In Paris, “Billy” Hughes represented Australia during the negotiations of the Treaty of Versailles and the Covenant of the League of Nations. Hughes’ primary objective was to secure Australian control over the old German colonies in New Guinea. Australian armed forces had seized these territories in 1914, and Hughes wanted to annex them under direct Australian rule. He also fought for adequate reparations to Australia from Germany and against the inclusion of a declaration of racial equality into the Covenant of the League of Nations. The Treaty of Versailles and the Covenant of the League of Nations, signed by Hughes, were the first international agreements signed by the Commonwealth of Australia in its own right. The presence of Hughes at Paris and the signing of the German treaty indicated Australia’s real arrival as a player on the stage of international diplomacy. This slide is part of a series depicting Australian Y.M.C.A. war work during World War I.
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