358. Harrod to H. D. Henderson , 11 June 1934 [a]

Christ Church, Oxford #

11 June 1934

Dear Henderson [1]

I tried to find you this week-end but did not strike the right time.

I dont want to be a nuisance or propose a project to waste your time, but I wonder if you think there would be any advantage in two or three of us foregathering and having some consecutive talks--presumably next term, but we might have our first meeting this--on some question such as the secular relation of saving to investment which is of common interest. My idea was that we could get down to things rather more closely than is possible, for instance, at the Chatham House Lunches [2] and that specific problems which are susceptible of factual enquiry might emerge. [3] I dont want to impose any heavy burden of work upon you and would undertake myself to draft any memorandum that we might think desirable--not of course for publication but to define the limits & purpose of some subsequent enquiry, which could be conducted by ourselves severally or jointly or by others, at a later stage.

If you feel that this would not be imposing a burden upon yourself, I should like to ask Meade, if you think that would be good, to join us. Are you likely to be in Oxford next weekend See Ms: «week end». or in the near future? What about Sunday morning? [4] Perhaps you could give me your answer to this at the lunch on Thursday. [5]

Yours sincerely

Roy Harrod

  1. 1. Henderson had accepted a Senior Research Fellowship at All Souls College in Oxford in May 1934.

    2. Harrod and Henderson were both members of a Group of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) discussing the "International Monetary Problems". The meetings usually took place after lunch at Pimm's Red House, Bishopsgate. The result of the activity of the group was a Report on The Future of Monetary Policy (1935). For an account of Harrod's activities in the group on International Monetary Problems, see note 1 to essay 13 .

    3. This seems the first evidence pointing at Harrod's interest in empirical enquiries, which eventually lead to the foundation of the Oxford Institute of Statistics (on which discussion had already been going on for some time) and of the Oxford Economists' Research Group. It is probably the fact that this topic emerged in correspondence with Henderson that eventually led Harrod to attribute to Henderson the "initiative in encouraging" the young Oxford economists to organize the OERG (Harrod, "The Pre-War Faculty", Oxford Economic Papers: Supplement Sir Hubert Henderson 1890-1952, 5, 1953, p. 60). This letter, however, suggests that Harrod was the original proposer of the idea, although he suggested to restrict the preparatory meetings to "two or three of us", i.e. Harrod himself, Henderson, and Meade.The actual procedure later followed by the OERG, namely interviews with entrepreneurs led by a team of Oxford fellows, was however suggested by Henderson: see letter 433 , [jump to page] . Of course, the topic might also have been discussed viva voce in other occasions.

    A first concrete proposal of empirical enquiry came from Meade at the end of July. In his belated reply, Harrod further specified the objective of the proposed research and suggested the formation of a committee to develop Meade's idea: see letter 371 , [jump to page] .

    4. Harrod, Henderson and Meade actually met on Sunday 17 June: see note 2 to letter 359 .

    5. Refers to the eighteenth meetings of the Chatham House group (see note 2 to this letter), held on 14 June 1934 (the minutes are in CH 9/6 kk).

    1. a. ALS, two pages on one leaf, in HHP 22A/6.

      b. Ms: «week end».

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