The American Consul General, but in any case he pledged himself to return the amount advanced at the earliest possible opportunity.
The request seemed to me to be reasonable, particularly as the transaction was not a gift but merely a loan to be returned at an early date, and the Administration funds would not suffer. The funds of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia were not pledged in any way.
Eight of the Officials who had been deported received payment in terms of the foregoing arrangement, but I found on receipt of the complete list of the Officials, numbering 173, that the total amount involved was so large, that if paid from the funds of the Colony, there would be insufficient left to meet the ordinary expenses of the Administration. I at once informed the Ex-Governor that it was a matter of impossibility for me to grant the loan, and I was compelled to cease any further payments. He had an interview with me and quite agreed with my contention, and promised to refund as early as possible what had already been paid.
I have no more to add; the occasion arose and I had to act. I did what I considered best in the interests of the Empire, and take full responsibility for my actions.
As far as the published adverse comments by private persons are concerned, they do not disturb me in the least. They proceed mostly, I presume, from the 'stay-at-home arm-chair' critics, thousands of miles away, whom we all know so well, who know nothing of the local conditions or the International Law on the subject,and could themselves do everything so much better than the men on the spot; but to be charitable some allowance must be made from ignorance of the difference between "Annexation" and "Military Occupation" of an enemy's country, and also that the minds of most people are now influenced, perhaps unduly so, by recent newspaper reports of atrocities by German troops in Belgium.
But I am concerned that you and the other members of the Government should be fully seized of all the circumstances, hence this communication.
(Sgd.) William Holmes, Colonel.