In forests and fish the Dominions abound, and possess enormous possibilities of extended trade.
This subject received our earnest attention. We considered that the various Governments of the Empire should take steps to secure the development and utilisation of their natural wealth on a well considered scheme, and that to do this, a preliminary survey was needed of the relation between Empire production and Empire requirements. No such survey, as far as we knew, had yet been undertaken, but in the Memorandum and Tables relating to the Food and Raw Material Requirements of the United Kingdom, which we submitted to His Majesty in 1915, the Commission had made an effort, not without some measure of success, in this direction. We regarded it as vital that the Empire’s supplies of raw material and commodities essential to its safety should be, as far as possible, independent of outside control, and made suggestions which aimed at effecting this object. We recommended that the survey mentioned above should be made by an Imperial Development Board, which should be entrusted with the whole subject.
We dwelt on the importance of securing to all parts of the Empire adequate facilities for scientific research in connection with the development of their natural resources; and, in connection with this, made certain recommendations as regards the Imperial Institute, for the purpose of increasing its efficiency and usefulness.
To this important matter we devoted much time and thought, not only in London, but in each of the Dominions as well, obtaining much valuable evidence and personally examining the circumstances and conditions that prevailed. No Imperial question, we considered, could be of greater importance than this. We made many recommendations, some of which have already been adopted, whilst the remainder are coming into great prominence now that the war is over. In the past we found no effort had been made to regulate emigration from the United Kingdom, and we proposed the establishment of a Central Emigration Authority. The surplus of females in the United Kingdom, increased unfortunately by the war, will probably result in many young women seeking their fortune overseas, and we urged increased facilities and better regulations for their migration, showing how best we considered they could be given.
To this subject, which embraced sea transport, harbours, waterways, mail communications, postal rates, freight rates, etc., we devoted considerable time, calling attention in particular to an aspect of the question never, so far as I know, investigated before, viz., the urgency of constructing deep harbours suited for the deep draught vessels which alone can carry on cheap and rapid transport. We made recommendations as to the improvements immediately necessary on the great trade routes, and urged that future schemes should be submitted to an Imperial Development Board.