5th July, 1928


My dear P.M.,

I went to the big yearly set-piece Air Force Display last Saturday. It is without doubt the finest show that any country in the world could stage. I have seen similar shows in the United States and they are very small beer, and the French efforts are, I am told, lacking in anything approaching the degree of air- discipline and combined training that makes the R.A.F. Display so outstanding. It is Guards' drill in the air on the grand scale.

But it contains very considerable elements of danger, and Trenchard [1] and his people are always exceedingly glad when it is safely over.

Princess Ingrid [2] has gone back to Sweden and it looks as if all hopes were dashed to the ground.

The Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister seems to be an unhappy position. Vansittart's [3] son was killed in a lift accident in his house a few months ago. His wife died in her sleep two days ago. And now Sir Ronald Waterhouse [4] (late Private Secretary) is named as co-respondent in a cause celebre. This last episode threw its shadow before and is the reason he had to leave the appointment.

I have only recently come to realise that practically all the waiters in London hotels are now Italians, whereas they were preponderantly German before the War. I think I like the Italian waiter type less than the German.

I enclose press cuttings with regard to the Mond Industrial Conference [5], Commonwealth financial position, and Sir Hugo Hirst. [6]

The story is told that at a recent big dinner the Prince of Wales was very bored by the long-windedness of a certain speaker. He told Birkenhead [7], who was next to him, that he would have to go soon if the man didn't stop. Birkenhead said, 'I'll stop him', and the Prince asked him, in his efforts to stop him, not to be too abrupt with him. Birkenhead merely wrote six words on the back of a menu and had it passed to the speaker, who blushed deeply, wound up at once and sat down. The Prince asked Birkenhead what he had said. Birkenhead said: 'Oh, I merely wrote "All your fly buttons are undone".' [8]

Loewenstein [9] committed suicide in a dramatic way last night by walking out of his aeroplane in mid-air over the Channel. A friend in the City telephoned this morning to say that the market in his two big international counters-Hydro-Electric and International Holdings-have halved in value in consequence, one dropping from 225 to 125 and the other from 55 to 25. His career has been not unlike that of Whitaker Wright [10] or James White. [11] I believe he banked with Schroeder's who, I suppose, will take over his activities in an attempt to clean something up out of the mess.

Sooner or later the world will have to be protected from this sort of thing.

There was an interesting Group Meeting at the Royal Institute of International Affairs last night on 'The Economic Impact of America', my notes on which I have not been able to get ready for this mail, but will send next week.

I am, Yours sincerely, R.G. CASEY

1 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Hugh Trenchard, Chief of the Air Staff.

2 Seen by some as a prospective wife for the Prince of Wales.

3 Robert Vansittart, presently occupying the position, also carried the rank of Assistant Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs.

4 Sir Ronald Waterhouse had served as Principal Private Secretary to successive Prime Ministers 1922-28.

5 See note 10 to Letter 92 and Letter 101.

6 Chairman and Managing Director of the General Electric Co. Ltd.

7 Lord Birkenhead, Secretary for India.

8 The last six words in this paragraph were handwritten.

9 Captain Alfred Loewenstein, Belgian financier and turf patron, noted for spectacular stock exchange operations; his companies were about to fail.

10 British financier, extradited from the United States, who was sentenced to seven years' jail but took poison.

11 British financier and theatre and boxing promoter, noted for bold speculations, who had committed suicide the previous year.