Wednesday, 14th March 1928

14th March, 1928


My dear Prime Minister,

For some considerable time I have intended to write to you about my salary and position but have purposely delayed from worrying you until Julius [1] was back in Australia.

Last August Julius told me that he had received a cable from Senator Pearce [2] asking whether he had any objection to one third of my salary from the Commonwealth Government being paid by the Commonwealth Council for Scientific & Industrial Research. He spoke to me about this and explained that it was proposed that the 900 salary + 100 allowance which I received from the Commonwealth Government should be borne in equal parts by the Markets Department, Development & Migration and the C.C.S.I.R. His own comment was that 333.6.8. from C.C.S.I.R. was an absurdly small sum to pay for the work I was doing for the Council. I told him that I was far from content with the arrangement but proposed to wait until the various Australian interests which I serve had had time to assess the value of my services.

I want briefly to recapitulate the position in regard to myself I will not go back beyond your last visit to England; You will remember that on board ship, between Port Said and Marseilles, you told me that you were going to adjust my salary. This you did about four or five days before the termination of your visit by increasing the sum paid by the Government from 500 + 100 allowance to 900 + allowance. After this Gepp [3] recommended that, as a tentative arrangement, I should act as the London representative of the Development side of D. & M. and of the C.C.S.I.R. You approved this and I agreed. Fifteen months have now elapsed. So far as I can gather directly from Julius, by letter from Gepp and from Rivett, [4] the arrangement has proved highly satisfactory from the point of view of both the new bodies. It, therefore, seems most reasonable to suggest that I should be paid somewhat more for the very great increase in my work and responsibility that these functions entail. It is perhaps desirable that I should give you a dear picture of my work.

As you know, the Dried Fruit Control Board pays me 850 + 150 allowance. Thus my total remuneration is 1,750 + 250 allowance.

I want to make it dear that this allowance is not of the order that so many such sums are, namely an increase of salary. My work necessitates, as you will well understand, constantly getting men to lunch or dine purely for duty reasons. There can be no doubt that my work for the Commonwealth Government agencies occupies three quarters of my time and I am so fully occupied that for five days a week it is regularly impossible for me to return home until late at night, a fact which automatically adds to my cost of living by comparison with men who normally cease work at from 5 to 6 p.m.

You know that I appreciate very greatly the opportunity which you have given me to do interesting work for Australia and for the Empirecauses that one can serve with whole hearted enthusiasm, I do, however, feel that the time has come when the question of reasonable remuneration should receive close attention.

I feel that it would be unreasonable to ask the Dried Fruit Board to pay anything more than it does at present. Apparently the scheme for a co-ordination of marketing activities in London will not mature for some years and therefore no change is likely from the Control Board’s quarter. I therefore suggest that the Commonwealth Government agencies for which I act in London should each pay me as salary 500 per annum, thus making my salary from the Commonwealth Government 1,500 instead of 900. I cannot but think that both Gepp and the C.C.S.I.R. Executive would consider that they were securing the services which I am able to give them at a cheap rate at such a figure. If I were not doing the Council’s work, for instance, it would be essential for the Council to have a senior man as a representative if any proper liaison is to be maintained with British science. So far as the more direct work for the Commonwealth Government itself is concerned, I am the only Dominion Representative who makes time really to work on the Empire Marketing Board and on the Imperial Economic Committee and in addition I maintain a pretty effective economic liaison with British Departments, Parliament and the Press.

As an alternative to this proposal, you might perhaps consider the precedent of an office in the British Government service. Sir Sydney Chapman’s title is Economic Adviser to His Majesty’s Government. It would not be a bad idea to have an Economic Adviser to the Commonwealth Government (not to the High Commissioner but to the Government itself) situated in London. This would show a marked respect for British institutions. With such a job, I could continue to represent the D. & M. Commission and the C.C.S.I.R.

and act in a consultative (but not a secretarial) capacity to the London Agencies of Control Boards. Such a post would also be perfectly appropriate for my work on the Imperial Economic Committee, on the Empire Marketing Board and on the Consultative Committee at Geneva.

This is far too long a letter on my personal affairs. I am, however, most anxious to be in a position to save a little money for the sake of my family. This I can hardly manage under present circumstances. I am most willing to spend myself unreservedly but should like to feel that I could make some provision for the future.

I hope you will take the views of Gepp and Julius on this subject and give my suggestions your own favorable consideration.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 George Julius, Chairman of the Commonwealth Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

2 Sir George Pearce, Senator and Vice-President of the Executive Council; leader of the Australian delegation to the League of Nations Assembly 1927 3 H. W. Gepp, Chairman of the Commonwealth Development and Migration Commission.

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