Thursday, 15th October 1925

15th October, 1925


Dear Mr. Bruce,


In my last letter I described at some length the way in which I understood the Government was tending to consider the first report of the Imperial Economic Committee. Since I wrote, Sir Gilbert Grindle, of the Colonial Office, who is a member of the Imperial Economic Committee, gave me information which confirmed the statements made in my letter. I therefore felt that it was necessary to take some immediate action and I wrote a personal and confidential letter to Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister [1], of which I enclose a copy. [2] I also wrote at slightly shorter length to Mr.

Amery [3] traversing the same ground.

I understand that Mr. Amery instructed the two Dominion Colonial Office Representatives on the Inter-Departmental Committee to make it clear to the said Committee that the Secretary of State considered that the Committee should produce an alternative scheme for consideration of the Cabinet based on the assumption that the £1,000,000 grant must annually be handed over in a block sum to an Executive Commission and further suggested that the Imperial Economic Committee should be given an opportunity of expressing its view before the Government definitely decided on the type of action they proposed to take.

I hope that you will agree that my letter to Sir Philip Cunliffe- Lister was well advised. I feel fairly sure that you do not regard the £1,000,000 grant as being of very great significance but, having once been made, it appeared to me important to see that the British Government carried out their intentions and appointed an Executive Body to administer the fund which would correspond at least in some degree with the intentions of the Imperial Economic Committee. Had one been able to rely upon the Chairman of the Imperial Economic Committee [4] expressing the views of the Committee with any decision or clarity, one naturally would not have written to members of the Government but would have strongly urged the Chairman to make the definite representations.

I informed Sir Halford Mackinder that I had written and gave him some slight hint of the nature of my communication but did not provide him with a copy. He appeared to welcome my action.

On Tuesday next I am to see Mr. Amery and propose to discuss with him the question of the British Government planning ahead on Imperial economic questions, to which I made reference in my last letter to you.

During the last ten months the leading members of the British Government have done very little to place the British Empire and the importance of Empire trade before the British public. I cannot imagine why they do not do so to a greater degree. There is no doubt about the public interest in the subject. There is, in my opinion, and I know in yours, equally little doubt of the prime importance of the subject and yet very little is said. I shall do everything in my power to influence them in the direction of shewing quite clearly the development of the British Empire is the one great chance for the restitution of British prosperity and far and away the most effective counterblast to subversive propaganda.


I enclose copy of an article of mine which appeared in the ‘Daily Mail’ on October 12th on the proposed increase of Australian preference on British motor cars. I think this will be of interest to you.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL


P.S. Please note that the italics in the D.M. article are not mine.

_1 President of the Board of Trade.

2 A copy of the letter is on file AA:M111, 1925.

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

4 Sir Halford Mackinder.