Wednesday, 16th February 1927

16th February, 1927


My dear Prime Minister,


On Friday, February 11th, I saw Mr. Amery [1] on this subject. He seemed quite sure that the Cabinet would raise no objections but thought some mild Treasury opposition was probable.

He agreed with the general idea that the Delegation, instead of being regarded as an isolated event, would best be regarded as part of a considered plan for Anglo-Australian cooperation for the more rapid development of the Commonwealth. Mr. Amery said that when he discussed the delegation with you, you had made it clear that development rather than migration was the object and that you had indicated that it was not primarily a matter for the Oversea Settlement Committee. [2] He had, therefore, been somewhat surprised when he saw the ‘Times’ report of your speech in Sydney in which you appeared to have placed the main emphasis upon migration.

The cabled message via myself again showed that, in your mind, the chief emphasis was upon markets and development. [3]

Mr. Amery was, therefore, waiting for a reply to his cable on the terms of reference [4] before going any further with the question of the delegation.

I pointed out to Mr. Amery that, as Australia was now the most important potential market in the world for British manufacturing goods, I therefore felt that the British Government could make out a wonderfully strong case for the despatch of a delegation.

Properly stated, the idea of this delegation could be made to show this country the genuine intention of the Government to seek every chance of cooperation with the Dominions in developmental work.

After I had left Mr. Amery, it occurred to me that you might feel it desirable for me to hand Mr. Amery that memorandum on British Cooperation in Australian Development which I gave you just before you left. I therefore included a suggestion to that effect in the cable I sent you through Casey’s [5] office, the text of which was as follows:-

Following from McDougall begins: Reference delegation. Amery does not anticipate difficulties with Cabinet but awaits reply his cable to you on terms of reference. No steps yet taken sound persons for delegation. Owing existing and anticipated criticism of delegation on grounds that persons previously unacquainted with Australia cannot produce constructive proposals on Australian problems in short time would suggest that whole scheme be regarded as effort towards closer British cooperation on Australian development with object of directing British brains, energy and capital towards Australia to mutual benefit both countries.

Made personal suggestion to Amery that delegation be part of sustained plan rather than an isolated event and that delegates after return here should consent act in advisory capacity on British and Australian cooperation. Can I give Amery copy my memorandum on British cooperation in Australian development as being in general harmony your ideas. Suggest you reply through Casey’s office. Have arranged accordingly.

On Tuesday morning I received your reply as follows:-

Following for McDougall-Your telegram 11th February, will be sending suggestion for purposes mission in a few days. Do not think it desirable hand Amery copy of your memorandum on cooperation-Bruce. [6]

I have seen Sir William Clark, of the Department of Overseas Trade, who says that he is certain that the delegation idea will be warmly supported by both the Board of Trade, the Department of Overseas Trade and the leading commercial and industrial people here.

I have seen Mr. Amery once or twice recently and, although I have nothing very definite to go upon, I have formed the impression that he is not quite so enthusiastic about Australia as he was before the Conference. Casey, I find, also had the same slight impression. It seems to me just possible that Mr. Amery was rather disappointed that he was not enabled to play a larger personal part at the Imperial Conference. This state of affairs, even if true, is probably only a passing phase but it had occurred to me that it might be useful, if you felt disposed, to write a personal letter to Amery about the importance of Anglo-Australian cooperation and in the letter to make some special reference to the great work which he has done in educating people on the importance of the Empire and suggest to him that Anglo-Australian cooperation might form a working model of everything that he has been striving for in the way of closer Imperial economic connections.

I am seeing Sir Maurice Hankey [7] this afternoon and shall take the opportunity of stressing the importance of British cooperation in Australian development and for this purpose shall make use of a graph, of which I enclose you a copy. It is, I think, the most striking trade graph that I have ever seen.

In connection with the Delegation, it has occurred to me that, if a man such as Faraker [8] could be attached to the Delegation in a Secretarial capacity, a very useful purpose would be served.

Faraker would have every reason to make the report of such a delegation a really valuable document and also one which would be acceptable in Australia. You are aware that I have a very high opinion of Faraker and it is a long time since he saw anything of Australia. Naturally I shall keep this idea entirely to myself but I should like to recommend it to your serious considerations. [9]


I am very happy to say that I received by this mail a charming letter from Mr. Julius [10], the Chairman of the Commonwealth Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, explaining that neither he nor his Council had ever felt in the slightest degree aggrieved that offers had been made by the Empire Marketing Board to the Adelaide University without reference to the Council. [11] He stated that the Council could not for one moment have expected that either the Board or myself could have understood that it was desirable to refer an offer of this sort to the Council.

Cables have this week been received from both the Adelaide University and the Council accepting the Empire Marketing Board’s offer for a 50-50 contribution towards the establishment of research into the mineral deficiencies of pasture at the Waite Institute, Adelaide.

I have thought it desirable to draw up a very careful memorandum on the Empire Marketing Board and Research for the information of Mr. Julius and his colleagues. You, of course, have already been closely in touch with this subject but I am enclosing a copy of my memorandum to Mr. Julius because I feel that it is a useful description and something which you would like to have beside you for reference. I am also sending a copy to Mr. Paterson [12] for his personal use but informing him that it should not be regarded as for circulation in his Department.


I heard yesterday that, after long delay, Sir David Chadwick [13] has accepted the Secretaryship of the Committee and he is dining with me tonight in order to discuss our future activities.

The absence and slackness of Mackinder [14] and the delay in the appointment of the Secretary will probably mean that the Committee will hardly have done any useful work before Easter. This I very much regret.


I enclose copy of this journal.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 Leopold Amery, Secretary for the Colonies and for Dominion Affairs.

2 See note 14 to Letter 90.

3 The cable is quoted in full in Letter 92.

4 The cable, dispatched on 10 February, is on file AA:A1606, F40/1.

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

6 See also note 11 to Letter 90.

7 Secretary to the Cabinet.

8 F. C. Faraker, Commercial Officer at the Australian High Commission.

9 Bruce did not appoint Faraker, as he considered it ‘eminently desirable that the delegation should be an entirely British one’.

His letter, dated 20 April, is on file AA:M111, 1927.

10 George Julius, consulting engineer.

11 See Letter 84 12 Thomas Paterson, Minister for Markets and Migration in the Bruce-Page Government.

13 Former Government of India Trade Commissioner in London;

Secretary to the Government of India, Commerce Department.

14 Sir Halford Mackinder, Chairman of the Imperial Economic Committee.