In the negotiations for peace he was associated with Lord Kitchener, and the terms of surrender, signed at Pretoria on the 31st of May 1902, were drafted by him.
This fiscal policy he pursued during his three Federal premierships (1903-4, 1905-8, 1909-10), and he was also a strong supporter of Australia's cooperation in Imperial defence, being responsible for the acceptance of the measure authorizing Australian naval construction in 1909 and for the invitation to Lord Kitchener to come to Australia to report on the question of defence.
He lost heart, and actually suggested to White the surrender of Ladysmith, believing this to be inevitable and desiring to cover White's responsibility in that event with his own authority; but White replied that he did not propose to surrender, and the cabinet at home, aware of Buller's despondency, appointed Field Marshal Lord Roberts to the supreme command, with MajorGeneral Lord Kitchener as his chief of staff.
This was deflected by Kitchener westward to follow up the Boer rearguard, and after some delay the remainder of the infantry, at first fronting northwards, swerved westward likewise, while French from Kimberley, with such of his men as he could mount on serviceable horses, headed off Cronje in the north-west.
The result, after one premature and costly assault on Cronje's lines had been made by Kitchener, was the surrender of 4000 Boers at Paardeberg with their leader on the 29th of February, the anniversary of Majuba.