Thursday, 15th July 1926

15th July, 1926


Dear Mr. Bruce,

The mail this week is only a supplementary one and will reach Melbourne about two days in advance of the regular mail going next week. I am therefore economising my time and am not writing at any length today.

I have written you, under separate cover, a letter in reference to Lord Salisbury’s [1] visit to Australia with the Parliamentary Delegation.

At the request of the Committee of Members of the House of Commons, of which I have written to you recently [2], I drafted a series of Parliamentary questions, which amounted to about 20 in number, referring to the recommendations of the last Imperial Economic Conference. Some of these questions have now been asked and replies given. I enclose extracts from Hansard of all those that have so far been asked.


The Empire Marketing Board yesterday approved, in principle, an expenditure of 120,000 on advertising during the coming six months. This advertising is to be of a general educational nature and will follow in a general way the lines of the memorandum which was presented to the Publicity Committee and of which I sent you a copy with my letter of 24th June.

Mr. Pick [3], of the Underground, who has been co-opted to the Publicity Committee, is going to prove of immense value to us and at the first full meeting of the Publicity Committee, which was held last Friday, he immediately showed his value.

At the request of Mr. Ormsby-Gore [4], the Chairman of this Committee, I had outlined the general idea of a preliminary educational poster campaign. Mr. Pick was then asked to express his views and he said that, after studying the memorandum and listening to what I had to say, he had come to the conclusion that what we wanted to do was to have an economic geography of the British Empire and show it to the people of Great Britain by means of a number of pictures and a few words. I can hardly imagine a happier summing up of the idea we have had in mind.

The general attitude of the Publicity Committee was that it would be very dangerous for the Empire Marketing Board to become responsible for the advertising of any commodity which was not of high and uniform quality and in regular supply. While it is not possible to quarrel with the general soundness of this dictum, it does point out in the clearest way the limitations as to the extent to which the Empire Marketing Board’s publicity can assist Empire industries. The young and struggling industry which has not achieved complete organization, the quality of whose produce is variable and in which grading and packing have not reached a high level, will not be able to receive very much direct assistance through publicity.

This reinforces my general point of view that the publicity campaigns which we are about to start must largely be aimed at so educating the British electorate as to cause a change of heart on fiscal matters.


I am very much hoping that the Imperial Conference will not be postponed. If a full Imperial Conference cannot be arranged owing to the Canadian position [5], I should have thought it desirable to have proceeded with an Imperial Economic Conference.

I spoke to Mr. Amery [6] about this yesterday at the Empire Marketing Board Meeting. It is quite clear that Mr. Amery is most anxious for a Conference.

One of my main reasons for desiring a Conference is because I am looking forward most anxiously to seeing you in London and having the opportunity of discussing two large series of questions, namely (a) Empire trade and development (b) The organization of Australian marketing.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 Marquess of Salisbury, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords. The letter has not been found.

2 See Letters 77 and 78.

3 Frank Pick, Publicity Director of the London Underground Railway System.

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

5 See note 1 to Letter 80.

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