Thursday, 29th December 1927

29th December, 1927


My dear Prime Minister,

There is really little occasion for a letter this mail, falling as it does between the Christmas and New Year Holidays.

I think, however, you would be interested to see the enclosed picture page from today’s ‘Times’ as it will give you a very good impression of the sort of weather that the south of England is having at the present time. You will notice that the pictures of the really heavy snow drifts are all within 30 miles of London.

Since the snowstorm ceased on Monday night, we have had continual frost with a keen north cast wind rising at times to gale force, so that it has been far from pleasant.


By the incoming mail I received letters from Mr. Paterson [1], Dr.

Rivett [2] and Professor Copland [3], commenting on the report of my Empire Marketing Board Committee on Agricultural Economics. I was very pleased to find how much interest they displayed in the subject and I shall hope to hear from you in the course of the next two or three weeks as to your views thereon. [4]


This mail brought a copy of the first Annual Report of the Development & Migration Commission and the first fairly long personal letter from Gepp [6] that I have received during the twelve months. I have read the report with great interest. The programme of work of the Commission during the first year of its life is quite impressive but perhaps hardly shows the way in which the Commission is tackling its work. One realises that the burden upon Gepp is immense and it is probably well nigh impossible for him to find time to write a constructive report which would show the people in this country the way in which the Commission is commencing systematically to tackle problems of development. [7]

I was very pleased to find in Gepp’s letter a promise of a regular monthly report for my information on the Commission’s activities.

I hope, in due time, to commence to receive such report.


Julius is back in town for the final three days before sailing for America. He and I are very busy going through a number of outstanding points and also in preparing a memorandum on Standardization and Simplified Practice for the President of the Board of Trade.

I shall regret Julius’s departure but I expect you feel it desirable that he should get back as the C.C.S.I.R. has a very large number of problems confronting it.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 Thomas Paterson, Minister for Markets and Migration in the Bruce-Page Government.

2 David Rivett, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

3 D. B. Copland, Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Melbourne University.

4 In a letter begun on 16 January 1928 and concluded on 8 March, Bruce replied, ‘I am sorry that I did not write you my comments when I received the report, but I am afraid time will not permit me to go back and deal with the matter now’. The letter is on file AA:M111, 1928.

5 Development and Migration Commission. First Annual Report for period ending 30th June 1927, Commonwealth Development and Migration Commission Publication No. 531.

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

7 In the letter cited in note 4 Bruce wrote that he was interested in McDougall’s comments and that W. P. Devereaux, of the Australian Mercantile Land and Finance Co. Ltd, had been appointed Vice-Chairman of the Commission to assist Gepp.

8 George Julius, Chairman of the Commonwealth Council for Scientific and Industrial Research; Chairman of the Commonwealth Engineering Standards Association.