Mr Ambassador: Memoirs of Sir Carl Berendsen
Celebrated for the statement: If you look at a thing and its 51% black and 49% white, then, for Christs sake, its black! Sir Carl Berendsen (18901973) was the founder of New Zealand foreign policy.
He was a dynamic thinker, a gifted writer, an outstanding administrator and a considerable orator. Few civil servants before or since have addressed both Cabinet and Parliament; few have made or been involved in making so much and such important policy; and few have had such a significant influence on New Zealand and its international relationships.
As the Head of the Department of External Affairs, High Commissioner to Australia, and then Ambassador to Washington, he was involved in such major events as the ANZAC pact, preparations for World War II, the formation of the United Nations, the ANZUS Treaty and the Japanese Peace Treaty.
The book includes Berendsens first hand reports of the administration of New Zealands foreign policy in the first half of the 20th century, and his character sketches of many of the prominent political figures that he encountered during his career.
Praise for Mr Ambassador
These memoirs, edited by former diplomat and Cabinet Minister Hugh Templeton, are essential reading for anyone interested in New Zealand history. Berendsen wrote superbly, and he played a pivotal role in our approach to the momentous events of the mid 20th century.
Hugo Judd CAPITAL TIMES
Carl Berendsen remains one of New Zealand's legendary public servants, a key figure in the founding of our foreign service. His memoirs - five disparate volumes have lain at Victoria University for decades. Now Hugh Templeton has edited them into a shorter and far more coherent narrative.
This book is as much an example of the art of editing as it is of autobiography. And even those without a penchant for the history of our foreign service should find this an extraordinary character portrait.
Matthew Wright SUNDAY STAR-TIMES
His memoirs are a fascinating insight into the top echelons of decision-making during the 1920s, '30s, '40s and '50s, and the men who made the decisions.
Oliver Riddell OTAGO DAILY TIMES
A historical treasure trove, an absolute mine of information.
Bruce Brown SPEAKING VOLUMES RNZ National
Hon. Hugh Templeton, himself a former employee of the New Zealand Department of External Affairs, New Zealands last Deputy High Commissioner of Western Samoa, and a Cabinet Minister in the Muldoon government, has shaped Berendsens reminiscences into a fascinating and candid account of Berendsens rise from an impoverished childhood in Australia and Southland to the highest levels of the New Zealand bureaucracy.