Eric White Associates

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Eric White Associates (EWA) was founded in 1947 by Eric White who had been Public Relations Director for the Liberal Party of Australia. EWA was the first major PR consultancy in Australia.

By 1961, according to a brief biographical note in The Australian Public Relations Handbook, his company had established offices in all Australian state capital cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart) as well as in Canberra, London and Wellington, New Zealand. By 1968, according to chapters contributed by EWA to Hill and Knowlton's Handbook on International Public Relations, the company had also established offices in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.

On December 2, 1971 the parent company of EWA, Eric White Associates Limited, changed its name to Associated Management Services Limited. On January 16, 1974 the company was taken over by international PR firm Hill and Knowlton International Limited. [1]

In 1989, journalist Michael Byrnes revealed in the Australian Financial Review that EWA had been acting as a cover for Australian spies in Asia. This was of concern to the Indonesian government at the time, which had been using Hill & Knowlton as an "adviser on the international dissemination of economic promotional material".

Eric White's obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald (1989) stated that "Agents recruited and trained by the Australian Secret Intelligence Service(ASIS) were assigned to Mr White, who sent them to Asia as representatives of his firm. The arrangement operated well into the time of the Whitlam Government (1972-75)." It also stated that the the Bangkok office of Eric White Associates had been opened "specifically as cover for ASIS intelligence-gathering".

External links

  • T.J.Dwyer, The Australian Public Relations Handbook, Ruskin Publishing, December 1961.
  • Handbook on International Public Relations, Frederick A. Praeger, 1968.
  • Michael Byrnes, "Our own less-than-perfect spies", Australian Financial Review, August 31, 1989.
  • Obituary: "Mr Eric White, Publicity King", Sydney Morning Herald, November 23 1989
  • Malcom Brown, "Eric White: Still a human oyster", Sydney Morning Herald July 25 1989