GERMAN NEW GUINEA WHETHER MILITARY OCCUPATION OF GERMAN POSSESSIONS IN PACIFIC IS AUSTRALIAN OR BRITISH
The Secretary to the Postmaster-General's Department has forwarded, for advice, the following memorandum:
In connection with the occupation by the Commonwealth of what was formerly German New Guinea, and the adjacent islands, which are now under the control of the Administrator, Colonel Pethebridge, appointed by the Commonwealth, the Postmaster-General desires to know whether the occupancy in question is sufficient to warrant the Commonwealth in treating those territories as Commonwealth or British, having regard to its temporary nature pending decision re ownership by the Prize Court or other tribunal adjudicating on such matters after the termination of the war. In my opinion, Australia as a part of the King's Dominions may only occupy German territory on behalf of the King of the United Kingdom and not on behalf of the Commonwealth.
In my opinion, therefore, the military occupation of the German possessions in the Pacific at present under the control of an Administrator appointed by the Commonwealth is British and not Australian.
[Vol. 14, p. 344]