No. 643 NAI DFA 19/9
Confidential Report from William J. B. Macaulay to
Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
New York, 7 March 1932
Some time towards the end of December Mr MacWhite wrote me a private note asking whether I had ever when in the Legation made 'a report to the British Ambassador on the state of our relations with the U.S. Government and our activities in the United States'.1 It appears that the British Embassy asked the South African Legation to furnish such a report and in support of its request stated that I had done so every year. The South African Minister enquired of our Minister Plenipotentiary if this were so and the latter asked me. I replied to Mr MacWhite that I had never even heard of such a thing. The very idea of the Saorstát Legation, of all the Dominion Legations, making a 'report' to the British Embassy is incredible. In all the years I spent at Washington the British Ambassador never made any kind of enquiry which could by any stretch of the imagination be described as a request for that kind of information. The British Embassy was too well aware of our attitude even to suggest anything of such a nature.
Mr Scallan, Secretary of the South African Legation, was in New York yesterday and referred to this incident. He told me that his Minister (Mr Louw) wrote a very strong note to the British Embassy pointing out that he reported only to his own Government and referring the British Government to Pretoria for any information regarding South African activities in the United States.
This idea of the Dominion Legations making 'reports' to the British Ambassador obviously originated with Sir John Simon who when here with the delegation of lawyers in 1930 made a particular point of buttonholing me to find out what our relations were with the British Embassy and continuously harped on the need for co-operation and diplomatic unity. I remember telling Sir John that up to that time the necessity for consultation with his Ambassador had not arisen and that it appeared unlikely, in view of our very different interests, that it would. I reported the gist of this conversation to you at the time.
I desire to emphasize that the British Embassy's statement regarding myself is entirely without foundation and was obviously made with the intention of inducing the South Africans to follow what would appear to be the precedent of a senior Legation.
[signed] W.J.B. MacAulay