No. 351 NAI DT S6009/1

Memorandum from Joseph P. Walshe to Diarmuid O'Hegarty (Dublin)

Dublin, 21 March 1930

The Minister for External Affairs would like to have an opportunity at the next meeting of the Executive Council of calling the attention of the Council to certain items on the agenda for the Economic Conference which is to be held concurrently with the Imperial Conference in the Autumn. The following is the text of the Despatch setting out the programme:

  'We have had under consideration the economic matters to be brought up for discussion at the Imperial Conference, and it appears to us provisionally that such matters might conveniently be grouped under the headings set out below. Later, we shall have further suggestions to offer and we shall also be putting forward proposals for sub-conferences of representatives of Government Departments responsible for research (other than agricultural research) and of statisticians, the former to precede and the latter to follow main conference.
  (I) Inter-Imperial trade, including (1) general review of progress of trade of the Empire over a term of years and any matters arising therefrom, including the effect of successive tariff charges in its constituent parts, and also of other factors, e.g. cartels, etc. (2) the work of and any questions arising in connection with (a) Imperial Economic Committee, (b) Empire Marketing Board, (c) Imperial Institute.
  (II) Questions relating to primary production, including under (1) agriculture, such questions as Imperial co-operation in matters of research and the dissemination of intelligence among producers and otherwise including matters relating to the International Institute of Agriculture, (2) forestry, the resolutions of the Empire Forestry Conference, 1928, (3) minerals, the work of Imperial organisations in this field.
  (III) Research, statistics, etc. (not included above) including (1) previously proposed Sub-Conference on Industrial Standardisation concerning which a separate telegram will be sent, (2) report of suggested Sub-Conference of representatives of Government Departments administering research, (3) questions to be remitted to suggested Sub- Conference on Economic Statistics, (4) Work of Overseas Mechanical Transport Council.
  (IV) Transport and communications, including (1) detailed recommendations in regard to Merchant Shipping of the Conference on the Operation of Dominion Legislation and Merchant Shipping Legislation, (2) work of Imperial Shipping Committee, (3) Development of civil aviation in the Empire, (4) cables and radio communications including broadcasting.
  (V) Overseas settlement.
  (VI) Miscellaneous, including (1) use of cinematograph films for the education of producers and cultivation of markets, (2) avoidance of obstacles to free entry of books, periodicals, journals, etc., in the interests of knowledge and literature, (3) reconsideration of present arrangements for avoiding double taxation.
  We should be glad to have at an early date, and if possible not later than 15th April, any observations or suggestions you may wish to offer in regard to the above or any additions you may wish to make thereto. We hope to have memoranda prepared in good time for circulation to each Government, and similarly should be glad to receive in time for consideration before Conference opens memoranda from you. It would of course save time if latter were circulated direct by you to other Dominions and India as well as to ourselves.'

The programme is drawn up on a much more comprehensive scale than has ever before been attempted, and it gives the definite impression that some sort of centralisation on the economic side is to be attempted. The widespread talk about intra-Commonwealth rationalisation, and the definite suggestions of the British Federation of Industries on the same point, make a critical examination of the items on the Conference agenda a matter of urgent importance. The Minister is making arrangements to secure the views of the Departments concerned as soon as possible. He will also see that the expert personnel is selected at once.

[signed] J.P. Walshe

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