Wednesday, 20th July 1927

20th July, 1927


My dear Prime Minister,


I am enclosing a leading article from today’s ‘Times’ which I am sure will interest you considerably. You will see that, for the second time, the ‘Times’ is seriously urging Baldwin [1] to reconstitute his Cabinet and to take a firmer grasp upon the helm of state. I am convinced, as I feel that you also are, that it is most necessary that some such reconstruction should take place if the present Government is going to make any effective appeal to the country in two years’ time. There are a number of able individuals in the team but collectively I think it would be correct to describe them as a ‘feckless’ sort of Government. Their recent record is certainly rather disturbing to their well wishers.


I am forwarding to you, under separate cover, six copies of the first report of the Empire Marketing Board [2], which you may care to hand to some of your colleagues. I am sending copies direct to Mr. Paterson [3], Mr. Latham [4] and Sir Neville Howse. [5]

Mechanical Transport Committee

I today attended the first meeting of the Mechanical Transport Committee set up by the Empire Marketing Board, particularly on the recommendations of the Colonial Office Conference [6] General Sir Gordon Guggisberg, K.C.M.G., is Chairman and it was decided to create a small Executive Committee with instructions to that Committee immediately to prepare a general plan of attack on the problems of mechanical transport in the less settled parts of the Empire. As soon as this plan has been prepared, it will be submitted to the Main Committee and then it will be sent to the various interested Governments with proposals for joint contributions in order to enable large scale plans for the development of producer gas vehicles and other types of transport particularly suited to roadless conditions to be pressed on with.

I hope that, provided Australia is satisfied that a satisfactory plan of attack has been made out, there will be no difficulty about a financial contribution from the Commonwealth Government. I further hope that it may be possible to induce the Pastoralist Associations who would benefit very considerably by the success of such investigations also to contribute.

I will, however, write you much more fully on this subject when the matter has reached a further state of development.


I have had little opportunity as yet of a real talk with either Sir Granville Ryrie or with Mr. Trumble. [8] Trumble is anxious to arrange for a weekly meeting between the High Commissioner and myself. Sir Granville is going to give me an early opportunity to discuss a number of points.

I have told the High Commissioner that any assistance that I can give him of a personal nature within the general field of my various activities will be very readily afforded.

IMPERIAL ECONOMIC COMMITTEE The Fish Report of the Imperial Economic Committee is nearing completion and I hope it will be signed by the 29th of July and be available for despatch to Australia by about the end of August.

I heard from Gepp [9] by cable that he is anxious for a conference on the development of Australian fisheries. I am proposing to cable him the probable date on which this report will reach Australia in order that he may consider holding the conference immediately after the receipt of the report. I think there is little doubt that it will be a good and comprehensive document and will contain more up to date information about fisheries than any other existing document.


In my letter of the 7th July [10], I sent you the first draft of a memorandum entitled ‘Agriculture and the Empire’. I am now sending a revised draft and am enclosing six other copies in case you might care to make any use of them. These further copies are in the separate enclosure together with the Empire Marketing Board reports. I have given copies of this memorandum to Amery [11] and to a number of Members of Parliament here and shall send a few copies to Mr. Paterson and to a few other persons in Australia.

It is possible that this memorandum may be used by the Cabinet Secretariat here as a basis for a number of speeches which Mr.

Baldwin must make in Canada during his visit. I am rather hopeful that the memorandum may cause a few Members of the Government to think a little more seriously about the importance of developing agriculture throughout the whole Empire.


Mr. Amery sails on Friday accompanied by Mrs. Amery and Captain Brass [12] M.P., a pleasant and very wealthy young Conservative Free Trader, who represents the Clitheroe Division of Lancashire.

Mr. Amery will also be accompanied by Huxley [13], the Secretary of the Publicity Committee of the Empire Marketing Board, an extremely pleasant fellow, and by Whiskard [14], of the Dominions Office, who is quite able but perhaps rather heavily affected by the Dominions Office atmosphere.

It so happens that on the same boat there will be travelling to South Africa Mr. Broughton Edge [15], the Geologist and Geophysical expert who it is proposed shall be in charge of the geophysical experiments in Australia. This will give Amery an excellent opportunity of getting to know something about this subject.

Sir Edgeworth David [16] called to see me today in order especially to impress the value and importance of Broughton Edge and to urge that he should be secured at all costs to carry out this work.


I am enclosing a copy of the confidential note which I prepare from time to time for the Commonwealth Council for Scientific &

Industrial Research on the research grants decisions taken by the Empire Marketing Board. The present memorandum covers decisions from the 21st April to the end of June.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 Stanley Baldwin, Prime Minister.

2 Empire Marketing Board. Note on the Work of the Board &

Statement of Research Grants Approved by the Secretary of State from July 1926, to May 1927, Cmd. 2898.

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

4 J. G. Latham, Attorncy-General.

5 Minister for Defence and for Health.

6 See note 12 to Letter 111.

7 Assistant Minister for Defence 1919-22 and Member of the House of Representatives until he succeeded Sir Joseph Cook as Australian High Commissioner on 11 May. He arrived in London on 13 July.

8 Thomas Trumble, Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Defence 1918-27; newly appointed Official Secretary to the High Commissioner.

9 H. W. Gepp, Chairman of the Commonwealth Development and Migration Commission.

10 Letter 116.

11 Leopold Amery, Secretary for the Colonies and for Dominion Affairs.

12 William Brass, Private Secretary to Amery on his tour of the Dominions 1927-28.

13 Gervas Huxley.

14 G. G. Whiskard, Assistant Secretary at the Dominions Office.

15 A. Broughton Edge, Mining Geologist of the Royal School of Mines, London.

16 Professor of Geology, University of Sydney, 1891-1924.