43

26th November, 1925

PERSONAL & CONFIDENTIAL

Dear Mr. Bruce,

IMPERIAL ECONOMIC COMMITTEE

There is still no definite news as to what action the Cabinet intends to take on the First Report. I understand that the National Economy Committee has presented a report to the Cabinet about the 1,000,000 grant but I have no idea as to its nature.

[1]

The meetings of the Committee during the past week have been interesting and it has practically been decided that a small additional report on the subject of Publicity and the Empire is to be prepared and issued after Christmas.

On Wednesday there was a general discussion on the lines of the Fruit Report, at which a number of quite useful proposals were made and I feel confident that, as a result of the propaganda work that has been done among Members of the Committee and the Chairman [2] himself, the Fruit Report is likely to be a really useful document. One outstanding feature of the educational effect of the investigation so far conducted by the Members of the Committee itself has been the growing realisation of the importance of orderly marketing and the gradual change from a critical to an appreciative attitude on export control legislation.

An interesting point that arose on Tuesday was a statement by W.

S. Crawford, one of the British Representatives who is an advertising man, that he proposed, if the Committee were agreeable, to go over to America immediately for a month at his own expense to make a close study of American advertising methods for the assistance of the Committee. He then proposed to prepare an elaborate memorandum on advertising Empire goods and to submit himself to cross-examination by Members of the Committee. I must say that I am looking forward to getting Crawford's views put down on paper because, up to the present, his only contributions to discussions have been the vaguest of generalities.

I have prepared for you a memorandum, which I enclose, on the use of the Imperial Economic Committee. You will find that it covers a very great deal of ground with which you are already fully familiar but I thought it well worth while to set the whole story out so that you would have, in one document, the genesis, history and certain suggestions in connection with the Imperial Economic Committee. If you feel inclined to criticise this memorandum and let me have your comments, I shall be very much obliged.

I have made the form of the memorandum such that it could be used over here. In fact I am going to send a copy to Sir Maurice Hankey [3] for his personal information. Casey [4] was good enough to arrange for a lunch at which I met Hankey and I think he became quite keenly interested in the possibilities of Empire economic development. If he will do so, he will prove a most useful person to incite the British Government to more vigorous action.

I also enclose a small memorandum which I have prepared upon Publicity and the Empire. As you are aware, I was not enamoured with the 1,000,000 grant idea but as it has been made, we ought to try to derive the maximum amount of benefit from it. I regard wise publicity of the value of the Empire to the people of Great Britain as the most promising line. If 150,000 out of the 650,000 [5] were annually spent on this educational background, I think most striking results might be obtained. Not the least of these would be that after another General Election a real, concrete and tangible reciprocity policy might be able to be followed. I am thinking of sending this little memorandum to Amery [6], in the hope that he will 'father' it on to the Cabinet.

I enclose questions and answers from Hansard and have marked the two which I drafted myself

MANCHESTER GUARDIAN

In my letter of the 12th November, I forwarded to you a copy of an article from the 'Manchester Guardian Commercial' and today I am enclosing a letter in reply which I wrote. [7]

PRODUCERS' CONFERENCE

It has occurred to me that very useful political and economic progress could be made if it were possible to arrange for a Producers' Conference in Australia in the near future. Supposing you could invite the New Zealand and South African Governments and possibly the Canadian Government to facilitate a conference of Dominion producers in Melbourne (1) to interchange experience on orderly marketing methods;

(2) to consider the best way in which effective liaison could be established between Dominion producers on the United Kingdom market;

would not this demonstrate in the clearest way your active interest in the Australian primary producer and also tend to a more rapid increase of orderly marketing methods in the Empire.

I propose to send you a memorandum on this idea by the next mail.

I enclose a copy of the 'Yorkshire Observer' giving the best published reports of the speeches at the Dinner given to Sir John Higgins [8] at Bradford. I may say that I have had one long interview with Sir J. Higgins. It was nearly a monologue, and I came away with the feeling that on some of his ideas Sir John was not in very close touch with reality.

Yours sincerely, F. L. MCDOUGALL

1 See note 10 to Letter 42.

2 Sir Halford Mackinder.

3 Secretary to the Cabinet.

4 R. G. Casey, Commonwealth Government's Liaison Officer in London.

5 The Imperial Economic Committee had recommended that 650 000 be spent on advertising Empire products.

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

7 See Letter 39. McDougall's lengthy reply was published on 19 November.

8 Chairman in Australia of British-Australian Wool Realisation Association Ltd 1921-26.