Richard Casey

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Person.png Richard Casey  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(deep politician, spook)
Lord Casey.jpg
Born29 August 1890
Brisbane, Queensland
Died17 June 1976 (Age 85)
Melbourne, Victoria
Alma materMelbourne Grammar School, University of Melbourne, Trinity College (Cambridge)
Founder ofAustralian Secret Intelligence Service
Member ofMelbourne Club
InterestsMoral Rearmament
PartyUnited Australia Party, Liberal Party of Australia
Australian who founded ASIS

Employment.png Governor-General of Australia

In office
7 May 1965 - 30 April 1969
Appointed byElizabeth II
Preceded byWilliam Sidney

Employment.png Australia/Minister for External Affairs

In office
11 May 1951 - 4 February 1960
Appointed byRobert Menzies

Employment.png Australia/Minister in charge of the CSIRO

In office
23 March 1950 - 4 February 1960
Appointed byRobert Menzies

Employment.png Australia/Minister for Works and Housing

In office
19 December 1949 - 17 March 1950
Appointed byRobert Menzies

Employment.png Governor of Bengal

In office
14 January 1944 - 19 February 1946

Employment.png Minister to the United States of America

In office
1 February 1940 - 20 April 1942
Appointed byRobert Menzies

Employment.png Treasurer of Australia

In office
3 October 1935 - 26 April 1939
Appointed byJoseph Lyons

Employment.png UK/Member of the House of Lords

In office
16 May 1960 - 17 June 1976

Employment.png Member of the Australian Parliament for La Trobe

In office
10 December 1949 - 10 February 1960

Employment.png Member of the Australian Parliament for Corio

In office
19 December 1931 - 30 January 1940

Richard Gavin Gardiner Casey, Baron Casey was Governor-General of Australia from 1965 to 1969. He was also an army officer, long-serving cabinet minister, Ambassador to the United States, member of Winston Churchill's War Cabinet, and Governor of Bengal. Casey was closely connected to leading members of both the British and US intelligence agencies, including two Dulles brothers, CIA Director Allan and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles.[1]

Early Life

Casey was born in Brisbane, but moved to Melbourne when he was young. He entered residence at Trinity College, Melbourne in 1909 while studying engineering at the University of Melbourne before continuing his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Early career

In 1914, Casey enlisted as a lieutenant in the Australian Imperial Force. He saw service in the Gallipoli Campaign and on the Western Front, reaching the rank of major, before becoming a Chief Intelligence Officer in 1920. Casey joined the Australian public service in 1924 to work at Whitehall as a liaison intelligence officer with the British administration. He reported directly to the prime minister, Stanley Bruce, with whom he developed a close relationship.


In 1931, Casey was elected to federal parliament for the United Australia Party. He was Treasurer from 1935 to 1939 (under Joseph Lyons and Earle Page), and then as Minister for Supply and Development from 1939 to 1940 (under Robert Menzies). During World War II, Casey was Ambassador to the United States from 1940 to 1942, and then joined Winston Churchill's War Cabinet as its representative in the Middle East. In 1944, Churchill appointed him Governor of Bengal, where he handled the recovery from the 1943 famine and civil unrest in the lead-up to independence.

Casey returned to Australia in 1946. He was federal president of the fledgling Liberal Party from 1947 to 1950, and re-entered parliament at the 1949 election. Casey was reappointed to cabinet shortly after, again serving under Robert Menzies.

Foreign Minister

He held various national development portfolios from 1949 to 1951, and then served as Minister for External Affairs until his retirement from politics in 1960.

In May 1952, Casey made an announcement in Parliament that "there was a nest of traitors in our midst"[2]. This "nest" was identified as having been in the Department of External Affairs and it had flourished when H. V. Evatt was Minister.

Casey established a spying agency to collect information about the Chinese communists, the communists in French Indochina and the Malayan Communist Party. In May 1952 he obtained the Prime Minister’s authority to establish the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (‘ASIS’) which, like the CIA, would have an operations wing and officers trained in the use of guns and explosives[3]. Casey arranged for the ASIS agents to be trained by the MI6, after which they were posted to serve undercover in Australian embassies.[1]


In 1965, Menzies named Casey to replace Lord De L'Isle as governor-general. He served for just under four years; the only major constitutional issue during his tenure was the disappearance of Harold Holt in 1967.


  1. a b
  2. Commonwealth, Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives, 27 May 1952, 808 (Richard Casey, Minister for External Affairs)
  3. Charter of the Australian Secret Service, signed Robert Menzies, 15 May 1952.
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