In 1941, Waller was sent to Chungking, where he established one of Australia’s first overseas missions. A youthful indiscretion almost ended his career there, and he returned to Australia under a cloud. Waller redeemed himself, however, winning praise for his difficult role as Secretary to the Australian Delegation to the San Francisco conference that established the United Nations. Subsequent assignments took Waller to Brazil, Washington and Manila; as Consul General. From London, where he served as a liaison officer, Waller conveyed to Canberra Britain’s anger at its exclusion from the ANZUS Alliance. Later, as Ambassador in Bangkok, Waller sought to breathe life into the moribund South East Asia Treaty Organisation. Most of his diplomatic contemporaries eschewed administration; Waller found he had a talent for it. In the late 1950s, C.M.H. Clark immortalised Waller in print as one of External Affairs’ ‘Men in Black’, a role in which he revelled.
In 1959, Menzies chose Waller as the avuncular face of a revivified, post-Petrov relationship with the Soviet Union. Waller was one of the architects of Australia’s successful policy of ‘Confrontation’ of Indonesia in the early 1960s, which was later judged one of the Department of External Affairs’ finest hours. Appointed the first ‘professional’ ambassador in Washington, Waller bore the brunt of ministers’ insatiable need to know US thinking on Vietnam policy. As Secretary from 1970 of a re-named Department of Foreign Affairs, Waller re-organised and modernised operations in Canberra and overseas.
Based on extensive archival research, Three Duties and Talleyrand’s Dictum paints a vivid picture of one man’s involvement in successive Australian government responses to international events stretching from Appeasement to the end of the Vietnam conflict.
‘Keith Waller [was] a consummate professional. ... More than any other Australian, he exemplified the qualities of diplomacy. Alan Fewster’s masterly portrait shows how, and in doing so enriches our understanding of Australian foreign policy.’
— Stuart Macintyre
Emeritus Laureate Professor of History, University of Melbourne
'A fine piece of work ... extremely well researched, lively, and a significant addition to the literature on the history of Australian diplomacy.’
— Dr David Lee
Director, Historical Publications and Research Unit, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
So begins this sweeping true story of a fractured but close-knit Australian family during World War II, focusing on the service of the twins and life on the home front as experienced primarily by their elder sister and mother.
When hostilities are declared, Terry joins the Australian Military Forces and is quickly promoted. However, as a militiaman, he is banned from serving overseas. Having watched Edwin join the glamorous RAAF and become a pilot, Terry resigns his commission to follow his twin. Forced to swallow the disappointment of failing to emulate Edwin by winning his wings, Terry becomes a navigator in heavy bombers in the closing stages of the European war.
Readers are transported from the Charles family home in northern NSW to Canberra, Africa, England, Scotland, the United States, the Subcontinent and Ceylon between 1939 and the end of 1945 as the perspective shifts between the two protagonists.
Little-known aspects of wartime experience are explored, including the so-called ‘wet canteens’ debate; the international negotiations over the release of interned Allied and Japanese diplomats, and the life of the Raj on the north-west frontier and in India and Ceylon.
The author’s clever interweaving of primary documents with historical fact gives rare insights into the lives and relationships of the Charles family and creates an authentic snapshot of wartime Australia.
The Charles Family’s War is a compassionate and multilayered examination of two intelligent and articulate young men who come of age in the cauldron of global conflict.
These questions sit at the centre of Max Harris’s ‘New Zealand project’. This book represents, from the perspective of a brilliant young New Zealander, a vision for confronting the challenges ahead. Unashamedly idealistic, The New Zealand Project arrives at a time of global upheaval that demands new conversations about our shared future.