National Library of Australia
Created: May 1975, updated January 1986
Papers documenting Percy Spender's political, diplomatic and legal career including correspondence, speeches, press statements, cutting books, photographs of overseas trips and functions attended, itineraries, invitations, and printed material. The collection also includes papers of Lady Jean Spender, family photographs, papers relating to the Colombo Plan, and papers on French nuclear weapons explosions. Correspondents include Sir Robert Menzies, Sir Paul Hasluck, Sir Garfield Barwick, Sir Keith Officer, Sir Arthur Tange, Sir Alan Watt, Dr John Burton, John Foster Dulles, Dean Acheson, Thomas Mann, Felix Frankfurter, G.H. Hackworth, Ernest Bevin, Walter Crocker and Selwyn Lloyd.
Please refer to the collection's catalogue record (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn2759673) for the access conditions.
Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Sir Percy Spender, National Library of Australia, MS 4875, [box number and series and/or file number]'.
Original consignment transferred in May 1975 (Boxes 1-9). Further papers added in various consignments from 1975-1985.
Lawyer, politician and diplomat. Percy Claude Spender was born in Sydney in 1897 and educated at Fort Street High School and the University of Sydney. He entered federal politics in 1937 when he was elected to the House of Representatives as member for Warringah, New South Wales. During R.G. Menzies' post-war government, he served as the Minister for External Affairs and External Territories, 1949-1951. He figured in the development of the Colombo Plan and promoted close US-Australia relations. On leaving politics, Spender was appointed Australian ambassador to the United States, 1951-1958. From 1964 until 1967 he was president of the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Later, in Sydney, he became head of a committee of trustees at the Australian Museum that oversaw the National Photographic Index of Australian Birds, 1969-1971. Spender died in Sydney in 1985.
Letters, copies of cables and telegrams, arranged chronologically, and received by Spender throughout his political, diplomatic and legal career as well as during his retirement, together with copies of some of his replies. The correspondence includes letters relating to his involvement in a number of international conferences, and among the correspondents are Sir Robert Menzies, Sir Paul Hasluck, Sir Garfield Barwick, Sir Keith Officer, Sir Arthur Tange, Sir Alan Watt, Or John Burton, John Foster Dulles, Dean Acheson, Thomas Mann, Felix Frankfurter, G.H. Hackworth, Ernest Bevin and Selwyn Lloyd.
Texts of speeches, addresses and press statements, arranged chronologically and relating to Spender's work between 1939 and 1958. In some cases speeches are accompanied by related memoranda drafts and notes. There are also texts of addresses given by Spender after 1967. They include his address to the 1969 Rotary International Conference, to the 13th Annual E.S. Meyers Memorial Lecture in 1970, and his 1970 H.V. Evatt Memorial Lecture.
38 albums and one box of loose newspaper cuttings giving detailed documentation of Australian and overseas press coverage of Spender's entire public career, beginning with his defeat of Sir Archdale Parkhill in the General Election of October 1937. Many of the albums are indexed. The loose cuttings include a collection of reviews of his books Politics and a man and Exercises in diplomacy.
5 albums and one box of loose photographs and also photographs of overseas trips, conferences, ceremonies, presentations, and other functions attended by Spender.
A small collection of books, journals and pamphlets, including several that have articles by Spender. Titles include Australian Quarterly, Foreign Affairs and Tompkins, ed. Peaceful change in modern society.
Consists of roneoed items, itineraries, memoranda, notes, certificates, and invitations covering all periods of Spender's career. The material is arranged chronologically. Drafts of a review of Sir Alan Watt's book The Evolution of Australian foreign policy, 1938-1965 (1967), and a bound set of minutes of the first eleven meetings of the Commonwealth Meeting on Foreign Affairs, January 1950 are also included.
Comprises a file box of letters received following Lady Spender's death in 1970, the manuscript of her book Ambassador's wife, several newspaper cuttings, and 2 letters to Lady Spender.
Mrs Henderson died in 1956 aged 86.
Photograph of Elizabeth, the Queen Mother Printed booklet on The Future of the Great Barrier Reef.
Ambassador Dulles and Ambassador Berendsen initiating Tri-Partite Security Treaty, July 12 1951, Washington D.C.
J.G. Starke Q.C. (Ed) Butterworths, Sydney.
Includes correspondence on the National Photographic Index of Australian Birds.