2nd May, 1929


(Due to arrive Canberra 1.6.29)

My dear P.M.,

I have been interested to see your three moves with regard to Americathe appointment of Herbert Brookes as Australian Commissioner-General [1] -closing of the New York branch of the Commonwealth Bank-and, last but not least, the press statement that you have sent a Note to the U.S. through the British Ambassador [2], protesting against threatened tariff changes which will operate against Australian business. I will be interested to hear details of the latter as you have evidently had reasons for putting this direct to the British Ambassador. [3]

Kellogg [4] is in London and has been seeing the Prime Minister and everyone else. He is very elated at his name going down to posterity in connection with the Peace Pact. [5] He is also very hopeful about the recent turn that the Naval Disarmament negotiations have taken. He is predicting a Conference on the subject in the autumn and that he will be the American spokesman.

He is very bitter about Coolidge [6] and has let it be known in high circles here (passed to me by Tom Jones [7]) that he implored him not to make his notorious Armistice Day speech. [8]

Both McDougall [9] and I have been trying to get some reference to the Dominions injected into some of the Prime Minister's election utterances, but there is great resistance on Baldwin's part. I have now, as a last resort, got Tom Jones to propose to him that he 'echoes J.H. Thomas' [10] statement that a sound imperial sentiment is not the prerogative of any political party, and that he looks forward to the day when this may be implemented by dealing with all imperial matters on non-party lines'. This is rather anodyne but I feel that it is the most that he can be got to say. He is very timid and afraid that Lloyd George [11] will seize on anything more specific than this and twist it into a protectionist preference statement.

Hankey [12] tells me that Lord Balfour [13] has definitely reached a state that he cannot maintain any effort. He can only walk a hundred yards with difficulty and he is subject to fits of choking. He can read and converse and eat, but he can only maintain a mental effort with difficulty. He lives in the country now, but promises to come to a Cabinet if he is urgently needed.

It must be a great blow to him to realise that his powers are leaving him.

You will shortly be receiving from Sir Granville Ryrie [14] information with regard to a scheme of Mr. Goodenough's [15] (Chairman, Barclays Bank), for the founding of a Hall of Residence for Dominion Students in London. Goodenough has spoken to me about it over the last six months and sent me draft of his proposed letter to the High Commissioner. He has already about 120,000 promised. He does not propose to ask for any capital contribution from Australia but will ask for an annual donation towards expenses. [16] The object is, I think, an admirable one. I told Goodenough not to expect much from you at present, as the Commonwealth was looking on both sides of every penny before it was spent.

If you are interested in the subject of the military situation in Germany, you will find it covered shortly and well in two papers- C.I.D. 926-B and C.P. 121-that I have sent out, the former by the War Office and the latter by Sir Ronald Lindsay. [17] From their respective points of view they give a picture of the mental and material turn-over from the Germany of the war period to Republican Germany.

I went to an interesting 'Imperial' dinner given by Sir Campbell Stuart [18] this week. He had a few Canadians (Sir Arthur Currie [19], Lord Shaughanessy [20], etc.), a few Australians (W.L. [21] and C.L. Baillieu [22], Curwen [23] of Western Australia and myself), Smiddy [24] (ex-I.F.S. Minister at Washington, now High Commissioner here), a few other Dominion people and a dozen selected Englishmen. I sat between Shaughanessy and Smiddy, and had an interesting meal. Shaughanessy apparently was at Cambridge with you and sent you messages of goodwill and undying affection.

Smiddy is a delightful little man, full of the deceptive Irish charm that would wheedle a bird off a bough.

The gathering was to give Lionel Curtis [25] an opportunity of speaking on the part played by the Royal Institute of International Affairs-and an extremely good story he made of it.

He showed how the big business interests could work in with the Institute to their mutual benefit. He said how impressed he had been in these years since the War at the degree to which the City, by its manifold foreign relations, was instrumental in influencing international affairs, and in the volume and quality of the information that they could add to the common fund of information on foreign affairs. He pleaded for greater use being made of the R.I.I.A. by the City, both as a 'bank' into which they could 'deposit' specific information, and as a common fund on which they could draw as required. Most of the big banks and business institutions maintained one or more men specifically to keep in touch with foreign affairs, either generally or in respect of the particular countries with which they do business, and these men were coming to regard the R.I.I.A. as a most useful source. The Foreign Office was under the disability that it could not maintain relations, either as regards receiving or giving information, with private individuals or firms, but the R.I.I.A. was under no such disability.

200,000 has been donated towards the capital fund necessary to endow the Institute. Sir Abe Bailey [26] has given 100,000 and a comparatively few others the other 100,000. They will want probably another 100,000 before they are finished.

I enclose letter from J.H. Thomas to the 'Times' of 26th April, in which he complains that we have been backward in advertising the advantages of British investment in Australian Government loans and Australian private enterprise.

Sir Cecil Hurst (F.O. Legal Adviser) leaves the Foreign Office this year. He goes to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the first place and then it is expected that he will be elected to a judgeship on the Permanent Court of International Justice in September. It will be a great loss to the Foreign Office, as he is a tower of strength.

I enclose speeches of Baldwin and Churchill [27], although there is not much of interest to Australia in them.

This mail is rather curtailed owing to the fact that the Duke and Duchess have decided to visit the 'Discovery' [28] today, and a good deal of the arrangements have fallen on me.

I am, Yours sincerely, R.G. CASEY

1 An engineer, businessman and pastoralist, Brookes served in New York 1929-30.

2 Sir Esme Howard.

3 The Note emphasised the imbalance of trade between the two countries, especially the decrease of U.S. merino wool imports from Australia. It concluded with the warning that Australian trade might be diverted to Britain and other countries with whom more favourable trade relations existed. See also The Times, 23 April 1929.

4 Frank Kellogg, former U.S. Secretary of State 1925-29.

5 The International Treaty for the Renunciation of War, known also as the Pact of Paris but more commonly as the Kellogg-Briand Pact.

Some sixty-five governments, including Australia, signed the pact, the final flourish of the optimism of the 1920s. See note 35 to Letter 93 and note 13 to Letter 126.

6 U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, in office until Herbert Hoover's inauguration on 5 March 1929.

7 Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet.

8 Coolidge, in his speech on 11 November 1928, had referred to the American contribution in the 1914-18 war as 'indispensable ... to the ... victory' and to the United States' altruistic approach to the peace. He had also stressed the propriety of the United States enjoying naval superiority over others, and the right of the United States to full payment by its debtors.

9 F.L. McDougall, Economic Adviser to the Australian High Commissioner.

10 General Secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen.

11 Liberal leader, Prime Minister 1916-22.

12 Sir Maurice Hankey, Secretary to the Cabinet.

13 Lord President of the Council.

14 Australian High Commissioner.

15 F.C. Goodenough.

16 London House, founded in 1930, a residence for male graduate students from Commonwealth countries, is in Mecklenburgh Square, London, W.C.1.

17 Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office.

18 Canadian-born director of The Times (managing director 1919- 24).

19 General Sir Arthur Currie, Principal of McGill University.

20 Director of the Canadian Pacific Railway Co.

21 Melbourne financier.

22 Clive Baillieu, W.L.'s eldest son and the future (1953) Lord Baillieu.

23 Casey is referring probably to J. W. (later Sir John) Kirwan, President of the W.A. Legislative Council 1926-46.

24 Timothy Smiddy.

25 Fellow of All Souls and Secretary of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

26 South African mine owner. He had been a friend of Cecil Rhodes, and was the original guarantor of the Round Table.

27 Winston Churchill, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

28 The ship being prepared for Sir Douglas Mawson's Antarctic expedition. The reference presumably is to the Duke and Duchess of York.