Thursday, 27th June 1929

27th June, 1929


My dear Prime Minister,

Yesterday Messrs. Cockburn and Norris, of the Port Importers Protection Society, called on me to ask for Australian cooperation in an attempt to secure from the British Government legislation to prevent synthetic wines made from imported grape must, or from other substances, being sold as ‘Wine’. We had a lengthy discussion and I came to the conclusion that the move was one which would, if successful, be of great value to the Australian wine trade. I therefore encouraged their ideas. They asked for advice as to Australian cooperation. I recommended that they should not seek the direct aid of the Commonwealth Government but should endeavour to get the Federal Viticultural Council to back their proposed memorial. I promised to bring the matter to the attention of the Commonwealth Government in the hope that you would agree to make independent representations to the British Government in support of the idea. I also promised to write to the Federal Viticultural Council.

The promoters are anxious for the Federal Viticultural Council to be represented on the Committee which they will form in September.

I see no objection to this and, failing a more direct representative, perhaps the Federal Viticultural Council might ask me to represent them in this matter. I am enclosing a first rough draft of the proposals and am sending a copy to the Federal Viticultural Council.

Perhaps you would be good enough to give this matter your consideration. If British legislation caused publicans to have a lively fear of selling the so-called British wines as wines, we should advantage the Australian trade greatly. In my opinion this is a far sounder line of attack than through attempts to induce the British Government to penalise British wines by heavier excise duties.

The present idea is to approach the British Government in October.

Perhaps you would therefore indicate your attitude and if you think it desirable suggest to the High Commissioner [1] that he should support the proposal and should consult me as to the appropriate action.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 Sir Granville Ryrie.