'Life is an Urgent, Vital Affair': R.G. Casey - Australia's First Ambassador in DC
Published: Monday 31st August 2015
Join journalist Kathleen Burns as she speaks on the life of R.G. Casey, Australia's first Ambassador to Washington D.C., at the National School of Arts Research Seminar on 9 September. The talk can be seen via video conference across all campuses.
Sir Richard G. Casey was the first Australian Ambassador to Washington, DC, during the tumultuous years from 1940 to 1942. He was a pioneer in the art of diplomacy and public relations techniques, including polling, which was essential to his “delicate mission” of influencing public opinion. His job was to get an isolationist US off the sidelines and into World War II, joining Australia and the Allies in this conflict. This year is the 75th anniversary of that significant appointment.
Yet Casey remains relatively unknown and “underestimated in his own country” even though “he has put Australia on the map,” according to diplomats and historians from that period. His former nemesis, Prime Minister Robert Menzies, noted that Casey “developed Australia’s relationship with the United States,” which continues to thrive today. This seminar is designed to fill in the gaps on Casey’s role “as one of the ablest diplomatists in wartime Washington.”
Kathleen Burns is a journalist who has worked in the United States and Australia. She was a reporter at the Parliamentary Press Gallery in Canberra and a former program director at the Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies at Georgetown University.