174

21st February, 1929

PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL

(Due to arrive Canberra 21.3.29)

My dear P.M.,

You may care to know about a most interesting development that is being worked on a good deal at the moment behind the scenes.

As you know, the most urgent and distressing public matter in this country is the complete failure of all attempts up to the present to deal with the unemployment situation. A suggestion has been made-by Philip Gibbs [1], the novelist and war correspondent-that a Chartered Company on a large scale should be formed in London, as an ordinary business proposition but with some Government backing, to develop the Peace River district in Canada. The Prince of Wales would be used as the central figure for a crusade to get together a large body of the young men from the distressed areas and start a new settlement in Canada. The Prince would make the scheme his own and would visit the settlement from time to time.

The scheme is being seriously considered by the Prime Minister and a member of the Cabinet. The Prince of Wales has been spoken to and has agreed to play his part if it comes to anything.

The whole scheme has an air of reality about it and it is possible that it may come to something. Amery [2] is raising difficulties at the moment and Mackenzie King [3] has not yet been approached.

I am, Yours sincerely, R.G. CASEY

1 Sir Philip Gibbs, former journalist, author to this point of nineteen novels, thirteen historical works and seven volumes of essays.

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

3 William Mackenzie King, Canadian Prime Minister.