153

20th September, 1928

PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL

(Due to arrive Canberra 19.10.28)

My dear P.M.,

One of the Orient Company directors came to see me today to see if I thought it was of any use for them to approach you at this moment with regard to the repeal of certain clauses of the Navigation Act, and if you were likely to make it a plank in your election platform. I said that it was quite outside my sphere and I had no indication of your mind on the subject, but that I did not see what good they could do. All the facts were known to you and I had no doubt but that your mind was made up on a subject of such importance long before this. I suggested that he talk to Alfred Bright who is in London and who is, I believe, Chairman of the Associated Chambers of Commerce of Australia. [1] He could tell him better than I as to whether it is worth while for the British shipowners to raise the subject with you again.

Hankey [2] spoke very freely to me recently about the attendance of Dominion High Commissioners at C.I.D. meetings. The scheme was his own and he was very pleased at having brought it into being.

He had had the principle acknowledged and acted on, that High Commissioners should attend certain C.I.D. meetings. But from what he had seen of the scheme in practice, he did not feel confident that anything very constructive would result and he did not propose to endanger the principle by putting it very freely into practice. In pursuance of this, he proposed in future to advise the Prime Minister [3] to hold an occasional C.I.D. meeting, the agenda for which would be selected with an eye to the attendance of High Commissioners. In other words, he would keep the principle alive for possible use in the future by holding an occasional High Commissioners' C.I.D. meeting, and would not jeopardise it by discussing subjects in their presence about which they were but ill-informed and about which, by their intervention, they would retard the progress of the discussion.

I find that Sir Ronald Lindsay [4] and Lord Stonehaven [5] are friends-they were together in the Diplomatic Service years ago.

I am, Yours sincerely, R.G. CASEY

1 Alfred Bright, Senior Partner of Gibbs, Bright and Co., President of the Associated Chambers of Commerce of Australia 1928-29.

2 Sir Maurice Hankey, Secretary to the Cabinet.

3 Stanley Baldwin.

4 Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office.

5 Lord Stonehaven (Sir John Baird until his elevation to the peerage on his appointment as GovernorGeneral of Australia in 1925) had served in Austria, Egypt and Abyssinia in the 1890s.