upon which large areas of our Empire are held. This is the essence of a mandate: A territory administered under a mandate is not to be administered for the benefit of the Power to whom the administration is entrusted, but for the benefit of the inhabitants of the country, and subject to safeguards for

their protection. 3. The principle of mandates must be looked at from a world point of view. It must be remembered that if the British Empire, or any part of it, had annexed colonial territory, other Allied Powers would have been equally entitled to adopt a similar course of action. Not only the fate of the Paeihc Islands was in question, but also the destiny of vast areas in Central and East Africa, in Mesopotamia, Palestine, and Syria and JAsia Minor. Great Britain had given pledges that she would not annex Mesopotamia other parts of the former Turkish Empire, but it was most desirable for British interests that Britain should some effective standing in Mesopotamia. The principle of mandates afforded an opportunity of achieving these objects, and of keeping faith with the world and with the races to whom specific promises had been made. To come now to the spedlic case in which Australia is inter-


ested, viz., the Pacific Islands. I have no hesitation' in saying that it would have been a. most unfortunate, and possibly a disas thous, thing for Australia, if Australia had been permitted to annex the islands constituting former German New Guinea. It must be remembered that from a practical point of view, it had to be assumed that the conditions upon which the German Pacific

Islands should be held would be the same, whatever the situation of those islands. In accepting limitations for ourselves, therefore, we were imposing limits sons upon others. If we had obtained. complete freedom for ourselves, others also would have had com-

plete freedom. There are three types of mandates, and the Australian mandate is one of the third type. The first type applies to the Turkish Empire. In these cases,

the existence of communities as independent nations, is to be provisionally recognised, subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by the mandatory, until such time as they are able to stand alone. The second type of mandate applies to Central Africa. The




limitation upon the Powers of the mandatory state is greater than in the case of South-"est Africa and the islands of the Pacific, for in the second type the mandatory is bound to 'secure equal

opp or munities for the trade and commerce of other members of the League) while in the third type, this limitation is absent, and it is further provided that the territory subject to the mandate may be administered as an integral portion of the mandatory state. The special provision requiring the open door in the second type of mandate is due to the fact that Central Africa contains vast stores of raw materials which are needed by all the nations of the world. Further, in these territories there is no immigration problem such as exists in Australia and the neighbouring islands. It must be observed that 'equal opportunities for trade and

commerce' involve equality of conditions with respect to the entry of men as well as of goods. If this condition applied in the islands of former German New Guinea, there is little doubt that they

would soon be over-run by alien immigrants, and that the \f\I hits Australia policy would be gravely endangered. To what limitations have we submitted because Australia has a mandate instead of sovereignty of the islands? Vie have promised to tolerate all law abiding religions, to prohibit the slave trade, the arms traffic and the liquor traffic, not to train the natives as a military force except for purposes of deface, and not to establish fortifications or military or naval bases. WA-'e have also promised to render to the Council of the League of Nations an annual report on the islands with the administration

of which Australia

is entrusted. Look at these limitations. Freedom of conscience and religion. The Australian people would have insisted upon this in any case. The slave trade, arms trailic, liquor tralhc-the same applies. [ortifications or military or naval bases-this limitation applies to others, and it must be remembered that a friend of to-day might he a foe to-morrow, Shortly, the limitation is greatly in Australia's interests. The Caroline and Marshall Islands are half-way between Australia and Japan. There is, therefore, no doubt whatever that the mandate is much more favorable to Australia than annexation would have been. The prohibition of fortifications and of military and naval bases is not of the first importance to Australia in any case. Australia owns British New Guinea, and Great Britain owns islands scattered round the Pacific in proximity to German New Guinea. Any



of these islands may be used for military or naval purposes without restriction. Australia has gained secu1°i§u obtaining full power to exclude any potential enemy from the islands north of the Equator. Vtfe have power to apply such laws as we choose to enact, for it is expressly provided that these territories can be 'administered under the laws of the mandatory as integral portions of its 1.erritory.' This positive provision, coupled with the absence of the 'open door' requirement, makes the W'hite Australia policy secure so far as these islands are concerned, and so far as there can be efficacy in international covenants. Under the eyes of the world, Australia is entrusted with the government of these backward countries. Australia is to make an annual report to the League of Nations upon the territory committed to her charge. lt should be, and doubtless will be, a point of h o n o r with Australians that we should do our best, and that we should endeavour to make our administration a model which other countries may be glad to copy. It will not be all plain sailing. Germany had a deficit of some £60,000 a year on the wh of the German Pacific possessions-Sam