120

29th March, 1928

PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL

My dear P.M.,

INDUSTRIAL CONFERENCE

Bertram Austin came to see me last week ostensibly to show me a letter that he was writing to you. As he talked, he came to the point of his visit, which was to ask me to suggest to you that he visit Australia on a lecturing tour and, whilst there, take an unofficial hand in the Industrial Conference that you are organising. [1] He could not make the trip without financial help from somewhere, so he says.

He claims to have had a considerable part in the preliminary arrangements for (and in the conduct of) the Mond Industrial Conference. [2] Sir Alfred Mond is his wife's uncle. You will remember the small book ('The Secret of High Wages') that he and Lloyd [3] wrote and which he says has had good sales in Australia.

Since then he tells me that he has been to America again on an industrial enquiry for the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company, for his part in which he says they paid him 1,000. He told me that Sir Arthur Steel-Maitland (Minister of Labour) was familiar with his work and ability.

I called on the latter and he told me about Austin at some length.

He thinks he is a clever fellow with a good deal of ability at this sort of job. He obviously thinks a good deal of him, his only criticism being that he is, as yet, inclined to be too idealistic and perhaps a little remote from the practical application of his paper schemes. However, he thought that he might be a most useful adjunct to your Industrial Conference by working unofficially. He referred me to Cramp, the Union Secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen [4], for information as to his standing with the Labour side. I saw Cramp, who says, in short, that he is a bright fellow, but doesn't think he would go down well with the Australian Labour people.

So that unless you like the idea of his coming out to Australia, and tell me to do anything more in the matter, I will let it drop.

[5]

I am, Yours sincerely, R.G. CASEY

1 See Letter 101 and note 5 below.

2 See note 10 to Letter 92 and Letter 101.

3 Bertram Austin and W. Francis Lloyd, The Secret of High Wages, T. Fisher Unwin, London, 1926.

4 Concemore Cramp had also been Chairman of the Labour Party in 1925.

5 Bruce did not favour a visit by Austin and he informed Casey in a letter of 30 April 1928 (on file AA:A1420) that the planned industrial conference in Australia would not for the present proceed: the unions had been hostile and the proposed employers' representatives had been 'the old gang of the most impossible type'.