128

2nd May, 1928

PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL

My dear P.M.

I was delighted to receive by the last mail your monumental letters of 19th and 20th March, and I am rather appalled at the amount of time that I was the direct cause of your giving up at one blow to my letters. [1] I ventured to let Hankey [2] see extracts, and he was as interested as I was at the expression of your views in so many directions.

I am reliably informed that both the King and the Prime Minister [3] have had what were described as 'earnest conversations' with the Prince of Wales with regard to his obligations to the nation in the matter of his marriage. In consequence, Princess Ingrid of Sweden is coming to London shortly in order to give the Prince an opportunity of meeting her 'with view to above' as the matrimonial advertisements say. The Prince is said not to be favourably inclined towards the Greek princess. So that you may possibly be spared your part in the proceedings! [4]

Sir Charles Davis [5] tells me that he sat next to Lord Kylsant [6] two days ago at lunch and that the latter told him the story of my visit to him at his place in Wales in December 1924, with regard to the initial stage of the sale of the Commonwealth Line.

[7] Davis says that Kylsant seemed quite pleased with himself about his purchase but that he was a little on tenterhooks as to what the immediate future held for him by reason of the threatened blacklisting of the ships. [8]

The cartoons by Low [9] that I have sent you from time to time are selected ones. He now grinds out two or three a week for the 'Evening Standard' and most of them are thin and poor in ideas in consequence. He badly wants someone to produce brainwaves for him.

He can do the technical draughtsmanship better than anyone I know.

In the superficial age of 'eye and ear food' in which we live, inspired cartoons have a great pulling power. I have always thought that the big political parties in Australia should reinforce their armoury by retaining the services of a first-rate cartoonist. You could have 'blocks' made of his cartoons and distribute them to the small organs of the provincial press ready for reproduction. The cost in this way would be small.

The amateur cinematograph camera has become a practical machine for the ordinary person. I have one and find it most entertaining.

I propose to make a film, which I will call 'Whitehall', on the lines of the recent successful German film called 'Berlin', which set out to convey an impression of the activities of the city of Berlin between daylight and dark. I would try to give a lifelike picture of Hankey, Chamberlain [10], Amery [11], etc., arriving at their offices and at work in their respective Departments; then the life history of a despatch arriving in the Foreign Office, being registered, going to the man concerned in the proper Department, being minuted and going up the scale to Chamberlain, and so on.

If you have any means of projecting such a film, I would send you out a copy if it turns out at all well.

The cinema industry is in an interesting stage in this country and its development, from the superficial look at it that I have made, promises well for the future. It has been enabled to expand tremendously by virtue of the 'quota' and some really intelligent people arc becoming associated with it.

I have seen letters from Nichols [12] (F.O. representative to New Zealand) who apparently very much appreciated the opportunities that you gave him to meet and talk to you. In writing to a friend here he tells a story illustrating the free and easy bonhomie of our particular Dominion. He hurriedly jumped into a taxi in Melbourne and said: 'Drive me to Myoora.' The man grinned amiably and said: 'Delighted, where does she live?'

Mr. im Thurn [13], who acknowledged to having been the instrument through whom the Zinovief letter reached the Press of this country just before the last General Election [14], is a brother-in-law of Koppel [15] of the Foreign Office. Maxse [16], who was mixed up in the 'Francs' case [17] with which the Zinovief affair has been linked, was Koppel's assistant. It will be surprising if these simple (and, in reality, completely unrelated) facts are not given some sinister significance by the Labour Party at or before the next Election. It is a wonder they have lain hidden so long.

It is obvious that in the last six months or so there has been a great increase in public gambling on the London Stock Exchange.

Any broker or jobber will tell you that the business, in industrials in particular, has been phenomenal and that there is a distinctly new element in the market, in the shape of people who have never gone in for Stock Exchange operations before. The result has been what you might almost call a riot of speculation that has forced the prices of many securities up to heights that have no justification on balance sheet figures.

Tom Jones [18] met Henry Ford twice during his visit. He says he thinks he is an imbecile on any subject other than making cars.

His political and international views, he says, are childlike.

This squares exactly with my impression of him when I dined with him in Detroit five years ago.

It appears that Amanulla [19] is quite an amateur conjurer.

Chamberlain recently told the Cabinet the story of a banquet by the City Fathers at Liverpool when they sought to entertain Amanulla after dinner by some very expert conjurers they had got together for his entertainment. The first two tricks that were done before him, Amanulla got up and did them rather better than the conjurer himself-rather to the conjurer's discomfiture. He was eventually defeated, however, by the activities of the inner ring of conjurers who call themselves 'The Magic Circle'. They did very advanced conjuring that apparently completely defeated Amanulla.

I am giving a dinner shortly to let Sir Hugo Hirst [20] meet half- a-dozen representative men connected with Australian interests, such as Nivison [21], John Sanderson [22], Andrew Williamson [23], etc.

I am, Yours sincerely, R.G. CASEY

1 Bruce's letter of 19 March 1928 dealt mainly with the value and treatment accorded Casey's letters; that of 20 March was a very long acknowledgment of Casey's letters of 14 December 1927 to 16 February 1928. Both letters are on file AA:A1420.

2 Sir Maurice Hankey, Secretary to the Cabinet.8 3 Stanley Baldwin.

4 See Letter 100.

5 Permanent Under-Secretary at the Dominions Office.

6 Chairman and Managing Director of several shipping companies.

7 See Letter 7.

8 The Commonwealth Shipping Line was sold in 1927 to the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co., one of several shipping firms of which Lord Kylsant was Chairman and Managing Director, despite the protests of some Australian trade unions and of the Federal Labor Opposition.

9 David Low, a New Zealander who had worked for the Sydney Bulletin.

10 Sir Austen Chamberlain, Foreign Secretary.

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

12 P.B.B. Nichols.

13 Donald im Thurn, a London businessman with secret service connections.

14 See Letters 93 and 123.

15 Percy Koppel, Counsellor at the Foreign Office. Another brother of his wife (Dorothy, nee im Thurn) was Captain John im Thurn, Chief of Staff of the Mediterranean Fleet.

16 H.F.B. Maxse.

17 See Letters 92 and 93.

18 Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet.

19 King of Afghanistan. He had recently visited the United Kingdom.

20 Chairman and Managing Director of the General Electric Co. Ltd and a member of the British Economic Mission to Australia in 1928.

21 John Nivison, only son of Lord Glendyne, senior partner in R.

Nivison and Co.

22 Director of Australian Agricultural Co. Ltd, the Bank of Australasia, and the Australian Mercantile Land and Finance Co.

Ltd.

23 Chairman of the English, Scottish and Australian Bank, the Australian Estates and Mortgage Co. Ltd and of the London board of Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Co. Ltd.