23rd February, 1928


My dear P.M.,


Reference your telegram of 17th February, asking for particulars of organisation and agenda of above. The information contained in my two telegrams (of 17th and 20th February) was put together after consultation with Mr. Conway Davies, Secretary of the Employers' side of the Conference (and normally one of Sir Alfred Mond's Private Secretaries), and from Mr. Leggett [2] of the Ministry of Labour, whose function it is to watch the Mond Conference from the Government point of view.

I thought it best to balance the natural optimism of Mond's man by some of the cold-blooded scepticism of the Government official.

I have nothing useful to add to my two telegrams.

At one of my interviews with Conway Davies, a Mr. Norman Wyld was present, and, as a result, he has sent me, at my request, a letter and other papers descriptive of the organisation that he represents-The Industrial Institute, copies of which I enclose, as you may wish to pass the information to your Industrial Conference [3] to enquire whether the formation of an Organisation on similar lines would be useful in Australia.

I find from my informant at the Ministry of Labour that their view is that the organisation would be a most useful one, that it has very great possibilities but that with Mr. Wyld at the organising centre, it is, in fact, an ineffective body. Wyld apparently is not acceptable to a lot of people in industry-both employers and the Trades Union people. The Ministry of Labour say that the papers with reference to it are well worth while sending out to you, as the idea of such an organisation is good. But they stress the point that any such machine needs as Director or Secretary a man who is generally trusted and accepted by both sides.

I am, Yours sincerely, R.G. CASEY

1 See note 10 to Letter 92.

2 Frederick Leggett, Assistant Secretary at the Ministry of Labour.

3 Bruce had in mind the encouragement of an Australian version of the Mond conference but he found union leaders suspicious and businessmen, especially in Sydney, uncooperative. In a letter to Casey of 14 April 1928 (on file AA:A1420) Bruce reported union disinclination to co-operate but was critical, too, of employers, whose 'representatives are practically hopeless'. He was anxious somehow to achieve the participation of younger executives, 'men with intelligence, brains and a certain sympathy', but he was not successful.