Wednesday, 22nd May 1929

22nd May, 1929


My dear Prime Minister,

While I was in Geneva, a series of four articles appeared in the ‘Times’ written by Walter Elliot [1] about the Colonial Empire. I do not know whether you have yet received them but they are so interesting and in places present such a sound point of view, that I feel sure you would like to look through them.

The articles are very wittily written. and I am not at all sure whether wit of the type which Elliot employs is altogether a useful commodity in a junior member of a Government. For instance his remarks about Lord Olivier [2] and Lord Delamere [3] in the latter part of the second article might easily cause annoyance.

[4] I have heard already that the pundits of the Colonial Office and, indeed, the Dominions Office, including Sir Edward Harding [5], regard the articles as quite subversive. However, I am sure that the Empire has much more to gain from the minds of men such as Elliot rather than from the Permanent Officials in the Colonial Office, who are, taken as a whole, a very poor crowd.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Scotland; Chairman of the Research Grants Committee of the Empire Marketing Board. See ‘The New Empire I. Lessons from the Files. A Field to Till’, ‘II.

Novelty in Africa. White and White’, ‘III. Rich Lands and Poor. A Sugar Contrast’, ‘IV. And So to England. The Promise of Science’, Times, 6-10 May.

2 Governor of Jamaica 1907-13 3 Pioneer of colonisation in the British East Africa Protectorate.

4 Their Lordships were likened to Kikuyu and Masai tribesmen.

5 Assistant Under-Secretary at the Dominions Office.