Author(s): Jeremy Hearder
"There never was a greater Australian diplomat than Sir James Plimsoll." -- Alexander Downer, AC "You're mad to move Plimsoll. He's got contacts here and great influence." -- Henry Kissinger to Lance Barnard, Deputy Prime Minister. "Mr Plimsoll represented this country with great dignity and immense commonsense and courage." -- Sir Robert Menzies During more than three decades after the War, as Australia forged its place in the world, few were so influential as Sir James Plimsoll. Ambassadorial assignments took him to Korea during the War (1950-52); the United Nations in New York when the Cold War and decolonisation were hot topics; New Delhi in an attempt to establish a closer relationship with India; and subsequently to Washington during President Nixon's tensions with the Whitlam Government; Moscow in the era of detente; then Brussels, London and Tokyo. He was also head of the Department of External (later Foreign) Affairs (1965-70), during the Vietnam War. Feelings of frustration in his last three assignments were alleviated in retirement by success and satisfaction as Governor of Tasmania. This biography by Jeremy Hearder, a former ambassador, records Plimsoll's handling of various complex situations around the world, and his relations with Australian prime ministers Menzies, Gorton, Whitlam and Fraser, and foreign ministers Evatt, Casey, Barwick and Hasluck.