11th June, 1925


(Due to arrive Melbourne-11.7.25)

My dear P.M.,

My dinner to Sir John Baird [1] went off quite reasonably well and he appeared to 'mix' well. People who meet him seem to like him.

Lady Ethel Baird seems a very pleasant woman. She is daughter of the Earl of Kintore and apparently has to be called Lady Ethel. He is very interested in flying and I gather from him that this is the string he intends to play a good deal in Australia. He wants to pilot a machine himself from Melbourne to Sydney, and hopes by example to popularise flying. He says he is trying to get an R.A.F. officer as one of his A.D.C.s, and Sir Hugh Trenchard [2] is looking out for someone for him.

Lord Forster [3] wrote a stiff letter to the Colonial Office lately complaining that he had not been kept informed by them about the progress of negotiations regarding the Migration Agreement. [4] The cables by means of which the arrangements were finalised apparently passed between Sir Joseph Cook's [5] office and yours, and apart from some few brief official C.O. cables through the Governor-General to you, the latter had no information until it was all announced. The C.O. admitted their guilt and cabled an apology. It has been suggested here that in such circumstances the simplest plan might be for your Private Secretary to make available to the Governor-General copies of correspondence and cables that pass.

Amery [6] was a good deal disappointed at the refusal of the Dominions to come to an Imperial Conference on the Protocol issue ('the far reaching problems affecting the security of the Empire and its future relations to the countries of Europe and the United States').

He has said, in effect, on several occasions since that it is difficult to get the Dominions to give sufficient attention to matters of common Imperial concern outside their own borders. He has it in mind to suggest holding Imperial Conferences not biennially but quarterly, two in London and two in the Dominions in each year, with the idea of educating the Dominions up to an idea of real and constant co-operation in Imperial matters. In conversation with him on this subject, Hankey [7] said that he did not think it practicable to hold them more often than every six months. Even in case of such frequent meeting as this, it could not be expected that P.M.s could attend personally, to which Amery agreed.

I understand that the main reason for Amery's contemplated tour to Australia, South Africa and Canada is to discuss the above with the Dominions.

There is always a certain amount of mutual criticism between the F.O. and the C.O. It will not be made any less by Amery's remark in a private speech at the Ralegh Club at Oxford, with Sir Cecil Hurst's [8] son present (obviously unknown to Amery), that the Protocol was evolved by 'a set of amiable jurists' at Geneva! Amery's Private Secretary reminded me lately that on two recent occasions items which by mutual arrangement were to be released on a certain date, simultaneously in London and Australia, had been made known prematurely in Australia. One was the appointment of Sir John Baird, cables with regard to which arrived in London from Australia the day before the due date; the other was connected with Lady Cook's [9] D.B.E. Apparently Sir Langdon Bonython [10] cabled congratulations to 'Dame Mary Cook' the day prior to the public announcement of the Birthday Honours.

They are far from wanting to make any official writing on the subject, but they indicated that it makes them look rather foolish when the Press here comes to them (as they invariably do in these cases) asking for confirmation of news which isn't due for release till next day.

I now hear on the best authority that the story of Lord Burnham's [11] alleged invitation to consider the Governor-Generalship of Australia resulted from a remark of Amery's to him at dinner one night. Amery, in talking generally of the post, said: 'I don't suppose you would consider anything of that sort'-to which Burnham said that it was impossible on account of his age, his interests here and his general unsuitability. Burnham told his wife and his wife told a friend at a social gathering at which some woman journalist was present, who made the story available to one of the Australian press representatives here. So that what I said in a previous letter as to 'kite-flying' was really only indiscretion.

Henry Ford's entry into the aircraft industry in U.S. is of particular interest. I sincerely hope he will embrace this activity on his establishing his plant in Australia.

I am, Yours sincerely, R. G. CASEY

1 See note 4 to Letter 21.

2 Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Trenchard, Chief of the Air Staff.

3 Governor-General of Australia 1920-25 4 In 1925 Australia and Britain agreed jointly to provide up to 34 million over ten years to the Australian States for approved development schemes, and in return the States would settle one assisted British migrant for each 75 received.

5 Australian High Commissioner.

6 Leopold Amery, Secretary for the Colonies and for Dominion Affairs. On 9 July 1925 responsibility for dominion affairs was surrendered by the Colonial Office to a new Dominions Office, but Amery held both portfolios. The Dominions Office had its own permanent head (initially Sir Charles Davis), a deputy and three assistant secretaries bur otherwise shared the Colonial Office establishment and facilities.

7 Sir Maurice Hankey, Secretary to the Cabinet.

8 Legal adviser to the Foreign Office.

9 Wife of Sir Joseph Cook.

10 Proprietor of the Adelaide Advertiser.

11 Former Conservative M.P., now President of the British Empire Press Union.