Thursday, 10th June 1926

10th June, 1926


Dear Mr. Bruce,


Yesterday I found that Mr. W. H. Clifford [1] had reached London on Sunday, June 6th. I therefore asked him if he would meet me a quarter of an hour before the time fixed for the meeting of the Committee. We had a talk and, as a result, Mr. Clifford made up his mind to accept your invitation and to serve on the Committee for the remainder of the Dairy Produce Enquiry.

I introduced Mr. Clifford to the Chairman [2] and members of the Committee and he took his scat yesterday morning.

I am personally very glad to have the assistance of so well qualified an expert in the Dairy industry and I feel sure that he will add considerably to the weight which will be attached in Australia to the Dairy Produce Report of the Imperial Economic Committee to have Mr. Clifford’s signature, as well as my own, on that document.

I received on Monday last your letter of the 6th of May [3] enclosing a memorandum about the Dairying industry of Australia.

Now that Mr. Clifford is here, I shall propose to him, using the memorandum which you have forwarded as a basis, that we should prepare a full statement about the Australian Dairy industry for the Imperial Economic Committee and put in the document under our joint signatures.

I have just received from the Prime Minister’s Department the following cables in reply to mine asking for information on the Paterson scheme and the operation of the Rural Credits Act [4]:

4th June 1926 Your telegram 2nd June information asked for by you re Paterson scheme and Rural credit being obtained. Will be forwarded as soon as possible.

10th June 1926 Personal information required Patersons scheme and Rural Credits Act mailed you today 10th June.

I am very glad that you have been able to arrange for this information to be sent so speedily as it will arrive in time to be considered by the Committee before they set to work on the final stages of drafting the report.


The Fruit Report is being issued this morning and Sir Halford Mackinder is meeting the press at 11.30 a.m.

I have done everything that I can think of in order to ensure a wide discussion of the report as soon as it appears. I have made special arrangements with both the ‘Times’ and the ‘Daily Telegraph’ and have written to all the Editors that I know personally. I also got four Members of the Conservative Party to promise to interview all the Lobby Correspondents of the Provincial newspapers and to impress upon them the importance of the Fruit Report. I hope I have made arrangements which will lead to its being discussed in a number of weekly and monthly papers.

I suppose there has not been time yet to have any word from you by mail as to your impressions of the Fruit Report but I am certainly looking forward to hearing your frank comments.


The third meeting of the Empire Marketing Board was held yesterday and further protracted but rather desultory conversations occurred on the recommendations of the Imperial Economic Committee involving action.

The Board came to the conclusion that real progress could not be made until the Sub-Committees appointed report on how (a) publicity (b) research should be tackled.

I have put in a brief memorandum on the subject of the idea of Empire agriculture with the purpose of demonstrating to the British agricultural representatives that there was no reason why their interests should not be served along the lines of the interests of the overseas farmer and the Board appeared to be in general agreement with the view that I had tried to express in this memorandum. I enclose a copy of the memorandum herewith.

The Publicity Sub-Committee met on Tuesday evening from 7.0 to 11.30 P.M. and came to definite conclusions as to the type of organization that should be recommended to the Board and on the type of work that should be undertaken during the next six months.

I am very glad to say that the other Members of this Sub-Committee accepted my idea that arrangements should be made whereby a general scheme of educational publicity based on special articles in the newspapers and a poster campaign throughout Great Britain should be put into operation if possible during the latter part of September and brought into full operation in early October so as to coincide with the Imperial Conference.

If the Marketing Board accepts the recommendations of this Sub- Committee, I think we may anticipate rapid progress on this side of the work.

The Research Sub-Committee has not yet met but arrangements have been made whereby the whole of the evening of Tuesday, June 15th, will be devoted to a discussion by the Sub-Committee.

You will notice that it has become necessary to arrange for a number of these additional meetings to be held in the evenings as the normal working hours of the day are already more than fully congested.


On the 9th June I sent you the following cable:-

Central and Associated Chambers of Agriculture and The Farmers’ Club holding joint Annual Dinner December 7th. These bodies even more representative of British agriculture than National Farmers’ Union. They are most anxious to entertain you as their chief guest. If date unsuitable they would attempt arrange earlier date but hope you could manage December 7th. Strongly recommend acceptance. Please reply.

Mr. F. N. Blundell, M.P., the representative of British agriculture on the Imperial Economic Committee is this year the President of the Central and Associated Chambers of Agriculture.

He is most anxious that you should consent to be the guest of the Chambers at their Annual Dinner which, for a hundred years, has been held on a day to coincide with the Smithfield Show. The Farmers’ Club is also joining in with the Dinner and Blundell assures me that every part of agricultural interests, from the land owner, the estate agents, the working farmer and, to a very limited extent, the agricultural trade unions, will be represented at this dinner.

Mr. Blundell said that rather than lose the chance of having you as their guest, they would attempt to alter the date of the dinner but, in view of the historic association of the dinner with the Show, he very much hoped that you would see your way to accept the invitation on the date mentioned provided that you were going to be in England on that date. I therefore thought it desirable to send the cable.

Mr. Blundell is proposing to invite Mr. Coates [5], the Prime Minister of New Zealand, to be the second guest on this occasion, if he should happen to be in London after the Conference but Mr.

Blundell asked me to assure you that you would be the principal guest and that his Executive Committee were most anxious to meet your convenience.

There is no doubt that your speech in October 1923 to the National Farmers’ Union did a great deal of good and I feel that it is highly desirable that you should once again have an opportunity of addressing British agriculture from a sound agricultural platform.

I therefore ventured to add to my cable words indicating that I strongly recommended acceptance.


Sir George Buchanan invited Casey [7] and myself to meet him at lunch on Monday last. He then told us that he was receiving messages from you urging him to forward his report at the earliest possible moment. He explained that he was giving the whole of his time to the preparation of the report but that the mass of information that he had and his desire to make the report a comprehensive and therefore satisfactory document involved a great deal of time. He appeared to be anxious that both Casey and I should write to you on the subject.

I presume that Sir George is in direct communication with you by both cable and letter and as I have no knowledge of his terms of reference or the magnitude of his task, I feel that I can make no really useful comment. Sir George handed to both Casey and myself a paper shewing the scope of his report, which I enclose herewith.

I gathered that he now intends to forward you the first volume before the second volume is completed and hopes to be able to despatch it within the next three or four weeks.


I enclose an extract from Hansard giving the whole of the debate on the stabilization of preference in the House of Commons. [8] No very new points were made but I have marked one or two passages and would draw your particular attention to a portion of Haden Guest’s [9] speech which I have marked heavily. I regard this as the most important suggestion put forward during the debate and hope that it will bear some fruit.

From an Australian point of view the stabilization of preference is of more value as a gesture than for any actual value that it would bring, except in the case of Queensland sugar.


On Monday last I met a small Sub-Committee of Conservative Members to consider the formation of a larger body of Members to use every possible method of interesting the country through the press and through Parliament in the problems to come before the economic side of the Imperial Conference. The Members present were the Hon.

Oliver Stanley, a son of Lord Derby [10], Col. the Hon. Angus McDonnell, Mr. Luke Thompson (Member for Sunderland) and Mr.

Ramsden [11] (Member for North Bradford). We made a certain amount of progress but, as so often happens, were interrupted time after time by divisions and finally postponed the meeting until a later date. I am very hopeful that we shall be able to make some definite progress in this direction.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 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.

2 Sir Halford Mackinder.

3 Not found.

4 See Letters 73 and 34.

5 J. G. Coates.

6 Consulting engineer specialising in harbour and transport work;

author of a report to the Commonwealth Government on transport in Australia.

7 R. G. Casey, Commonwealth Government’s Liaison Officer in London.

8 Clause 7 of the Finance Bill provided for a guarantee that preferences applying in 1926 would be maintained for ten years.

See the debate on the clause in House of Commons, Parliamentary Debates, fifth series, vol. 196, Cols 1220-58.

9 L. Haden Guest, Labour M.P. and writer; Secretary of the Labour Party Commonwealth Group. Haden Guest advocated ‘a kind of Empire organisation for the benefit of the producers of the Empire, which would be infinitely more advantageous than any Preference duties that can be put on…there is very much more to be got out of a business, organisation, such as is growing up in the fruit trade, to control the improvement of trade… which is very much more important than Preference’. See House of Commons, Parliamentary Debates, fifth series, vol. 196, cols 1234-8 10 Secretary for War 1916-18 and 1922-24; Amassador to France 1918-20.

11 Eugene Ramsden.

P.S. I have learnt that the Intelligence Department of the High Commissioner’s Office is sending to you and to other members of the Government copies of the Fruit Report which have this morning become available. I am therefore not forwarding a copy myself.