Thursday, 17th September 1925

17th September, 1925


Dear Mr. Bruce,


I enclose the leading article in the ‘Times Trade Supplement’ dealing with this subject and may mention that the ‘Trade Suplement’ re-printed my article from the ‘Times Daily’ on the Tariff changes. [2] I sent you a copy of this article last mail.

Manchester is making a good deal of fuss about the proposed changes on cotton tweeds. In your cuttings you will receive copies of a letter signed by Shepherd [3], which I prepared and thought most effective if used officially. So far as I can see, the proposed tariff on cotton tweeds will inflict really severe hardship on two or three small Lancashire firms and may even lead to their having to close down their works, thus affecting the employment of a certain number of men.

As you know how very strong the free trade sentiment and propagandists are in Lancashire, I wonder whether you would not think it desirable, as an act of grace, to arrange for a six months’ suspension of this proposed duty in order to enable the severely hit manufacturers to get rid of their stock for which they say there is no demand except in Australia.


I enclose copy of an article which appeared in the ‘Times Trade Supplement’ of 12.9.25, dealing with this subject and especially commenting on your statement that ‘the first report of the Imperial Economic Committee marked the end of the first round of the fight for Imperial Preference’. I have no doubt that you will recognise that this article was written under my direct inspiration and I hope that you will agree with the two concluding Paragraphs. [4]


I am enclosing copy of a very interesting letter which appeared in the ‘Times’ of 15.9.25 under the title of ‘Prius Dementat’. I think that you will find this both interesting and useful and I especially draw your attention to the portion marked. [5]


I enclose a cutting from the ‘United Empire’ for September which I arranged for with the Editor of that Journal. [6] In this connection I should like to draw your attention to a letter which I have just this minute received from Tom Johnston [7], M.P. for Dundee, and one of the stalwarts of the Clyde. I had sent him a case of Australian dried fruit with a letter commenting on labour conditions in Australia as compared with Greece and Smyrna. I think you will find his letter in reply of quite especial interest. His idea is that it is possible for the British Parliamentary Labour left wing to counter Russian propaganda by drawing attention to the growth of labour ideals under democratic Government within the British Empire.

This letter will emphasize the point that I made in my communication of September 3rd about the importance of really effective Labour men being included in the Empire Parliamentary Association’s visit to Australia next year.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL


P. S. I also enclose an interesting cutting from Johnston’s Glasgow paper.

_1 See note 3 to Letter 29.

2 ‘Australian Tariff Changes’, the leading article, and McDougall’s article cited in note 3 to Letter 30 were published in the Times Imperial and Foreign Trade and Engineering Supplement Of 12 September.

3 M. L. Shepherd, Official Secretary to the Australian High Commissioner.

4 The concluding paragraphs suggested that the Imperial Economic Committee, debarred from recommending tariffs, had advocated instead a publicity campaign which effectively placed the responsibility for Empire development with the private consumer.

Bruce’s remark perhaps implied a hope that successful publicity would eventually enable the state to assume this responsibility.

5 The letter, signed ‘Veritas’, decried British Labour support for ‘the Bolshevists’ and maintained that ‘Moscow reserves its most malignant hatred for the British Empire . . . all its sinister engines are directed . . . to the destruction of British trade’.

6 An article entitled ‘Labour and Economic Questions’.

7 Editor of Forward, a Glasgow labour paper.