129

9th May, 1928

CONFIDENTIAL

My dear P.M.,

AUSTRALIAN LOAN POSITION IN LONDON

Thomas Hastie, a partner in the Melbourne stockbroking and financial firm of J. B. Were & Son, is now more or less permanently in London. I knew him well during the War and have since done my private business through his firm. In conversation with him lately, I asked him to write me a letter recording his ideas and impressions of how we stand in London from the point of view of Loans. I enclose the result. [1] I have censored two paragraphs from his letter, which I reproduce for your own information on separate sheet attached, as you may wish to pass the letter itself to your Treasury Department.

Hastie is a bright-minded, vigorous fellow of about 37, who, in company with Ricketson [2] (aged about 40), the senior partner of J. B. Were & Son, has apparently mastered this Stock Exchange and finance business in this short ten years that have gone by since the War. I have found them the most reliable and up-to-date firm that I have dealt with, and the only criticism that I have heard made against them is that they are too vigorous and too inclined to advertise. Personally, their methods and attitude towards their business appeal to me and I am inclined to consider the criticism as based entirely on jealousy.

In any event, I think the attached letter will be of interest to you. If you would like me to get a regular letter from him, at say monthly intervals, please let me know. It would be anonymous and addressed to me, but he would know that it was for your eventual information.

I was interested to note by yesterday's press the 4 1/2% 1956 loan floated in New York at 92 1/2, which comes out at slightly over 5% to the buyer including redemption, and as such is cheap money. And this was floated, I imagine, without competitive tender.

I am, Yours sincerely, R.G. CASEY

1 The enclosure, dated 3 May 1928, comprised two paragraphs. The first scorned Sir Hugh Denison's (Australian Commissioner in the United States 1926-28) reported (Financial Times, 2 May) claim that Australia could borrow in the United States at from 5 1/4% to 5 3/4% when an Australian issue would be underwritten in London at 5.2%. The second reported City of London criticism of the Commonwealth Treasurer, Dr Earle Page, on the score of his Treasury administration and the failure of a conversion loan in Australia in 1927. Hastie's letter is on file AA:A1420.

2 Staniforth Ricketson, a great-grandson of Jonathan Were, founder of the firm.