Item 2 - Letter from Arthur Stanley to Edwin Montagu

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MONT II/A/4/9/2

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Letter from Arthur Stanley to Edwin Montagu

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  • 3 June 1915 (Creation)

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State Government House, Melbourne.—Has received his letter of 1 April. Asks who Geoffrey is marrying. Is surprised, in view of the ‘ministerial reconstruction’, that Montagu made light of the rumours of a coalition Government. It is speculated locally that the reorganisation resulted from disputes between Winston and Fisher or a desire to involve both parties in the unpopular move of introducing compulsory service. A joint Cabinet will perhaps have more authority and be less subject to partisan criticism. The reconstruction of the Admiralty is an advantage. Sympathises with Montagu’s loss of the Chancellorship of the Duchy of Lancaster, but thinks he will not regret returning to the Treasury and the Patronage secretaryship. An Act of Parliament may be needed to approve the creation of Lloyd George’s new Ministry. Is surprised that McKenna was appointed [as Chancellor of the Exchequer] rather than Austen or Bonar Law. Does not believe that he himself will be affected by the reconstruction of the Colonial Office. Is sorry for Blue Tooth. The action taken as a result of the temperance agitation was inadequate; he supposes the new Government may do something more drastic. Refers to the proposed reduction of licensing hours in Australia, and notes that the Union of Governors and Governor-Generals have decided to become teetotallers. He himself has found this easy, but M[unro]-F[erguson] has not. He finds M-F a bore, but gets on better with him than he probably would have done with Denman. The Liberal Party in the Federal Parliament are blaming Cook for having asked for the double dissolution, which is unfair, since, though it turned out badly, they had all supported it at the time. If he had been in M-F’s place he would have refused the request, though this would admittedly have laid him open to abuse from the Liberals, and he may be ignorant of some of the circumstances. Asks Montagu to write again.

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