These are the complete and unredacted diplomatic diaries of Sir Owen Dixon, Australia’s ambassador (“Minister”) to the United States through the war years 1942-1944. Private and never previously published, they take us into the heart of FDR’s Washington through those momentous times and significantly affect our understanding of the wartime relations of the United States and Australia. They vividly illustrate, in addition to the two nations’ shared engagement in the war effort, their differences and diverging interests. They take us not only into the diplomatic scene but into the intricate day-to-day business of the State Department, the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff as these impinged on Australia’s engagement in the war. Philip Ayres, who is also Dixon’s biographer, has provided a detailed commentary on the daily diary entries and a substantial introduction. This is an important reference work that can be read straight through as a personal narrative. It is deeply researched and the editing is to the highest standards.
List of Illustrations
Diaries, 26 May–31 December 1942
Diaries, 1 January–31 December 1943
Diaries, 1 January–27 October 1944
Owen Dixon’s wartime diaries are strangely addictive.
…While this volume will primarily attract readers interested in Dixon and those following Australia’s involvement in World War II, it should also prove engaging to those with general reading habits.
John Gava, Adelaide Law Review, Volume 42(2), 2021
The book will be of particular interest to those interested in Australia’s military history and diplomacy during the Second World War and those interested in Dixon’s life.
Scott Whitechurch, Victorian Law Institute Journal, July 2021
The style of the Washington Diaries, which were pocket diaries written up at night, is reportage, but they combine the characteristics of an aide-memoire with details of family anxieties.
What the Washington Diaries record, however, are Dixon’s interactions with such people, with key strategists and decision makers and many others.
…Philip Ayres and Federation Press are to be congratulated on producing a handsome publication which enlarges our understanding of a formative stage in the development of Australia’s geopolitical allegiances in a primary record of Dixon’s war-time endeavours in that respect.
The Hon Sue Crennan AC QC, (2021) 95 ALJ 154