45

7th January, 1926

7th January '26 [Handwritten from the Oxford and Cambridge Club, Pall Mall]

My dear P.M.,

I write on a subject that has been in my mind for some time, but about which I have hesitated to write to you. However I think you will not misunderstand my approaching you direct about it. I have talked it over with Hankey [1] & he is good enough to say he thinks the suggestion not entirely out of the bounds of reason-&

agrees that he would, in my position, write direct to you on the subject.

It is with regard to the Australian Commissionership in New York.

Elder's [2] period comes to an end during the year. I would give a great deal for the opportunity of doing this appointment. If this is out of the question, for any of several reasons that I can appreciate, you will naturally not hesitate to tell me so-and there the matter will end.

I realise that the position has been filled in the past by considerably older men. However, I think you would not wash one out completely on this count. I know America fairly well. I travelled all over the States & Canada for six or eight months before the war, & for two similar periods since the war, when I was there on business missions on behalf of companies in Australia of which I was a director. I have a number of friends fairly widely distributed over the States. I have a considerable appreciation of their point of view in affairs, & would, I think, at least understand their methods & prejudices.

For what it is worth, I have numerous ideas as to how, in my opinion at least, the representation could be made more effective.

At this stage I will not bore you with my views, other than to say that I would suggest very considerable use being made of the Commercial Attache & his staff at H.M. Embassy & close liaison with the British Consul-General & his network of twenty odd British Consuls & vice-consuls spread over the United Statesnone of which sources of information & distribution are, I understand, utilised at present.

As to my training & experience, I did Engineering at Melbourne University & at Cambridge before the war, & for five years after the war was a Director of a group of Companies of which my Father [3] was head for many years-Mount Morgan, the Electrolytic Refining & Smelting Co., Australian Fertilizers, & others.

Confidence on my part that I could do the job will probably not weigh with you. I can only hope that you will not mind my writing to you on this subject at all. [4]

As a minor matter, but one which I expect has to be taken into consideration, I would be prepared to spend up to say 4000 a year over & above the official salary, whatever it is. [5]

I am, Yours sincerely, R. G. CASEY

1 Sir Maurice Hankey, Secretary to the Cabinet.

2 Sir James Elder, Scottish-born Melbourne businessman.

3 Richard Gardiner Casey (1846-1914), pastoralist and mining entrepreneur and executive.

4 Bruce replied in a letter of 20 March 1926 (on file AA:A1420) that he regarded Casey as personally suitable but that such an appointment would court a repetition of the 'lamentable scenes' which had occurred on his appointment to London in 1924. This would jeopardise his career and make his position in the United States 'intolerable'.

5 While not common in the Australian experience, it was still assumed overseas that service to the State could well make demands on a man's private means.