21st January, 1926


(Due to arrive Melbourne-20.2.26)

My dear P.M.,

I was on the point of telegraphing you a full summary of Mackenzie King's telegram re Pact and the Imperial Conference [1], when Sir Charles Davis [2] (Dominions Office) sent me a message saying that he expected I would want to repeat it to you, but asking me particularly not to do so, to which I thought it good policy to agree, although I think he might have left the whole thing to my discretion.

You will realise that, of the telegrams from the Dominions to the Dominions Office, I am sent copies of those from Australia only, although I see Hankey's [3] copies of those from all Dominions.

Davis made the point that if and when there are Liaison Officers from other Dominions in London, you would not want your confidential messages repeated by Canadian and South African liaison officers to their respective P.M.s. I didn't argue the point, although I think the answer would be that Australia had little or nothing to communicate that she would cavil at other Dominion P.M.s seeing.

2. McDougall [4] and Ritchie [5] are very depressed over what they call the lack of success of the Imperial Economic Committee. The Government do not seem able to stir themselves to any action on the subject of the fostering of inter-Imperial trade. They both smile in a sickly way when I suggest that what is wanted in this country is a Ministry of Intelligent Anticipation.

3. I don't think I have told you that I keep in close touch with McDougall in London. We dine and talk over things about once a fortnight. I have not got your authority to tell him the contents of telegrams between you and H.M.G. on economic matters, which it would be advantageous to him to know. I would be glad if you would give me the use of my own discretion in this matter, as I think it would help things along on the economic side.

4. With regard to the relations between the Prime Minister [6] and the Press of this country-or rather with the militant 'stunt' press. He will have no dealings with them, will neither accept their support nor give them any facilities. I understand, in great confidence, that had he complied with a request for a certain measure of political patronage to one of their number, he could have had the unfailing support of the Rothermere group. [7] However, he preferred his freedom, and they have, in consequence, attacked him and attempted to embarrass him whenever possible.

Lloyd George's [8] methods were different. He was better equipped mentally to meet them on their own ground. He granted them certain privileges and rigidly expected his quid pro quo, and if they did not play up he had no hesitation in attacking them without mercy, in the House and elsewhere.

5. I hear privately that the Bergius process of producing oil from coal (see my LON. 49 of 2nd April, 1925) threatens to be uncommercial, but that the Badische Analin Fabrik are working on another process which promises well.

6. You will find a sensible article in the 'Empire Review' (in my cuttings) by General Sir Frederick Maurice [9] on 'The Chances of War in the Pacific'. He can't see war in the Pacific as far ahead as one can reasonably look.

7. An interesting development in this country is the increasing knowledge and use of artificial sunlight, in the form of mercury vapour lamps or arc lamps using special carbons. They are largely used in hospitals and Children's Welfare Clinics, and even lately by private people in their own houses. You can get a 'home outfit' for 20 to 30. I have been using one now for a month during this very cold weather and imagine (it may not be more) that it keeps me fit. You merely 'sun' yourself in front of it, without any clothes on, for a quarter of an hour a day. I don't think the doctors know much about its effects other than that the intense actinic rays appear to increase the number of red corpuscles in the blood. I sunburnt myself with it lately and caused rather a sensation in a chemist's shop by asking for something for sunburn, with snow on the ground outside.

8. I have sent out a good deal of matter dealing with the U.S.S.R.

lately, as I think it may at any time be of value to have on record the facts, as they are known, about the Soviet's activities. However, when you sum it all up, it is practically impossible to answer the question-'Is Communism on the up or the down grade?' From both an internal and external point of view, Communism like everything else is dependent on material prosperity. And on the curve of the general industrial prosperity of the U.S.S.R. must be superimposed the erratic curve of success or non-success of the wheat crop. They are probably a little firmer in the saddle now than say in 1921 and 1922. But even on this point the experts are far from dogmatic.

Kharakhan [10], the Soviet envoy to China, who was recalled to Moscow some six months ago and told off for spending the vast sum of 12 million in China with no very substantial result, has returned again to China, so that their efforts there will probably begin again.

9. I understand that Sir R. C. Lindsay [11] (from Constantinople) is to be H.M. Ambassador at Berlin in succession to D'Abernon.


10. After being married for three or four years, Allen Leeper's [13] Wife is about to have an infant-which is pleasing them very much.

11. The height of tact was reached lately when a foolish woman at dinner sitting next to the First Secretary of the Chinese Legation said: 'How do you come to know so much about China?' He then told her that he was, of course, a Chinese and had been born and brought up in China: 'Oh, I thought you were a Japanese!'

I am, Yours sincerely, R. G. CASEY

1 In a telegram of 8 January 1926 the Canadian Prime Minister, William Mackenzie King, informed the British Government that Canada would not associate herself with the Locarno Pact security guarantees, and that the Canadian Government, while always prepared to change its mind in the light of subsequent discussion or changed circumstances, would not defer public expression of its views until an Imperial Conference on the subject. The tone of the telegram was quietly abrasive. See Alex. I. Inglis, ed., Documents on Canadian External Relations, Vol 4,1926-1930, Department of External Affairs, Ottawa, 1971, Document 556.

2 Permanent Under-Secretary at the Dominions Office.

3 Sir Maurice Hankey, Secretary to the Cabinet.

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

5 Alan Ritchie, Victorian grazier, Australian representative on the Imperial Economic Committee.

6 Stanley Baldwin.

7 Lord Rothermere's Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and London Evening News.

8 David Lloyd George, Prime Minister 1916-22.

9 Director of Military Operations on the Imperial General Staff 1915-18, appointed to a chair in Military Studies in the University of London in 1927.

10 L. M. Karakhan, Soviet Ambassador to China 1923-26. He was executed as a spy and traitor during the Great Purge of 1936, but his reputation was rehabilitated during the Khrushchev period.

11 Sir Ronald Lindsay went to Berlin in 1926, becoming Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office in 1928.

12 Lord D'Abernon, Ambassador to Germany 1920-26.

13 First Secretary at the Legation in Vienna. The Leepers had a daughter.