Thursday, 28th May 1925

28th May, 1925


Dear Mr. Bruce,

Nearly six weeks have now elapsed since I cabled to you in reference to my position and my proposed remuneration.

Sir Mark Sheldon [1] has informed me that you consulted him on the subject of allowance. I told Sir Mark that my actual out of pocket expenses on entertaining people who matter amounted to 6 a week and this, of course, does not cover all extra expenses.

As I have had no word from you, I must conclude that there are many difficulties to be overcome in reference to my position and particularly to my remuneration.

You will remember that when we last discussed this matter, you stated that in London an entertainment allowance would be regarded as essential. Please understand that I fully appreciate the fact that there are many factors to be taken into consideration.

I want to make one point quite clear. The situation that will be created if the Government and the Statutory Export Control Boards adopt Public service standards of remuneration for services will be quite intolerable. I understand that the Dried Fruit Board have stated that public service salaries must influence the scale that they can offer to their employees. If this is the case, then I fear that it will mean that the Boards will be served by mediocrities. The pukka Public Servant has security of tenure and a pension or its equivalent. A man doing special work for the Government, such as myself or the employee of a Statutory Export Board, cannot have security, nor would it even be desirable. For work such as mine or for the chief executive officers of Export Boards, qualities are required somewhat different from those demanded from public servants. The latter are expected to err if anything on the side of safety. The former must combine discretion with vitality and driving force and must be prepared to take some risks. The more I see of the situation the more I am convinced that the best method of representing Australia’s economic

interests in London is the idea that you and I discussed at Frankston [2], namely the Australian Producers’ Advisory Committee.

This body should be financed by the producers concerned, with, if possible, a 1 for 1 subsidy from the Commonwealth Government but it must not be subjected to Public Service conditions. You will need no assurance from me that I am not letting the unsatisfactory nature of my position affect my work. In actual fact I have never worked harder than I am doing at present. At the same time you, I am sure, will realise that I am in a very difficult position. I entirely desire to be able to continue to do the work that I am doing. I believe it is impossible to exaggerate the potential importance of the Imperial Economic Committee and of quiet propaganda to Australia and to the Empire.

I very much hope that you will give this question your consideration and I should greatly appreciate a private letter from you on the subject.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 Senior Australian representative on the Imperial Economic Committee.

2 The location of Bruce’s private residence, near Melbourne.