27th May, 1926


(Due to arrive Melbourne-26.6.26)

My dear P.M.,

I must draw your attention to an important despatch from Sir Charles Eliot [1], H.M. retiring Ambassador at Tokyo- (F.1164/949/23 of March 19th)-copy of which goes to you officially by this mail. After six years as Ambassador to Japan, he writes this 'farewell' despatch summarising his views on Japan. It is of unequal interest to you personally and so I have had reproduced the section dealing with 'Foreign Policy', which I attach hereto.

[2] The remainder of the paper, whilst of great interest for future record, is not of immediate importance to you. Sir Charles Eliot had many years' experience of the Far East even before he became H.M. Ambassador and I am assured that one can accept his views as representing about the best and most acute analysis of Japan's aims that a foreigner can achieve.

2. As a lighter touch, I enclose you copy of a despatch from H.M.

Ambassador at Constantinople (Lindsay [3]) describing a beanfeast at Angora. Chamberlain [4] had it printed to amuse and increase the morale of the Cabinet.

3. I saw Amery [5] immediately on getting your letter a week ago about the N.S.W. Second Chamber [6], and gave him a copy of Bavin's letter to you and made known to him your additional comments. He had, up till that time, had only a courtesy call from McTiernan [7], who made an appointment for, I think, tomorrow to put forward his views on the constitutional position. Amery said that his own views were practically the same as yours and that he did not anticipate that McTiernan would have anything to put forward that would influence H.M.G. in altering those views.

4. I asked Amery if there was anything new to say on the question of inter-imperial trade. He said that he had just written a letter to Winston [8], saying that if, as a result of anticipated loss of revenue due to the Strike, he proposed to suggest any increase in duties, then he wished to suggest dried fruits and sugar, an increase in duty on which would enable a little additional preference to be given to the Dominions.

5. Amery tells me that it is pretty well established that the Duke of York will go to Australia to open Canberra. Amery had spoken to him about it privately some time ago but, for his own reasons, he wanted the first official intimation of the proposal to come to the Duke of York from the King. So that when the King spoke to the Duke of York, the latter affected to be hearing of it for the first time and registered surprise and delight. The King led off (so Amery tells me): 'Now, Bertie, no more babies for a bit;

you've got to go to Australia on a job of work.'

6. The Air Force and the Admiralty keep up their squabbles. An 'Air' paper has just been circulated in draft form for approval before printing, as one of the papers to be submitted to Dominion P.M.s prior to the Imperial Conference. It started with the sentence 'The Royal Air Force consists of 62 squadrons'. The Admiralty took exception to this sentence, on the ground that the equivalent of 9 of these squadrons were in the Fleet Air Arm. The usual rather bitter controversy took place. Hankey [9] spent all one day trying to produce a form of words to suit them both, suggesting 'The air forces of the Crown', or 'Our air defences', or 'The Air Force'-but at present they both have their toes in and their heads high.

7. Tom Jones [10] has just told me with great amusement of an incident that happened at 10, Downing Street, a week ago. The P.M.

[11], Evan Williams [12] (spokesman of the coal mine owners) and Tom Jones were sitting in front of a fire about 10 p.m., when the door opened and Birkenhead [13]was ushered in, obviously having dined very well. He said 'Good evening' to them and went and stood with his back to the fire and proceeded to address himself exclusively to Williams, who is a small man, sunk in the depths of a big chair. 'And in you, Mr. Williams, I see represented the great coal owners of this country-the men who have thrown this country to the verge of the pit for lack of foresight, for lack of skill in conducting their own affairs, and for sheer lack of any merit or virtue other than an animal appetite for bloody dividends. You throw the country to the verge of stark horror-and you let us crawl back as best we can. Who are you to shuffle your burden off on to the shoulders of the nation? Is one wrong in looking for some of the elements of statesmanship amongst the leaders of our great industries?'-and so on to the length of a quarter of an hour-a very fine impromptu oratorical outburst, which astonished the P.M., very much entertained Tom Jones, and completely demolished Evan Williams!

8. Sandwich-men have recently been parading London streets with boards advertising two new books. On one side of the board is 'Disarmament' by Professor P. J. N. Baker [14], and on the other 'Castles in the Air'. There seems to be some connection.

9. I was told recently by one of the Scotland Yard people that the main reasons for the formation of the Government Post Office by Cromwell was his desire to suppress the private courier and to concentrate all the courier services under the eye of the Government, so that the communications that passed could be made subject to examination in passing through the Government's hands if they were suspected of being subversive. This right of interception has remained in the hands of the Secretary for Home Affairs ever since.

I am, Yours sincerely, R. G. CASEY

[Handwritten postscript]

This mail has been very much hurried owing to a rush of material at the last moment. I have had to hold over several matters owing to the inability of my two girls to cope with it.

1 A scholar-diplomat, Sir Charles Eliot had been Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield University (1905) and Principal of Hong Kong University (1912) before going to Tokyo as Ambassador in 1919.

2 Sir Charles Eliot's view was that Japan, while properly concerned to further its own interests, was not expansionist beyond a desire to control southern Manchuria and to exercise predominant influence in northern China. Fears that Japan might wish to conquer Pacific island groups, the Netherlands East Indies 'and even Australia' were, in Eliot's view, the work of 'livelier imaginations' (in PRO:FO371/11707).

3 Sir Ronald Lindsay.

4 Sir Austen Chamberlain, Foreign Secretary.

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

6 Bruce wrote to Casey on 7 April (on file AA:A1420) to explain that the Governor of New South Wales (Sir Dudley de Chair) had refused a request by the Labor Premier (J. T. Lang) that he appoint to the N.S.W. Legislative Council nominees pledged to its abolition. Bruce argued that, while a nominated second chamber was 'a hopeless anachronism' (and a hereditary chamber like the House of Lords beyond words), Lang had no electoral mandate for abolition and that, although generally a Governor should act on ministerial advice, he should also protect the rights of the people-with an election to put his judgment to the test. Bruce had dissuaded the N.S.W. Nationalist Opposition leader, T. R. Bavin, from going to London, instead enclosing a statement by Bavin for Casey to pass on to Amery. In Bruce's view, the Dominions Office should not intervene but privately should support the Governor.

7 E. A. McTiernan, N.S.W. Attorney-General, went to London in 1926 to argue the case that the Governor should act as advised by his ministry.

8 Winston Churchill, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

9 Sir Maurice Hankey, Secretary to the Cabinet.

10 Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet.

11 Stanley Baldwin.

12 A colliery owner, Evan Williams was President of the Mining Association of Great Britain and was President of the National Conference of Employers' Organisations 1925-26.

13 Lord Birkenhead, Secretary for India.

14 P. J. Noel Baker, Disarmament, Hogarth Press, London, 1926.

Noel Baker, formerly with the League of Nations secretariat and since 1924 Professor of International Relations in the University of London, was an enthusiast for the League and for disarmament.