The Consul General at Sydney (Tredwell) to the Secretary of State

No. 587

Sir: I have the honor to report that within the past few months ten or a dozen new organizations have been formed in Australia, some for the purpose of forming the citizens of the country into one united whole with the idea of insisting upon sanity in politics and government, some of the others for political purposes, and one or two for the purpose of defense in time of trouble. In my despatches Nos. 331, dated October 27, 1930, and 526, dated February 3, 1931,5 I advised the Department of a new organization, which is now known as “X”, but more recently some of the younger and more hot-blooded youth of the community have commenced an organization known as “The New Guard”.

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There is enclosed herewith a copy of the form issued to those asked to join, which they are expected to sign, together with a copy of a form which evidently is intended for registration and filing purposes.6

The question has been raised by an American citizen as to whether or not his citizenship status would be affected if he joined this organization known as “The New Guard”.

This individual has been informed that this Consulate General looks with disfavor upon any American citizen joining an organization in this country which might have as one of its objects, or as a result of its object, the use of force and the carrying of arms. Americans who have approached the writer have been informed that so far as he is aware there is no prohibition against Americans joining such organizations, but that if they did so it would have to be entirely upon their own responsibility and without any thought of assistance from this office or the American Government, in the event that they involved themselves in difficulties with the constituted authorities of the country.

The Department may be assured that all Americans will be discouraged from joining any of these organizations and they have been advised that any oath of allegiance to a foreign government would automatically, in the opinion of the writer, cause them to lose their citizenship.

In the circumstances, this Consulate General requests to be informed as to the policy of the American Government in regard to American citizens joining this or similar associations which might have for their object the defeat of any political party in this country or which might bring them into conflict with the constituted forces of the Government. The writer was informed yesterday, in the strictest confidence, by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, that it was becoming more and more evident every day that disorders are likely to occur and that armed conflict between various elements of the community may be expected. The writer has feared this for some time, but is not yet prepared to endorse the views expressed to him by even this able authority. The situation, nevertheless, is fraught with grave danger.

Respectfully yours,

Roger Culver Tredwell
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Enclosures not printed.