Guide to the Papers of William Macmahon Ball


MS 7851

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: ©2003.

Collection Summary

Ball, William Macmahon, 1901-1986
Papers of William Macmahon Ball
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 7851
6.44 metres (46 boxes)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Contents

The papers include correspondence and memoranda (with many copies of Ball's replies), drafts of talks, broadcasts and articles by Ball and others, lecture notes, reports, seminar and conference papers, subject files and press cuttings. While there is no sequence of diaries in the usual sense, amongst the highlights of the collection are typed diaries documenting events in 1945, 1946 and 1947. ( Series 12, Files 1-5). There are only a handful of photographs.

While the coverage of Ball's career is uneven, there is some good material on his diplomatic appointments. There is disappointingly little on the United Nations Conference in San Francisco. Noticeably absent also are complete manuscripts of his books.

Conditions Governing Access

Access conditions may apply to this collection, please refer to the collection's catalogue record for further information (

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of William Macmahon Ball, National Library of Australia, MS 7851, [series/file number]'.


The collection was purchased in 1987 from Ball's widow, Katrine.

Interview between Hazel de Berg and Ball in 1971 (Oral History Collection, DeB 542)


Ball's filing system was erratic and at times non-existent. There were numerous files with one or more titles unrelated to the diverse or sparse contents. Staff faced the choice of splitting files and distributing the contents across series or keeping the files intact and consigning them to the series which related to the bulk of the contents. The latter option was adopted. Unexpected items therefore appear in files in all the series. File titles are largely based on Ball's own file headings. Where these are brief, such as the surname of a lecture subject, they have been expanded to make the guide more meaningful.

In 1983 a member of Manuscripts staff spent several days at Eltham listing the Ball Papers in his study and in the house. Not all the papers listed on that occasion were contained in the consignment which arrived in the Library in 1987. The unevenness of the collection is probably due to some files being retained by family or associates. The Melbourne University Press files, for example, are not as extensive as they once were (Series 14, Files 4-5).

Biographical Note

William Macmahon Ball was born in Casterton, Victoria, on 29 August 1901. Educated first at Caulfield Grammar School and then at the University of Melbourne, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours) in 1923. From 1924 to 1929 Ball was a research scholar in psychology at the University of Melbourne, lecturing in Psychology, Logic and Ethics.

On 20 December 1929 Ball married Katrine, daughter of J.T. Noble Anderson, who was a friend and business partner of Sir John Monash.

In the same year, Ball won a Rockefeller Fellowship to the London School of Economics. While on this fellowship, Ball made a special study of public opinion and propaganda methods in Germany. He spent 1929-1932 in London, Germany, France and Italy, studying European politics.

On his return to Australia, Ball secured a post at the University of Melbourne, lecturing in Modern Political Institutions. This period lasted from 1932 to 1938, when he again went abroad, this time on a Carnegie Fellowship. Between 1938 and 1939 Ball spent several months attached to the BBC studying its methods of programming talks and collecting and broadcasting world news. At the time of the Munich crisis, Ball went through Sudetenland with the German Army, visited Prague and spent a day in Sachenhausen concentration camp, the first foreigner allowed to visit such a camp for several years.

From 1940 to 1944, Ball was Controller of Short Wave Broadcasts for the Commonwealth Government. In February 1940 he was granted special leave to take charge of the broadcasting work in the Department of Information. His unit recorded, translated and analysed enemy broadcasts.

In 1945, shortly before the end of the Pacific War, Ball returned to Melbourne University as Senior Lecturer in charge of the Department of Political Science. Also in 1945, Ball was sent to San Francisco as Adviser to the Australian Delegation at the United Nations Conference, and from November to December was Australian Government Political Representative in the Netherlands East Indies.

Ball's diplomatic work continued after the War, taking him to Japan from 1946 to 1947 as Member of the Allied Council for Japan, representing jointly UK, India, Australia and New Zealand. In 1948 he led the Australian Government Goodwill Mission to countries in East and South-East Asia.

Returning again to the University of Melbourne, Ball held the post of Professor of Political Science from 1949 to his retirement in 1968. During this time, in 1955, he travelled to the UK on a British Commonwealth Fellowship, stationed at Chatham House and St Anthony's College, Oxford.

Throughout his career, Ball was a regular commentator on world affairs for the ABC. He also broadcast many times for the BBC. He contributed articles on international affairs to British and Australian newspapers.

Ball died in Melbourne on 26 December 1986, aged 85. Katrine died in October 1991. They had one daughter, Jenny (Ellis).

Major Publications
  1. Possible peace (Melbourne University Press, 1936)
  2. Editor and part-author of Press, radio and world affairs (Melbourne University Press, 1938)
  3. Contributor to Paths to peace, edited by Victor Wallace (Melbourne University Press, 1957)
  4. Japan, enemy or ally? (Cassell and John Day, 1949)
  5. Nationalism and Communism in East Asia (Melbourne University Press, 1951; Iwanami Shoten, 1956)
  6. Australia and Japan (Thomas Nelson, 1969)
  7. Intermittent diplomat: the Japan and Batavia diaries of W. Macmahon Ball, edited by Alan Rix (Melbourne University Press, 1988)
About Ball
  1. Rix, Alan. W. Macmahon Ball: a pioneer in Australian Asian policy (Centre for the Study of Australian-Asian Relations, Griffith University, 1988)
  2. Ryan, Peter. William Macmahon Ball: a memoir (Melbourne University Press, 1990). This is a 'reprint' of the introduction to Intermittent diplomat.

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Correspondence, 1934-1985

William Macmahon Ball's correspondence files do not follow a clear-cut sequence. Many of the files have been re-used and the contents often bear no relation to the one or more titles which appear on the covers. Occasionally there are carbon copies of Ball's letters, and also many enclosures and some unrelated material. For the most part, file titles and dates listed below have been supplied by staff. The date ranges indicated below are often erratic and the correspondence does not cover all the years in the span. Nevertheless, file contents have not been disturbed, covers have been retained and Ball's file titles have been cited where relevant.

The general correspondence files have been arranged in rough chronological sequence, followed by files with topics. The descriptions below include names of some selected correspondents, but those names may also occur in other correspondence files. It should be remembered that letters also appear in other series, sometimes incidentally in unrelated files.

Answered letters, 1934-1939 (File 1-2)

Correspondents range from students and brief acquaintances to overseas academics and include Heinz Arndt, Kenneth Bailey, Sir Thomas Bavin, J.F. Boyer, Tristan Buesst, Noel Goss, Hartley Grattan, Wilfrid Oldham, William Radford, G.O. Reid, Raymond Watt, W. Farmer Whyte, Bert Wyllie. Many of the letters comment on Ball's lectures and radio talks or seek to arrange speaking engagements. There is a letter dated 4 May 1937 from the Prime Minister, J.A. Lyons, acknowledging a submission on foreign policy issues which Ball and five others had suggested could be discussed at the forthcoming Imperial Conference.

Various letters, 1934-1977 (File 3)

There are few letters in this file, which mainly comprises programs and cuttings. Correspondents include Nettie Palmer.

Personal letters, mainly 1935-1977 (File 4-5)

Correspondents include Robert Ball (a cousin), R.J.F. Boyer, Herbert Brookes, Alfred Condon, L.F. Crisp, W.D. Forsyth, Hartley Grattan. This file contains a passport dated ca.1963, together with business cards from numerous people and a few photographs.

Personal correspondence, 1940-1944 (File 6)

Included in this file are many copies of Ball's letters on business and employment matters, as well as some articles and broadcasts. Correspondents include T.W. Bearup, R.J.F. Boyer, Sir Henry Gullett, Angus McLachlan, Charles Moses.

Correspondence and 'scraps', 1940-1976 (File 7)

Correspondents include Tristan Buesst, Winston Lewis, Sir Robert Fraser, Sir Henry Gullett, Peter Ryan.

Personal correspondence, chiefly, 1944 (File 8)

This file includes many copies of Ball's letters. Correspondents include R.J.F. Boyer, A. Boyce Gibson, B.H. Molesworth, Charles Moses.

Sydney - miscellaneous correspondence, 1944-1945 (File 9)

This file includes many copies of Ball's own letters. The main correspondent is A.H. McDonald (University of Sydney).

Personal correspondence, 1946-1951 (File 10-11)

'Personal and private correspondence No. 2'. Many of the letters were written to Ball in his capacity as Member of the Allied Council for Japan. This file includes copies of Ball's letters, notably those to H.V. Evatt and John Burton. Other correspondents include Sir John Barry, Herbert Brookes, Arthur Calwell, Manning Clark, William Dunk, T.W. Eskersley, W.D. Forsyth, R.A. Hohnen, E. Longfield Lloyd, L.R. McIntyre, H. Vere Redman (British Embassy, Tokyo), G.O. Reid, Sir Frederick Shedden, Alan Watt, Sir William Webb.

Various letters, 1947-1966 (File 12)

Three small files and some loose letters. Correspondents include Herbert Brookes, Creighton (here signed as 'Crayton') Burns, L.F. Crisp, Sir Frederic Eggleston, Sir Charles Moses, G.O. Reid, E.J. Ward. Topics include Community Aid Abroad and business matters.

Personal correspondence, 1947-1979 (File 13-15)

Correspondence, 1948 (File 16)

Small file. Correspondents include C.S. Bavin.

Correspondence, 1950 (File 17-18)

From box file. Mostly to and from Ball in the Department of Political Science, University of Melbourne. Copies of Ball's replies are included. Correspondents include Sir Herbert Gepp, Paul Hasluck, Mary Healy (Institute of Pacific Relations) R.W. Hornabrook, Patrick Jubb (BBC), D.W. McNicol, B.H. Molesworth (ABC).

Correspondence and other papers, 1953-1961 (File 19)

Correspondents include Creighton Burns, Patricia Healy.

Correspondence, 1945-1955 (File 20)

Small file of letters written mainly when Ball lived in London. Correspondents include Christopher Rowland (BBC).

Correspondence, 1955-1964 (File 21)

Correspondents include L.F. Crisp, Admiral Sir Denis Boyd, Manning Clark, Paul Hasluck, B.H. Molesworth, Sir Patrick Shaw.

Correspondence, 1962-1964 (File 22)

'Leave, America etc.' Letters are chiefly to and from organisations in North America and concern itineraries and engagements. Correspondents include Hartley Grattan, Edward Greathead (Canadian Institute of International Affairs).

Correspondence, illness, 1966-1967 (File 23)

In addition to get-well letters and cards and several 'Nurse's daily reports', there are letters on numerous other topics. Correspondents include Creighton Burns, Manning Clark, Brian Howe, J.D.B. Miller, Peter Ryan.

Personal letters, 1968-1970 (File 24)

Correspondents include Norman Freehill, Norman Harper, Richard Refshauge, Noboru Imajo (Consul-General for Japan, Melbourne), David Sissons, Kylie Tennant. The file contains some references for academic colleagues.

Personal letters, 1969-1972 (File 25)

Correspondents include Lord Casey, Clem Christensen, Eric Fry, R.H. Molesworth, Clem Semmler.

Miscellaneous letters, mostly, 1970-1971 (File 26)

Various letters, 1972-1985 (File 27)

Correspondence, 1973-1978 (File 28)

ABC and personal correspondence, 1940-1946 (File 29)

Correspondence with David McNicol, 1947 (File 30)

Institute of Pacific Relations Correspondence, 1948-1953 (File 31)

Correspondence, ANU and allsorts, 1968-1970 (File 32)

Letters of Nettie Palmer to Ball, 1925-1952 (File 33)

Series 2. University of Melbourne, 1921-1979

Ball began his teaching career at the University of Melbourne in 1924. He lectured in Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology. Another period of lecturing, this time in Political Science, followed his trip overseas on the Rockefeller Travelling Fellowship in 1929-1931. He was involved in the establishment of the Department of Political Science at the University of Melbourne and in March 1939 became its head. Ball's academic career was punctuated by various other posts, and even when he was not attached to the University of Melbourne he was giving lectures to organisations, the seminars given to Public Service Board Second Division staff being notable amongst these. Papers relating to the Second Division seminars, to the Australian Administrative Staff College and to Ball's involvement with political associations have been placed in separate series. There are numerous general lecture notes in this series, but of special interest are Ball's notes and essays as an undergraduate (File 53). Lecture notes on Japan have been placed in Series 13.

There are many carbons of Ball's own letters and applications. The letters are largely administrative and addressed to university and institute officials. Occasional correspondents include Sir Kenneth Bailey, L.F. Giblin, Gordon Greenwood (Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London), Geoffrey Hawker (Canberra College of Advanced Education), Karl Heinz Pfeffer (Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London), R. Priestley (Vice-Chancellor, University of Melbourne) and W.C. Wentworth. A file relating to Ball's farewell in 1968 (File 17) includes short letters and testimonials from Manning Clark, David Kemp, Stephen Murray Smith, Sir Patrick Shaw and Sol Encel.

Subseries 2-1. General files

Correspondence, 1929-1939 (File 1)

The earliest item is a letter of referral, with seal, stating that Ball is in receipt of a Rockefeller Fellowship.

Personal correspondence and testimonials, 1939-1940; General correspondence, 1937-1939 (File 2)
Australian Institute of Political Science Summer School - correspondence and programs, 1935-1940 (File 3)
Mixed correspondence, 1948-1970 (File 4)

Including copies of Sir Frederick Wheeler's circular letters on the Public Service Board's treatment of sub-professional work and pay rates.

Regional study of Indonesia (the teaching about Indonesia in various departments of the University of Melbourne), 1952-1954 (File 5)
Canberra University College: Lecturer in Political Science applications and referee reports, 1959 (File 6)
Australian National University, 1966; Finance Committee, 1966; Council's Committee on the Jeanneret Report (File 7)
Various articles and papers, 1968-1974; Australian Institute of International Affairs Foreign Policy Study Group, 1973 (File 8)
Correspondence, primarily with Geoffrey Hawker, 1970-1977 (File 9)
Study group: Role of Bureaucracy in Australia's foreign relations, 1976-1979 (File 10)
University of Melbourne: correspondence, 1952-1966 (File 11)
Articles sent for Ball's attention, including Australian Institute of International Affairs (File 12)
University of Melbourne: examinations and essays, 1935-1970 (File 13)
Conference on South East Asia, 1955 (File 14)
Miscellaneous correspondence and papers, 1956-1982 (File 15)

Including comments on theses and Melbourne University Staff Association papers.

Melbourne University correspondence, chiefly on Vietnam, 1963-1967 (File 16)
Personal letters and testimonials, 1963-1968 (File 17)
University of Melbourne correspondence, 1935-1939, 1968 (File 18)
University of Melbourne, University of California, 1939 (File 19)

Subseries 2-2. University of Melbourne Confidential staff files

K.G. Armstrong; R.C. Anderson (File 20)
W.J. Byrt; C.L. Burns; Ball's superannuation (File 21)
L.F. Crisp; Lloyd Churchward; D. Corbett (File 22)
S.R. Davis; A.F. Davies; Phillip Darby (File 23)
S. Encel; S. Fraser; A.J.A. Gardner; Bruce Grant (File 24)
Marjorie Jean Holmes; A.E. Huck; P. Healy; History Chair; K. Holgate (File 25)
R.H. Ireland; J. Jupp; H. Mayer; D.F. Miller (File 26)
Newspaper clippings; J.M. Power; T. Pyman; S.D.E. Plant (File 27)
N.M. Richmond; P. Ryan (Melbourne University Press); W.O. Reiners (File 28)
D.C.S. Sissons; A.A. Staley; R.W. Staveley; selection of Senior Lecturer, 1949 (File 29)
Senior Lecturer applications 1966; R. Terrill; Elizabeth Vickers; H. Wolfsohn; K. Wheare (File 30)

Subseries 2-3. Lecture notes

International relations, external aid, 1966 (File 31)
Fascism, Italy, 1930s (File 32)
Australia (File 33)
Public administration (File 34)
Bernard Bosanquet (File 35)
Pacific (File 36)
Japan (File 37)
USA (File 38)
Russia, Europe (File 39)
Diplomatic history, 1914-1949 (File 40-41)
Industrial groups, 1950s (File 42)
Political institutions, 1940s, 1950s (File 43)
Sovereignty (File 44)
1930s: Communism (File 45)
Jeremy Bentham (File 46)
Foreign policy, Italy (File 47)
Political philosophy, 1937; Rousseau (File 48)
Political philosophy - Honours, 1935 (File 49)
Economy, international relations (File 50)
Finance, modern political institutions, 1935 (File 51)
Industrial relations (File 52)
Ball's notes and essays as an undergraduate, 1921-1923 (File 53)
Political institutions, 1932-1933 (File 54)
Political philosophy, Hobbes (File 55)
Foreign policy, Germany, 1930s (File 56)
Sociology (File 57)
Political institutions (File 58)
Select Committee on Constitution Alteration, 1950 (File 59)
Australian foreign policy and defence, 1930s (File 60)
International relations (File 61-62)
Britain (File 63-64)
Germany (File 65-66)
Disarmament, Public opinion (File 67)
Political science: general (File 68-70)
Metaphysics, Feeling and force, Public Administration (File 71)
Liberty, Liberal theory (File 72)
Australian Associated Press, Political institutions, House of Lords (File 73)
Political philosophy, inaugural lecture, mixed (File 74)
Robert MacIver, Friedrich Nietzsche, J.S. Mill (File 75)
T.H. Green, Harold Laski, Niccolo Machiavelli (File 76)
Plato, Henry Sidgwick, Herbert Spencer (File 77)
India, China (File 78)
Communism, Democracy (File 79)
Right and might, Obligation and obedience (File 80)
Ethics (File 81)
Labour Party today (File 82)
Russia (File 83)
Disarmament and war (File 84)
China, International relations (File 85)
Mixed (File 86)
International relations, mainly between wars; Locke (File 87)
The State and economic life (File 88)
Britain, political parties (File 89)

Series 3. Australian Administrative Staff College, 1968-1970

Founded in 1955 and situated at Mount Eliza in Victoria, the Australian Administrative Staff College provided residential courses for senior managers, administrators and younger executives. Ball gave occasional talks on foreign relations. The correspondents are officials of the College, discussing timetables and topics for the talks.

Correspondence, reports, notes, session papers, lists of seminar members, 1968-1970 (File 1-5)

Series 4. Second Division Seminars, 1960-1974

The Second Division of the Commonwealth Public Service comprised officers who assisted and supported the Permanent Head (First Division) in policy-making and Departmental administration.

The Seminars, designed to provide the knowledge base for policy-making and to foster discussion, covered such topics as public administration, defence, foreign affairs, industry, finance. Ball was on the Board of the Second Division Seminars. While the series consists predominantly of background papers and reports, there are also details of session leaders and numerous carbons of Ball's approaches or acknowledgements to contributors, together with a few replies. Correspondents include R.N. Allen (Public Service Board), Arthur Brown (PSB), J.C. Conway (PSB), Bill Hayden, Joe Loudon, A.B. Milne (PSB) and Sir Frederick Wheeler. The series includes papers by Sir Edward Boyle, R.E. Bullock (Deputy Clerk of the Senate), Sir John Crawford, Sir James Dunnett, L.F. Crisp, B.W. Hartnell, T.B. Millar, Geoffrey Sawer and W.C. Wentworth.

Background papers, 1968 (File 1-2)

Background papers, correspondence, 1969 (File 3-4)

Reports, notes, correspondence, programs, planning papers, 1960-1969 (File 5)

Reports, correspondence, notes, background papers, 1969-1972 (File 6-7)

Background papers, 1969-1971 (File 8-10)

Reports, correspondence, programs, notes, 1970-1974 (File 11)

Correspondence, programs, background papers, 1970-1972 (File 12)

Correspondence, programs, background papers, notes, undated photograph of participants, file dated June 1972, June 1972 (File 13)

Background papers, 1973 (File 14)

Background papers, March-July 1974 (File 15-16)

Background papers, programs, correspondence, notes, undated (File 17-19)

Series 5. Australasian Political Studies Association, 1966-1970

Founded in 1952, the Association's membership consists of those who hold teaching posts in Political Science and related subjects. Although Ball was a member, the series contains no conference papers by him. Authors include David Butler, L.F. Crisp, Roy Forward, George Molnar, G.S. Reid and Sir Frederick Wheeler.

Conference papers, 1966-1970 (File 1-2)

Series 6. Australian Institute of International Affairs, 1963-1977

The Institute was established in 1933 to promote the objective study and discussion of international affairs. Ball was on the Council of the Victorian Branch. Correspondents include A.G. Lowndes (Chairman of AIIA), Norman Harper, J.D. Legge and T.B. Millar. Authors of conference papers and speeches include Heinz Arndt, William Macmahon Ball, Hedley Bull, Paul Dibb, Bruce Grant, J.D. Legge, T.B. Millar, Andrew Peacock, and Senator Don Willesee. There is an article about Sir Alan Watt.

Meetings, lecture, study group, 1977 (File 1)

Chiefly research reports, 1968-1974 (File 2)

Correspondence, reports, conference papers, 1963-1974 (File 3)

Reports, conference papers, 1971-1974 (File 4)

Series 7. Book Censorship Abolition League, 1933-1935

The League was created in response to the actions of a Commonwealth Minister. In 1934, when Robert Menzies (Attorney-General) was overseas, the Minister for Trade and Customs, Thomas White, embarked on the practice of banning the import of political publications which were circulating freely overseas. Ball set up the Book Censorship Abolition League 'to protect the rights of readers and booksellers'. Late in 1937 Cabinet decided that the Attorney-General's Department was superior to the Department of Trade and Customs on the matter of censorship and the restrictions were lifted. Many members of the League, however, went on to join the Australian Council for Civil Liberties, formed in 1936.

Articles, correspondence, cuttings, lists of banned books, 1933-1935 (File 1)

Series 8. Royal Institute of Public Administration, 1968-1970

The papers in this small series emanate largely from the seminar held by the ACT Group of the Australian Institute of International Affairs at Thredbo in May 1970. Ball gave the initial talk at this seminar and it is included in the series. Other authors (1968-1970) include A.F. Davies, Rae Else-Mitchell, Walter Scott and Harry Whitmore.

Conference papers, correspondence, 1968-1970 (File 1)

Series 9. General writings, talks and broadcasts, 1936-1985

Ball once described himself as a 'publicist'. This epithet encompassed lecturing, broadcasting and journalism, and included his role as Controller of Short Wave Broadcasts in 1940-44. His work as a writer and speaker began in the 1920s and continued throughout most of his life. One highlight of his broadcasting career was when he worked for the ABC and BBC in 1938-39, travelling through Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia as a broadcasting observer. During the 1950s, in particular, he was an influential commentator on international affairs. He worked closely with the ABC from the 1930s to the 1960s. Ball wrote articles and reviews for several magazines and newspapers, including the Age, Melbourne Herald, Mainichi (Japan) and Nation (New York).

Because of the difficulty of distinguishing drafts and notes which were intended for articles from those intended for talks and broadcasts, they have all been brought together in this series, with some clustering according to dates, topics and the Australian Broadcasting Commission. As well as drafts and notes for articles, talks and reviews, this series contains related correspondence. Correspondents include Fred Alexander, Arthur Calwell, Tom Crutchley, M.F. Dixon (ABC), Tom Fitzgerald, Jack Gill (Australian Natives' Association), W.M. Gray, Gordon Greenwood, W.R. Hodgson, Arthur Lowndes, Carey McWilliam (Nation editor), B.H. Molesworth, Charles Moses, Sir Keith Murdoch, Bill Oostermeyer, Nettie Palmer, Rohan Rivett, Peter Ryan, Sir Patrick Shaw and Robert Whitelaw.

Articles, 1956 (File 1)

Articles, 1960 (File 2)

Articles, 1961 (File 3)

Articles, 1962-1963 (File 4)

Articles, 1964-1965 (File 5)

Articles, 1966-1967 (File 6)

Miscellaneous notes and talks (File 7-10)

Miscellaneous notes, articles, cuttings on Indonesia, Formosa, China (File 11)

ABC talks and synopses, 1936-1937 (File 12-13)

Letters on broadcasts, 1937 (File 14)

ABC policy, talks, 1937-1938 (File 15)

ABC talks, 1938-1957 (File 16)

ABC talks, 1939 (File 17)

Miscellaneous talks, lectures, notes, 1936-1966 (File 18)

Letters from ABC listeners, 1936-1939 (File 19)

ABC letters and talks, 1939-1981 (File 20)

ABC letters, memoranda, talks, 1939-1944 (File 21)

Department of Information, Broadcasting Division, 1940-1943 (File 22)

Broadcasts and correspondence, 1943-1944 (File 23)

Broadcasts, including short-wave, 1973-1944 (File 24)

ABC: 'The world as I see it', 1940s (File 25)

ABC: historical fragments, journalism case, 1943-1945 (File 26)

ABC talks, 1948-1966 (File 27)

ABC 'News Commentary', 1948-1954 (File 28)

ABC talks, 1952-1954 (File 29)

ABC talks and discussions, 1950s (File 30-31)

ABC talks, 1952-1960 (File 32)

ABC talks, 1952-1961 (File 33)

ABC 'Australia and the Pacific', 1950s-1960s (File 34-35)

Writings for Austral-Asiatic Bulletin, 1937 (File 36)

Articles, addresses, broadcasts, 1940s-1950s (File 37)

Articles, talks, cuttings, 1940s-1970s (File 38)

Articles for Mainichi, Nation and Labor call, 1930s-1950s (File 39)

Articles, talks, some letters, 1930s-1970s (File 40)

Correspondents include Karl Heinz and John Hilvert.

Articles, addresses, 1950s (File 41)

Articles, 1950s (File 42-43)

Articles, some letters, 1950s-1960s (File 44)

Articles, addresses, loose drafts, 1950s and undated (File 45)

Articles, 1950s (File 46)

Correspondence with publishers, 1951-1952 (File 47)

Articles for Nation, 1958-1959 (File 48)

Articles, including some for Nation, 1960s (File 49-53)

Articles, talks, 1970s (File 54-57)

Articles, talks, cuttings, some correspondence, 1930s-1970s (File 58)

Articles, cuttings, a few letters, 1970s-1980s (File 59-60)

Reviews by Ball, 1970s-1980s (File 61)

Drafts of Paths to peace; letters and reviews of Possible peace (File 62)

'Australia in the world' (File 63)

Articles about newspapers and the Australian press (File 64)

Articles, loose drafts, press extracts, mostly undated (File 65-68)

Series 10. United Nations Conference, San Francisco, 1945

From April to June 1945 Ball visited San Francisco as Adviser to the Australian Delegation at the United Nations Conference. He accompanied H.V. Evatt, and there were signs of the friction which characterised their relationship in the ensuing years.

'Documentation for meetings of Committee' and published report (File 1)

Series 11. Foreign policy and the Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration, 1943-1977

The papers in this series are very mixed in subject matter and date range, and the original file titles are often irrelevant. They have been combined in this series because the issues merge to some extent. The first part of the series consists of papers gathered by Ball for research purposes and correspondence on foreign affairs. They provide some background to Ball's diplomatic appointments, particularly his relationship to officers in the Department of External Affairs.

The second part of the series consists of reports, printed material and correspondence relating to the Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration, 1974-1976. This inquiry, also known as the Coombs Commission, investigated the administration of Australian government departments, statutory authorities, the principal instruments for the coordination of policy, and the Public Service. The members were H.C. Coombs, P.H. Bailey, E. Campbell, J.E. Isaac and P.R. Munro. The inquiry resulted in 337 recommendations. Ball's intention in gathering the documents was possibly to write a 'reflective piece' on the Inquiry, as referred to in a letter from Sir Frederick Wheeler.

Various papers and cuttings on Australian foreign policy, 1944 (File 1)

The file includes some early papers such as an address by R.G. Menzies in 1944, a letter by J.D.L. Hood (Department of External Affairs) in 1944, an undated comment on the Australia-New Zealand Agreement and papers of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

The main items in this file are copies of directives for political warfare against Japan and Netherlands Indies, 1943 and undated (File 2)

Department of External Affairs correspondence, lists and personal records, 1943 (File 3)

The papers include curricula vitae and offers by citizens to help with he war effort. One of the lists is headed 'Particulars of persons qualified for foreign language monitoring'.

South Pacific Commission, 1949 (File 4)

Letter from Trevor Pyman enclosing background material on the SPC for a proposed broadcast by Ball on the work of the Commission.

Research on Australian foreign policy, 1973 (File 5)

This file includes notes made by Ball from press reports and the text of a statement on foreign investment in Australia by Gough Whitlam in 1973.

Published articles on Australian foreign policy, 1970s and a statement by the Minister for External Affairs, Sir Garfield Barwick, on West New Guinea (File 6)

Various papers and letters, 1976-1977 (File 7)

Correspondents include J.W. Foley, Geoffrey Hawker and Garry Whitley.

Copies of submissions, appendices and related documents (File 8-10)

Drafts, notes, correspondence, reports and published articles, 1975-1977 (File 11-12)

Correspondents include Sir Lawrence McIntyre, R.G. Neale, K.C.O. Shann and Sir Frederick Wheeler. Topics include administrative matters and conditions of overseas employment.

Department of Foreign Affairs, 1975 (File 13)

Letter from Alan Renouf to Dr Coombs dated 31 January 1975, concerning foreign policy matters.

Public Service Board, 1975-1977 (File 13)

Internal memoranda 'in confidence' concerning staff movements in 1975 and 1977.

Series 12. Asia, 1945-1984

From October to December 1945 Ball went on a mission to Netherlands East Indies and Malaya. He was for six weeks the Australian Political Representative to Batavia, and reported to Commonwealth Cabinet on the mission. From March 1946 to August 1947 he was a member of the Allied Council for Japan, representing jointly the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and India. He held the personal rank of Minister, but from April to September 1947 he was concurrently Head of the Australian Mission in Japan. In 1948 Ball was leader of the Australian Government Goodwill Mission which visited East Asia.

Because many papers documenting these posts have been integrated, they are combined under the general heading 'Asia'. Ball's Batavia Diary and the diary of his period in Japan are very significant and were edited for the publication Intermittent diplomat: W. Macmahon Ball and Asia, 1945-48 (Melbourne University Press, 1988). Further papers on Japan are in Series 13.

There was some tension between Ball and the Minister for External Affairs, Dr H.V. Evatt. Their opinions differed and Evatt was critical of Ball's performance in Netherlands East Indies and Japan. Difficulties with Evatt made Ball's resignation inevitable and he left Japan in August 1947. This series documents some of the friction and Ball's defensive statements.

Batavia Diary, 1945-1948 (File 1)

Typescript diary by Ball dated 7 November 1945 to 5 December 1945, followed by a copy of part of a letter from Ball to Chifley, a 15-page analysis of Indonesia, loose pages about the Goodwill Mission in 1948, a copy of a letter from Ball to John Burton dated 7 June 1948 and interim notes on Netherlands East Indies. Also in this file is a copy of Ball's official report on Netherlands East Indies, dated 1946.

Typescript Introduction by Peter Ryan to the publication Intermittent diplomat: W. Macmahon Ball and Asia, 1945-48 (MUP, 1988) edited by Alan Rix; typed notes by Ball on Intermittent diplomat, headed 'Eltham 21 September 84' (File 2-5)

These notes include recollections about H.V. Evatt's attitude to Ball. The typed diary which follows begins at 'Friday, 5th April, 1946 (Contd.)' and ends with 'Thursday, January 9th, 1947', covering Ball's period in Japan. Included with the diary are copies of telegrams between the Allied Council for Japan and the Australian Government as well as a typed news statements by Ball.

File titled 'Australian Goodwill Mission to Malaya', containing press cuttings, typed press extracts, mostly from Malayan newspapers, 1948 (File 6)

Goodwill Mission, 1948 (File 7-8)

Includes a letter of referral by John Burton (with seal) dated 19 May 1948, for Ball in his role as leader of the mission to South East Asia, a typed report 'Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; a project for study of national attitudes toward the United Nations', correspondence, cables, administrative arrangements, reports and press extracts. There is a copy of a letter from Ball to Evatt, 21 June 1948. Correspondents include Ray Mitchell of the Australian Commission for Malaya and John Burton.

Series 13. Japan, 1945-1977

From 1946 to 1947, Ball was a member of the Allied Council for Japan (see introduction to Series 12). Ball regarded this as the most important post of his career. While Ball's Asian diaries have been placed in the previous series, this series contains files specifically on Japan. Because Ball's interest in Japan was not confined to the 1946-1947 period, all material on this topic has been brought together in this series. Included are official reports, letters and articles. Many of the talks and letters are from a much later period, when Ball was called upon to discuss his recollections. At the end of the series are numerous published cuttings and pamphlets on Japan.

Allied Council for Japan: agenda, minutes and reports, 1946-1948 (File 1-7)

In File 7 there is a letter from Ball to General Douglas McArthur, dated 10 September 1947 concerning operations of the Australian Mission in Japan, together with 'Notes on a talk with General McArthur, evening of March 26th, 1948'.

Allied Council for Japan; Reference Data, Volume 1 (File 8)

Allied Council for Japan: monthly reports, 1946-1947 (File 9-11)

Summation of non-military activities in Japan, April 1946 (File 12)

'A picture of the Japanese Army - Most Secret', undated, but post 1942 (File 13)

Correspondence, 1945-1947 (File 14)

Correspondents include H.V. Evatt and Tatsuma Hashimoto (Representative of the Shiunso). Some carbons of Ball's letters are present.

Correspondence, 1946 (File 15)

Correspondents include R.J.F. Boyer, Sir Douglas Copland, Rupert Hornabrook. There are carbons of many of Ball's letters.

Correspondence, Japan, 1947 (File 16)

Correspondents include Clem Christensen, Sir Frederic Eggleston, W.D. Forsyth, Sir John Latham, Crosbie Morrison, G.O. Reid, H.C.H. Robertson. There are numerous carbons of Ball's own letters.

Copies of secret and personal cables from Japan, 1947, photograph of Ball, letters and memoranda, 1946-1947 (File 17)

Correspondence about Japan, 1966-1977 (File 18)

One file concerns Ball's plans to travel to Tokyo University as a Visiting Fellow. For health and other reasons, he did not take up the post. The other concerns talks, articles and research on Japan. Correspondents include Peter Edwards, David Sissons, Stuart Sayers.

Notes, articles, lectures, talks, seminar papers and background material on Japan (File 19-38)

Publications on Japan (File 37a, 39-40)

Series 14. Subject files, 1962-1982

In this series have been placed files with specific titles which do not fit into other series. The contents of the files include correspondence, articles by Ball and others, cuttings and pamphlets.

Brotherhood of St Lawrence, 1964; Australian Party, 1966-1967 (File 1)

Unrelated items in this file are an article entitled 'The Asian Viewpoint' and reports on educational television, 1963

Conservation, especially Fraser Island, 1975 (File 2)

Immigration, 1962-1979 (File 3)

Melbourne University Press, 1963-1982 (File 4-5)

Ball was involved with the Press over a long period, beginning in about 1956. Gwyn James, who was also a lecturer in History at the University of Melbourne, nominated Ball for election to the board. Ball later replaced James and was chairman of the Press for the last few years of his official involvement. In later years, he advised the Press on manuscripts submitted for publication. The main correspondents in these files are Norman Harper and Peter Ryan.

Vietnam - pamphlets, 1965-1968 (File 6)

Series 15. Writings by others, 1954-1983

This series is comprised of handwritten, typescript, roneoed and printed articles, talks, offprints, conference papers, reports, student essays and broadcasts, many of which were sent to Ball for information or comment. Some have been kept together as thematic files (for example the Indian Ocean material in File 8 and the Eggleston material in File 15), but the majority of articles are loose.

Draft article by L.F. Crisp on the Fulton Report ('Public administration as profession'), 1968; list of ALP federal personnel, 1901-1954, by Crisp and S.P. Bennett, September 1954 (File 1)

Typescript articles 1968 and undated (File 2)

By Anthony Clunies Ross, J.D. Legge, D.P O'Connell and I.A. Shearer, Julius Stone, Sir Alan Watt.

Articles and speeches, 1960, 1970 and undated (File 3)

Authors include Heinz Arndt, Gordon Bryant, J.A.C. Mackie, Ralph Retzloff, William McMahon.

Speeches, articles, reports, 1967-1970 (File 4)

Authors include W.T.R. Fox, John McEwen, Peter Robinson, D.C.S. Sissons. Included is a brief report of discussion at the India-Japan Australia Conference at ANU, 1967.

Typescript draft entitled 'Chapter 5: The nature of appeasement' (File 5)

Typescript articles and lectures, 1975-1982 and undated (File 6)

Authors include J. L. Knott, Larry Lamb, R.G. Neale.

Typescript articles and talks, 1968-1982 and undated (File 7)

Authors include Alan Carmichael, R.R. MacIntyre, J.O. Stone. There is also a paper by Rex Mortimer 'Australia's Liberal Impasse', with comments by Ball.

Cuttings and two articles by G. Jukes and Derek Verrall, 1968-1976 (File 8)

The topic is the Indian Ocean and the defence of Australia's western shores.

Articles and journal issues, 1973-1974 (File 9)

Authors include Hedley Bull, James Richardson, R.F. Smith.

Typescript articles, 1968 and undated (File 10)

Authors include Ruth Atkins, Don Aitkin, Francis Castles, A. Jarman, N.S. Thornton.

Typescript articles 1967-1968 and undated (File 11)

Authors include Henry Albinski, C.P. Fitzgerald, B.B. Schaffer.

Typescript and printed articles 1968-1983 and undated (File 12)

Authors include Hartley Grattan, Clive Nield, Milton E. Osborne, E.G. Whitlam. There are also comments by Ball dated 1983 on David Horner's High command (1982).

Typescript draft by Norman Harper entitled 'Occupation and control of Japan', with comments by Ball, 1982 (File 13)

Typescript articles and lectures, 1976-1979 and undated (File 14)

Includes paper by Reg Stock and handwritten notes by Ball; lecture by K.C.O. Shann.

Typescript and handwritten articles, 1953-1981 (File 15)

Authors include Warren Osmond. Topics include Osmond's study of Sir Frederic Eggleston. Kept with this group are letters between Eggleston and Ball dated 1941 and 1947, letters between Osmond and Ball, and comments by Ball.

Printed and typescript articles, 1972-75 and undated (File 16)

Authors include Ian Castles, D.J. Hibberd, R.H. Snape.

Series 16. Press cuttings and printed matter, 1925-1980s

Files of cuttings and pamphlets arranged by Ball in year order.

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1925 (empty), 1928, 1929, 1932 (File 1)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1931-1932 (File 2)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1936-1938 (File 3)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1939-1940 (File 4)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1941 (File 5)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1943-1945 (File 6)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1946-1948 (File 7)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1949 (File 8)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1950 (File 9-10)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1951 (File 11_12)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1952 (File 13-14)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1953 (File 15)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1953-1954 (File 16)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1954 (File 17)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1955 (File 18-19)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1956 (File 20)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1957 (File 21)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1958 (File 22)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1959 (File 23)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1960 (File 24-25)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1961 (File 26)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1962 (File 27)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1963 (File 28)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1964 (File 29-30)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1965 (File 31)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1966 (File 32)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1967 (File 33)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1968 (File 34)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1969 (File 35)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1970 (File 36)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1971-1972 (File 37)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1973-1974 (File 38)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1975 (File 39)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1976-1978 (File 40)

Cuttings and pamphlets, 1979-1980s (File 41)

Cuttings dated 1932-1975, some from the foreign press (File 42-45)

File titles are absent or unreliable, but topics include Socialism, Indian Ocean and Ball's period in Japan.

Drafts and cuttings of reviews by Ball, together with some general cuttings (File 46-48)

General press cuttings (File 49-51)

Series 17. Miscellaneous

Notebook of German-English phrases, typed 'diary' of experience with a car malfunction in 1977, typed document by Australian Mining Industry Council 'Industry policy on mineral processing', list of Ball's books, untitled notebook, typed proceedings of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, 1971, draft pages on Australian foreign policy, typescript article by Ball entitled 'A visit to France', four small snapshots and photocopies of two snapshots. Also copies of biographical information gathered by National Library staff when visiting Ball.

Comprises 3 fils.

Container List

Series File Box
1 1-8 1
1 9-16 2
1 17-25 3
1 26-33 4
2 1-10 5
2 11-19 6
2 20-30 7
2 31-39 8
2 40-48 9
2 49-57 10
2 58-66 11
2 67-74 12
2 75-83 13
2 84-89 14
3 1-3 14
3 4-5 15
4 1-7 15
4 8-16 16
4 17-19 17
5 1-2 17
6 1-4 17
7 1 18
8 1-2 18
9 1-4 18
9 5-11 19
9 12-19 20
9 20-27 21
9 28-35 22
9 36-44 23
9 45-52 24
9 52a-59 25
9 60-68 26
10 1 27
11 1-7 27
11 8-13 28
12 1-8 29
13 1-7 30
13 8-15 31
13 16-24 32
13 25-32 33
13 33-37a 34
13 38-40 35
14 1-6 36
15 1-8 37
15 9-16 38
16 1-7 39
16 8-15 40
16 16-22 41
16 23-29 42
16 30-36 43
16 37-44 44
16 45-49 45
16 50-51 46
17 1-3 46