5th November, 1925


(Due to arrive Melbourne-5.12.25)

My dear P.M.,

I have seen Mr. Amery [1] and Mr. Chamberlain [2], Tyrrell [3], Davis [4], Wellesley [5], Hankey [6] and others in this last week in connection with sounding them on their reactions to the various suggestions for possible extension of the liaison scheme, which goes to you in another letter. I opened the conversation with them all by saying that the proposals I wanted to talk about were ones that had developed in the course of correspondence between myself and Melbourne, and that, whilst I had no reason to suppose that you were in favour of any or all of them, yet I would be glad to know how they were viewed at this end, so that you might have this in mind when giving them consideration.

I found Mr. Chamberlain in very good form. The Locarno success is fresh in his memory and has quite rejuvenated him. [7] He got almost a regal reception at the railway station on his arrival back in London and he has had congratulations showered on him ever since.

He is never fluent or easy with his words in spontaneous (as against prepared) conversation, and, yesterday, although full of smiles and obviously elated when speaking of Locarno, his diction was particularly halting. Speaking of Chicherin [8], he described him as 'searching about for a policy' (see my LON. 155 of 22nd October). He seemed pleased at having got him thinking.

Mr. Chamberlain, in describing to me what he considered the ideal state of things as regards the Dominions and Foreign Affairs, said that he hoped one day to see the High Commissioners accredited to the Foreign Secretary and authorised by their Governments to maintain touch on Foreign Relations. He visualised them as having a 'Commercial Official Secretary' and a 'Diplomatic Counsellor' as their permanent Civil Service advisers on the two sides. The 'Diplomatic Counsellor' to do the work I am now doing and to correspond directly with his P.M. as I do, but to keep the High Commissioner in touch with controversial subjects, and to prepare briefs (after consulting his P.M. as to the course of action) for the High Commissioner on subjects on which it was necessary to negotiate or discuss with H.M.G. in the name of the Dominion Government. In the eyes of the F.O., the 'Diplomatic Counsellor' would be the servant of the High Commissioner although the 'Diplomatic Counsellor', poor fellow, would in his own eyes have two masters-the H.C. and his P.M. All of which, after all, is not particularly helpful.

He said that if the above state of affairs ever materialised, he would like to have weekly conferences with the High Commissioners and their 'Diplomatic Counsellors'. He spoke of Smit's [9] ambition to be a High Commissioner, and, as he put it, a 'Casey' at the same time.

The Canadian election was rather a disappointment, except for the fact that Mackenzie King is eclipsed temporarily. [10] Without particularising, his downfall is the subject of almost universal rejoicing within the privacy of numerous august walls.

I went out to see the wind-up of Wembley [11] I on Saturday last.

I used to think that our Australian Pavilion was not as good as it might have been, but in the course of my last couple of visits, I have changed my mind about it. Always when I have been there, it appears to have far more visitors per square yard than any other pavilion. Smart [12] tells me that he estimates about twelve million individuals went through it, and I think he said that the cost over the two years worked out at about 2 1/2d. per person, or the cost of a stamped and posted circular.

With regard to Lord Cecil [13], one gets the impression, in conversation with people, that he is not much of a force in things today. He is regarded rather as an amiable League enthusiast, who is alright as long as he is carefully watched and not allowed to go too far on his own. His home life is deplorably lonely, as his wife is stone deaf and he has no children.

I have not yet heard who is being considered as the new Governor- General of Canada. Some people think that Haig's [14] tour through Canada lately was an indication. It is said also that the Duke of York will be sent abroad soon to some post but I have not heard his name connected with Canada. He would want a lot of coaching and stagemanaging. [15]

The appointment of E. F. L. Wood [16] as Viceroy of India has apparently pleased people here. I hear that both Ronaldshay [17] and Peel [18] were considered, but it was thought that Wood carried more guns. He is a very earnest, godfearing man, of a country type, of good presence, with a very suitable wife, and lots of money. He knows something of agriculture, which will be a help to him in India. His main fault is that he is lazy, which in the P.M.'s eyes is not, I expect, such a vice as it might be considered in other more athletic-minded quarters.

At the end of a meeting of the Economic Committee of the Cabinet recently, Birkenhead [19] lurched out of his chair and said it had been the most depressing morning he had spent since he had looked into his own financial affairs!

A minor matter of a little interest. I spoke of Spencer Pryse [20], the artist, in a recent letter. He was responsible for some of the very early war posters in 1914, such as the well-known one 'There will be widows in Flanders'. This particular one and several others were executed to the order of the Ulster Irish for themselves, but owing to the squashing of the Irish trouble following on the outbreak of war in 1914, they were not required and so were used in England -with the title altered, in this case, from 'There will be widows in Ulster'.

I am, Yours sincerely, R. G. CASEY

1 Leopold Amery, Secretary for the Colonies and for Dominion Affairs.

2 Austen Chamberlain, Foreign Secretary.

3 Sir William Tyrrell, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office.

4 Sir Charles Davis, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Dominions Office.

5 Victor Wellesley, Deputy Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office.

6 Sir Maurice Hankey, Secretary to the Cabinet.

7 See note 24 to Letter 36.

8 G. V. Chicherin, Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs.

9 Jacobus Smit, South African High Commissioner.

10 Though lacking an absolute parliamentary majority, William Mackenzie King in fact survived until June of the following year.

11 Reference is to the British Empire Exhibition held at Wembley in 1925.

12 H. C. Smart, publicity director in London for the Australian Government, and manager of the Australian section of the exhibition at Wembley.

13 Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

14 Field Marshal Lord Haig.

15 The Duke of York, the future King George VI, was a shy man afflicted with a speech impediment.

16 Viceroy of India 1926-31, he had been President of the Board of Education 1922-24 and Minister of Agriculture 1924-25. He was created Baron Irwin in 1925 and succeeded as Viscount Halifax in 1934. He served as Ambassador to the United States 1941-46.

17 Lord Ronaldshay, Governor of Bengal 1917-22.

18 Lord Peel, Secretary for India 1922-24 19 Lord Birkenhead, Secretary for India.

20 Captain Gerald Spencer Pryse. See Letter 35.