A Monroe Doctrine for the Indo-Pacific: Alfred Deakin, the Great White Fleet, and the Emergence of an Independent Australian Imperialism

  • Published
  • By MAJ Viktor Stoll, USA

 

Mr. Deakin’s hospitable message was in the inmost sense an invitation to the people of America to admit the common trust of the two white races whose destinies are bound up in Pacific Dominance,” stated Age in March 1908.1 Prime Minister Alfred Deakin’s invitation to President Theodore Roosevelt for a visit of America’s Great White Fleet in 1908 was an utter denunciation of the prevailing British order in the Pacific. The Commonwealth Crisis of 1905–1908 would end with the firm rejection of Australian imperial policy as merely a sub-imperialism of Britain.

In developing an independent imperialism, Australia partook in the same stages of imperial development as Germany, Japan, and the United States during the analogous period. The first stage, domestic political unification, Australia achieved in 1901—alongside the United States following the Civil War (1865), Japan following the Meiji Restoration (1868), and Germany following the Franco-Prussian War (1871). Once domestic unification occurred, a would-be imperial power then must acquire territory outside the traditional boundaries of the state, adopt an independent foreign policy to support these claims, and concurrently develop a modern military as a mechanism of enforcement. After these objectives are met, the imperial power challenges the status-quo hegemony in the region and, thus, truly develops an independent imperialism.

After 120 years of existence as a conglomerate of autonomous colonies, the six self-governing polities on the Australian continent formed a federal state on 1 January 1901. Cognizant of an increasing number of external threats emerging on the horizon—including Russian, French, German, and Japanese imperial expansion in the Western Pacific—the unified Australian states sought to leverage their new federalism to achieve unified action in foreign policy and defense matters vis-à-vis their still subordinated position to London. A united Australia could better combine both its resources for self-defense and its lobby for British imperial protection in Whitehall in a world of rapidly shifting geopolitics.

Yet, unification also laid the seeds of discord between London and Melbourne, the seeds that would eventually grow to fracture Anglo-Australian relations and provide the space for the emergence of an independent Australian imperialism. Following its unification, Australia possessed the increasing strength to pursue its own extraterritorial expansion, independent foreign policy in the Western Pacific, and military expansion during the so-called Commonwealth Crisis (1905–1908), which demonstrates that a truly independent Australian imperialism was officially christened by the arrival of Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet.

A prevailing historiographical argument that Australian imperialism was simply a sub-imperialism of Britain is widespread. Roger Thompson believes that while Australian imperialism did demonstrate individualistic characteristics, decisions were predominately developed within a sub-imperial context.2 Neville Meaney in The Search for Security in the Pacific 1901–1914 postulated that a “distinct strategic scenario” did emerge during the Commonwealth Crisis, but falls short of calling this scenario an independent “imperial moment.”3 Ultimately, this belief is founded on the close economic, cultural, and defense ties which existed between Britain and the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia’s substantial military support for Britain throughout World War I, in which Australia received little direct benefit, is held as an exemplar of the supposedly subordinate nature of Australian imperialism.

Indeed, Australian contingents were volunteered by both individual Australian colonies and by a federated Australia in support of British imperial war aims in the Sudan (1885), the Boxer Rebellion (1900), the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899–1901), and ultimately at Gallipoli and Flanders from 1915–1918. These contributions to broader imperial defense were employed to justify the “sub” nature of Australian imperialism; however, these contributions should be viewed as desperate attempts to retain the support of their historical benefactors considering what the Australians viewed as increasing abandonment by London. Only after these Australian overtures of support failed to produce the desired results—principally British security guarantees against Japanese expansionism in the Western Pacific—did the Australians turn to an independent imperial policy of defense.

Quid pro Quo? Australian Contributions to Britain’s Imperial Wars

Statistically, the significance of Australian military contributions to the British Empire are inversely proportional to the perceived withdrawal of the British from the Western Pacific. Thus, the first contingent to Sudan in 1885 of “thirty officers, 740 men and 218 horses” occurred within one year of Britain’s Treaty of New Guinea (1884) with the Germans and less than two years after Britain failed to back Queensland’s fait accompli occupation of Eastern New Guinea to head-off the pending German occupation.4 The major upsurge in Australian participation in imperial defense came during the Second Anglo-Boer War. By 1902, approximately 16,000 Australians had served alongside the British in South Africa.5 This substantial contribution, in addition to the naval brigade in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion (1901), coincided directly with the growing fear of a “Yellow Peril” within Australia after the Sino-Japanese War (1894). Commander of the New South Wales (NSW) military forces, General Edward “Curly” Hutton (1848–1923) stated in 1895, “the sudden rise of Japan to the position of a naval and military power of the first magnitude has placed the importance of the defence of the Australian continent . . . in the light of necessity.”6

Nor was this view limited to the colonies’ governments. Le Pour Trench, the British ambassador in Tokyo, stated that “a strong Japanese Navy might at any time constitute a menace . . . to the Australian colonies.”7 Given the view espoused by Hutton, it is not surprising that New South Wales contributed nearly 38 percent of the total Australian contingent and 58 percent of state-financed troops during the Boer War,8 nor is it astonishing that the majority of the naval brigade involved in the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion originated in the colony.9

In this light, the conscription referendums of 1916 and 1917, so often viewed as unwavering support to Great Britain during the height of the Great War, have a significant “Australia First” overtone. Conscription efforts existed in Australia since the late 1880s and were seen as a primary means of self-sufficiency in defending Australia from invasion, most likely Japanese, in the face of increasing British military abandonment. The specter of Japan joining Germany after 1917 only heightened these fears, thus a conscripted force would be ready to meet this threat and the navy would ensure the lifeline to Britain via Suez and the Cape of Good Hope. Given Australia’s still substantial ties with Britain, the pursuit of an independent imperialism during the Commonwealth Crisis occurred within a greater imperial framework but certainly maintained the essence of a sovereign endeavor rooted in strategic necessity.

Despite the significant military support provided to Britain on the part of the Commonwealth, the British only scarcely acknowledged Australian support. As Lt-Gen Alfred Gaselee, Commander of the British in China, stated, “I should be obliged if you would express to the Governments of New South Wales and Victoria my deep sense of gratitude to them for placing their respective contingents at my disposal.”10 Diplomatic platitudes were one thing, but the Australians were desperately seeking concrete support in regional defense, particularly against the Japanese boogeyman.

General angst in the colonies had mounted over Japan since a Japanese naval squadron visited Australian waters in 1878. This anxiety unquestionably accelerated after the First Sino-Japanese War. Certainly, the Commonwealth looked for domestic solutions for defense, as soon to be Prime Minister Deakin stated in 1901, “It [the ‘White Australia Policy’] is the Monroe Doctrine of the Commonwealth of Australia.”11 However, as the Australian troop contributions to British imperial wars demonstrates, the Commonwealth still looked to Britain as its main guarantor of security in the Western Pacific. This faith in British support would be shattered with the signing of the Second Anglo-Japanese Alliance in 1905.

The Anglo-Japanese Alliance and the Decoupling of Anglo-Australian Security

It was the events leading to 1905 and the signing of the Second Anglo-Japanese Alliance that led to a loss of faith in British protection and spurred the Australian pursuit of a truly independent imperialism. First, and foremost, were the geopolitical events transpiring in the North Sea where a Kaiserreich increasingly dominated by the Alldeustcher Verband lobby was moving to challenge Britain’s control of the seas. The Alldeutscher viewed Germany as being limited territorially and commercially by England. As one German statesman put forth in 1900, “Germany feels herself compelled as a nation and as an economic and cultural unit. . .to protect herself against strangulation and destruction.”12

Thus, to preserve itself, Germany would be forced to neutralize the Royal Navy. Only by waging a surprising and vigorous campaign against British trade would the Germans maintain the upper hand in the North Atlantic.13 As Otto Tannenberg opined, “War should leave the conquered side nothing except its eyes wherewith to weep over its misfortune: Modesty would be for us foolishness.”14 German diplomatic antagonism during the Moroccan Crisis of 1905 finally forced the British to shift their continental policy decidedly against Germany.15 The most efficient and cost-effective way for the British Admiralty to counter the Kaiserliche Marine’s threat to the Home Islands was to strip “non-essential” squadrons and reinforce the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow—achieving an undeniable qualitative and quantitative superiority over the German fleet in the North Sea.

It was the Admiralty’s pick of non-essential squadrons that would drive the substantiative reduction of British naval supremacy in the Western Pacific. The Admiralty rightfully viewed the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905) as a godsend for their rapidly emerging home islands defense mission. With the Russian threat obliterated at Tsushima and a dominant Japanese fleet in the Pacific, the British pushed through the Second Anglo-Japanese Alliance, which was quickly followed by a significant reduction of British warships east of Suez. In response, five British battleships sailed to join the home fleet at Scapa Flow; approximately one-third of the British ships stationed with the Australasian Squadron in 1898. 16 With the Anglo-Japanese alliance, the Admiralty had secured the non-essential ships needed to reinforce the Home Fleet and guaranteed the security of their Indo-Pacific holdings through a trusted ally. Needless to say, Australian views of non-essential and ally were quite the opposite of those at Whitehall.

The Second Anglo-Japanese Alliance was nothing less than betrayal for the Australians. The fact that the British had hired a fox to guard the chicken coup was not lost on the Deakin government. In response to the alliance, Deakin officially listed Japan as a defense threat and Minister of Defence George Pearce called Japan an “aggressive nation.”17 The signing of the alliance shook the staff at the Sydney Morning Herald which stated, “no doubt it is well within the range of probability that a time will come when this temporary condition will be broken, and an organised China in alliance with Japan may seek to reconstruct the map of Asia.”18 Although the Australian press would ultimately put a “big brother knows best” spin on the treaty, even the opposition Labour Party had placed the “Citizen’s Defense Force and Australian-owned Navy” on its general election platform by July 1905.19 Later that year, as an absolute necessity for national defense in the face of this abandonment, the Commonwealth finally moved decisively on defense with the signing of the Papua Act of 1905.20

On the first of September 1906, the Australian government formally took possession of the territory of British New Guinea (Papua) abutting German New Guinea—the site of the abortive 1883 annexation attempt by Queensland—and so rejected the premise of guaranteed British protection. The British formally acquired the territory in 1884 to soothe Australian fears of German encroachment and prevent a clash between German interests and Queensland expansionists. And since that time, London had sought every opportunity to divest of the territory, while ensuring the least amount of investment possible.

The massive expansion in trade following the handover of Papua in 1905 demonstrates that Australia immediately began its extraterritorial imperialism in earnest—and pursued its imperial aggrandizing policy in the Western Pacific with far more vigor than the British ever mustered. Between 1906 and 1912, the total volume of trade grew by 221 percent. Leased acreage grew a staggering 757 percent between 1906 and 1910, with the number of white settlers nearly doubling by 1914.21 Such sizable activity demonstrates that the Commonwealth was serious about expanding its own imperial holdings both economically and defensively. The acquisition would set apart Australia from the other settlers’ dominions of the period (i.e., Canada, New Zealand, Newfoundland, and South Africa). Indeed, this extraterritorial expansion put Australian imperial ambitions in the Western Pacific in a league alongside Germany, Japan, and the United States. This annexation was an independent necessity for securing the Commonwealth in the rapidly shifting geopolitical landscape of the Western Pacific.

This imperative was exacerbated by the second “Scramble for the Pacific” among Germany, Japan and the United States (ca. 1895–1905). In short order the Japanese had absorbed Formosa (Taiwan), Port Arthur, Korea, and southern Sakhalin Island from China and Russia, respectively. During the Boxer Rebellion, the Japanese provided nearly 40 percent of the overall troops and warships of the Eight Nation Alliance and demonstrated that they could rapidly project significant combat power anywhere in the Western Pacific. The United States, in its turn, had taken Guam and the Philippines in 1898 from Spain and brutally suppressed a Filipino insurgency during the Philippine-American War (1899–1902). The Philippines now housed more than 100,000 American military personnel, and a major naval base was under construction at Subic Bay. Germany had mopped up the remainder of Spain’s Pacific Empire, including the Caroline Islands, the Mariana Islands, and Palau with the German-Spanish Treaty of 1899 and established a modern East Asia Squadron at Tsingtao. These major trends were taking place simultaneously to Britain’s deliberate drawdown from the region.

Building an “Island Wall” in the Southwest Pacific

Considering this rapid shift in the Western Pacific’s geopolitical landscape, the Australians had to act on the Papua issue. By the aggressive move in Papua, the Australians had broken completely with well-established ideas of British-supported defense and were well on their way to establishing an independent imperialism. From Papua, the Deakin government set about completing an “island wall” strategic defensive ring around Australia using a foreign policy that went in the face of British strategy in the Western Pacific.

The idea of an island wall was not novel, as New South Wales’ Robertson government had proposed the annexation of the islands of New Guinea, the Solomons, the New Hebrides, and the Marshalls Islands in 1875. However, NSW Premier John Robertson argued that it was an imperial (British) matter of defense.22 The effort led to the aforementioned attempt by Queensland to annex Eastern New Guinea in 1883, which was repudiated by Lord Derby, British Secretary of State for the Colonies, much to the indignation of the Australians.23 Now with the momentum of the Papua Deal at his back, Deakin sought to finally close the island wall with the annexation of the last unoccupied island group in the region—the New Hebrides (modern Vanuatu).

The New Hebrides experienced an influx of Australasian, British, and French commercial settlements in the prior three decades. The founding of an Anglo-Australian Company, more Australian than anything, set up to establish trade in the New Hebrides was to counter a French attempt to monopolize trade on the islands in 1882 through the Compagnie Calédonienne des Nouvelles-Hébrides. The Compagnie Calédonienne would eventually block the settlement of the Anglo-Australian Company through a “treaty” with the local chieftains in 1884. The Australians were livid, with the premier of Victoria at the time informing Whitehall that the Commonwealth was prepared to meet any imperial expense in annexing the territory.24 However, the arch-antagonist of early Australian imperial ambitions in the Western Pacific, Lord Derby, would have none of it and informed Victoria that the self-denying ordnance of 1878 would remain in effect. The capitulation of the British, gave France a free hand to expand economically, and although a Joint Anglo-French Naval Commission was established to oversee the islands’ administration in 1888, France continued to gain ground against Australian influence in the region.25

By 1905 the Deakin government would no longer be cowed by the British Foreign Office, promising that the New Hebrides would become part of the Commonwealth, “thus giving Australia a sphere of influence in the Pacific.”26 Eventually, Deakin was forced to back down from direct annexation and support a more palatable power-sharing arrangement after the British Governor General informed him that the New Hebrides were quite useless to the British and any efforts undertaken by the Foreign Office were solely to placate Australian economic concerns without aggravating the emerging Anglo-French Entente Cordiale.27

Deakin was forced to concede direct annexation of the territory, stating in August that “a permanent joint Protectorate, representative of both countries . . . would certainly be preferable to the state of affairs that now prevails.”28 Much to the annoyance of Deakin’s government, Australasian representation at the Anglo-French convention on the New Hebrides was excluded, and by late 1906 an Anglo-French Condominium was officially established. While not a perfect settlement in the eyes of the Australians, and certainly a diplomatic slap in the face by the British Foreign Office,29 the condominium prevented an impending French annexation and effectively sealed the hole in the Australia’s island wall in the Southwest Pacific. More importantly, the New Hebrides affair provided the impetus for the Commonwealth Crisis and for Australia to fully assert its own independent imperial ambitions.

In Britain, the episode sparked official antipathy toward the colonies. Lord Loreburn, the Lord Chancellor, was paraphrased in The Register; “the motherland must not make ruinous sacrifices to the colonies . . . there ought to be no more annexations” and the colonies should not expect Britain to come in their hour of need.30 The feelings were mutual, with Australian Member of the House of Representatives Carty Salmon being quoted in Argus during the Australian Natives’ Association conference: “the British Government had exhibited a ‘careless callousness’ respecting Australian wishes.” Other members suggested that war with France was a better alternative.31 The New Hebrides issue proved that British and Australian imperial agendas had taken a drastically divergent course. More importantly, the outcome demonstrated that the Deakin government’s aggressive stance against the Foreign Office could bring results—the colonial tail could, if agitated enough, wag the imperial dog. This would strengthen the emerging, independent nature of Australian imperialism and prepare the Deakin government for its greatest challenge to the status quo in the Indo-Pacific.

By 1907, the United States’ Roosevelt administration had completed a significant overhaul of the US Navy—a new mission to defend US interests across the globe and particularly in the Far East. The progress of this Great White Fleet was closely followed in Australia as early as 1905 when the Sydney Morning Herald reported, “the United States has under construction 13 first-class battleships and 19 other vessels . . . seven [battleships] will be ready to be commissioned within the next half year.”32 No doubt such a massive shift of power presented the Deakin government with an alternative partner to underwrite Australian imperial designs in the Western Pacific.

Deakin unofficially approached both the American Consul-General in Melbourne and the US Ambassador in London in December 1907 with a request for the Great White Fleet to visit Australia.33 Interacting with foreign powers by self-governing colonies did not sit well with the British Foreign Office. Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs Francis Hopwood stated that “this is a demonstration for the delectation of Japan.” Winston Churchill, then parliamentary secretary, further believed that the visit should be highly discouraged.34 To the great consternation of Whitehall, the fleet’s visit to Australia was solidified by an early press release on 23 February 1908. The overwhelming Australian public support and publicity forced the British, who had sought to torpedo the visit, to acquiesce.35

It was a coup d’état against British hegemony over colonial self-determination. Deakin’s behavior infuriated the Foreign Office but was welcomed with open arms in Australia. With the white hulls of the 16 American battleships came an alternative guarantee of “White Australia.” The Americans would provide a new partner for defense from 1908 onward—another kindred Anglophone state with the capacity and the will to mutually support Australian imperial interests in the Western Pacific. RADM Charles Stillman Sperry, USN, Commander of the Fleet, stated that as long as the US Navy exists, Australasia will “never experience the horrors of invasion.”36

The Australian public certified this dramatic shift in foreign policy by the massive turnout in Sydney and Melbourne (400,000 and 600,000, respectively).37 Given the 1911 census, such figures represent approximately 25 percent of the entire Australian population of the time.38 Australia’s rejection of the British status quo ran parallel with the emergence of the new imperial actors in the Western Pacific and should not be viewed in the diminutive. With their expansion into the insular Southwest Pacific and the visit of the Great White Fleet, the Australians joined the cacophony of Germany, America, and Japan in challenging British hegemony in the Western Pacific.

Deakin’s coup, underpinned by the Great White Fleet’s visit, spurred the creation of Australia’s own “blue water navy,” ushering in last stage in an independent imperialism—military expansionism. As The West Australian put it, “by contributing to the British navy [financially] without taking a part in it . . . we would be paying tribute for our protection . . . nothing could so demoralize a nation.” The editorial concludes that, “our problems are to be worked out in this continent . . . to do this requires the development of a navy.”39 By 1909, Commonwealth expenditures on the navy had tripled, and the first and only Australian battleship ever produced, HMAS Australia, was under construction at the John Brown & Company’s Clydebank yards.40 Ultimately, Deakin sought for the Australian ships to operate under full control of the Commonwealth, with the option of joining the British fleet in time of war.41 This build-up, obviously aiming at Britain’s ally Japan, furthered ill-feeling between the British and Australians.42

Concurrently, the Australian National Defense League, founded in September 1905, advocated for the establishment of a compulsory military system similar to the one employed in Switzerland.43 By November, proposals were submitted for the creation of a half-million man “Citizen Army” capable of securing the country from “all possibility of successful invasion.”44 On 20 December 1907, Deakin proposed his comprehensive universal service, a first for any British dependency. All state militias were to be brought within the system, and a reserve of 800,000 men was to be established.45 The Federal Defense Bill of 1909 was the last major effort of Deakin’s government at establishing a citizen army prior to the Great War.46 Although a compulsory military training system was established by Andrew Fisher’s Labour Party in 1911, the threat was still not pronounced enough nor the funds sufficient for the massed implementation of Deakin’s 1909 bill.

Ultimately, the rejection of the British system in the Pacific permeated all levels of Australian society during the Commonwealth Crisis. The independent imperial policies of Deakin’s protectionist government toward territorial expansion, the first clandestine defense overtures of a colony to a third-party nation, and a vast military modernization program ran contrary to most British policies and were consistent with the growing imperialism of America, Japan, and Germany as applied in the Western Pacific. This independent imperialism was further ratified by the Australian public’s turnout during the Great White Fleet visit in 1908 and finalized at the Paris Peace talks a decade later following the Great War.

While Australia would continue to maintain significant cultural, economic, and political ties with the British, a divergent independent imperialism had emerged. The break would be total in December 1941 when Prime Minister John Curtin, after failing to garner reinforcements for the defense of Australia from Churchill, stated, “Without inhibitions of any kind, I make it clear that Australia looks to America, free of any pangs as to our traditional links or kinship with the United Kingdom.”47 Thirty-seven years after the signing of the Second Anglo-Japanese Alliance, the independent Australian imperialism was decisively vindicated. In 1942, after the fall of Singapore and the complete overthrow of British power in the Western Pacific, a joint American–Australian naval force under American leadership turned back the Japanese Navy at the Battle of the Coral Sea, while the staunch defense of New Guinea and island wall by combined Australian and American forces decisively ended the decades-long Japanese threat to Australia.

MAJ Viktor Stoll, USA

Major Stoll has served in a variety of strategist, planner, and intelligence roles in the US Indo-Pacific Command, US Africa Command, and US European Command theaters. He is currently pursuing his PhD in history at the University of Cambridge where he studies the nexus of great-power competition, colonial administration, and social scientific expertise during the Interwar Period. He previously earned his MA in modern history from King's College London.

1 Age, 17 March 1908.

2 Roger C. Thompson, Australian Imperialism in the Pacific, The Expansionist Era, 1820-1920 (Carlton: Melbourne University Press, 1980), 1.

3 Neville Meaney, The Search for Security in the Pacific, 1901-14 (Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1976), 120.

4 Jeffrey Grey, A Military History of Australia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 49.

5 According to the Australian War Memorial, "282 died in action or from wounds sustained in battle, while 286 died from disease and another 38 died of accident or other unknown causes," Australian War Memorial, 2 June 2021, http://www.awm.gov.au/.

6 Hutton's address to the New South Wales Colonial Secretary (12March1895) and Correspondence with the Duke of Cambridge (22 April 1895) , in Meaney, The Search for Security in the Pacific, 29.

7 A. W Stargardt, Australia's Asian Policies: The History of a Debate, 1839-1972 (Hamburg: Institute of Asian Affairs, 1977), 114–15.

8 Official statistics from the Australian Year Book, No.12, 1919, listed total New South Wales’ troop contributions as 6,110 of 16,157 total and 3,377 of 5,782 state financed. This was the largest deployment of Australian troops in the colony's history. Grey, A Military History of Australia, 57.

9 In addition to New South Wales’ forces, Victoria contributed significantly to the Commonwealth contingent during the Boxer rebellion. Australian War Memorial, 2 June 2021, http://www.awm.gov.au/.

10 In a speech given at the House of Representatives 6 June 1901 to Prime Minister Barton, Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives, 6 June 1901, Vol. 1, 781, in Frank K. Crowley, Modern Australia in Documents, Vol I (Melbourne: Wren, 1973), 10.

11 Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives, 12 September 1901, Vol. 4. p 4805-7, 4817. In Crowley, Modern Australia in Documents, 17.

12 Peace Handbooks, Vol XXIV, No. 156. Historical Section of the British Foreign Office, London, 1920. 26–27.

13 "Das schließt ... müßte." in Friedrich v. Bernhardi, Deustchland und die nächste Krieg, Berlin, 1912, 176.

14 Peace Handbooks, Vol. XXIV, No. 156, 94.

15 Ian A. Nish, The Anglo-Japanese Alliance: The Diplomacy of Two Island Empires 1894-1907 (London: Athlone Press, 1966), 361.

16 Henry P. Frei, “Japan in World Politics and Pacific Expansion, 1870s-1919,” in The German Empire and Britain's Pacific Dominions 1871-1919, ed. John Anthony Moses (Claremont, CA: Regina Books, 1999), 182.

17 Frei, “Japan in World Politics and Pacific Expansion,” 182.

18 Sydney Morning Herald, 8 September 1905.

19 Australian Labor Party, Official Report of Commonwealth Conference, Melbourne, 1905, 25–27, in Crowley, Modern Australia in Documents, 77.

20 The Commonwealth had been dragging its feet since the 1901 decision to assume full control over the territory had been agreed to. Costs were seen as the main obstacle by the Commonwealth Parliament in taking over control of the territory from Britain. The Second Anglo-Japanese alliance gave the impetus to greatly speed up the process. Prior to 1905, the British could not get the Australians to commit, but after 1905 the issue was quickly resolved.

21 According to the Annual Reports of Papua compiled by the Commonwealth: Between 1906-07 and 1911-1912 total volume of trade rose from £ 151,532 to £ 335,359. Between 1906-07 and 1909-10 area under lease grew from 48,002 acres to 363,425 acres. Between 1906-07 and 1913-14 the white population grew from 690 to 1,186, in Peace Handbooks, Vol XIV, No. 88, 63.

22 Peace Handbooks. Vol XIV, No. 88, 15.

23 Queensland, weary of German intrigues in New Guinea, tried to persuade Britain to intervene with annexation. Lord Derby did not believe the situation warranted British annexation; so, Queensland took the initiative. Peace Handbooks. Vol XXII, No. 139, 23–24.

24 Peace Handbooks. Vol XXII, No. 147, 12–13.

25 “Une opinion absurde . . . chaque île du groupe,”  E. N. Imhaus, Les Nouvelles-Hébrides (Paris: Nancy, 1890), 146.

26 Argus, 10 October 1908.

27 National Archives of Australia, Canberra, Prime Minister Papers, Commonwealth of Australia, No. 05/4706, para 4, Governor General Henry Northcote to Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, 03 November 1905.

28 British Parliamentary Papers, 1907, in Peace Handbooks, Vol. XXII, No. 147, 15.

29 French papers took the opportunity to lecture the Commonwealth on its place as unconditional supporter of the Anglo-French alliance. “Peut-être un avenir . . . européens de ce dernier,” in Journal des Débats Politiques et Littéraires, 10 November 1906.

30 The Register, 8 December 1906.

31 Argus, 21 March 1907.

32 Sydney Morning Herald, 19 September 1905.

33 Meaney, The Search for Security in the Pacific, 163.

34 Meaney, The Search for Security in the Pacific, 164.

35 Meaney, The Search for Security in the Pacific, 165.

36 “The Great White Fleet,” The North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times, 14 August 1908.

37 Meaney, The Search for Security in the Pacific, 167.

38 The 1911 census, taken the night of 31 March 1911, estimated the total population of the Commonwealth at 3,773,801, in Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, Census of the Commonwealth of Australia: Taken for the Night Between the 2nd and 3rd April 1911, Vol. 1, Minister of State for Home and Territories, Melbourne, 21 May 1917, 85.

39 “Vigilans et Audax,” in The West Australian (Perth), 20 March 1907.

40 Frei, “Japan in World Politics and Pacific Expansion,” 183.

41 Northern Star, 21 December 1907.

42 Meaney, The Search for Security in the Pacific, 186.

43 Singleton Argus, 7 September 1905.

44 The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 November 1905.

45 Northern Star, 21 December 1907.

46 Horsham Times, 05 October 1909.

47 “The Task Ahead,” The Herald (Melbourne), 27 December 1941.

 

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