Honorary awards

Frederick Rawdon Dalrymple AO

The degree of Doctor of Science in Economics (honoris causa) was conferred upon Frederick Rawdon Dalrymple AO at the Faculty of Economics and Business graduation ceremony held at 2.00pm on 18 May 2007.

Professor Merlin Crossley reading the citation for Frederick Dalrymple

Professor Merlin Crossley reading the citation for Frederick Dalrymple, photo, copyright Memento Photography.

Chair Academic Board, Professor Bruce Sutton conferring the Hon DScEcon upon Frederick Dalrymple

Chair Academic Board, Professor Bruce Sutton conferring the honorary degree of DScEcon upon Frederick Dalrymple, photo, copyright Memento Photography.


Presented by Professor Merlin Crossley, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Professor Sutton, I have the honour to present Rawdon Dalrymple AO for admission to the degree of Doctor of Science in Economics, honoris causa.

Rawdon Dalrymple is one of Australia’s most distinguished post-war diplomats.

He is a graduate in Arts from the University of Sydney, and in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar from 1953. On his return to Australia in 1955, he was to lecture for a time in moral and political philosophy here at Sydney, before embarking on a diplomatic career in what used to be called the Office of External Affairs.

Some four decades later he again returned to his alma mater – this time to teach International Relations, as a visiting Professor within our Department of Government. In the intervening decades, Rawdon Dalrymple was to become Deputy Secretary of The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and to lead four of Australia’s most important overseas missions – as Ambassador to Israel, Indonesia, Japan and the United States. To quote former Prime Minister Bob Hawke ‘Few people in the history of our foreign service have filled such a range of critically important postings with such distinction as Rawdon Dalrymple’.

He is an exemplar of the tradition of the scholar-diplomat.

Thus it is that he has brought this exceptionally broad diplomatic experience to bear upon his academic analyses of the domestic and international politics which underlie Australia’s international relationships. It was incidentally an experience which included working in Israel through the Yom Kippur war.

He worked closely with the late Professor Albinski to progress a major focus on Australia-US relations within the Government Department. Here too he produced an important book, ‘Continental Drift’, which is an analysis of the complex and inter-related issues which impact simultaneously upon our relationships with the United States and East Asia. Rawdon Dalrymple shows how the tensions underlying these issues in turn reflect our complex inheritance from another distant continent - Europe, and the sense of vulnerability which has persisted for over 200 years since diplomatic suspicions between France and Britain first cast a pall on Australia. He presents a passionate case for a sustained Australian focus on the countries of East Asia. He examines the sways and tensions between the ‘idealism’ and ‘realism’ which lie within the foreign affairs agendas of our major political parties.

While being among the strongest of supporters of Australia’s alliance with the United States in general, and of Sydney University’s relationship with the US in particular, he has not shied from proper criticism of the US. He has asserted the critical importance of Australia formulating its own foreign policy in a way that does more than simply mirror that of the US - not least in relation to Iraq. Indeed, when he was Ambassador to the US, he made a major public speech in Washington which reflected on America’s apparent support for the unacceptable French nuclear testing in the South Pacific which was causing so much damage to the Islanders, and to western alliance diplomacy. But it was also from Washington that he witnessed the end of the Cold War, and he has applauded the crucial role of Ronald Reagan in this demise.

In diplomacy, economics does matter. Rawdon Dalrymple has headed the Economic Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. When in Tokyo, in 1966 he made a major and largely behind-the-scenes contribution to the establishment of the Asian Development Bank and to the debt-rescheduling which helped rescue the traumatized Indonesian economy after a failed ‘Gestapu’. He has lectured in America on how important differences between Australian and American foreign policies towards the International Monetary Fund played out in the aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, especially as it affected Indonesia. He has reminded us that Japan’s economic importance to Australia has not been diminished by the rise of China.

He has been an enthusiastic supporter of scholarships and exchanges, organized by Student Exchange Australia which enables young Australians to study in the United States and Japan. He has been a vocal advocate of the importance of the study of Asian languages in our schools and universities.

His contribution to academic life at Sydney University has involved both research and teaching. The scholarly questions he has raised about Australia’s relations with East Asia and the United States are of crucial public importance, lying as they do at the interface between the university and its international constituency. His own scholarship and leadership of American Studies in Australia has contributed significantly to the University’s important community relationships. And last – but certainly by no means least – Rawdon Dalrymple has profoundly affected the student experience and the subsequent careers of many of our brightest students; indeed quite a number of them have followed in his footsteps to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Professor Sutton, I present Frederick Rawdon Dalrymple for admission to the degree of Doctor of Science in Economics, honoris causa, and I invite you to confer the degree upon him.