Thursday, 7th May 1925

7th May, 1925


Dear Mr. Bruce,


On May 6th I dispatched to you the following cable from Sir Mark Sheldon [1] and myself.- Reply representations made by us Economic Committee received message from Fountain [2] in charge Commerce Treaty relations Board of Trade that no danger Anglo-Greek treaty being signed in near future.


Since my last letter a further series of meetings of the Panels have been held and further progress made in the general exploration of the subject.

I feel, however, that the Committee is somewhat in danger of being overwhelmed with the mass of evidence and the magnitude of its terms of reference. I have discussed this point with several members of the Committee and I think that it may be decided to cease hearing evidence at the end of May and during June to concentrate upon the problems in front of us with the object of securing an interim report for presentation to the Government on the 1,000,000 before the end of the present session.


A Committee, consisting of officials of the Board of Trade and Board of Agriculture, was appointed by the late Labour Government to consider the stabilization of agricultural prices. This report is now in the press and I have been given a copy of the final proof. I am extremely interested to find that very great emphasis has been laid by the Committee upon your speech at the Imperial Economic Conference. I am told that the present Conservative Minister of Agriculture [3] is very much impressed with this report and is of opinion that, for three reasons, it is most desirable that the whole question of the stabilization of prices should be fully explored. His three reasons are-I am informed- 1. He does not believe that the British public will continue to tolerate speculation in food products.

2. That stabilization affords the best basis for a great Imperial scheme.

3. That it is urgently necessary to do something for British agriculture.


I have already reported to you the activity of a section of the Labour Party in the direction of trying to secure the Parliamentary Labour Party’s adhesion to the principle of the restriction of the importation of goods produced by sweated labour. In furtherance of this idea, Dr. Haden Guest [4] visited Smyrna and Greece during the Easter recess and has commenced the publication of a series of articles on the hygienic and labour conditions in Smyrna and Greece, particularly in the dried fruit industry. I enclose a copy of the two articles by Dr. Haden Guest that have so far been published, together with a small leader from the ‘Daily Mail’ and the correspondence that has appeared in the ‘Daily Mail’ on this subject. [5]

Whatever effect Dr. Guest’s revelations may have upon the Labour Party there can be but little doubt but that they should be of the very greatest importance to the Australian dried fruit industry.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 Senior Australian representative on the Imperial Economic Committee.

2 Henry Fountain, Principal Assistant Secretary, Board of Trade.

3 E. F. L. Wood.

4 L. Haden Guest, Labour M.P. and writer.

5 Articles headed ‘Tainted Food’ were published On 4, 7 and 11 May. Subsequent correspondents urged readers to buy dried fruits from Australia and other Dominions. In a letter to McDougall, dated 13 June, Bruce commented that the articles were ‘attracting considerable notice out here’. The letter is on file AA : M111, 1925.