Thursday, 12th April 1928

12th April, 1928

My dear Prime Minister,

Since last mail the Easter holidays have intervened, and there is therefore little to report to you.

I am enclosing a copy of an interesting letter which I received from Sir Francis Floud [1] about the position of British wine, and I am to-day sending you a short cable summarising this information [2], as I think you may find it useful in dealing with the Federal Viticultural Council.

During the Easter days I was the guest of the Orient Company in a trial trip of the S.S. ‘Orford’. We went to Antwerp for twenty- four hours, and then cruised down the Channel, returning to Southampton. The boat is remarkably fine, and the Orient Company did their guests extremely well. There were about 250 people on board, including a number of men with whom it was extremely useful to make contacts. Labour was rather heavily represented with about five M.P.’s including Mr. Clynes [3] and four Trade Union leaders, including Ernest Bevin [4] and C. T. Cramp. [5] I had long talks with both Bevin and Cramp, and made suggestions to them in regard to the agenda for the (Commonwealth) Empire Trade Union Conference that is to take place in London this year.

They told me how difficult it was to get any useful discussion on migration, owing to the opposition to the migration idea which was expressed by the Labour representatives from Overseas. I put it to them that instead of tabling resolutions for discussion about migration, they might achieve much better results if the British Delegation put on the Agenda subjects which would lead to discussion of Empire development rather than of migration. I shall do what I can to follow up these talks.

The man who was actually responsible for the agenda is Arthur Henderson [6], who is not a very pleasant person, but I expect through Tom Johnston [7] and Margaret Bondfield [8] I can get this point of view considered.

I hope that during Easter you have had a good rest after the very strenuous work of combining administration and a Parliamentary Session. Having regard to the amount of really first-class assistance which you are able to command, I doubt whether there is any more strenuous job in the world than that of being Prime Minister of the Commonwealth.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 Chairman of the Board of Customs and Excise.

2 The cable is on file AA:A458, T500/13, i.

3 J. R. Clynes, Lord Privy Seal 1924.

4 General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union.

5 Industrial General Secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen.

6 Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party 1908-10 and 1914-17;

Home Secretary 1924.

7 Scottish Labour M.P.; Editor of Forward, a Glasgow labour paper.

8 Labour M.P. and trade unionist; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour, Tom Shaw, 1924.