Thursday, 16th June 1927

16th June, 1927


My dear Prime Minister,


In my letters of May 11th and 25th [1], I wrote to you at considerable length about the work of the Imperial Economic Committee and the reorganisation that was taking place since Sir David Chadwick became Secretary.

I am enclosing a copy of the new Standing Orders of the Committee which have been approved by the Committee and are now subject only to one or two very small verbal alterations. The orders will, I think, be printed and I shall, of course, send you copies in the final form but as the enclosed draft is substantially final, I would like to comment on one or two points in connection with it.

The main feature is a definite recognition of a Main Session to last from the beginning of February to the end of July and it is during that Main Session that it will be highly desirable that the Australian representation should be strengthened by the appointment of a colleague for myself, who, I venture to suggest, should not in future be chosen for specialised knowledge on any one industry but should rather be a man who would be regarded in Australia as a person of definite weight and importance. I very much hope that you will give the idea of the annual appointment of a second member of the Committee, who is likely to be available in London during at least a greater portion of the period from February to July-and preferably during the whole of the months of May, June and July-your earnest consideration.

I would then direct your attention to Standing Order No. 27. This will allow for the appointment of advisers to the Australian Delegation and thus make it possible for you to indicate that certain men with specialist knowledge, who may be in London, can be asked to act as advisers in connection with any particular enquiry.

I should also like to know whether you approve of my consulting the High Commissioner [2] and, with his concurrence, obtaining the services of anybody whom I think might be specially useful as an expert adviser on any subject that may come up. Perhaps the most convenient way would be if you were to authorise the High Commissioner, in consultation with myself, to appoint expert advisers when necessary to the Australian Delegation and then it would be possible for your Department to keep the High Commissioner and myself advised as to the probable presence in London of persons who might be used in that capacity.

I think you will agree that the new Standing Orders definitely improve the way in which the Committee may be expected to function. [3]

The Committee has just about completed its enquiry into fish and at the last meeting on Tuesday the question of the appointment of a Drafting Committee for the Fish Report arose. Although Fish is a matter of no very great importance to Australia, yet I found that it was almost impossible to refuse the definite indication of the whole Committee that I should act on this Drafting Committee. With very great reluctance I finally agreed but had to stipulate that the meetings of the Drafting Committee should normally be held in the evening, as the pressure of work during the day time would make it impossible for me to attend. I took the decision having clearly in mind two ideas: firstly, that I believe that you are extremely anxious that the work of the Imperial Economic Committee should be as effective as possible and that its published reports should obtain wide circulation and approval. As you are the author of this Committee, I feel sure that I am right in that assumption.

Secondly, I am deeply convinced, and I believe that you share this conviction, that having regard to the growing public recognition of the Empire Marketing Board, it is extremely important that the imperial Economic Committee itself should remain in the minds of important people throughout the Empire as being the senior and parent body. If this is to be the case, a great deal of enthusiastic work must be put into the labours of the Imperial Economic Committee.

I would also suggest that whenever you yourself are making reference in Australia to the work of the Empire Marketing Board, you might take care to point out that the Empire Marketing Board is in effect the creation of the Imperial Economic Committee and derives its main terms of reference from the reports of the Committee.


Mr. Pratten arrived in London on Tuesday and having received a message that he would like to see me, I called on him this morning. I told him that I should be delighted to assist him in any way I could and he consulted me as to the relative importance of a number of people who were anxious to see him.

He has been invited by the Federation of British Industries to a private dinner to meet some of the most representative business men in England and I had no hesitation in advising him to accept this invitation. I think Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister [5] is also likely to arrange a private dinner of the same type.

I told Mr. Pratten of the difficulties which the instability of the Australian Tariff caused in the minds of many people here and of the way in which it might prejudice the educational work which was being carried on as regards the importance of the Empire to Great Britain.

I further suggested that as Australia could not conceivably establish the whole range of manufacturing industries in the course of the next five or even ten years, there was a good deal to be said for making a virtue of necessity and privately explaining to important people that the Australian policy of protection did not mean that every type of article would be heavily protected in the near future.


Dr. Haden Guest is going to visit Australia probably during the months of September and October. He has commissions from one or two English newspapers to write about Empire Development and as he is both a forceful and persuasive writer, his visit ought to be definitely useful. I will write to you later about the actual time of his arrival but I strongly suggest that it would be worth while your seeing him and giving him introductions from yourself to those persons in Australia whom you think it might be advantageous for him to meet.

I hope within the next week or fortnight to send you a series of notes about the implications of the Geneva International Economic Conference. The reports are decidedly interesting and to my mind the outstanding feature of the Conference has been the acknowledgment of the fact that the prosperity of industry must depend upon the prosperity of the agricultural producer and worker throughout the world. This is the feature of such striking interest to the British Empire that I propose to use the idea in all sorts of ways. There were also some extremely pertinent remarks about tariffs which I hope to have put into consecutive order for you in the near future.

At the present time one is suffering from almost too many visitors from Australia-a number of whom are people of considerable importance who arrive with letters of introduction and who must be given some attention.

Ordinary routine work on dried fruits is taking up a good deal of time and with Messrs. Bell [7] and Howie [8] over, discussions on policy are numerous. I should be glad if arrangements so sort themselves out that I can be relieved from the mere detail work in connection with dried fruits and be able to devote myself more completely to questions of general marketing policy and the work of the Imperial Economic Committee, the Empire Marketing Board, the D. & M. Commission and the C.C.S.I.R.

Mr. Julius [9] is arriving on Tuesday next and he has sent me from Paris a whole list of things that he wants to look into and [in] which he is looking for my assistance. I am quite eagerly looking forward to meeting him.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL [Handwritten postscript]

I enclose a cutting from the ‘Star’ on the Tariff.