Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Travel info/historical/HistDocs.nsf

Previous Document | Next Document | Volumes


2nd May, 1929

(Due to arrive Canberra 1.6.29)

My dear P.M.,

I have been interested to see your three moves with regard to
Americathe appointment of Herbert Brookes as Australian
Commissioner-General [1] -closing of the New York branch of the
Commonwealth Bank-and, last but not least, the press statement
that you have sent a Note to the U.S. through the British
Ambassador [2], protesting against threatened tariff changes which
will operate against Australian business. I will be interested to
hear details of the latter as you have evidently had reasons for
putting this direct to the British Ambassador. [3]

Kellogg [4] is in London and has been seeing the Prime Minister
and everyone else. He is very elated at his name going down to
posterity in connection with the Peace Pact. [5] He is also very
hopeful about the recent turn that the Naval Disarmament
negotiations have taken. He is predicting a Conference on the
subject in the autumn and that he will be the American spokesman.
He is very bitter about Coolidge [6] and has let it be known in
high circles here (passed to me by Tom Jones [7]) that he implored
him not to make his notorious Armistice Day speech. [8]

Both McDougall [9] and I have been trying to get some reference to
the Dominions injected into some of the Prime Minister's election
utterances, but there is great resistance on Baldwin's part. I
have now, as a last resort, got Tom Jones to propose to him that
he 'echoes J.H. Thomas' [10] statement that a sound imperial
sentiment is not the prerogative of any political party, and that
he looks forward to the day when this may be implemented by
dealing with all imperial matters on non-party lines'. This is
rather anodyne but I feel that it is the most that he can be got
to say. He is very timid and afraid that Lloyd George [11] will
seize on anything more specific than this and twist it into a
protectionist preference statement.

Hankey [12] tells me that Lord Balfour [13] has definitely reached
a state that he cannot maintain any effort. He can only walk a
hundred yards with difficulty and he is subject to fits of
choking. He can read and converse and eat, but he can only
maintain a mental effort with difficulty. He lives in the country
now, but promises to come to a Cabinet if he is urgently needed.
It must be a great blow to him to realise that his powers are
leaving him.

You will shortly be receiving from Sir Granville Ryrie [14]
information with regard to a scheme of Mr. Goodenough's [15]
(Chairman, Barclays Bank), for the founding of a Hall of Residence
for Dominion Students in London. Goodenough has spoken to me about
it over the last six months and sent me draft of his proposed
letter to the High Commissioner. He has already about 120,000
promised. He does not propose to ask for any capital contribution
from Australia but will ask for an annual donation towards
expenses. [16] The object is, I think, an admirable one. I told
Goodenough not to expect much from you at present, as the
Commonwealth was looking on both sides of every penny before it
was spent.

If you are interested in the subject of the military situation in
Germany, you will find it covered shortly and well in two papers-
C.I.D. 926-B and C.P. 121-that I have sent out, the former by the
War Office and the latter by Sir Ronald Lindsay. [17] From their
respective points of view they give a picture of the mental and
material turn-over from the Germany of the war period to
Republican Germany.

I went to an interesting 'Imperial' dinner given by Sir Campbell
Stuart [18] this week. He had a few Canadians (Sir Arthur Currie
[19], Lord Shaughanessy [20], etc.), a few Australians (W.L. [21]
and C.L. Baillieu [22], Curwen [23] of Western Australia and
myself), Smiddy [24] (ex-I.F.S. Minister at Washington, now High
Commissioner here), a few other Dominion people and a dozen
selected Englishmen. I sat between Shaughanessy and Smiddy, and
had an interesting meal. Shaughanessy apparently was at Cambridge
with you and sent you messages of goodwill and undying affection.
Smiddy is a delightful little man, full of the deceptive Irish
charm that would wheedle a bird off a bough.

The gathering was to give Lionel Curtis [25] an opportunity of
speaking on the part played by the Royal Institute of
International Affairs-and an extremely good story he made of it.
He showed how the big business interests could work in with the
Institute to their mutual benefit. He said how impressed he had
been in these years since the War at the degree to which the City,
by its manifold foreign relations, was instrumental in influencing
international affairs, and in the volume and quality of the
information that they could add to the common fund of information
on foreign affairs. He pleaded for greater use being made of the
R.I.I.A. by the City, both as a 'bank' into which they could
'deposit' specific information, and as a common fund on which they
could draw as required. Most of the big banks and business
institutions maintained one or more men specifically to keep in
touch with foreign affairs, either generally or in respect of the
particular countries with which they do business, and these men
were coming to regard the R.I.I.A. as a most useful source. The
Foreign Office was under the disability that it could not maintain
relations, either as regards receiving or giving information, with
private individuals or firms, but the R.I.I.A. was under no such

200,000 has been donated towards the capital fund necessary to
endow the Institute. Sir Abe Bailey [26] has given 100,000 and a
comparatively few others the other 100,000. They will want
probably another 100,000 before they are finished.

I enclose letter from J.H. Thomas to the 'Times' of 26th April, in
which he complains that we have been backward in advertising the
advantages of British investment in Australian Government loans
and Australian private enterprise.

Sir Cecil Hurst (F.O. Legal Adviser) leaves the Foreign Office
this year. He goes to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the
first place and then it is expected that he will be elected to a
judgeship on the Permanent Court of International Justice in
September. It will be a great loss to the Foreign Office, as he is
a tower of strength.

I enclose speeches of Baldwin and Churchill [27], although there
is not much of interest to Australia in them.

This mail is rather curtailed owing to the fact that the Duke and
Duchess have decided to visit the 'Discovery' [28] today, and a
good deal of the arrangements have fallen on me.

I am, Yours sincerely,

1 An engineer, businessman and pastoralist, Brookes served in New
York 1929-30.
2 Sir Esme Howard.
3 The Note emphasised the imbalance of trade between the two
countries, especially the decrease of U.S. merino wool imports
from Australia. It concluded with the warning that Australian
trade might be diverted to Britain and other countries with whom
more favourable trade relations existed. See also The Times, 23
April 1929.
4 Frank Kellogg, former U.S. Secretary of State 1925-29.
5 The International Treaty for the Renunciation of War, known also
as the Pact of Paris but more commonly as the Kellogg-Briand Pact.
Some sixty-five governments, including Australia, signed the pact,
the final flourish of the optimism of the 1920s. See note 35 to
Letter 93 and note 13 to Letter 126.
6 U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, in office until Herbert Hoover's
inauguration on 5 March 1929.
7 Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet.
8 Coolidge, in his speech on 11 November 1928, had referred to the
American contribution in the 1914-18 war as 'indispensable ... to
the ... victory' and to the United States' altruistic approach to
the peace. He had also stressed the propriety of the United States
enjoying naval superiority over others, and the right of the
United States to full payment by its debtors.
9 F.L. McDougall, Economic Adviser to the Australian High
10 General Secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen.
11 Liberal leader, Prime Minister 1916-22.
12 Sir Maurice Hankey, Secretary to the Cabinet.
13 Lord President of the Council.
14 Australian High Commissioner.
15 F.C. Goodenough.
16 London House, founded in 1930, a residence for male graduate
students from Commonwealth countries, is in Mecklenburgh Square,
London, W.C.1.
17 Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office.
18 Canadian-born director of The Times (managing director 1919-
19 General Sir Arthur Currie, Principal of McGill University.
20 Director of the Canadian Pacific Railway Co.
21 Melbourne financier.
22 Clive Baillieu, W.L.'s eldest son and the future (1953) Lord
23 Casey is referring probably to J. W. (later Sir John) Kirwan,
President of the W.A. Legislative Council 1926-46.
24 Timothy Smiddy.
25 Fellow of All Souls and Secretary of the Royal Institute of
International Affairs.
26 South African mine owner. He had been a friend of Cecil Rhodes,
and was the original guarantor of the Round Table.
27 Winston Churchill, Chancellor of the Exchequer.
28 The ship being prepared for Sir Douglas Mawson's Antarctic
expedition. The reference presumably is to the Duke and Duchess of

Previous Document | Next Document | Volumes