124

5th April, 1928

PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL

My dear P.M.,

THE STRENGTH OF ENGLAND

Hankey [1] recently brought this book to my notice and I read it with great interest and attention last Saturday. So much so that I spent the whole of Sunday in reading it again and summarising it into a dozen pages. I got in touch with Bowles [2] (the author) on Monday and gave him typed copy of my summary, which he has been good enough to read, and amend and add to here and there. I enclose you copy of the result herewith, and I very much hope you will find time to read it. [3]

I am sending copy of the book and further copy of the summary to Henderson [4] in the ordinary way.

Bowles is 51, was in the Navy for seven years then resigned his commission and read for the Bar at Trinity (Cambridge). He practised as a barrister for some years and was a Conservative M.P. for four years before the War. He is an intelligent and clear-minded man of good appearance and does not look his years.

His father was a well-known man (Gibson Bowles) and was known for the importance that he placed on insistence on our maritime rights. His son has likewise made it his creed.

You will find in the summary that I have made of his book (and much more so in the book itself) persistent reference to the iniquities of the Foreign Office, as regards their part in the conduct of the Blockade-so much so that the book has become known as 'an attack on the Foreign Office'. However, I don't think, from conversation with him, that he has any feelings regarding (or knowledge of) the Foreign Office, other than that they have, so he says, persistently throughout the years tried to sell our birthright in this naval matter.

I charged him with having deliberately avoided the present-day issue as regards our maritime rights, in view of America's determination not to have to undergo the 'humiliation' of blockade procedure and its curtailment of her freedom of trading in war time. He says he thinks that this a bogey which will disappear under closer examination on both sides of the Atlantic. I have had a talk to him and will put down his ideas (which flow freely) in a letter by next mail. [5]

This is a remarkably interesting book and I only hope my precis of it will give you a picture of its contents.

I am, Yours sincerely, R.G. CASEY

1 Sir Maurice Harkey, Secretary to the Cabinet.

2 George Bowles, The Strength of England, Methuen, London, 1926.

3 Bowles's book was essentially a defence of British naval blockade rights (on, inter alia, humanitarian grounds in that blockades shortened wars) and an attack on United States cupidity in its demands for freedom of the seas.

4 Dr Walter Henderson, Head of the External Affairs Branch.

5 With Letter 125 Casey enclosed a copy of a long letter written to him by Bowles on 9 April 1928 (on file AA:A1420).