146

9th August, 1928

PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL

My dear P.M.,

To anyone who moves about England on the roads today, the most striking change as compared with five years ago is the phenomenal increase in the size and numbers of large passenger-carrying vehicles. Originally called charabancs, they have developed in size and dignity to the motor coach of today. The latest enormities, I believe, are fitted with lavatories, serve meals as they go and carry about 30 people. Motor sleeping coaches are being operated from the North of England to London. Competition with the railways is evident. Some of them cover several hundred mile routes on a definite time-table.

They fill the small roads, increase the difficulties of navigation for the private-car road user by 'blinding' the road ahead, and must, from their extreme weight, add to the difficulties of maintaining road surfaces. They appear to have developed ahead of legislation, which surely should have limited their width, height, length and weight.

However, they seem to be established and as they will by now represent yet another form of vested interest they will be hard to disturb or displace. Presumably they produce another (and desirable) degree of freedom for the people who cannot afford private cars and enable them to see England under reasonably comfortable and pleasant conditions. But insofar as the sudden development of an extreme is probably a bad thing, it would seem commonsense to legislate for them in advance in the Commonwealth.

But I suppose this is a State matter.

Lord Hailsham [1] (late Sir Douglas Hogg) was to have led the British Delegation to Empire Parliamentary Association meeting in Canada, but owing to the necessity of Baldwin [2] having at least a month's clear holiday at Aix and by reason of Chamberlain's [3] illness, it has been decided that Hailsham must remain in England as acting Prime Minister. Lord Peel [4] Will therefore probably lead the British Delegation to Canada. The Conservative Party, I hear, would not hear of Winston Churchill [5] acting as Prime Minister in Baldwin's absence.

The presence in London of Sir William Glasgow [6], Senator McLachlan [7] and Sir Charles Nathan [8] has cut into my time very considerably lately. I am, of course, very glad to do what I can for them, but it necessitates a good deal of time which has to come off other matters. August promises to be anything but a slack month.

Hankey [9] likes the look of Sir Ronald Lindsay [10], who he says is 'sound' on the question of belligerent rights.

I saw Sir Hugo Hirst [11] I this morning on his request. He is just back from his cure at Aix and is back to normal health again.

Mr. F. C. Goodenough [12] had been to see him just before me.

Talking about Australia, Goodenough had said 'Australia's credit is good in London, but do try and impress them with the necessity of taking us into their confidence and of telling us more exactly what they want the money for'.

The City is getting very intrigued as to what the Treasury policy is to be for dealing with the 2,000 millions 5% 1929/47 War Loan.

This enormous obligation is due for redemption at Government option at three months' notice from early next year. No doubt many schemes are passing through the sieve at the Treasury but it is beyond my wit to see what they can effectively do. There is an opportunity for such a big saving in debt service on this vast sum by a reduction in the rate that undoubtedly it is being considered very seriously. In conversation with Treasury people from time to time they have very guardedly suggested that some form of voluntary scheme for recasting the loan conditions is all that is possible, the new conditions being such that in the course of a few years they will prove attractive to an increasing number of holders of the Loan. By this means the body of the Loan would be eaten into and reduced to such proportions that it could be polished off by a firm proposal for the conversion or repayment of the balance on the same terms-funds for the repayment being raised by a further loan.

The Antarctic business is causing a certain amount of stir here. I will not say more now as it will be all covered by cables in the meantime. [13]

I am, Yours sincerely, R.G. CASEY

1 Lord Chancellor.

2 Stanley Baldwin, Prime Minister.

3 Sir Austen Chamberlain, Foreign Secretary.

4 First Commissioner of Works.

5 Chancellor of the Exchequer.

6 Senator Sir William Glasgow, Commonwealth Minister for Defence.

7 Senator Alexander McLachlan, an Honorary Minister, leader of the Australian delegation to the 1928 session of the League of Nations Assembly.

8 Sir Charles Nathan, Western Australian businessman.

9 Sir Maurice Hankey, Secretary to the Cabinet.

10 Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office.

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

12 Chairman of Barclays Bank and Member of the India Council.

13 At the Imperial Conference of 1926 it was decided that British interests in the Antarctic should be secured by (a) publicly indicating territories regarded as being of special British interest; (b) planting the flag in parts of the Antarctic already visited or regarded as desirable; (c) taking legal steps to secure annexation. Australia was invited to co-operate in (b) and (c) and, if she wished, to assume control over certain areas. During 1927 and 1928 Casey became involved in Anglo-Australian discussions on how Australia might best proceed. Bruce was keen to save money by ignoring exploration in favour of direct annexation, but the United Kingdom did not agree. These discussions were given a sense of urgency by heightened French, Norwegian and American interest in the Antarctic and by a campaign for action from the Australian scientific community led by Professor Sir Douglas Mawson. The final outcome was BANZARE the British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition of 1929-30 and 1930-31 led by Mawson. Britain provided the Discovery, veteran of the Scott expedition of 1901-04, and New Zealand contributed financially, but it was essentially an Australian enterprise.