Thursday, 15th September 1927

15th September, 1927


My dear Prime Minister,


During the last few months I have on several occasions drawn your attention to the extreme Tariff measures that have been proposed or actually taken in Australia and Canada, which have gravely complicated the task of the Empire Marketing Board in its publicity work, and I am to-day enclosing a personal note which I received from Tallents [1], the Secretary of the Board, which I think you will find distinctly interesting.

I think you have met Alexander [2], but if you have not, you were aware that he is almost certain to be a member of any future Labour Cabinet, and therefore his remarks perhaps deserve more attention than if they had merely been made by some ordinary trader. [3]


The Trade Union Congress which was held this year at Edinburgh has proved very distinctly interesting owing to the complete victory of the moderate element over the Reds. I am enclosing two cuttings from the ‘Manchester Guardian’ dealing with speeches delivered at this conference, and have marked those portions which I think you will be interested to notice. The first deals with a speech made by Mr. MacDonald. [4] It is extremely interesting to find Mr.

MacDonald claiming great credit for the Labour Party on the ground that members of the Labour frontage are on the Empire Marketing Board. Incidentally, I rather agree with MacDonald that Baldwin [5] made a mistake and was a little ungenerous on this occasion.

The second cutting deals with a resolution on the subject of the importation of goods produced by sweated labour. [6] I do not know whether one should attach too much significance to this movement, but the fact that the resolution was carried without dissent is of some interest.


In my last letter I sent you a copy of the memorandum which I had prepared for Gepp [7] on the Importance of Animal Industries to Australia. I am now enclosing a further note on the subject which I have prepared for the Empire Marketing Board. This is entitled ‘A Note on the Economic Importance of Empire Pastures’. I think it is worth your while to look over this, as some of the figures are very striking.


Considerable progress is being made in the primary work of preparing for the expedition which is to test geophysical methods in Australia. Last week I had a conference with the scientific staff of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, and found that they were proposing to carry out a somewhat similar series of tests in Persia to those which are to be undertaken in Australia. I was able to arrange for a continuous method of consultation between the Australian experimental work and the Anglo-Persian. This should be of substantial value and importance, for, although the Anglo-Persian Company are wholly concerned with the location of oil and the Australian tests will be more associated with methods suitable for minerals, yet the results attained in each country should have considerable influence on one another. I am very hopeful that this geophysical work will prove of very great benefit to Australia, and may bring home at a fairly early date to the Australian public, the value of the Development and Migration Commission. At any rate, I sincerely hope that what we have been able to arrange about the visit will assist Gepp in his general work.


Yesterday I was the principal speaker at the opening of an Empire Exhibition at Eastbourne. I enclose a copy of the summary of what I said, and have marked the two points which I think are worth your attention. The whole proceedings went off very well, and were largely attended. The only other speaker was Admiral Sir Reginald Hall [8], who is the member for Eastbourne. We travelled down to Eastbourne together and returned, and had an extremely interesting talk. I am writing you a private letter [9], which is enclosed, on one or two points which arose between Hall and myself.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 S. G. Tallents.

2 A. V. Alexander, Co-operative (Labour) M.P.; Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade 1924.

3 See note 12 to Letter 119.

4 Ramsay MacDonald, Leader of the Labour Opposition; Manchester Guardian, 8 September.

5 Stanley Baldwin, Prime Minister. Baldwin had claimed in a speech in Scotland on 27 August that the Labour Party was ‘so anxious to trade with Russia that it forgot the Dominions’. MacDonald argued that Labour had been the first party to take a close interest in the Dominions and added, as the Manchester Guardian reported: ‘It was both unjust and ungenerous of any Tory politician not to tell the public that many of the most valued members of the Empire Marketing Board were colleagues of his in the House of Commons’.

6 Manchester Guardian, 9 September; a resolution calling for an inquiry in conjunction with the Labour Party into the importation of such goods.

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

8 Conservative M.P.

9 Not found.