Paul Hasluck was born in Fremantle, Western Australia. Educated at Perth Modern school, he became a cadet journalist with the West Australian and went on to become the newspaper's drama critic and eventually, by 1938, the foreign news sub-editor. His occasional pieces on literature, theatre and travel were published under the pen name 'Polygon'. Hasluck was a founding member and secretary of the Royal WA Historical Society and after part-time study at the University of Western Australia was awarded an MA in history. The book reflecting his research, Black Australians: A Survey of Native Policy in Western Australia 1829 - 1897, appeared soon after he obtained his degree.
In 1941 Hasluck was seconded to the Department of External Affairs in Canberra. He played a part in the formation of the United Nations as member of the Australian delegation to the San Francisco conference. Four years later, in 1949 he was elected to the House of Representatives on the Liberal side as the member for the West Australian seat of Curtin. He served as Minister for Territories for thirteen years and as Foreign Minister from 1965 to 1969. He was then appointed Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, a position he held until his retirement from public life in 1974. The many books he wrote in retirement include Diplomatic Witness, A Time for Building, Shades of Darkness, his autobiography Mucking About, and a further book of poetry Dark Cottage. The latter was published by Freshwater Bay Press, the small, private press that he and his wife Alexandra Hasluck had founded in 1939.