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14th May, 1925
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
(Due to arrive Melbourne-13.6.25)
My dear P.M.,
I drove Sir Maurice  and Lady Hankey down to General Seely's
 place in the Isle of Wight for the last week-end.
He has a moderately large but very pleasant place on the south-
west of the island and owns 4,000 acres, which have been in the
possession of his family for 100 years. He married twice and has a
family of eight. His present wife was a daughter of Lord Elibank.
Although the subject was never openly discussed with me, I
gathered from Hankey that he was very disappointed that he was not
to be the Governor-General. The subject was evidently opened with
him as early as last December, and he had counted on getting the
appointment to the extent of making plans for the disposal of his
property and for the refusal of contracts for the writing of a
series of articles to the press, which I understand is, in his
case, a very lucrative occupation.
He told me himself, in confidence, that he had been offered and
had refused the Governor-Generalship in 1911, when he was Under-
Secretary of State for War.
Practically his sole occupation at present is that of filling the
position of Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight.
No doubt the shadow of his resignation from the Cabinet, when he
was Secretary of State for War in early 1914, still hangs over
In conversation with Seely, he claims to have been the instrument
that worked to convert the House of Commons generally to Imperial
Preference, and to have been so successful with his propaganda
with various parties that it was lost on the division by only
I saw Amery  yesterday. He told me about the forthcoming
appointment of Sir John Baird.  Also that he was glad that the
proposed alterations in the organisation of the Colonial Office
were to your liking. He said that all the Dominions had similarly
approved, which he was glad of. Although, of course, such a point
of internal home organisation was a matter for H.M.G. alone, they
wanted to carry all the Dominions along with them. He said that he
had had several letters from people in England to the effect that
communications between H.M.G. and the Dominions on Foreign
Relations should be direct from the F.O. or direct between Prime
Ministers. However, he did not think so on the whole, although he
knew that there was something to be said on the other side. He
then elaborated the usual arguments which you know.
He said that on his recent trip he was very gratified to find Iraq
quiet and peaceful, with good prospects for the future. The Kurd
rebellion against the Turks was rather a help to us than
otherwise, as it shows us that we can enlist the aid of the Kurds
against the Turks without much trouble in the future should the
Turks become offensive to us.
He said that if and when the time comes for us to bolster up
either one or both of Turkey and Persia against the Bolshevists,
Iraq is ideally placed to do so from, both from the point of view
of moral and material support.
A brief report of his trip is to be circulated as a Cabinet paper,
which I will send you.
With regard to Sir John Baird, Hankey tells me very confidentially
that he is one of the few people he cannot get on with. He says he
is pompous and impossible, and has not been much of a success at
any job he has attempted.
I gather from Hankey and other sources that he is a pleasant
enough little man, without much character or vice. He has served
his party well, and was 'left' to Baldwin  from Bonar Law 
as someone for whom 'something should be done'. He is said to have
money, although is not particularly well off. His wife is said to
Since my cable to you of April 3rd, I have heard nothing of the
negotiations, otherwise I would have cabled you the not very
flattering account of Baird, which I have every reason to think is
an accurate picture. It is too late now to cable you as Amery
tells me it is all fixed up.
With regard to the Foreign Office -Tyrrell , of course, is not
yet quite firmly in the saddle. As you will realise, the permanent
officials in order of importance at the Foreign Office now are-
Tyrrell, Wellesley  and Gregory.  Wellesley is of little
importance. Tyrrell and Gregory are Roman Catholics. There are
people who affect to be a good deal concerned about the control
that will now be in the hands of these two Catholic officials. A
point I did not know until recently is that Sir Eric Drummond
, whom I mentioned before as having been in the running for
the Permanent Under Secretaryship of State for Foreign Affairs, is
also a Roman Catholic. As a matter of gossip one hears it said
that Gregory is 'the friend of every Cardinal in Europe'.
The League of Nations Union makes a very brave show in this
country but they suffer a little from the University professor
type and the semipacifist. The fact of Labour having backed the
Protocol, and the League of Nations Union having also thrown what
weight it has behind it, has not done the League of Nations Union
any good. During the period that the Protocol was being considered
in this country, the Press was bombarded with eulogies of praise
of the Protocol from Parmoor , Gilbert Murray  and others.
Although there is a branch of the League of Nations Union in
Paris, I understand that it has no real counterpart either in
France or Italy.
The League of Nations Union may be said to be a healthy
organisation of  people, who have the rather vaguely conceived
idea that a League of Nations is the only way of salvation for the
world. They take it all rather on trust, and but few of them have
thought out the difficulties. They want to make it grow too fast
and put tasks up to it with which it is not sufficiently strong to
deal. They tend to become impatient when told that years must pass
before the League can gather prestige and strength. They say that
this has been said of every movement and that you never know what
you can do till you try.
It all seems to me to boil down to the fact that the League can
undoubtedly deal effectually with cold-blooded arguments and
differences between nations, but that it will be a long time, if
ever, before it can deal with the hot-blooded pothouse brawls in
which national honour is said to be at stake. Possibly severe
automatic sanctions against an aggressor would deter a nation from
striking even in defence of its honour, but even if it was to the
interests of every nation to agree in advance to such automatic
sanctions, I believe that they would in practice hesitate in
putting them into effect, and would be swayed, firstly, by their
own interests and, secondly, by the merits of a dispute when it
With regard to the 'leak' of the 'Nicolson'  F.O. document on
'British Foreign Policy' , I am told by a man in the Foreign
Office that a typewritten copy of the document was hawked round
Fleet Street for some time and no one would buy it as they doubted
its authenticity. Efforts, which will probably come to nothing,
are being made again to trace the leak, which is thought to be
through carelessness in high quarters. You will see the shadow of
the stir that has been caused in this week's press cuttings.
Popular rumour credits a good many 'leaks' to Birkenhead  and
Winston Churchill , and to a lesser extent to Worthington-
Evans.  They are great diners-out, do themselves very well,
are good and entertaining talkers, and have many friends who are
on the lookout for ready means of information, particularly those
that originate with highly placed servants of the State.
Such leaks are unpleasant in that they throw suspicion on all
those to whom the information was available.
I happened to be standing close by at a function recently when
Jellicoe  met Beatty , evidently for the first time since
the former returned from New Zealand. The conversation lasted only
a minute and was quite formal. Naturally no love is lost between
I hear that Admiral Everett  has just returned from Singapore,
or, as it was told to me by a man in the Admiralty, was brought
back from Singapore by Roy, his Private Secretary. He has
apparently had a breakdown and has been suffering considerably
from bad lack of memory. I am told that it is the end of him as
far as any serious work goes in the future.
Hankey considers that the C.I.D. sub-Committee on Anti-Aircraft
Defence Research, (mentioned in my LON. 55) is bringing to light
more hopeful possibilities than was at first expected.
I forward, under separate confidential cover, a brief resume of
the deliberations of the first meeting. They are naturally
inconclusive, and really as yet of no great value to us, other
than as an indication to your technical advisers of the way the
minds of experts are working in this regard.
The Cabinet meeting yesterday, May 13th, did not take any subjects
of any interest to us. All home affairs matters -unemployment, the
impending international labour conference (instructions to British
delegates), housing, rating reform, etc.
I enclose copy of a letter from a highly placed Naval Officer to
Hankey, who asks me not to quote his name. His comments are
interesting and incisive.
I am, Yours sincerely,
R. G. CASEY
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