Thursday, 25th March 1926

25th March, 1926


Dear Mr. Bruce,

This week I am afraid my letter must be somewhat shorter than usual.

The Imperial Economic Committee are quite determined to finish up the Fruit Report before Easter and this week we have sat morning, afternoon and evening, and the Committee is going to sit most of today.

The Main Report is practically completed and approved but it had so many amendments inserted at the sittings on Tuesday and Wednesday, that I cannot very well send you a preliminary copy until next mail.

So far as the supplementary reports are concerned, the Banana Report has been approved; yesterday the Dried Fruit Report was approved, late last night (about 11.30) we completed the Apple Report except for verbal revisions and, this morning, we are going to tackle the Citrus Report. Most of these subsidiary reports have been completed in rough form since just after Christmas but, strange to say, the Chairman [1] has actually not read a number of them. The members of the Committee are not unnaturally very annoyed at this, because it involves such a tremendous amount of unnecessary and additional work for us all at the last moment and we all feel that it shows very clearly that the Chairman is undertaking more work than he is able to attend to properly.

However, in spite of this, I think that the Fruit Report will be quite a useful piece of work. It will, when printed completely, form a volume of about 250 pages. The present intention is to publish the whole and also to publish the Main Report without the various subsidiary reports.

I am enclosing, for your information, a copy of the Banana Report, which has only one or two quite subsidiary alterations at the end to go in before it is published. By next mail I hope to send you a copy of the Main Report and perhaps one or two of the other subsidiaries although it is doubtful whether these will have been duplicated afresh before Easter.


As I learnt that New Zealand and the Irish Free State had signified their willingness to accept H. M. Government’s proposal for an Executive Body and to agree to the inclusion of British agriculture, I cabled you on the 23rd of March as follows:-

Reference Imperial Economic Committee I understand that Irish Free State and New Zealand have approved H.M. Government’s proposals.

Canadian reply still awaited.


I am enclosing you a copy of the second article on ‘Empire Economic Problems’ published in the ‘Times Trade Supplement’. [2]


I enclose Parliamentary questions and answers although I do not think they are of any special interest.


Two young Cambridge men, Messrs. Austin and Lloyd, both engineers on the staff of Armstrong, Whitworth & Co., have published, within the last few days, a book entitled ‘The Secret of High Wages’, which has caused quite a sensation. [3] It has been reviewed by the principal newspapers and by the weeklies in the most favourable way. I have not yet had time to read it carefully but have seen sufficient of it to feel sure that you will find the book of very considerable interest and I am, therefore, enclosing a copy herewith. I may add that I know Lloyd and am encouraging him to follow up the success, which has undoubtedly attended this book, by a study of the questions of Empire trade from the point of view of the British manufacturer and publish something on the subject between now and the Imperial Conference.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 Sir Halford Mackinder.

2 ‘Economic Problems of the Empire. 11.-Machinery for Discussion and Investigation’, Times Imperial and Foreign Trade and Engineering Supplement, 20 March.

3 The Secret of High Wages, by Bertram Austin and Francis Lloyd, published by T. Fisher Unwin, London, 1926, was a study of industrial prosperity in the United States and recommended the adoption of American methods. It deplored the tendency in Great Britain to offset declining profits by reducing workers’ wages.