Wednesday, 25th May 1927

25th May, 1927


My dear Prime Minister,


On May 24th a series of interesting changes in the heads of Departments of the Civil Service was announced. Sir George Barstow and Sir Otto Niemeyer leave the Treasury, the former for the Suez Canal Board and the latter for a new post in the Bank of England.

[1] This change should be all to the good so far as Australia and the Empire are concerned. Niemeyer was certainly not our friend.

He regarded Europe as infinitely more important to Great Britain than the Empire and was an always available cold water douche on any schemes of Empire development.

Sir Sydney Chapman leaves the Board of Trade to fill the more or less decorative post of Chief Economic Adviser to H.M. Government, the job held down without undue effort by Sir H. Llewellyn Smith.

The salaries of Chapman’s present job and his new post are both the same, namely 3,000 but in reality I should say it was ‘left hand’ promotion. I think Chapman will be more suited to his new job than as the Permanent Head of a most important Department. His place is to be taken by Sir Horace Hamilton, now Chairman of the Board of Customs and Excise. Hamilton is a really live wire and should be a very good man. My relationship with Hamilton has been very cordial and I hope it will continue to develop.

The other changes are not Imperially interesting, although I am glad that I know Sir Francis Floud [2], who succeeds Hamilton at Customs. I enclose the cutting from the ‘Times’ detailing the changes.


The Premier of Queensland has avoided much in the way of speaking and has created a favourable impression. The Empire Marketing Board gave him a small private lunch and tomorrow he is lunching with me to meet Tom Johnston [4] M.P. I feel sure that this meeting will be very useful, for Johnston, while remaining left wingish, is becoming keener and keener on Empire Development.


I enclose a ‘pull’ of an advertisement issued by the Empire Marketing Board and inserted as a full page in the ‘Daily Herald’ and the Labour and Cooperative Weeklies. This advertisement was drafted by Tom Johnston and will give you a fairly good idea of his robust Imperial commonsense. [5] I feel fairly sure that nothing I have been able to do has been more useful than the move to get Labour on the Empire Marketing Board.


The work of the Board and of its Committees continues to occupy a great deal of time and thought. I hope I have arranged for Dr.

Hill [6] F.R.S., the Director of Kew Gardens, and thus the head of the Botany world, to visit Australia in November and December. I have been discussing with Walter Elliot [7] the idea of the Empire Marketing Board offering to send a highly qualified man to Australia to discuss with the Commonwealth Council for Scientific and Industrial Research the details of the Tropical Agricultural Research Station. We are a little dubious whether Dr. Martin Leake [8], the ex-dircctor of the Imperial College, would prove the best man and are, therefore, casting about for some one else.

Today I had Prof. Watt [9], of Sydney University and of the Commonwealth Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, to lunch to meet Walter Elliot.

I am looking forward to the arrival of Mr. Julius [10] and hope to arrange very useful meetings when he is here.

On the Research side generally I hope you will encourage the C.C.S.I.R. to put forward plans for cooperation between themselves and the Empire Marketing Board.

On the Publicity side I have a report almost completed which I hope to be able to send to you by this mail. I am sending a copy to Mr. Paterson [11] and giving one to Mr. Bell [12], as Chairman of the joint Publicity Committee.

Tallents [13] sent me this week some cuttings from the ‘Sydney Daily Guardian’ attacking the Empire Marketing Board. The dates of issue were 30.3.27, 31.3.27 and 1.4.27. The only serious part of the attack is a statement attributed to Capt. Dunn [14], Minister of Agriculture for New South Wales, to the effect that he had been informed by ‘a high official at Australia House’ that the Empire Marketing Board was a useless body. I am writing in fuller detail to Mr. Paterson in regard to these articles.

I am enclosing a brief pamphlet just printed by the Empire Marketing Board as a popular explanation of its work and appeal.



The work of the Imperial Economic Committee jogs along but today we approved an entirely new plan of procedure which Chadwick [16] and I had elaborated. This will, I believe, help to teammate the Committee. We shall, I think, be able to produce a good report on Fish but after this session I hope for really substantial progress and for the consideration of four or five subjects at once and for the issue of four or five reports annually.

Under the new procedure the main session will be from early February to the end of July, with a Standing Committee to consist of half the Committee, i.e. two from Great Britain and one from each Overseas Delegation to deal with all the preparatory work and for such matters as are not completed in the Main Session. I feel sure that it would be advisable for you to try to arrange for me to have a colleague from February to July, and I would suggest the appointment of a man for general reasons rather than as an expert for, with several subjects under review, the situation will not call for an expert. Arrangements are also being made for each delegation to be allowed expert assessors. if, therefore, any person who would be really useful on any subject under review is visiting London, perhaps I might be advised as to whether I could, if I considered it desirable, ask for his temporary services as an assessor.

I hope shortly to send you a set of the new Standing Orders which fully describe the new procedure.


Sir Charles Davis [17], of the Dominions Office, told me the other day that the progress of getting the Business Delegation together had been delayed by a rather bad break by Mond. [18] As a result of your cable, Mond was confidentially approached about a member of the Board of the Imperial Chemical Industries serving. He promptly sounded Sir Max Muspratt [19] rather to the disgust of the Dominions Office. Davis gave me no further news as regards developments.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 The Times, 24 May, reported that Barstow, Controller of Supply Services in the Treasury, was to be Government Director of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. Niemeyer, formerly Controller of Finance at the Treasury, had been appointed to an unspecified post at the Bank of England.

2 Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

3 William McCormack, Premier, Chief Secretary and Treasurer of Queensland 1925-29 4 Labour M.P.; Editor of Forward, a Glasgow labour paper.

5 Daily Herald, 17 May. The advertisement’s heading was ‘When you are buying remember the unemployed’. The text stressed Britain’s need for export markets, the high wage rates and purchasing power of Australian and New Zealand producers, and the assistance that purchase of Dominion produce gave to immigration. The advertisement concluded: ‘Whenever you have an opportunity of giving a voluntary preference to British Empire products, do it in the interests of British standards of civilisation, British trade and industry, and the employment of your fellow British citizens’.

6 A. W. Hill.

7 Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Scotland; Chairman of the Research Committee of the Empire Marketing Board.

8 H. M. Leake, former Principal of the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, Trinidad.

9 R. D. Watt, Professor of Agriculture, Sydney University;

Chairman of the N.S.W. State Committee of the Commonwealth Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

10 George Julius, Chairman of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

11 Thomas Paterson, Commonwealth Minister for Markets and Migration in the Bruce-Page Government.

12 A. F. Bell, member of the Commonwealth Dried Fruits Control Board; Chairman in Australia of the joint Publicity Committee of the Dried Fruits, Dairy Products and Canned Fruits organisations.

13 S. G. Tallents, Secretary to the Empire Marketing Board.

14 W. F. Dunn.

15 The Empire Marketing Board: A brief description of the Board’s work.

16 Sir David Chadwick, Secretary to the Imperial Economic Committee.

17 C. T. Davis, Permanent Under-Secretary for Dominion Affairs.

18 Sir Alfred Mond, Conservative M.P.; Chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd.

19 A director oflmpcrial Chemical Industries Ltd.