Thursday, 3rd March 1927

3rd March, 1927


My dear Prime Minister,


On Saturday, the Dominions office informed me of the cable that they had sent in reply to yours dealing with the suggested terms of reference. [1] I saw Sir William Clark [2] yesterday and he told me that they were now waiting for your agreement before proceeding to approach individuals to become members of the Delegation. They are, I think, clearly seized with the desirability of securing the best possible men for this purpose.


On Tuesday evening I attended the farewell dinner to the Motor Delegation. Amery [4] and Cunliffe-Lister [5] spoke, Amery making quite an effective speech. Each of the members of the delegation then spoke and I must say I was rather disappointed with Sir Archibald Boyd-Carpenter’s [6] speech. He has a reputation of being at times a first class speaker but his appointment as head of the delegation was, I think, due to intense jealousies which developed between the various big manufacturers and precluded the possibility of any one leader in the industry being at the head of a delegation of this nature.


You will have seen in the cables that Dr. Haden Guest has resigned from the Labour Party. I have not seen Guest for some time and must, therefore, presume that the reasons given for his resignation are the only existing ones. [7] In many ways I am very sorry that he has taken this step but I am, personally, more than thankful that, for the last year, I have realised that it was extremely undesirable to use Haden Guest as one’s chief vehicle for communicating Empire ideas to the Labour Party. Ever since the Preference Debate in 1925 [8] when Guest made a speech which, while satisfactory from our point of view, showed so strong an appreciation of Tory ideas as to be damaging to him in the Party, I felt that it would be very much better to use a man like Mr. Tom Johnston [9] rather than Dr. Haden Guest.

Guest’s political future at the present moment is quite uncertain.


In my last letter I told you that Mr. Tom Johnston was extremely anxious that the Publicity of the Empire Marketing Board should be more direct and vigorous and of such a nature as to make a more effective appeal to labour and to the Cooperative movement. The day following my writing this letter there was a meeting of the Publicity Committee which Mr. Tom Johnston attended and at which he strongly emphasized this point of view. A discussion followed in which it became apparent that what was urgently needed as a preliminary to more effective advertising was a clear realisation, on the part of the members of the Board and of the Publicity Committee, of the essential facts about the importance of Empire Trade to Great Britain.

As you know this is a subject on which few people in Great Britain have done any clear thinking and I therefore offered to prepare a preparatory statement on the whole subject for the Publicity Committee. I suggested that, when my statement was completed, all the figures that I used should be officially ‘vetted’ by the Statistical Department of the Board of Trade and that a special Sub-Committee of the Publicity Committee, to consist of Major Ormsby-Gore [10], Sir William Clark, of the Department of Overseas Trade, and Mr. Tom Johnston, should discuss the statement and finally prepare it for presentation to the Board. This offer was very warmly accepted by the Committee and later by the Board itself. it would, of course, entail a lot of additional work but I feel that the publicity work of the Board cannot continue to be nebulous for lack of a complete statement as to the strength of the position which we have to urge and I am quite convinced that it would be impossible to have obtained a statement of this nature from the staff of the Empire Marketing Board itself or, indeed, from any one of the British Government Departments.


The ‘Times’ were very much impressed with this article [11] and decided to reprint it as a pamphlet. I will forward a dozen copies to you as soon as they are available.


About a week ago Mr. Philip Snowden wrote an extremely interesting article in the ‘Daily News’ on the Moscow Attack on the British Trade Unions. Coming from such a source, I feel that this article deserves very careful consideration. I enquired and found that the Intelligence Department at Australia House had already forwarded a copy to you but I think it possible that your personal attention may not have been directed to the article. I am, therefore, sending two copies to you. I have forwarded a copy to Mr. Latham [13] and two to Mr. Gepp. [14] It seems to me possible that circumstances might arise in which a reprint of this article by Philip Snowden might serve a very useful purpose.


I enclose a series of Parliamentary questions and answers, some of which you may consider to be of interest.


I enclose copy of ‘London Weekly’ dated 25.2.27.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

_1 See note 4 to Letter 94. Amery’s reply to Bruce suggested that the terms of reference be shortened to the following: To confer with the Development and Migration Commission, with the Commonwealth and State Governments and with the leaders of industry and commerce in Australia on development in Australian resources and on any other matter of mutual economic interest to Great Britain and the Commonwealth which may tend to the promotion of trade between the two countries and the increase of settlement in Australia’. The cable, dated 24 February, is on file AA:A1606, F40/1. Bruce accepted the proposed terms.

2 Comptroller-General of the Department of Overseas Trade.

3 Initiated by the British manufacturers’ section of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the delegation was to visit Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to investigate the possibilities of developing the British motor industry in the Dominions.

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

5 Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister, President of the Board of Trade.

6 Conservative M.P.

7 L. Haden Guest had resigned in protest over Labour’s China policy. See note 1 to Letter 91.

8 See House of Commons, Parliamentary Debates, fifth series, vol.

184, cols 2400-10. Guest spoke in support of the Imperial Preference Clause of the Finance Bill, emphasising the importance of Empire markets to the British economy. Both Guest and J. H.

Thomas, Labour M.P. and Colonial Secretary 1924, voted with the Government on this Clause.

9 Scottish Labour M.P.; Editor of Forward, a Glasgow labour paper.

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

11 See note 9 to Letter 94.

12 Labour M.P.; free trader; Chancellor of the Exchequer 1924.

13 J. G. Latham, Attorney-General in the Bruce-Page Government.

14 H. W. Gepp, Chairman of the Commonwealth Development and Migration Commission.