Thursday, 9th July 1925

9th July, 1925


Dear Mr. Bruce,


In my last letter I told you that there was little doubt but that a preliminary report on Identification would be completed by the end of July. This situation still stands but it is complicated by the fact that all the Dominion Members of the Committee and Sir Thomas Allen, the Co-operative member, are very dissatisfied not with the matter but with the manner of the report. The Chairman [1] has shewn great reluctance to have a small drafting Committee and the report is felt by most of the Members of the Committee in its present draft form to lack directness.

I hope that next week we shall be able to induce the Chairman to recast the manner of the report.

I also mentioned in my previous letter that the Fruit Sub- Committee was going to carefully consider whether they could produce an immediate report. They have unanimously come to the conclusion that this is impossible and are going to recommend to the Main Committee that a small appendix to the main report should deal with some recommendations from the Fruit Sub-Committee but that, as the question of fruit supplies from the Empire is a matter of great complexity and also great importance, the Fruit Sub-Committee should resume its sittings in the middle of September with the idea of having a report completed by November.

As there is no possible chance of Parliament considering the report of the Imperial Economic Committee before the Autumn Session, I do not think that there can be any actual loss of time in an arrangement of this sort.

It will interest you to know that the majority of the Committee are very disappointed with the way in which the Chairman handles the business. He appears to be rather too absorbed in other affairs to devote the constant and assiduous attention that is required of a Chairman of so important a body and the consequence is a degree of haziness which is difficult to cope with.


In my last letter I gave you, in brief, an idea of some of the difficulties of the London Agency in connection with the London Trade Association. I am very glad to say that, as a result of a personal conference between myself and the Advisory Committee appointed from the Australian Agents in London, I believe that we shall be able to avoid any critical situation.


Since my last letter, both the ‘Times’ and ‘Times Trade Supplement’ have dealt with ‘Sheltered Markets’ and have been extraordinarily kind. [2] The ‘Times Trade Supplement’ published a leading article on the book, a copy of which I enclose, and the ‘Times’ gave me a column review of a favourable nature, which I also enclose. Dr. Haden Guest [3] reviewed the book in the ‘Observer’ and the ‘Aberdeen Free Press’ gave the book a column and a reference in the leading article of the same day. [4]

I think you may be interested to glance at these notices. A number of Provincial Newspapers have given short preliminary notices in their London notes to the book but I will not worry you with these.


The past week has shewn a remarkable increase in the public manifestation of Empire sentiment in this country and this is particularly manifested in two directions.

In the debate on the Board of Trade Vote in the House of Commons this week, speaker after speaker emphasized the importance of Empire trade if British industry was to be revived and I find it rather amusing to trace the influence of ‘Sheltered Markets’ in several of the speeches, particularly that of Sir Philip Cunliffe- Lister. [5]

During the week there has also been an Advertising Campaign at Harrogate, which obtained particular publicity in the press.

Cunliffe-Lister supplied it with a slogan of ‘Buy British goods’ and added a strong statement about the necessity for giving a voluntary preference to British Empire goods in addition to the fiscal preference given by the British Government this year.

The whole theme of the convention was ‘buy British Empire goods’ and the necessity for bringing this fact home to the people both of Britain and the Empire.

Yours sincerely,


_1 Sir Halford Mackinder.

2 Times, 7 July; Times Imperial and Foreign Trade and Engineering Supplement, 11 July.

3 L. Haden Guest, Labour M.P. and writer.

4 Sunday Observer, 5 July; Aberdeen Press and journal, 30 June.

5 President of the Board of Trade. He suggested that British trade would be improved by giving voluntary as well as fiscal preference to Empire goods. See House of Commons, Parliamentary Debates, fifth series, vol. 186, cols 65-191.