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Tuesday, 16 August 1921

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister for Defence) (Minister for Defence) . -(By leave.) - In response to a request made by Senator Duncan, I recently placed on the table of the Library certain papers relating to Brigadier-General Elliott, and last week the latter asked if certain other papers, which he said had a bearing on the case, and were not on the file, could be placed there. I promised to inquire about these papers, and I purpose now to give the Senate the result of that inquiry.

On Thursday, 4th August, I noticed in the press that General Elliott had stated that he had been asked by the Commandant of the Third Military District to accept a divisional command.

General Elliott's statement of this offer is reported in the Age and Argus of that date, from which the following quotation is extracted: -

Now, in point of fact, before any appointments were announced, I received a letter from Head-Quarters, Third Military District, asking " if I would accept a divisional command if recommended to the Minister." I wrote, in reply, in effect, that until I had had an opportunity of considering the whole of the Govern ment's proposals I would not bind myself to accept any appointment under the scheme.

I thereupon sent for the file of papers in connexion with General Elliott's case, and going through it found that there was no record of such an offer on the file, nor any suggestion thereof. I then sent for the Chief of the General Staff, General White, and the Adjutant-General, General Sellheim, and asked them if they were aware of any such offer having been made. They both assured me that they were notaware of any such offer having been made, and, moreover, that no District Commandant was authorized or empowered to make such an offer. I instructed them to have a search made both at Central Administration and at Third Military District Head-Quarters to see if there were any papers bearing on General Elliott's statement, and also to ascertain from General Brand what knowledge he had with regard to the statement.

As I anticipated that General Elliott might raise the question in the Senate, I also gave instructions for copies of all papers to be made, and to be sent up to me that afternoon.

After luncheon on that day, Senator Duncan informed me that he desired to see the papers in the case, and that he was going to ask for their production in the Senate. I told him that I would have no objection to producing them.

In bis statement in the Senate on Thursday, 11th August, General Elliott said that -

The substance of the correspondence was an inquiry by the Commandant, Third Military District, whether I would be a candidate for the position of Divisional Commander, and my reply thereto.

As a result of this, on Friday, 12th August, I directed the Adjutant-General to have a further search made, and again to communicate by telephone with General Brand in Sydney.

In reply to my directions, the AdjutantGeneral has submitted the following report : -

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