9th July, 1925
(Due to arrive Melbourne-9.8.25)
My dear P.M.,
The new Committee of Civil Research (the 'Civil C.I.D.'), with Tom Jones  as Secretary, is getting into its stride.
I enclose copy of Lords' Debate in which notable speeches by Lord Haldane  and Lord Balfour  were made on this subject of the Committee of Civil Research. My letter No. 76 of 28th May dealt with the formation of this Committee. 
I have often wondered whether some such organisation as this, or a cross between this and the C.I.D., under the title of (say) Permanent Development Commission or Commonwealth Development Committee, would not be of assistance to you in Australia. It would really be like a Permanent Royal Commission with the Prime Minister as Chairman, some capable M.H. R. or Senator as President, and a first-class Secretary. These would be all the permanent members; other members of the Government (and, for that matter, of the Opposition), as well as business and technical experts, would be co-opted from time to time in accordance with their special aptitude to deal with the particular question under discussion.
Such problems as the Northern Territory, Industrial Arbitration, Railway Gauge Co-ordination, Commonwealth Railways, Defence of Australian Ports and Migration might be referred to it. The Committee would calmly and at leisure, and with the best expert advice procurable, thrash out, or at any rate work up to fairly fine points, the plus and minus of these and other great problems.
Hoover's  activities in America as Secretary of Commerce are working on something like these lines.
One has been hearing for some time that the Liberal Party in this country has lost its vigour and will disintegrate between the upper and nether millstones of Conservatism and Labour. Certainly the loss of Asquith  to the Lords, and Grigg  to Kenya, has sapped its vitality. One can get no evidence of the rumoured division of the Party into two -the 'right' going to the Conservatives and the 'left' to Labour. Any sloughing off of Liberal members to one party or the other must, I think, necessarily be by groups, as the stigma that would attach to individual secession would be too obvious.
There was a debate in the Lords two days ago on the Pact , in the course of which Asquith practically gave it his blessing. I know that Asquith and Balfour lunched together a day or so before and thrashed the matter out as to the Liberal Party's attitude in the Lords on this subject.
The apparently growing tendency in this country to take selected members of the Opposition into at least the minor councils of the Government is thought to be useful. Even before the war, John Burns  was made Chairman of a C.I.D. Sub-Committee to enquire into the question of diverting traffic from the approaches to London in case of invasion. Sir Alfred Mond  (Liberal) is being made a member of the Committee of Civil Research. Several Labour men and Liberals are at the moment on various Government Sub-Committees and Commissions. You sent Charlton  to Geneva last September. President Wilson's failure to take a Republican delegate to the Peace Conference led to his undoing.
One would think that it would tend to smooth out some at least of the bitter party feeling, as well as educate the other side in the difficulties of Government.
The 'Brisbane' incident showed, if proof were needed, that there is no 'dictator' in H.M.G.  It is almost impossible to get a rapid authoritative decision from any individual Minister. They insist on consulting their colleagues before committing themselves. Which is a good thing, I expect, but it does slow things up.
I have been trying to read into H.M.G.'s attitude towards China and Russia in particular some sign of a settled policy, but it is hard to discover. 'Close touch but non-interference' must certainly keep other countries guessing. It keeps a number of people at home guessing too!
General Spears , who writes an article 'A Basis for European Security' in the current Review of Reviews (going to you in news cuttings this week), may not be known to you. He was a protege of Lloyd George. His father's name was Speyers or Spiers. On changing his name to Spears he adopted the crest of a hand grasping six 'spears'. His critics say he should at the same time have adopted the motto 'Dum spero spiras'. He is not altogether trusted and is known generally as a wire puller. He writes a good deal, travels in France and Germany, and speaks both languages very well; is 'clever'. He married the woman who wrote 'Jane, our Stranger', a very well-known novel of life in Paris, which is said to have enraged the French.  His article on 'European Security' merely sketches a scheme of demilitarisation in the Rhineland.
Winston Churchill  finds himself in some difficulty in his efforts to reduce expenditure. As far as I can gather, it is a fact that the expenditure of Government Departments (other than the Fighting Services) is cut to the bone. Still further minor pruning would reduce the efficiency of the machine. It is a matter on which I am unable to comment, as to whether or not it would not be possible to eliminate certain Government Departments altogether, but this is a matter of high policy and the Government are apparently not looking in this direction. The only real trees worth pruning are the Fighting Services and they fight like wild- cats against it. Winston has the name of being a good fighter too, up to a point, but he is said to be liable to break down at the last moment. His position is not an easy one. He is not quite persona grata with the body of the Conservative party. He is regarded by his fellow Ministers as having got rather a bigger plum than he deserved in the Chancellorship. And the Treasury people are not too pleased with his being there. They realise that if they had (say) Austen Chamberlain , he would resign rather than give way on some all-important point, whereas they feel that Winston would protest up to the last and then put the responsibility on the Cabinet, and retain his job.
I am celebrating my centenary this week-my hundredth letter goes by this mail.
I am, Yours very truly, R. G. CASEY