Thursday, 1st October 1925

1st October, 1925


Dear Mr. Bruce,

As I stated in my last letter I do not propose to inflict long letters upon you while the Election fight is in progress but will merely note items of particular interest. [1]


The meeting now in progress at Liverpool has effectively shown that the Communists have not made much progress. MacDonald [3] rent them heavily and appears to have gone a long way to re- establish his personal ascendency.

Clynes [4] moved a series of Empire resolutions which were attacked by the Communists but carried by overwhelming majorities;

Sexton [5], John Jones [6] and Haden Guest [7] all speaking well in support of the British Commonwealth of Nations. I will obtain, when published, a report of the Conference and forward you a precis of the happenings so far as Empire is concerned. The resolutions show a very marked advance in labour opinion which is very gratifying.

I enclose an article from George Lansbury’ [8] Weekly on ‘Empire Trade and Dried Fruits’ which is of considerable interest.


The Chairman [9] is now back but shows no sign of desiring immediately to proceed to work. I had a most interesting hour with Cunliffe-Lister [10] about the work of the Committee. I urged that it should be used more intelligently to survey the economics of Empire and to prepare for a future Imperial Economic Conference which might yield real results both for Great Britain and for the Empire. Curiously enough the same day you are reported (in the ‘Daily Telegraph’) to have spoken at the Empire Press Conference in the same strain. [11]

I understand Mr. Baldwin [12] may comment upon the work of the Imperial Economic Committee at the Unionist Annual Conference at Brighton next week. Anticipating this, I have been in touch with the Cabinet Secretariat and have tentatively made one or two suggestions which may be put before him.


There are a number of fresh moves in connection with Empire

progress in contemplation. The organization which Amery [13] and Cunliffe-Lister intended to start a year ago is now actually on the point of formation and I hope to be able to let you know something about it in the course of the next few weeks.

Quite a different set of Conservative M.P.’s have formulated a Body which they have the impertinence to describe as ‘An Empire Economic Council’ and they are thinking about making suggestions as to the Dominions and Colonies putting export taxes on raw materials exported to countries other than Great Britain and that the funds so raised should be used to further emigration and to assist British agriculture. Although there may be some germ of sense in the background of this proposal, it is of so hideously dangerous a nature that I hope to be able to arrange that the scheme with its title never sees the light of publicity. Please do not make any reference to it.

I will write to you more fully about these matters when I know more about them myself.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 The election was to be held on 14 November.

2 Annual Conference, Liverpool, 29 September-2 0ctober.

3 Ramsay MacDonald, Leader of the Labour Opposition.

4 J. R. Clynes, Labour M.P.; Lord Privy Seal 1924.

5 James Sexton, Labour M.P.

6 J. J. Jones, Labour M.P.

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

8 Labour M.P. and radical publicist.

9 Sir Halford Mackinder.

10 Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister, President of the Board of Trade.

11 Daily Telegraph, 30 September.

12 Stanley Baldwin, Prime Minister.

13 Leopold Amery, Secretary for the Colonies and for Dominion Affairs.