Saturday, 11th May 1929

11th May, 1929


[Written from Geneva]

My dear Prime Minister,

To-day Mr. Loveday [1], who is in charge of the statistical side of the Economic Organisation of the League, had lunch with me in order to discuss certain aspects of the forthcoming report of the Economic Consultative Committee. He told me that there was some possibility of his leaving the Secretariat because his old college Peterhouse had urged him to become Bursar and to associate that with lecturing in the University on Economics. Loveday said that he was rather attracted by the idea but would be afraid of stagnating in Cambridge. We discussed the possibility of his doing some work for the Empire Marketing Board, should he decide to accept the Cambridge job. I told him that personally I hoped he would stay at Geneva, as the work of which he takes direction is, in my opinion, a most important part of the League’s economic activities.

My purpose in writing this letter, however, is that this afternoon the idea struck me that, seeing that the Commonwealth Government is setting up a Bureau of Economic Research [2], I think it well worth while to draw your attention to the possibility of inviting Loveday to visit Australia in order that he might confer with whoever you make Director of the new Bureau. Loveday’s experience at Geneva has put him in touch with I suppose practically every source of information in the world on economic matters and he certainly has a remarkable flair for the marshalling of facts and their presentation in such a way as to be both accurate and readily intelligible.

If after the new Bureau had been going for some months, so that its staff could envisage their task and realise the sort of information they particularly desired to collect, then I suggest a visit from Loveday for a sufficient period for him to be able really to assist the Director of the Bureau in the establishment of a definite technique and the discussion of a whole series of problems might prove the very best way to set the new organisation upon a firm foundation and to enable it to make rapid progress. I imagine that three months actually in Australia would be the sort of time that would be necessary. If anything of the kind happened and you could get together the same sort of private committee that you had to consider tariff matters, in order that they might discuss the general problem of the Economic Research Bureau’s activities with the Director and Loveday, this would surely also be very useful. [3]

I am enclosing a copy of the League of Nations latest publication for which Loveday is responsible. Should you have time to look through it, this will give you some idea of Loveday’s work.

Perhaps you would give this idea your consideration and let me have your reactions.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 A. Loveday.

2 See note 8 to Letter 220.

3 In a letter dated 11 July (file AA:M111, 1929), Bruce wrote that he was indeed contemplating setting up a private committee to advise the Director of the Economic Bureau.