Thursday, 3rd June 1926

3rd June, 1926


Dear Mr. Bruce,


The Dairy Produce Enquiry is progressing fairly quickly. Yesterday I sent you the following cable:

Imperial Economic Committee Dairy Produce Board gave very satisfactory evidence yesterday. Consider it desirable I should receive full information as to operation of Paterson scheme, also how Rural Credits Department, Commonwealth Bank, is functioning.

[1] Could you arrange for reports on these subjects to be forwarded by earliest mail.

The evidence given before the Committee by Major King [2] on behalf of the London Agency of the Commonwealth Dairy Board was very good. I had previously discussed with Major King the lines of his memorandum of evidence and, under cross-examination, a large amount of useful information was put on record.

Major King was accompanied by Sir James Cooper [3] and Mr. Norton [4] and I am very glad to say that they presented a very excellent case in favour of the type of control which the London Agency is exercising. I am quite sure that the Australian evidence made the

most excellent impression upon the Committee as a whole.

Questions were asked by Members about the operation of the Paterson scheme and also about the way in which the Rural Credits Department of the Commonwealth Bank was able to assist the dairying industry. As the London Agency had not very much information on these points, I thought it as well to cable to you for these two pieces of information.

Mr. Shepherd [5] has informed me that Sir Joseph Cook [6], who is at the present moment in Geneva, has received a cable from you stating that Mr. W. H. Clifford [7] has been invited to serve with me on the Imperial Economic Committee for the Dairy Enquiry.

I have been in communication with Messrs. R. & W. Davidson, who are Mr. Clifford’s agents in London, and find that this firm have no knowledge of Mr. Clifford’s whereabouts. They anticipate that he will be in London about the 10th of June. If Mr. Clifford is prepared to devote the greater part of two days a week to the Dairy Produce Enquiry, it will be very helpful and advantageous to have a man with so wide an experience of the Australian dairying industry associated with me. While I am, of course, prepared to carry on on my own, I certainly think that, in view of the very great importance of the dairying industry and the very large number of dairy farmers who will be interested in the report, it would be desirable for Australia to have two representatives.


The second meeting of the Empire Marketing Board was held yesterday and Mr. Amery [8] was in the Chair. The other Ministers, with the exception of the Treasury Representative Mr. McNeill [9], were all present and there was a full attendance of the non- ministerial members. A very protracted and somewhat desultory discussion took place.

Mr. Amery urged the immediate sanction of two proposals, one for the expenditure of a sum of from 5,000 to 10,000 (spread over two to three years) on conducting research into the mineral content of pastures, and the other for a grant of about 30,000 (again spread over two or three years) to provide the capital necessary for the continuation of the work of the Imperial School of Tropical Agriculture at Trinidad.

The enquiry into the mineral content of pastures is one likely to be of immense value to all parts of the Empire and particularly to the pastoral and dairying industry of Australia and I was very glad to see this expenditure sanctioned.

So far as the Tropical School of Agriculture was concerned, I told the Board that I thought we were being rather rushed but it was explained that the three important Lancashire Associations which were interested in cotton growing were prepared to put up 30,000 themselves provided that 30,000 would be made available from this Annual Grant. On the distinct understanding that the money from the Annual Grant should be used for increasing the efficiency of the College for research in the direction of improving production of foodstuffs, the Board agreed and both these grants were sanctioned.

The remainder of the meeting was taken up by discussing the machinery and methods whereby the recommendations of the Imperial Economic Committee on research and publicity could be put into effect, the final upshot being that two small Sub-Committees were asked to prepare schemes to lay before the next, or the next but one, meeting of the Empire Marketing Board.

The temporary Sub-Committee to put up a scheme on research consists of Major Elliot [10], the Under-Secretary for Scotland, Lord Bledisloe, the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Mr.

OrmsbyGore [11] and myself.

The analogous body to put up a scheme on publicity consists of Sir William Clark, the head of the Department of Overseas Trade, Mr.

W. S. Crawford, the Advertising Agent, and myself It was very far from being my wish that I should have to have a say on both these subjects but in the discussions it had become rather obvious that I had perhaps done rather more constructive thinking about how the Economic Committee’s recommendations were to be put into operation than anybody else present at the meeting and the Board felt that in devising methods I could give useful assistance both on publicity and research. Personally I should have preferred to be mainly connected with the research side but I am rather afraid that the Secretary of State and other ministers will particularly want me to serve on the Publicity Sub-Committee as they seem to regard me as being particularly expert on educational publicity.


I have unfortunately mislaid the ‘Times Trade Supplement’ for last week and am therefore unable to forward the further article on the ‘Economic Problems of the Empire’. I will obtain this next week so that your set of these may be kept complete.


I spent the whole of last evening from 6.30 P.m. until 11-30 P.M.

in the House of Commons discussing with two or three members the possibility of forming a Conservative Group pledged to do everything in their power to bring Empire economic subjects before the House and the public, through the press and through speeches between now and the date of the Imperial Conference. I hope to be able to report that this idea will be accomplished but at the moment the continuation of the coal strike makes it very difficult to get members to give sufficient attention to Empire problems. If the coal strike is settled within the course of the next week or fortnight, I hope to be able to make substantial progress.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 See Letters 34 and 73.

2 J. R. King, formerly London representative of the Coastal Farmers’ Co-operative Society in New South Wales.

3 Company director; Chairman of the London Agencies of the Commonwealth Dried Fruits and Dairy Produce Control Boards.

4 0. G. Norton, dairy farmer of Burnie, Tasmania; member of the London Agency of the Dairy Produce Control Board.

5 M. L. Shepherd, Official Secretary at the Australian High Commission.

6 Australian High Commissioner in London.

7 General Manager of the North Coast Co-operative Company Ltd, N.

S. W.; representative of the Co-operative Butter and Cheese Factories on the Dairy Produce Control Board.

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

9 Ronald McNeill, Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

10 Walter Elliot.

11 William Ormsby-Gore, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Colonies.