25th March, 1926


(Due to arrive Melbourne-24.4.26)

My dear P.M.,

Chamberlain [1] got through the ordeal of the Geneva Debate in the House of Commons very luckily and well. The F.O. were quaking with fear for days beforehand, as they saw visions and dreamt bad dreams of Austen going and Winston [2] or Birkenhead [3] becoming Foreign Secretary, which they would have regarded with horror.

Austen was lucky in having his old friend and colleague Lloyd George [4] open the attack-if you could call such a mild speech an attack. As I cabled you, I had it on the very best of authority that L.G., whilst willing beforehand to make what press capital he could out of the Geneva business, was unwilling to unduly embarrass him officially in the House and he was let down very easily. The other speakers were so shaky in their facts, and their ideas of the whole business were so muddled, that they were easy to confound.

Nevertheless, Austen's speech was not convincing to those who knew the facts of the situation.

2. Houghton's [5] (American Ambassador in London) inspired interview to the American press (in cuttings) on his visit to Washington, regarding the state of Europe, has surprised everyone here. The French are rather hurt about it, but there is not much reaction in this country. He says in effect that the British are the best of a bad lot. The Americans have invented the name 'Gloomy Gus' for him in consequence of the incident. However, it seems to me that a good deal of what he said was rather painfully true.

It is an unusual procedure to put such strong words into the mouth of an Ambassador if for no other reason than that it will make his position here a little difficult when he returns.

3. I enclose to you copy of 'The Secret of High Wages' [6], a book that has created a good deal of attention. I have not yet had time to read it but I know from friends and from enclosed review by Garvin [7] what it is about. It is a principle with which I am in sympathy-the Americanisation of British industry. In fact, I have frequently asked Tom Jones [8] to make for me a Latin tag to mean 'Britain must be Americanised', which I wanted to put at the foot of all my letters to you in the manner of 'Delenda est Carthage'! However, all he would do was give it me in Welsh which he holds to be a tongue far superior to Latin! The introduction of American industrial methods into England at first sight seems as easy as the migration business is at first sight-merely the business of doing it, of moving something from A to B. But for a host of minor reasons, it is apparently not only not easy, but very difficult. I have seen a good deal of industrial methods in the States and I have puzzled a good deal over the world-wide difference between the way they set about things and the way England does the same job. Like many things of the sort, I think it is explainable (but very unsatisfactorily) by the fact that there are two very distinctly different states of mind in U.S and U.K. U.S. sets about new problems with an open mind, with a terrific intensity and a cheerful optimism that the job's going to be done if the heavens fall. They go in off the deep end into new waters, whereas the English manufacturer puts his toe in and if it feels cold, he pulls it out again and goes back to the puddle he knows well.

4. I understand that Lugard [9] has written a private letter to Tyrrell [10] putting forward the suggestion that Great Britain should consider allowing Italy to use British Guiana as a dumping ground for some of her excess population. The climate is supposed to be suited to Italians but not to English. The suggestion is that it should be stipulated that they should be conveyed in British ships. I understand that all that has been done is to distribute copies of the letter to all British Government Departments and ask for comments.

I am, Yours sincerely, R. G. CASEY

1 Sir Austen Chamberlain, Foreign Secretary.

2 Winston Churchill, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

3 Lord Birkenhead, Secretary for India.

4 David Lloyd George, Prime Minister 1916-22.

5 Alanson Houghton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom 1925-29.

6 Bertram Austin and W. Francis Lloyd, The Secret of High Wages, T. Fisher Unwin, London, 1926.

7 J. L. Garvin, Editor of the Observer.

8 Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet.

9 Lord Lugard, a member of the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission (Governor of Hong Kong 1907-12 and Governor and Governor-General of Nigeria 1912-19).

10 Sir William Tyrrell, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office.