12th November, 1925


(Due to arrive Melbourne-12.12.25)

My dear P.M.,

If you colour a map of the world with the same colour for both British and American possessions, you get rather a startling result. The necessity for a real Anglo-American understanding has always been one of my few convictions. Hence my letter on the subject by this mail. I was a little surprised at the vehemence with which Tyrrell [1] spoke on the subject. As to your writing personally to Coolidge [2], I don't know whether you will see your way to doing this. It would no doubt be a good line to open up, if there are not political complications that I don't see.

The faults in the American Constitution that Tyrrell quoted as militating against a settled American Foreign Policy are, of course, the fact that with the complete quadrennial change in administration comes the possibility (and usually the probability) of just as complete a change in policy all round. Added to this is the thoroughly bad Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate.

According to most authorities, those Senators who are not ignorant are mischievous, The typical American Senator is habitually quoted as an example of the lowest form of human life.

It seems to me that the League is unlikely, in our time, to be able to settle major disagreements between great powers-at any rate outside of civilised Europe. Should a gradual feeling of antagonism grow up slowly (or perhaps rapidly by a few 'incidents') between any two of Russia, China, Japan or America, not to mention the British Empire, does the League offer much hope of preventing large scale war? Troubles arising from minorities, spontaneous frontier incidents such as the Greek-Bulgar trouble [3], disputes over boundary adjustments such as Mosul [4], and such comparatively minor troubles, I can imagine the League dealing with. But with a spirit of resentment or indignation on a nationwide scale, fanned probably by at least a section of the press of each country, I cannot see the League being anything but brushed aside.

But America and the British Empire combined in sympathy and the aim of world peace would be a world force with a punch that would command attention, and at least could localise the conflagration.

I don't know whether it affects you in the same way, but after twelve months of reading F.O. despatches and telegrams, if one searches one's mind for any general effect produced, it gives one an impression of honesty of method and of aim. H.M.G. are out to do the right and decent thing. Not with any shortsightedness expressed in helping every lame dog over a stile, as their doorstep would in that case soon be besieged by dogs-but by an obvious desire to observe the golden rule, and not to use our weight to undue advantage. In summing up, I would not even stress our obvious desire for Peace, as it is to our advantage -we have nothing to gain and a lot to lose by war.

Beatty [5] has been six years at the Admiralty. It is said that he is only hanging on as long as Trenchard [6] stays at the Air Ministry. I understand on very good authority that when Beatty does go, he will be succeeded by either Madden [7] or Brock [8] - probably, I believe, the latter.

I am, Yours sincerely, R. G. CASEY

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

2 Calvin Coolidge, U.S. President.

3 See note 1 to Letter 36.

4 See note 3 to Letter 33 and note 18 to Letter 34.

5 Admiral of the Fleet Lord Beatty, First Sea Lord.

6 Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Trenchard, Chief of the Air Staff.

7 Admiral of the Fleet Sir Charles Madden did in fact become First Sea Lord in 1927.

8 Admiral Sir Osmond Brock, Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Station, took over the Plymouth Command in 1926.