Thursday, 29th November 1928

29th November, 1928


My dear Prime Minister,

All my good resolutions about preparing for you an outline of possible subjects for discussion on the economic side of the next Imperial Conference have had to be postponed owing to the continued pressure of work in connection with the establishment of the new Agricultural Science Bureaux. [1]

The meetings of the Financial Advisory Body have continued during this week and we hope to complete our labours tomorrow. I am very glad to be able to say that everything has gone very well indeed and I feel that we owe a considerable debt of gratitude to Sir Charles Howell Thomas, the Permanent Head of the Ministry of Agriculture, for accommodating his pre-conceptions to our Imperial aims.

I have definitely decided to recommend the creation of 3 ‘Senior’ and 5 ‘Junior’ Bureaux and to limit the total expenditure to a sum of 20,000 for the next five years. This will mean that a recommendation will be made that Australia should pay the sum of about 3,100 a year which I suppose will be divided between the Commonwealth and the States.

Our hope of obtaining the services which we expect these Bureaux will render for so small an expenditure is due to the fact that we believe we have obtained the consent of the Governing Bodies of eight first class Scientific Agricultural Research Stations to the Bureaux being placed in these Institutions with the free use of their library and all other facilities.

British agriculture will, of course, gain to a certain extent from the establishment of these Bureaux but the Bureaux will be of more obvious and direct assistance to the overseas parts of the Empire.

Under these circumstances I cannot help feeling that the Ministry of Agriculture, the Board of Agriculture for Scotland and the Governing Bodies of the Institutes to which we are proposing to attach the Bureaux, have taken a generous and broadminded point of view. I shall, of course, be forwarding an official report on this subject in about a fortnight’s time but I would like to suggest that, when a suitable occasion arises, you might take the opportunity of expressing your appreciation of the way in which British Institutions have cooperated to make this idea feasible.

While on this subject, I should just like to say that I think it is very important that Australia should be prepared to adopt a rather generous attitude to the question of financial contributions to Bodies such as the British Woollen & Worsted Research Association. I am, of course, not suggesting for a moment that Australia should make any contributions to either Imperial or British Institutions except where it is felt that value for money will be received but Australia is today obtaining most useful support for the development of her research activities through the Empire Marketing Board-a support which could be measured in tens of thousands of pounds. It will certainly facilitate further assistance from Empire Marketing Board funds if Australia on her side is prepared to be generous in contributions to such pieces of work as the new Imperial Bureaux, the Empire scheme for Mechanical Transport research and to such Research Institutions as the Commonwealth Council may feel it desirable to subscribe.


I have been convinced for many months that more attention ought to be given to the question of how to present the idea of Australia to the British public. Thinking over this subject, I came to the conclusion that there were a number of Bodies equally interested in a successful solution of this idea including the Commonwealth Government, the Australian joint Publicity Scheme-represented by Mr. Hyland [2]-the Shipping Companies trading with Australia and the Empire Marketing Board and I therefore arranged, in collaboration with Colonel Manning [3], of the Migration Department, to give a lunch in Australia House attended by representatives of these Bodies. This lunch occurred today and was attended by Sir Alan Anderson [4] and two other Members of the staff of the Orient Line, Mr. Oscar Thompson [5], Tallents and Huxley of the Empire Marketing Board [6], Mr. Hyland, Messrs.

Trumble [7], Collins [8], Manning and myself so far as the Commonwealth Government instrumentalists are concerned, and most important of all Mr. Frank Pick [9], the General Manager of the Underground Railways, who has made a hobby of publicity and who should be regarded as far and away the most successful advertiser in Great Britain.

We had a most interesting talk, to which Sir Alan Anderson and Mr.

Pick were the chief contributors. We came to the conclusion that as Australian States do not compare favorably in beauty with many Cities that people could visit and that, as from a purely scenic point of view New Zealand and South Africa offer greater advantages to the tourist than does Australia, the line to take in regard to Australia was to lay stress upon the dynamic possibilities of Australia and the opening that Australia offered as a career for young men with some prospects.

It is of course impossible to go very far in such a discussion around the lunch table but I suggested that an informal Committee should be set up, under the Chairmanship of Colonel Manning, to discuss the question of the presentation of Australia to the British public. This was agreed to and it is hoped that in about four months’ time, we may be in a position to have prepared and agreed a report which I hope the Commonwealth Government will find to be of considerable value. At Mr. Oscar Thompson’s suggestion, it was agreed that the Committee should seek an opportunity of conferring with the Business Mission on its return from Australia.

The Committee appointed consists of the following:

Colonel Manning, Chairman Mr. J. R. Collins Mr. A. E. Hyland Mr. G. Huxley (of the Empire Marketing Board) Mr. T. Tallents (Secretary of the Orient Co.)

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 See note 5 to Letter 195.

2 A. E. Hyland, Director of Trade Publicity for the joint Publicity Committee set up by the Dairy Produce Board, the Dried Fruits Control Board and the Canned Fruits Association.

3 C. H. E. Manning, Director of Migration and Settlement, Commonwealth of Australia.

4 Of Anderson, Green & Co. Ltd, managers of the Orient Line.

5 A director of the Aberdeen and Commonwealth Shipping Line;

member of the Oversea Settlement Committee.

6 S. G. Tallents, Secretary to the Empire Marketing Board, and Gervas Huxley, Secretary to the Board’s Publicity Committee.

7 Thomas Trumble, Official Secretary to the Australian High Commissioner.

8 J. R. Collins, Financial Adviser to the Australian High Commissioner.

9 Member of the Publicity Committee of the Empire Marketing Board.