Thursday, 22nd July 1926

22nd July, 1926


Dear Mr. Bruce,

At the time of writing the situation in regard to the Imperial Conference is still obscure. It seems generally to be anticipated here that the Conference will be postponed for about a fortnight and that Canada will then be represented. [1] Until definite information to the contrary is forthcoming, I must assume that you will be adhering to your programme and leaving Melbourne on August 31st. Unless some definite development takes place, I shall arrange to address you at Fremantle and Colombo by the appropriate mails.

At the present moment a combination of circumstances is forcing me to work at an extraordinary high pressure. At present there is the drafting of the Dairy Produce Report, which is absorbing a great deal of time and attention, in addition to the ordinary meetings of the Imperial Economic Committee; then the Empire Marketing Board in its initial stages is requiring constant attention and long deliberation on the Board, on the Research and Publicity Committees, and on the Sub-Committees.

This intense pressure will not last when the Empire Marketing Board gets into its stride but I am sure that you will appreciate that, as I have been taking a far keener interest in the whole subject than any other member of the Overseas Delegations, the Empire Marketing Board have come to rely upon me for large contributions towards the original ideas both on publicity and on research.

I believe I shall be correct in assuming that you will not want to receive just prior to your departure from Australia any considerable amount of information about either the Imperial Economic Committee or the Empire Marketing Board. I feel that you would rather have this information when you are at sea and free from the hourly calls upon your time on matters of local and pressing importance. I shall, therefore, concentrate upon giving you adequate reports on what has occurred up to date at either Fremantle, Colombo or at both places.


With reference to my letter on this subject dated 14th July [3], I now enclose a list of the names of prominent Australians which I gave to Lord Salisbury. Those names which have an asterisk against them are gentlemen to whom I am sending a personal letter asking them to get into touch with Lord Salisbury during his stay in Australia.


I am today sending you the following cable:-

Reference Research proposals in Australian Budget speech. Research Committee Empire Marketing Board hopes cooperate Empire scientific research agricultural problems. Committee would greatly appreciate information on nature and scope of Australian research proposals.

Can you arrange either post or bring same.

Reference Fruit Report. Dried Fruit Report paragraph 93. Empire Marketing Board considering thorough investigation grub problem.

Please arrange to have all information as to research conducted in Australia for prevention and cure of grubs in dried fruit forwarded at early date.

The Research Committee of the Empire Marketing Board was extremely interested in the proposal of the Australian Government to assist the scientific and industrial research by a grant of £250,000 and asked me whether I could personally communicate with you so that full particulars as to the nature and scope of the use of this grant, in so far as it affects agricultural research, might become available at the earliest possible date to the Empire Marketing Board.

The Research Committee feels that it could serve two very useful purposes: firstly by means of grants, possibly on a 50-50 basis, it hopes to be able to get important pieces of agricultural research work done which would otherwise not have been undertaken by Agricultural Research Institutions throughout the Empire and, secondly, it hopes to coordinate agricultural research throughout the Empire so as to avoid overlapping and definitely to establish a system whereby the tentative results being obtained in one Research Station may become immediately available to other Stations.

I feel sure that you will be in sympathy with both these ideas and I had little hesitation in consenting to send you the earlier part of the above cable.

So far as the latter portion is concerned, you may be aware that the grub problem is a serious menace to the Australian Dried Fruit Industry.

The Imperial Economic Committee recommended that this was a problem which the Empire Marketing Board should tackle and one of the earliest decisions of the Empire Marketing Board was to ascertain all the known facts upon the subject before embarking upon definite expenditure towards the solution of the problem.

This explanation is sufficient to account for the latter part of my cable.

On the Publicity side of the Empire Marketing Board’s work very considerable progress has been made during the last ten days and I propose to let you have an adequate report to reach you during your voyage.

I am closely associating myself with all the publicity work of the Board in these early stages because I feel it to be of the utmost importance that publicity should start upon the right lines.


Since my last letter the work of the drafting of the Dairy Produce Report has definitely been taken in hand. The Drafting Committee on this occasion consists of the Chairman [4], Mr. Wilson [5], one of the Canadian Representatives, and myself. My Canadian colleague and I have experienced the same type of irritation as Mr. Gubbay [6], the Indian delegate, and I experienced on the drafting of the Fruit Report.

The Secretary [7] produced a draft of about the first third of the report, consisting of some 60 pages of typescript. This was circulated to the Chairman and the other two members of the Drafting Committee and six days later the first meeting of the Drafting Committee took place. Both Mr. Wilson and I arrived at the meeting with our copies of the draft fully annotated and discovered that the Chairman had not even looked at the draft and was quite prepared to sit down and read it for the first time in our presence. At the present time the Chairman’s duties, so far as Imperial economic affairs are concerned, are not nearly as heavy as those that I am undertaking and it is, to say the least, disconcerting to find how little real attention he devotes to the work of the Committee.

It is anticipated that the Dairy Produce Report will be signed on about the 5th August and I hope it will be printed in time for me to send you a copy to reach you at Colombo.


For some time I have been intending to send you a memorandum on the growth of American competitive power on the export trade of the world. This has at last been completed and I am forwarding it herewith. Probably you will not have time to consider this until after you leave Melbourne but I hope that you will be able to read it after that date.

I am hoping to prepare a complementary memorandum on the growth of European competitive power from the most up to date statistics, because I feel that when you are over here it will be very advantageous for you to be in possession of the latest information as to the position in which British industry will find itself if it does not back a resolute attempt to develop the sheltered markets of the Empire.

On Page 7 I have had compiled some statistics of which the final column are entirely hypothetical but I think none the less of very considerable interest. The note on page 8 explains why.


I enclose a series of Parliamentary questions and answers dealing with inter-Empire trade and the work of the Imperial Economic

Conference of 1923, some of which you will find of interest.

I would particularly draw your attention to the debate in the House of Commons on Palestine and East Africa Loans Bill in Vol.

198 No. 108 of the 21st July 1926. The whole debate is decidedly interesting and worth your careful consideration.


I enclose a cutting from the Westminster Gazette dealing with Dr.

Haden Guest’s [8] Bill which was intended to share between industry and labour the benefits conferred by the safeguarding of industries measures.


In my letter of the 8th July [9] I drew your attention to the hostility shewn by the trade to the operations of the New Zealand Co-operative Federation and to the anticipated policy of the New Zealand Export Control Board.

I have today heard confidentially that the London Agency of the New Zealand Dairy Produce Export Control Board after very careful consideration has despatched a cable to New Zealand outlining the way in which the Australian Dairy Produce Export Control Board carries out its policy in London and strongly urging that the New Zealand Board should abandon the idea of absolute control and adopt the policy pursued by the London Agency of the Australian Board. I expect that, in a few days’ time, Mr. Clifford [10] and I will send you a cable on this subject outlining the way in which the Economic Committee will report on the operations of the Dairy Produce Control Boards.

I enclose a copy of an article by Dr. Haden Guest from the current number of the ‘Review of Reviews’ on the Fruit Report of the Imperial Economic Committee. [11]

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

P.S. Since I started to dictate this letter I have heard that the Canadian Government has definitely asked for a ten days’ postponement of the date of the Imperial Conference. This looks as though the Conference will definitely take place about the middle of October and I am inclined to assume that, under these circumstances, you will probably sail on the 31st August.

_1 See note 1 to Letter 80, and Letter 81.

2 Marquess of Salisbury, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords.

3 Not found.

4 Sir Halford Mackinder.

5 W. A. Wilson.

6 M. M. S. Gubbay.

7 H. Broadley.

8 Labour M.P. and writer. See note 14 to Letter 80.

9 Letter 80.

10 W. H. Clifford, 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; Australian representative on the Imperial Economic Committee.

11 ‘Eat More Fruit-from the Empire’, Review of Reviews, vol.

LXXIII, no. 438, pp. 639-42.