173

14th February, 1929

PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL

(Due to arrive Canberra 15.3.29)

My Dear P.M.,

I think the proposal in the attached letter regarding C.I.D.

papers will meet the case. [1] I have had some signs that the Defence Department think that I am usurping some privilege of theirs by my position in the C.I.D. Office and by seeing and sending out through you copies of all C.I.D. papers that they seem to think affect them exclusively. They appear to resent the fact that I am the channel (through you) through which these papers reach them and that they are not available to their Service Liaison Officers here.

I mention this fact-not that it disturbs me a great deal-in order that you may be aware of the possibility of their trying to alter the present arrangement at this end. Personally, I think-and without trying to forward any ends of my own-that any alteration of the present scheme would not be an improvement. We are liable to lose more than we gain by any attempted change.

I think that the origin of their discontent lies in the fact that I was able to send you information which enabled you to postpone the 'modernisation' of our coast defences. I also hear echoes of criticism that I am biased in favour of the air. Both these criticisms annoy me a little. Firstly, I could not have advised you other than I did with regard to coast defence without gross dereliction of my duty to you. Secondly, I have gone through all my letters and notes to you on the question of the share that the Air should take in coast and other defence, and I am still of the opinion that I have always maintained a reasonable attitude in the matter. I have shown Hankey the bulk of my letters on the subject and he thinks I have maintained the balance.

I am, Yours sincerely, R.G. CASEY

1 Bruce, in a letter to Casey of 4 January 1929, had asked for his views on a request to him dated 28 November 1928 from the Minister for Defence (Sir William Glasgow), a copy of which he enclosed, that the Defence Department should receive four copies of all papers issued by the Committee of Imperial Defence. Bruce asked Casey, 'if you consider such a course desirable', to discuss the matter with Sir Maurice Hankey, Secretary to the Cabinet. Casey's attached letter referred to here, also dated 14 February 1929, Stated that he had sought Hankey's views. The present situation was that the Dominions Office supplied all the Dominions with copies of only a small proportion of the papers produced by the C.I.D. Casey, with Hankey's blessing, was able to supply Bruce personally with only one copy of practically all C.I.D. papers, including issues in the committee stage. However, to ask for extra copies would necessitate printing of often very secret documents in increased numbers, a decision for Cabinet. Casey and Hankey considered it best that the status quo remain, but that Bruce could, if he wished, authorise copies to be made of documents of relevance to the Defence Department. Glasgow's letter to Bruce, and a copy of Bruce's letter to Casey and of Casey's reply, are on file AA:A981, Defence 275, iii. See also Letters 192 and 204.