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[Page 149]


New Britain,
26th December 1914.

The Honorable,
The Minister of State for Defence,

Terms and Conditions of surrender of German New Guinea:

From a perusal of copies of the Australian Newspapers and private correspondence that have reached me here, I notice that a good deal of hostile criticism had been levelled at the Terms and Conditions agreed to between Dr, Haber, the Ex-German Governor, and myself, in connection with the surrender to me of the troops, and the administration of the Colony of German New Guinea.

The main grounds of objection are, I understand, that the terms adopted are regarded as being unduly favourable to the enemy.

I gathered also, that you had expressed yourself as not altogether satisfied, and as other Members of the Government may possibly share your views, it has occurred to me, although I have received no official intimation of the Government's dissatisfaction, beyond a copy of a cablegram from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, dated 18th November, in reply to an enquiry by the Commonwealth Government as to whether it was competent of me to have granted conditions as to return of Ex-Governor and Civil Officials to Germany, which seems to imply that the Commonwealth Government was not in accord with my action, and, strictly speaking, I suppose [I?] should take no official notice of newspaper reports, which may, or may not, be correct, that I should frankly furnish you at once, to allay any misunderstanding, with reasons that actuated me in coming to the decisions arrived at.

According to my orders, the object of the Expedition was to seize all German Wireless Telegraph Stations in the Pacific, and to occupy German Territory as soon as possible, hoist the British Flag, and make suitable arrangements for temporary administration, but to make no formal proclamation of annexation.

No instructions were issued to me as to the terms to be insisted upon in the event of surrender, as I presume the Government having appointed me, had confidence in my ability to carry the mission through to a successful issue,and, therefore, left me a free hand to deal with all the circumstances on the spot as they arose, in the best interests of the Empire.




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