26th July, 1928


My dear P.M.,

There seems to be rather a cabal against Amery [1] in the Cabinet.

Winston [2] and Chamberlain [3] in particular seem to have their knife into him. I asked a certain well-informed friend why it was and he said that, as far as you can say why certain personalities are antagonistic, it was that Amery bores people and tries to hold the floor at Cabinet and C.I.D. meetings. Whether they will try to out him after the next election is problematical. There has been no serious talk, as far as I can gather, of splitting the Dominions Office and the Colonial Office into two completely separate ministries each under their own Secretary of State.

Privately I know that this is the urgent desire of officials in the Dominions Office. The Treasury, however, will be the stumbling block as it would mean paying another Secretary of State and all the paraphernalia that goes with him. The only suggestion that I have heard that seems at all practical is that the Lord President of the Council (at present Lord Balfour) should take over the Dominions Office. The Lord President of the Council is practically a sinecure, but on the other hand, it is usually held by an old man worn out by a life of service.

I lunched with Sir Ernest Clark [4] (of the Big Four [5]) this week. He was an actuary in the first place, and I gather that Hirst [6] and Duckham [7] Will use him to digest figures and statistics and tell them what they mean. He will do the slogging work of reading, compiling and preparing material. He will also come in on the less mechanical aspects, as he is a man of good, sound judgment. But the Big Two are Duckham and Hirst. 'Dougie' Malcom [8] I have an impression of as a less considerable person, at any rate as regards the qualities that are wanted on a mission of this sort. Humanly regarded, I believe he is a first-rate intelligent companion. If there is any social side to be coped with, he is the man for it.

Cabinet recently decided that part of their plan for improving the Iraq-Arabia position was to be a small but costly personal gift from His Majesty's Government to Ibn Saud. [9] The discussion that followed was taken out of the sordid vein into which it tended to droop by Birkenhead's [10] suggestion that Jix [11] should send Ibn Saud an emblazoned copy of his new Prayer Book with an inscription 'From the Head of one Religion to the Head of Another'.

I would be most interested to discover if the large volume of material that I have been sending out for some time on Communist and similar subversive activities is of use and interest to the Investigation Branch. New Scotland Yard have been making every effort to throw light on such matters for us. I am only the interpreter and the post office. I try to encourage them all I can. But there is very little flow of information the other way- from Australia to London. It would be of use to me in keeping New Scotland Yard up to the collar if I could occasionally have something to show that what they produce is of value and is appreciated. I expect a word from Mr. Latham [12] would effect this.

This past week has been a very broken one as I have found myself out at meetings in Government Departments on a dozen subjects, all of which I had to attend but none of them such that they reflect themselves in my letters to you. So that a very busy week coincides with a rather slim mail to you. I have, for instance, been the greater part of the last two days seeing the multitudinous people concerned in the Antarctic and the 'Discovery', about which I am telegraphing you today. [13]

I am, Yours sincerely, R.G. CASEY

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

2 Winston Churchill, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

3 Sir Austen Chamberlain, Foreign Secretary.

4 See note 18 to Letter 126.

5 Delegation of four leading British industrialists who visited Australia late in 1928 to advise on development and Anglo- Australian co-operation (Sir Arthur Duckham, Sir Hugo Hirst, Sir Ernest Clark and Dougal Malcolm).

6 Sir Hugo Hirst, Chairman and Managing Director of the General Electric Co. Ltd.

7 Sir Arthur Duckham, consulting engineer.

8 Dougal Malcolm, Member of the Executive Committee of Directors of the British South Africa Co.

9 Abd Al-Aziz Ibn Saud, King of Saudi Arabia.

10 Lord Birkenhead, Secretary for India.

11 Sir William Joynson-Hicks, Home Secretary, who was a keen churchman. As Home Secretary he had some administrative responsibility for the Church of England delegated from the King's Royal Prerogative as head of the Church. King Ibn Saud was Keeper of the Stone, the most sacred shrine in Mecca.

12 J.G. (later Sir John) Latham, Commonwealth Attorney-General.

13 The reference is to the organisation of the Antarctic expedition of 1929-31 led by Australia's Sir Douglas Mawson. See note 13 to Letter 146.