30th May, 1929


(Due to arrive Canberra 29.6.29)

My dear P.M.,

I won't really be Sorry to see the last of the 'Discovery' [1] when she leaves the West India Docks early in August. I have looked round in vain for someone to shuffle the work off on to, and have rather reluctantly had to do it myself.

The Hudson's Bay Company have returned again to the charge, and had McDougall [2] and myself to lunch today. They want to go right ahead now with arrangements for the formation of a company to exploit the Australian sector of the Antarctic. As a result of the meeting, we asked them to put on paper, in draft form, what they proposed, let McDougall and myself vet it, and eventually send the result out to you as a basis for negotiation-to which they agreed.

In this way we will be able to eliminate some of the crudities from the proposal and, I hope, reduce it to a form in which it will be something approaching political possibility.

In the course of the conversation, the Hudson's Bay Company let slip the fact that they are in negotiation with Irvin & Johnson [3] for the similar joint development of the 'South African Sector' of the Antarctic. This may mean that complications with South Africa are imminent.

I send in another letter by this mail a description of the situation with regard to the Air service from England to Australia. India. is a stumbling block now.

I send a few cuttings with regard to Australia that may be of interest to you.

I am watching with the greatest interest your efforts with regard to Arbitration. [4]

I am, Yours sincerely, R.G. CASEY

1 The ship used for the British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition of 1929-31 led by Australia's Sir Douglas Mawson.

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

3 See note 4 to Letter 150.

4 Convinced that Australia's economic problems were aggravated by federal and State arbitration systems in which parties could play one system off against the other, Bruce had, in his own words to Casey, 'gone over the top' in proposing that the Commonwealth either take full control of industrial matters or largely vacate the field. In a letter to Casey of 28 June 1929 (0n file AA:A1420), Bruce said: 'I felt we were rather taking our lives in to our hands, but from the point of view of the economic future of Australia it is absolutely essential that action of this character should be taken. The reception up to date has been generally satisfactory, and I am glad to say, with the exception of "Little Hughes", none of my faithful followers has shown any signs of "ratting".' In fact, W. M. Hughes, Labor and Nationalist Prime Minister turned out to make way for Bruce in 1923, did take his revenge on this issue and in September the Government was defeated in committee and on 12 September Parliament was dissolved.