17th December, 1925


(Due to arrive Melbourne-16.1.26)

My dear P.M.,

1. Today's press announces the arrival of Tokugawa in Australia, with a blast of trumpets and an uplift message from Kato. We're getting so friendly that they will be sending a Japanese squadron down to visit Australian ports, and do the 'hands across the Western Pacific' soon! [1]

2. Mosul [2] is still the only real subject of the moment. The best opinions I can get here all tend to be that there will be no active trouble at any rate until the spring, for the simple reason that the Turk's chance of a successful attempt at the seizure of Mosul will be much better by then. I expect, however, that this country, with the co-operation of the League, will have made arrangements to provide for this contingency. The Turk may be banking on the promised industrial trouble in this country in May next as the right moment for a coup de main in Mosul.

Although there is every indication at the moment that the U.S.S.R.

will not help the Turk, things may have changed in this regard by May. Any hint that if the Turk attacks Mosul, H.M.G. would blockade-or even seize-Constantinople might change Bolshevik policy overnight, as I understand that the U.S.S.R. is just as tender about anyone other than the Turk owning Constantinople as the old Czarist regime was. Also the Turk has several baits attractive to the U.S.S.R. that he might think worth while offering as the price of assistance-mainly in the shape of a strip of country on the northeast borders of Turkey in Asia Minor, on the Armenian border. This was lost by Russia to Turkey in the '80s of last century and they have always wanted it back.

3. Tyrrell [3] thinks that if and when the Mosul business is settled and out of the way, we are in for a fairly peaceful period.

4. I asked Tyrrell lately if H.M.G. or any other State had ever challenged the U.S.S.R. on the connection of the Third International with the Russian Government, as this was apparently the stumbling block to better relations. He said it was not possible to do this without rupture of relations with the U.S.S.R.

The latter had stated categorically on many occasions that there was no official connection, and if diplomatic relations were to be maintained, one could not officially question this reply. He then repeated what he has frequently said, that the U.S.S.R. had been allowed greater latitude and licence in their words and actions than any State in history, whilst maintaining the peace.

5. If and when an Imperial Conference eventuates next year and if you decide to travel to this country by way of America, Tyrrell will supply me with material dealing with subjects which are current at the time between this country and the United States, for transmission to you by despatch or telegram, so that you may have an opportunity of stating your views on these subjects either privately or in the course of speeches that you may make during your tour.

6. It is rather an interesting fact that, during the war, the Roumanian crown jewels, together with a large quantity of gold and the present Queen of Roumania's personal jewellery, were sent for safe keeping to the Kremlin in Moscow, owing to the rapid advance of the Germans into Roumania. The total value was probably some tens of millions of pounds. One of Roumania's standing grievances against Russia is that she has never got these things back.

Gregory [4] (F. 0.) tells me that at the Genoa Conference in 1922 Roumania was constantly referring rather peevishly to the fact that she had apparently lost these valuables for ever. Gregory suggested to Lloyd George [5] at the time that a compromise might be effected if the Roumanians gave up their claim to these valuables in return for Russia giving up her claim to Bessarabia.

However, nothing came of it.

7. Tyrrell does not hope for very much from the Disarmament negotiations. [6] He thinks that when disarmament does come, it will be through economic necessity or, and this is a slow process, sanity. He thinks the major deterrent to any practical measure of disarmament at this moment is the U.S.S.R. They do not desire any greater increase in the rate of rehabilitation of Europe and so they will make no move to facilitate European disarmament. This will no doubt influence their action in approaching the League for admission.

Great Britain is not very favourably situated to further the cause of disarmament. She has already carried the limitation of armaments considerably further than any other major State, and although she goes to the Council table with her mouth full of exhortations, yet when, if ever, the time comes for action, she will have to say as gracefully as she can that it is up to somebody else to start.

8. You may have noticed that Commander Kenworthy, M.P. [7], keeps himself very conspicuously in the public eye. He asks his three questions a day in the House with regularity. He writes articles and letters to the press on every conceivable subject. He is a bad-looking man and I am assured by those who come in contact with him that he's worse than he looks. He is credited with keeping several secretaries going, working up awkward P.Q.s and writing his articles for him.

I am, Yours sincerely, R. G. CASEY

1 The new Japanese Consul-General in Sydney, Iyemasa Tokugawa, had presented Bruce with a message of goodwill from the Japanese Prime Minister, Takaaki Kato.

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

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

4 J. D. Gregory, Assistant Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office.

5 David Lloyd George, Prime Minister 1916-22.

6 Frustrated by the failures of the Draft Treaty of Mutual Assistance of 1923 and the Geneva Protocol of 1924, disarmament enthusiasts succeeded in September 1925 in having the League of Nations Assembly call on the Council urgently to arrange a general Disarmament Conference. In December 1925 the Council established the Preparatory Commission for the Disarmament Conference. It was hoped initially to hold the Conference in 1927 but it did not assemble until 1932, by which time the Great Depression, Japanese activity in Manchuria and political change in Germany had quite doomed its prospects.

7 Eldest son of the ninth Baron Strabolgi, Lt Cmndr J. M.

Kenworthy was Liberal M.P. for Hull; in the following year he joined the Labour Party.