Thursday, 1st November 1928

1st November, 1928


My dear Prime Minister,

Under separate cover I have written you a rather long letter on the subject of Australian wine [1], which I hope you will find useful.


I regret that I have been unable to dictate my report on the General Assembly of the International Institute of Agriculture, as I have only just in the last half hour received Mr. R. J.

Thompson’s [2] report. You will remember that in my last letter [3] I stated that the British Delegation had asked me to delay writing my report to you until I had had an opportunity of studying a preliminary draft of the British report. I hope to complete my report for transmission by next mail.

While on the subject of International Economic activities, I have this morning received a letter from Sir Arthur Salter, the Director of the Economic Organization of the League, telling me that he will be in London next week and asking me to arrange to meet him, with the object of discussing the occurrences at Rome and the relationship of the International Institute to the League of Nations.


Last Thursday I gave the opening lecture of a series on Empire Trade which had been arranged to be held during this Autumn in connection with the Birmingham University. In talking about trade matters, I have always been worried as to how to use statistics and graphs effectively and I decided to make an experiment and to have all the essential figures and graphs made into lantern slides for use during the lecture. This method proved extremely satisfactory, as it was possible to show the audience exactly the position and to retain their close attention in a way that is quite impossible if a whole series of figures have to be verbally used. This is a method which I think deserves wider use and I am recommending the Empire Marketing Board to study the possibilities of giving all their lecturers some small point illustrated by one or two lantern slides to show the enormous importance of Empire development to Great Britain’s industrial future.

I am not sending you a copy of the lecture, because it was really based on the survey which I recently prepared on ‘Great Britain’s Position in World Trade’ and I intend so soon as the League of Nations’ figures for 1927 become available in November, to re- write the lecture in the form of a paper for publication by the Empire Marketing Board.


I expect that when you have had time to settle down after the Election [4], your thoughts will begin to turn in the direction of the next Imperial Conference. Should this prove to be the case, I should be very much obliged if you would let me have some expression of your views as to the type of preparatory work that you think ought to be carried out before the Conference assembles.

The British press quote you as having stated that the next Imperial Conference must be mainly concerned with economic matters. Naturally I am in complete agreement with this point of view. It seems clear to me that the Governments of the Empire will not want to dig up the roots of the new political status question in order to see how the plant is growing. Under these circumstances economic matters ought to have a much more important place both on the Agenda of the Conference and also in the public estimation of the Conference proceedings than was the case in 1926.

There is very little doubt that the work of the Empire Marketing Board will have created a new atmosphere by the time the Conference assembles. Already there is a clear evidence of a marked change of attitude on the part of Canada. I understand that the Empire Marketing Board’s Exhibition at the Toronto Fair had a most stimulating influence on the trend of Canadian opinion towards an increased belief in the importance of Inter-Imperial economic consultation and development.

Another most interesting development has occurred in the last week. Up to a few days ago, the Empire Marketing Board had received no suggestions from the South African Government in regard to cooperation in agricultural science but a despatch has now been received, signed by General Hertzog [5], embodying suggestions for a grant from the Board to make the resources of the great Veterinary Research Station at Onderstepoort available for Imperial in addition to South African purposes. This suggestion will involve the Empire Marketing Board in a capital grant of 10,000 and an annual grant of 11,000. It will be discussed at tomorrow’s meeting of the Research Grants Committee and it is pretty certain to be approved. I shall naturally do everything I can to see that not only is it approved but that the approval is expressed in such a form as to create the very best impression in South Africa.

It will probably be as well if, in the near future, I draw up some form of memorandum on economic subjects which appear to me to be capable of being profitably discussed at the Imperial Conference.


I am enclosing Low’s latest cartoon from which I feel sure you will derive considerable amusement. It is excessively unkind to Cunliffe-Lister [7] and far from complimentary to many other members of the Government.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 Letter 190.

2 Assistant Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture.

3 Letter 189.

4 A General Election, set for 17 November.

5 J. B. M. Hertzog, Prime Minister of South Africa.

6 ‘A Dearth of Great Personalities’, Evening Standard, 30 October, by David Low, a New Zealander who had worked for the Sydney Bulletin.

7 Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister, President of the Board of Trade.