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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dad's ASIO file

26/1/1951
To; Director, Victoria; Director-general
From; Director, NSW
Subject: BORTHWICK family
It is desired to establish the relationship between the following persons;
(a) Eve Mary BORTHWICK nee SAGE
Born 9.5.1888, Gawler Park, SA
(b) Barbara Joan BORTHWICK
born 9.4.1922, Sale, Vic
(c) Janet BORTHWICK
born 11.9.1925, Kilmany, Vic
(d) Alexander Hay BORTHWICK,
born 3.1.1919, Warragul, Vic

2. It would appear that (a) is the mother of (b), (c), and (d). However, as all the females mentioned have been adverselt noted ffor their association with the persons of interest here, and as Alexander Hay BORTHWICK has been appointed Official Secretary to the Assistant High Commissioner for Australia in Colombo, I would be glad if you could do this and inform me of the result.
Director


10/10/1951, Canberra
Memorandum – Secret
Department of External Affairs (overseas staff)
1. Attached please find personal particulars forms in respect to the staff of the Department of External Affairs who are at present serving overseas. A special check is required in each case.
2. It is requested that the forms related to NSW be forwarded to the Regional Director NSW.
3. Your attention is drawn to the case of A.H. BORTHWICK at present stationed in Colombo. Certain members of his family are on record, but BORTHWICK before his appointment to Colombo personally informed the permanent Head of his Department that some members of his family were not regarded favourably from a political point of view and that he entirely repudiated their views. Again, when completing his personal particulars form he wrote a personal letter to the Secretary of the Department disclaiming any associations with the political views of his family.
4. BORTHWICK is known to members of this Office and he is highly regarded in Canberra.
5. This information is placed before you in order that BORTHWICK’s outlook and reactions to the views of other members of his family should be known to you.

Peter Gilbert
Regional Director, ACT

13/12/1951
SECRET
Memorandum for Regional Director for ACT
Alexander Hay BORTHWICK
Dept. of External Affairs
The abovenamed, who is at present in Colombo, was submitted for a Special Check.
2. In this case, there are certain adverse factors relating to an association between Mrs. Eve BORTHWICK, subject mother, and Mark YOUNGER. There is evidence also that some members of the BORTHWICK family are probable communists.
3. It now requires to complete the case some summary of any adverse facts that may be known as affecting BORTHWICK himself and his activities as far as they are ascertainable in ACT.
4. Please investigate and report.


DIRECTOR-GENERAL.

27/8/1952
SECRET
Memorandum for Regional Director for ACT
Alexander Hay BORTHWICK
Dept. of External Affairs
Reference is made to my memo dated 13 December 1952.
2. No reply appears to have been received at Headquarters andd it would be appreciated if this could be expedited.
3. BORTHWICK was submitted for a Special Check for the Department of External Affairs in his position as Second Secretary at the Australian High Commission on Colombo.

DIRECTOR-GENERAL.

2/9/1952
Attorney-General’s Department
D Branch
Memorandum for Headquarters ASIO
Alexander Hay BORTHWICK
Dept. of External Affairs
1. Please refer to your memorandum of 28 August 1952.
2. Nothing adverse concerning BORTHWICK is known in Canberra and for your guidance we are forwarding copy of our memorandum of 13th October, 1951, in which BORTHWICK repudiates his family’s political views.

Regional Director, ACT

12/9/1951, Colombo
Office of the Commissioner for Australia, Colombo
Dear Charles,
I sent down for you last week a form of personal return called for because of the Department’s evident need to have a proper account of the background of its members. I should add for the record though more informally that my mother’s address, 121 Cook Street, Centennial Park, is also the address of my brother-in-law and sister (Mr. & Mrs. W. Simcox). This is only relevant because both, as far as I know, are enrolled members off the Communist Party, not that I believe that that organization would profit much from the support he is able to give, being remarkable for a certain allegiance to preconceived ideas and not for his natural abilities. My mother was associated for a little while with the Sydney Peace Committee until affected by justified doubts of its truly pacific intentions. Before leaving Australia I had acquainted the then Head of Department with these circumstances. It may be necessary to do so at this stage though I might also mention I have five other brothers and sisters whose political associations between them complete the political spectrum, and their views have no necessary effect on my own. With McLeans [sic] and Burgers [sic] dotted about and for all one knows an equivalent to Canada’s spy ring remaining to be detected in Australia, you ought to have this information, though one might hope you do not find it significant.
Yours sincerely
Alex Borthwick



17/10/1952
CONFIDENTIAL
Memorandum for Headquarters ASIO
Alexander Hay BORTHWICK
Dept. of External Affairs
1. As requested in attached minute, we are now forwarding a copy of the personal letter written by Mr. BORTHWICK to the Secretary of his Department.
2. Further, we have advised the Department of External Affairs that BORTHWICK is not adversely recorded.
3. We have now received a request from the Department of External Affairs for a records check on BORTHWICK’s sister Janet. Confidentially, we have been informed that Miss BORTHWICK is on the same side of the fence as her brother.

Regional Director for ACT.


12/11/1953
SECRET
Memorandum for Headquarters ASIO (Director B2)
Alexander Hay BORTHWICK
Dept. of External Affairs
1. Your reference B/3/4.
2. At an interview with Mr. CUMPSTON on the 11th November, 1953, he stated that Mr. A.H. BORTHWICK of the Department of External Affairs whilst Third Secretary of the Australian High Commissioner’s Office in Wellington about 1947, had switched all Australian High Commissioner’s book orders to a shop called ‘Modern Books’, the proprietor of which is a Mr. NUNES, an acknowledged Communist. Mr. CUMPSTON said that BORTHWICK subsequently went to Colombo and is now posted in Canberra.
3. Note: This is the BORTHWICK who dissociated himself from members of his family, who are known communists, in a personal letter to the Department of External Affairs.

W M PHILLIPPS
Regional Director for ACT.


18/6/1954, Canberra
Alexander Hay Borthwick
Mother friendly with YOUNGER
Relative of Kath KNAGGS
Wrote letter to External Affairs disclaiming any connection with Communism and the politics of the remainder of his family
Stated that in 1947 BORTHWICK as third secretary in New Zealand had switched all high Commissioner’s book orders to a shop which was owned by an openly avowed communist.
Thought to have attended a party given by GW LEGGE.
Accepted an invitation to attend Soviet national Day Celebrations at Hotel Canberra, 1955.
Recommendation – There is a family connection with communism and it is considered that BORTHWICK should be subject to further inquiry.


15/9/1954, Canberra
Department of External Affairs
CONFIDENTIAL
The Regional Director,
“D” Branch,
Attorney-General’s Department
With reference to my memoranda of 9th January, 1953 and 9 March, 1953, and to your memorandum of 7 April 1953, I should be grateful if you would advise the present position in respect of the security clearance requested for AH BORTHWICK of this Department.
JK Waller,
Assistant Secretary.



27/8/1952
SECRET
Memorandum for Regional Director for ACT
Alexander Hay BORTHWICK- Vetting
With reference to your memorandum of 14 September, 1954, please be advised that subject person is not adversely recorded in the files of this Organization.
2. As subject’s family connections may possibly bring him to notice in the future it is considered advisable to retain the file for the present.

DIRECTOR-GENERAL.


3/6/1963, Canberra
Headquarters, ASIO
BORTHWICK, Alexander Hay
The following is an extract from page 1717 of the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette dated 9/5/1963;
DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
BORTHWICK, Alexander Hay
Present Designation – External Affairs Officer, Grade 3 (£2,293-2,488) Third division
Position to which promoted – External Affairs Officer, Grade 4 (£2,553-2878) Third division
Duties – Deputy Head of Mission at certain posts and senior political and economic adviser to Head of Mission. Attend in representative capacity at other than major international conferences.
D.W. O’LEARY
REGIONAL DIRECTOR, ACT

1/12/1964
Alexander Hay BORTHWICK
BORTHWICK is currently serving as Councillor in the Australian Embassy, Thailand. Although not always sympathetic to ASIOs point of view he has not expressed anti-ASIO views or done anything of security interest. He was not particularly co-operative while Mr. Colin BROWN was arranging courses for the Provincial Police. His attitude would best be described as neutral.
BORTHWICK has nine children, which may contribute to the vague and indefinite manner which surrounds his actions. Allegedly a highly intelligent officer he does not give the impression of being in tangible touch with reality. In this regard the Australian community accepts his presence with a certain puzzled resignation. In dealing with basic fundamentals he demonstrates an unawareness regarding proportions and perspectives; however, he is astute enough when it comes to questions concerning the Embassy directly and could never be treated as a dull fool.
Michael Boyle


29/9/1966
TOP SECRET CHECK
Memorandum for Regional Director ACT
BORTHWICK, Alexander Hay
1. Please refer to request by Regional Director, ACT, for Top Secret check concerning the abovementioned.
2. Subject is recorded under [deleted], Operation [deleted]. He is not traceable under this reference and enquiries with Headquarters have also proved negative.
3. His sister, Barbara Simcocks, is similar in name to Barbara Joan BORTHWICK who in 1949 was reported as an alleged C. P. of A. member and to have held meetings under cover of the name of the University Extension Board at the home of Morris FRIEDMAN at Hamilton, Victoria on 28 August 1956. She has never been identified and is not otherwise recorded.
4. Patrick Spence BORTHWICK – brother – appeared on an Army list in 1948 as a probable ACP member. He returned his RSL badge. He died on 28th January 1959. This file is now marked for destruction.

Regional Director, Victoria

24/10/1966, Sydney
SECRET
ASIO
Alexander Hay BORTHWICK
Subject of Top Secret Review for External Affairs
1. Vettee is not personally recorded.
2. Vettee’s sister, Barbara SIMCOCKS, is the subject of NSW file 3/13/15.
3. Please refer to NSW memo 4584 which contains an assessment of Barbara Joan SIMCOCKS and concludes as follows;
“Clearance is not recommended”.
4. Please refer to Headquarters memo 2307 to PSI dated 26th February, 1963, headed Barbara Joan SIMCOCKS. This memo reads in part
“Please be advised that there is no security objection to the appointment of the abovenamed person as a Social Worker (temporary) with the Department of Social Services.
For your information, Subject is recorded as follows:
(a) it is reliably reported in 1952 that Barbara Joan SIMCOCKS nee BORTHWICK and her husband, Francis William SIMCOCKS, were members of the Communist Party of Australia.
(b) Earlier items of information held regarding Mrs. SIMCOCKS gavee the impression that she was a communist sympathizer in 1949 and 1950.
5. Vettee’s sister has not subsequently come to notice.
6. It is considered that there are insufficient grounds to maintain an objection in this case.


9/11/1966, Canberra
To; The Secretary,
Department of External Affairs

(a) TOP SECRET CHECK 32314 of 9 November, 1966, has been completed.
(b) There is no security objection to subject having access to matter classified TOP SECRET

DIRECTOR-GENERAL

1 comment:

kalani said...

Dear friends
Could you please help me to find Alexander BORTHWICK,who lived in canberra. He was the Australian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka in 1977-1982. He was our family friend in Sri lanka. We would like to contact him as soon as possible.
Anyone who knows him please send us his contact details. Thank You.
Sheela Gunaratne
kal516598@gmail.com

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