5th January, 1928


My dear P.M.,

There have been no further stirrings of mind on the blockade question [1] in the F.O. or elsewhere. No more official memoranda have been written. I send one or two press cuttings in this connection.

I have been to see the Director of Plans at the Admiralty [2] on the subject. They are shocked and stunned at the attack on their sacred preserves by the Foreign Office. Rear-Admiral A. D. P. R.

Pound, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff, is collaborating with Admiral Field [3] in the marshalling of their arguments and the preparation of their case on paper for the C.I.D. Committee. The Admiralty seem to be a little ponderous on paper and in this case they seem hardly to know where to begin. Their memorandum I do not expect for a fortnight, but that it will be strongly worded when it does appear, I have no doubt.

The fight, of course, will be a straightforward one between the Admiralty and the F.O., with Hankey [4] on the Admiralty's side.

You will know the story of the five men of different nationalities who went big game shooting and who, on their return, were asked to write articles on the subject. The Englishman wrote on 'Elephant Shooting', the Frenchman 'L'elephant et ses amours', the German 'Technical treatise on the life cycle of the larger pachyderms', the Pole 'The Elephant in its relation to the Polish Corridor', and the American 'Bigger and Better Elephants'.

Well, Vansittart [5] says the Big Navy people in the U.S. always remind him of this story-with their slogan 'A bigger and better Navy'.

Now that I have revived one old story, I'll try another which I am sure you will have heard and forgotten. It was credited originally to a prominent Frenchman:-

Je connais le monde, Je connais le beau monde, Je connais le demi monde, Mais jamais n'ai-je connu quelqu'un de si immonde Que Sir Alfred Mond. [6]

Admiral Field goes to the Mediterranean as Commander-in-Chief in about April. Admiral Sir Charles E. Madden, who succeeded Beatty [7] as First Lord of the Admiralty, is, I hear on good authority, not a really worthy successor to Beatty. He is much pleasanter to deal with but much less able.

I am told on very good authority that Sir Hugh Trenchard [8] is to retire in a year or eighteen months' time. His successor will probably be from amongst Air Marshal Sir John Salmond [9], Air Vice-Marshal Sir Edward L. Ellington [10], Air Vice-Marshal Sir P.

W. Game [11], and Air Vice-Marshal Sir W. Geoffrey H. Salmond [12], in that order of probability. [13]

I hear that the real thing in oil has been discovered in Iraq. So Amery [14] is justified at last in his stand on the Iraq question which so incensed the cheap press 18 months ago. [15]

The question of the financial allowances to delegates to League of Nations and other international assemblies at Geneva and elsewhere is one that I think wants looking into. It has become the custom to pay all their travelling and hotel expenses and to give them in addition 3.3s.0d. per day for other unspecified out-of-pocket expenses which need not be accounted for. This does not apply to civil servants like myself, who get from 1 to 1.11s.6d. per day over and above travelling and hotel expenses. I should become extremely unpopular with a number of people if it were known that I was raising this point, but I know from personal experience that this three guineas a day represents almost entirely clear profit to almost all our delegates, and is very much more than similar allowances by other Dominions.

If you think that this small economy is worth taking up, I consider that you could well make a rule that the flat rate for all delegates is to be one and a half guineas a day plus reasonable travelling and hotel living expenses, and that the latter is not to include wine or cigars.

The rate for civil servants might well be standardised at 1 a day plus living expenses.

I understand that the Government are counting on getting a good deal of kudos throughout the country from the functioning of the Widows,

Orphans and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, which was passed in 1925 and which comes into operation in this New Year. By its terms every insured person has the right to an old age pension at 65.

The 'Times' estimates that 450,000 people will be entitled to draw the weekly pension. It is claimed for the new scheme that it will enable some of the older men to withdraw from industry and let younger men in, from the ranks of the unemployed, and so indirectly decrease unemployment. The more carnally minded of the Conservatives are placing some reliance on the fact that this scheme will have been in operation for a year or two when the next election comes about, and are counting on its being placed to their credit in the country.

The influence of personality in diplomacy is most strikingly shewn in the astounding change that has come over American-Mexican relations since Dwight Morrow went to Mexico as U.S. Ambassador. I am told that he is far from being a profound or world-shaking diplomat, but he has human qualities, tact and the ordinary bread and butter virtues, and is what they call 'simpatico'. The Mexican intransigence and sullen antagonism to the U.S. fell down like a house of cards within a few weeks and has been replaced by an era of loving kindness and sweet reasonableness-which Morrow is capitalising on.

Tom Jones [16] spent Christmas with the Astors (Lord Astor [17]) in the country. Bernard Shaw [18] was one of a numerous party and T.J. came back very delighted with his talks with him. He says that for conversational brilliance he puts him with Winston Churchill [19] and Tim Healy [20], which is supposed to be very high indeed. He is over 70, very tall and straight, and with white hair and beard. Bernard Shaw is a great friend of Colonel Lawrence [21] (of Arabia), who has now taken the name of Shaw while he is a private soldier in the Air Force. Shaw sent him a book for Christmas 'from Public Shaw to Private Shaw'. Bernard Shaw told T.J. that King Feisal of Iraq had told him, when he was in London recently, that he was anxious to get Lawrence as his political adviser in Iraq, but that he had been advised that his peculiar attitude towards everything since the war made it inadvisable.

The 'Big Four' seem to be well chosen. [22] I have heard it said that their expressed desire to go as a team or not at all lies in the fact that they regard themselves as British industry and that if one of their number stayed behind, the others are afraid that he would scoop the till! Beharrel [23] I hear spoken of as the real brains of the four.

I am, Yours sincerely, R. G. CASEY

1 See Letters 78 and 81.

2 Captain W.A. Egerton.

3 Admiral Sir Frederick Field, Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff.

4 Sir Maurice Hankey, Secretary to the Cabinet.

5 Robert Vansittart, Counsellor at the Foreign Office.

6 Liberal M.P., Minister of Health 1921-22, Chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd.

7 Admiral of the Fleet Lord Beatty.

8 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Hugh Trenchard, Chief of the Air Staff. He retired in 1929 and was Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police 1931-35.

9 Air Officer Commander-in-Chief, Air Defence of Great Britain.

10 Commander Royal Air Force, Iraq.

11 Air Member for Personnel on the Air Council. He retired in 1929 and was Governor of New South Wales 1930-35 and Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police 1935-45.

12 Air Officer Commanding Royal Air Force, India.

13 Trenchard was in fact succeeded in 1929 by Sir John Salmond.

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

15 See note 3 to Letter 33 and note 18 to Letter 34.

16 Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet.

17 Owner of the Observer.

18 George Bernard Shaw, dramatist.

19 Chancellor of the Exchequer.

20 Governor-General of the Irish Free State.

21 T. E. Lawrence.

22 It would seem that Bruce, distressed by the possibility of United States investment capital reducing Australia to the Canadian dependency situation, raised during his visit to London in 1926 for the Imperial Conference the desirability of a visit to Australia by a team of Britain's top industrialists to offer advice but also to learn of opportunities for Anglo-Australian economic co-operation. During 1927 Bruce pursued the matter with Amery and through F. L. McDougall, Economic Adviser to the Australian High Commissioner. In March 1928 it was agreed that the British group, colloquially referred to as the 'Big Four', would comprise Sir Harry McGowan, President and Deputy Chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd; Sir Hugo Hirst, Chairman and Managing Director of the General Electric Co. Ltd; Dougal Malcolm, a Director of the British South Africa Co.; and Sir Ernest Clark, a former senior civil servant, now a company director. However, Sir Harry McGowan was unable rejoin the group and his place was taken by Sir Arthur Duckham, an engineer prominent in the coal industry.

23 Sir George Beharrel, Managing Director of the Dunlop Rubber Co., was not finally a member of the 'Big Four'.