14

25th February, 1925

CONFIDENTIAL

My dear P.M.,

J. H. THOMAS [1]

I presented your letter of introduction to Mr. Thomas a day or so ago and had an interesting conversation with him this morning.

With regard to the recent internal trouble in the Labour Party in this country and the rumours that are current about a split between the Radical and the Moderate wings of the party, Mr.

Thomas told me that I could tell you that the gravity of the situation was much overstated by the press. He said that there was a very distinct dispute going on but that there was no doubt that it would end satisfactorily by the victory of the Moderates.

He said that when he returned from the Colonial Office to being General Secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen he was a little in doubt for some time as to whether he would carry the same weight with the men as before, but he was pleased to say that he is now firmly back in the saddle and is having no trouble at all. He said his membership was half-a-million and his accumulated funds three million pounds. He said it was the greatest Union in the world and a great force in the country.

He was interested to hear how my work was developing and was glad, although a little surprised, to learn that I had met no opposition from the Foreign Office.

He realised that communication with the Dominions on foreign affairs through the Colonial Office is clumsy and slow, and considers that direct communication on matters strictly dealing with foreign relations should be brought about between the Foreign Office and Dominion Prime Ministers.

He said the Labour Party in this country is a strictly imperialistic party as he thought they had proved during their term of office. They view with some concern the growing coolness in the attitude of Canada towards the Empire. He thinks it is brought about through the influence of American money and American thought.

He is of the opinion that another war within the next 20 years would be the end of everything, and he agrees that it is difficult to see how the Empire could emerge whole from another such ordeal.

He finds it difficult to visualise the Irish Free State and the Union of South Africa justifying their place in the Empire in another war.

He regards the League of Nations in very much the same light as you do yourself-as the only lifeboat in a sea of trouble. He would not put too big tasks up to it at present to strain the loyalty of States members to it, but he would bolster it up and support it and do everything in his power to increase its prestige.

He is greatly concerned at the 1 1/4 million of unemployed in this country, a large number of whom are ex-soldiers.

He is watching the career of Mr. Theodore [2] with interest, and said that he had told the King recently that he would one day be Prime Minister of Australia.

He ended by saying that I might go to him at any time and ask him what questions I like.

I am, Yours very truly, R. G. CASEY

1 Labour M.P. and General Secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen. He had been Secretary for the Colonies in the Labour Government of 1924.

2 E. G. Theodore, Labor Premier of Queensland since 1919, in fact resigned on 26 February 1925. In 1927 he entered federal politics and became Treasurer in the Labor Government led by James Scullin during 1929-31 but his career was blighted by allegations of scandal dating from his Queensland years. He was defeated at elections in 1931 and turned his remarkable talents to pursuing a notably successful business career.