The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

Re: The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Clivede

Postby admin » Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:03 am

Part 2 of 5

In October 1923, Smuts, who was in London for the Imperial Conference and was in close contact with the Group, made speeches in which he compared the French occupation of the Ruhr with the German attack on Belgium in 1914 and said that Britain "may soon have to start rearming herself in sheer self-defence" against French militarism. John Dove, writing to Brand in a private letter, found an additional argument against France in the fact that her policy was injuring democracy in Germany. He wrote:

"It seems to me that the most disastrous effect of Poincare's policy would be the final collapse of democracy in Germany, the risk of which has been pointed out in The Round Table. The irony of the whole situation is that if the Junkers should capture the Reich again, the same old antagonisms will revive and we shall find ourselves willy-nilly, lined up again with France to avert a danger which French action has again called into being. . . . Even if Smuts follows up his fine speech, the situation may have changed so much before the Imperial Conference is over that people who think like him and us may find ourselves baffled.... I doubt if we shall again have as good a chance of getting a peaceful democracy set up in Germany."


After the Dawes Plan went into force, the Milner Group's policies continued to be followed by the British government. The "policy of fulfillment" pursued by Germany under Stresemann was close to the heart of the Group. In fact, there is a certain amount of evidence that the Group was in a position to reach Stresemann and advise him to follow this policy. This was done through Smuts and Lord D'Abernon. There is little doubt that the Locarno Pacts were designed in the Milner Group and were first brought into public notice by Stresemann, at the suggestion of Lord D Abernon.

Immediately after Smuts made his speech against France in October 1923, he got in touch with Stresemann, presumably in connection with the South African Mandate in South-West Africa. Smuts himself told the story to Mrs. Millen, his authorized biographer, in these words:

"I was in touch with them [the Germans] in London over questions concerning German South-West. They had sent a man over from their Foreign Office to see me. (4) I can't say the Germans have behaved very well about German South-West, but that is another matter. Well, naturally, my speech meant something to this fellow. The English were hating the Ruhr business; it was turning them from France to Germany, the whole English-speaking world was hating it. Curzon, in particular, was hating it. Yet very little was being done to express all this feeling. I took it upon myself to express the feeling. I acted, you understand, unofficially. I consulted no one. But I could see my action would not be abhorrent to the Government — would, in fact, be a relief to them. When the German from the Foreign Office came to me full of what this sort of attitude would mean to Stresemann I told him I was speaking only for myself. "But you can see," I said, 'that the people here approve of my speech. If my personal advice is any use to you, I would recommend the Germans to give up their policy of non-cooperation, to rely on the goodwill of the world and make a sincere advance towards the better understanding which I am sure can be brought about.' I got in touch with Stresemann. Our correspondence followed those lines. You will remember that Stresemann's policy ended in the Dawes Plan and the Pact of Locarno and that he got the Nobel Peace for this work!"


In this connection it is worthy of note that the German Chancellor, at a Cabinet meeting on 12 November 1923, quoted Smuts by name as the author of what he (Stresemann) considered the proper road out of the crisis.

Lord D'Abernon was not a member of the Milner Group. He was, however, a member of the Cecil Bloc's second generation and had been, at one time, a rather casual member of "The Souls." This, it will be recalled, was the country-house set in which George Curzon, Arthur Balfour, Alfred Lyttelton, St. John Brodrick, and the Tennant sisters were the chief figures. Born Edgar Vincent, he was made Baron DAbernon in 1914 by Asquith who was also a member of "The Souls" and married Margot Tennant in 1894. DAbernon joined the Coldstream Guards in 1877 after graduating from Eton, but within a few years was helping Lord Salisbury to unravel the aftereffects of the Congress of Berlin. By 1880 he was private secretary to Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, brother of Lord Lansdowne and Commissioner for European Turkey. The following year he was assistant to the British Commissioner for Evacuation of the Territory ceded to Greece by Turkey. In 1882 he was the British, Belgian, and Dutch representative on the Council of the Ottoman Public Debt, and soon became president of that Council. From 1883 to 1889 he was financial adviser to the Egyptian government and from 1889 to 1897 was governor of the Imperial Ottoman Bank in Constantinople. In Salisbury's third administration he was a Conservative M.P. for Exeter (1899-1906). The next few years were devoted to private affairs in international banking circles close to Milner. In 1920 he was the British civilian member of the "Weygand mission to Warsaw." This mission undoubtedly had an important influence on his thinking. As a chief figure in Salisbury's efforts to bolster up the Ottoman Empire against Russia, D'Abernon had always been anti-Russian. In this respect, his background was like Curzon's. As a result of the Warsaw mission, D'Abernon's anti-Russian feeling was modified to an anti-Bolshevik one of much greater intensity. To him the obvious solution seemed to be to build up Germany as a military bulwark against the Soviet Union. He said as much in a letter of 1 1 August 1920 to Sir Maurice Hankey. This letter, printed by D'Abernon in his book on the Battle of Warsaw (The Eighteenth Decisive Battle of the World, published 1931), suggests that "a good bargain might be made with the German military leaders in cooperating against the Soviet." Shortly afterwards, D'Abernon was made British Ambassador at Berlin. At the time, it was widely rumored and never denied that he had been appointed primarily to obtain some settlement of the reparations problem, it being felt that his wide experience in international public finance would qualify him for this work. This may have been so, but his prejudices likewise qualified him for only one solution to the problem, the one desired by the Germans. (5)

In reaching this solution, D'Abernon acted as the intermediary among Stresemann, the German Chancellor; Curzon, the Foreign Secretary; and, apparently, Kindersley, Brand's associate at Lazard Brothers. According to Harold Nicolson in his book Curzon The Last Phase (1934), "The initial credit for what proved the ultimate solution belongs, in all probability, to Lord D'Abernon — one of the most acute and broad-minded diplomatists which this country has ever possessed." In the events leading up to Curzon's famous note to France of 1 1 August 1923, the note which contended that the Ruhr occupation could not be justified under the Treaty of Versailles, D'Abernon played an important role both in London and in Berlin. In his Diary of an Ambassador, DAbernon merely listed the notes between Curzon and France and added: "Throughout this controversy Lord D'Abernon had been consulted."

During his term as Ambassador in Berlin, DAbernon's policy was identical with that of the Milner Group, except for the shading that he was more anti-Soviet and less anti- French and was more impetuous in his desire to tear up the Treaty of Versailles in favor of Germany. This last distinction rested on the fact that DAbernon was ready to appease Germany regardless of whether it were democratic or not; indeed, he did not regard democracy as either necessary or good for Germany. The Milner Group, until 1929, was still in favor of a democratic Germany, because they realized better than DAbernon the danger to civilization from an undemocratic Germany. It took the world depression and its resulting social unrest to bring the Milner Group around to the view which DAbernon held as early as 1920, that appeasement to an undemocratic Germany could be used as a weapon against "social disorder."

Brigadier General J. H. Morgan, whom we have already quoted, makes perfectly clear that DAbernon was one of the chief obstacles in the path of the Inter-allied Commission's efforts to force Germany to disarm. In 1920, when von Seeckt, Commander of the German Army, sought modifications of the disarmament rules which would have permitted large-scale evasion of their provisions, General Morgan found it impossible to get his dissenting reports accepted in London. He wrote in Assize of Arms: "At the eleventh hour I managed to get my reports on the implications of von Seeckt's plan brought to the direct notice of Mr. Lloyd George through the agency of my friend Philip Kerr who, after reading these reports, advised the Prime Minister to reject von Seeckt's proposals. Rejected they were at the Conference of Spa in July 1920, as we shall see, but von Seeckt refused to accept defeat and fell back on a second move." When, in 1921, General Morgan became "gravely disturbed" at the evasions of German disarmament, he wrote a memorandum on the subject. It was suppressed by Lord D'Abernon. Morgan added in his book: "I was not altogether surprised. Lord D'Abernon was the apostle of appeasement." In January 1923, this "apostle of appeasement" forced the British delegation on the Disarmament Commission to stop all inspection operations in Germany. They were never resumed, although the Commission remained in Germany for four more years, and the French could do nothing without the British members. (6)

Throughout 1923 and 1924, D'Abernon put pressure on both the German and the British governments to pursue a policy on the reparations question which was identical with that which Smuts was advocating at the same time and in the same quarters. He put pressure on the British government to follow this policy on the grounds that any different policy would lead to Stresemann's fall from office. This would result in a very dangerous situation, according to D'Abernon (and Stresemann), where Germany might fall into the control of either the extreme left or the extreme right. For example, a minute of a German Cabinet meeting of 2 November 1923, found by Eric Sutton among Stresemann's papers and published by him, said in part: "To the English Ambassador, who made some rather anxious enquiries, Stresemann stated that the maintenance of the state of siege was absolutely essential in view of the risk of a Putsch both from the Left and from the Right. He would use all his efforts to preserve the unity of the Reich.... Lord D'Abernon replied that his view, which was shared in influential quarters in London, was that Stresemann was the only man who could steer the German ship of State through the present troubled waters." Among the quarters in London which shared this view, we find the Milner Group.

The settlement which emerged from the crisis, the Dawes Plan and the evacuation of the Ruhr, was exactly what the Milner Group wanted. From that point on to the banking crisis of 1931, their satisfaction continued. In the years 1929-1931 they clearly had no direct influence on affairs, chiefly because a Labour government was in office in London, but their earlier activities had so predetermined the situation that it continued to develop in the direction they wished. After the banking crisis of 1931, the whole structure of international finance with which the Group had been so closely associated disappeared and, after a brief period of doubt, was replaced by a rapid growth of monopolistic national capitalism. This was accepted by the Milner Group with hardly a break in stride. Hichens had been deeply involved in monopolistic heavy industry for a quarter of a century in 1932. Milner had advocated a system of "national capitalism" with "industrial self-regulation" behind tariff walls even earlier. Amery and others had accepted much of this as a method, although they did not necessarily embrace Milner's rather socialistic goals. As a result, in the period 1931-1933, the Milner Group willingly liquidated reparations, war debts, and the whole structure of international capitalism, and embraced protection and cartels instead.

Parallel with their destruction of reparations, and in a much more direct fashion, the Milner Group destroyed collective security through the League of Nations. The Group never intended that the League of Nations should be used to achieve collective security. They never intended that sanctions, either military or economic, should be used to force any aggressive power to keep the peace or to enforce any political decision which might be reached by international agreement. This must be understood at the beginning. The Milner Group never intended that the League should be used as an instrument of collective security or that sanctions should be used as an instrument by the League. From the beginning, they expected only two things from the League: (1) that it could be used as a center for international cooperation in international administration in nonpolitical matters, and (2) that it could be used as a center for consultation in political matters. In regard to the first point, the Group regarded the League as a center for such activities as those previously exercised through the International Postal Union. In all such activities as this, each state would retain full sovereignty and would cooperate only on a completely voluntary basis in fields of social importance. In regard to the second point (political questions), no member of the Group had any intention of any state yielding any sliver of its full sovereignty to the League. The League was merely an agreement, like any treaty, by which each state bound itself to confer together in a crisis and not make war within three months of the submission of the question to consultation. The whole purpose of the League was to delay action in a crisis by requiring this period for consultation. There was no restriction on action after the three months. There was some doubt, within the Group, as to whether sanctions could be used to compel a state to observe the three months' delay. Most of the members of the Group said "no" to this question. A few said that economic sanctions could be used. Robert Cecil, at the beginning, at least, felt that political sanctions might be used to compel a state to keep the peace for the three months, but by 1922 every member of the Group had abandoned both political and economic sanctions for enforcing the three months' delay. There never was within the Group any intention at any time to use sanctions for any other purpose, such as keeping peace after the three-month period.

This, then, was the point of view of the Milner Group in 1919, as in 1939. Unfortunately, in the process of drawing up the Covenant of the League in 1919, certain phrases or implications were introduced into the document, under pressure from France, from Woodrow Wilson, and from other groups in Britain, which could be taken to indicate that the League might have been intended to be used as a real instrument of collective security, that it might have involved some minute limitation of state sovereignty, that sanctions might under certain circumstances be used to protect the peace. As soon as these implications became clear, the Group's ardor for the League began to evaporate, when the United States refused to join the League, this dwindling ardor turned to hatred. Nevertheless, the Group did not abandon the League at this point. On the contrary, they tightened their grip on it — in order to prevent any "foolish" persons from using the vague implications of the Covenant in an effort to make the League an instrument of collective security. The Group were determined that if any such effort as this were made, they would prevent it and, if necessary, destroy the League to prevent it. Only they would insist, in such a case, that the League was destroyed not by them but by the persons who tried to use it as an instrument of collective security.

All of this may sound extreme. Unfortunately, it is not extreme. That this was what the Group did to the League is established beyond doubt in history. That the Group intended to do this is equally beyond dispute. The evidence is conclusive.

The British ideas on the League and the British drafts of the Covenant were formed by four men, all close to the Milner Group. They were Lord Robert Cecil, General Smuts, Lord Phillimore, and Alfred Zimmern. For drafting documents they frequently used Cecil Hurst, a close associate, but not a member, of the Group. Hurst (Sir Cecil since 1920) was assistant legal adviser to the Foreign Office in 1902-1918, legal adviser in 1918-1929, a judge on the Permanent Court of International Justice at The Hague in 1929-1946, and Chairman of the United Nations War Crimes Commission in 1943-1944. He was the man responsible for the verbal form of Articles 10-16 (the sanction articles) of the Covenant of the League of Nations, for the Articles of Agreement with Ireland in 1921, and for the wording of the Locarno Pact in 1925. He frequently worked closely with the Milner Group. For example, in 1921 he was instrumental in making an agreement by which the British Yearbook of International Law, of which he was editor, was affiliated with the Royal Institute of International Affairs. At the time, he and Curtis were working together on the Irish agreement.

As early as 1916, Lord Robert Cecil was trying to persuade the Cabinet to support a League of Nations. This resulted in the appointment of the Phillimore Committee, which drew up the first British draft for the Covenant. As a result, in 1918-1919 Lord Robert became the chief government spokesman for a League of Nations and the presumed author of the second British draft. The real author of this second draft was Alfred Zimmern. Cecil and Zimmern were both dubious of any organization that would restrict state sovereignty. On 12 November 1918, the day after the armistice, Lord Robert made a speech at Birmingham on the type of League he expected. That speech shows clearly that he had little faith in the possibility of disarmament and none in international justice or military sanctions to preserve the peace. The sovereignty of each state was left intact. As W. E. Rappard (director of the Graduate School of International Studies at Geneva) wrote in International Conciliation in June 1927, "He [Lord Cecil] was very sceptical about the possibility of submitting vital international questions to the judgment of courts of law end 'confessed to the gravest doubts' as to the practicability of enforcing the decrees of such courts by any 'form of international force.' On the other hand, he firmly believed in the efficacy of economic pressure as a means of coercing a country bent on aggression in violation of its pacific agreements." It might be remarked in passing that the belief that economic sanctions could be used without a backing of military force, or the possibility of needing such backing, is the one sure sign of a novice in foreign politics, and Robert Cecil could never be called a novice in such matters. In the speech itself he said:

"The most important step we can now take is to devise machinery which, in case of international dispute, will, at the least, delay the outbreak of war, and secure full and open discussion of the causes of the quarrel. For that purpose ... all that would be necessary would be a treaty binding the signatories never to wage war themselves or permit others to wage war till a formal conference of nations had been held to enquire into, and, if possible, decide the dispute. It is probably true, at least in theory, that decisions would be difficult to obtain, for the decisions of such a conference, like all other international proceedings, would have to be unanimous to be binding. But since the important thing is to secure delay and open discussion, that is to say, time to enable public opinion to act and information to instruct it, this is not a serious objection to the proposal. Indeed, from one point of view, it is an advantage, since it avoids any interference with national sovereignty except the interposition of a delay in seeking redress by force of arms. This is the essential thing.... To that extent, and to that extent only, international coercion would be necessary."


This speech of Cecil's was approved by The Round Table and accepted as its own point of view in the issue of December 1918. At the same time, through Smuts, the Milner Group published another statement of its views. This pamphlet, called The League of Nations, a Practical Suggestion, was released in December 1918, after having been read in manuscript and criticized by the inner circle, especially Curtis. This statement devoted most of its effort to the use of mandates for captured German colonies. For preserving the peace, it had considerable faith in compulsory arbitration and hoped to combine this with widespread disarmament.

The Group's own statement on this subject appeared in the December 1918 issue of The Round Table in an article called "Windows of Freedom," written by Curtis. He pointed out that British sea-power had twice saved civilization and any proposal that it should be used in the future only at the request of the League of Nations must be emphatically rejected. The League would consist of fallible human beings, and England could never yield her decision to them. He continued: "Her own existence and that of the world's freedom are inseparably connected. ... To yield it without a blow is to yield the whole citadel in which the forces that make for human freedom are entrenched; to covenant to yield it is to bargain a betrayal of the world in advance.... [The League must not be a world government.] If the burden of a world government is placed on it it will fall with a crash." He pointed out it could be a world government only if it represented peoples and not states, and if it had the power to tax those peoples. It should simply be an interstate conference of the world.

"The Peace Conference . . . cannot hope to produce a written constitution for the globe or a genuine government of mankind. What it can do is establish a permanent annual conference between foreign ministers themselves, with a permanent secretariat, in which, as at the Peace Conference itself, all questions at issue between States can be discussed and, if possible, settled by agreement. Such a conference cannot itself govern the world, still less those portions of mankind who cannot yet govern themselves. But it can act as a symbol and organ of the human conscience, however imperfect, to which real governments of existing states can be made answerable for facts which concern the world at large."


In another article in the same issue of The Round Table ("Some Principles and Problems of the Settlement," December 1918), similar ideas were expressed even more explicitly by Zimmern. He stated that the League of Nations should be called the League of States, or the Interstate Conference, for sovereign states would be its units, and it would make not laws but contracts. "The League of Nations, in fact, is far from invalidating or diminishing national sovereignty, should strengthen and increase it.... The work before the coming age is not to supersede the existing States but to moralize them.... Membership must be restricted to those states where authority is based upon the consent of the people over whom it is exercised ... the reign of law.... It can reasonably be demanded that no States should be admitted which do not make such a consummation one of the deliberate aims of their policy." Under this idea, The Round Table excluded by name from the new League, Liberia, Mexico, "and above all Russia." "The League," it continued, "will not simply be a League of States, it will be a League of Commonwealths." As its hopes in the League dwindled, The Round Table became less exclusive, and, in June 1919, it declared, "without Germany or Russia the League of Nations will be dangerously incomplete."

In the March 1919 issue, The Round Table described in detail the kind of League it wanted — "a common clearing house for noncontentious business." Its whole basis was to be "public opinion," and its organization was to be that of "an assembly point of bureaucrats of various countries" about an international secretariat and various organizations like the International Postal Union or the International Institute of Agriculture.

"Every great department of government in each country whose activities touch those of similar departments in other countries should have its recognized delegates on a permanent international commission charged with the study of the sphere of international relations in question and with the duty of making recommendations to their various Governments. . . . Across the street, as it were, from these permanent Bureaux, at the capital of the League, there should be another central permanent Bureau ... an International secretariat.... They must not be national ambassadors, but civil servants under the sole direction of a non-national chancellor; and the aim of the whole organization . . . must be to evolve a practical international sense, a sense of common service."


This plan regarded the Council of the League as the successor of the Supreme War Council, made up of premiers and foreign ministers, and the instrument for dealing with political questions in a purely consultative way. Accordingly, the Council would consist only of the Great Powers.

These plans for the Covenant of the League of Nations were rudely shattered at the Peace Conference when the French demanded that the new organization be a "Super- state" with its own army and powers of action. The British were horrified, but with the help of the Americans were able to shelve this suggestion. However, to satisfy the demand from their own delegations as well as the French, they spread a camouflage of sham world government over the structure they had planned. This was done by Cecil Hurst. Hurst visited David Hunter Miller, the American legal expert, one night and persuaded him to replace the vital clauses 10 to 16 with drafts drawn up by Hurst. These drafts were deliberately drawn with loopholes so that no aggressor need ever be driven to the point where sanctions would have to be applied. This was done by presenting alternative paths of action leading toward sanctions, some of them leading to economic sanctions, but one path, which could be freely chosen by the aggressor, always available, leading to a loophole where no collective action would be possible. The whole procedure was concealed beneath a veil of legalistic terminology so that the Covenant could be presented to the public as a watertight document, but Britain could always escape from the necessity to apply sanctions through a loophole.

In spite of this, the Milner Group were very dissatisfied. They tried simultaneously to do three things: (1) to persuade public opinion that the League was a wonderful instrument of international cooperation designed to keep the peace; (2) to criticize the Covenant for the "traces of a sham world-government" which had been thrown over it; and (3) to reassure themselves and the ruling groups in England, the Dominions, and the United States that the League was not "a world-state." All of this took a good deal of neat footwork, or, more accurately, nimble tongues and neat pen work. More double-talk and double-writing were emitted by the Milner Group on this subject in the two decades 1919-1939 than was issued by any other group on this subject in the period.

Among themselves the Group did not conceal their disappointment with the Covenant because it went too far. In the June 1919 issue of The Round Table they said reassuringly: "The document is not the Constitution of a Super-state, but, as its title explains, a solemn agreement between Sovereign States which consent to limit their complete freedom of action on certain points.... The League must continue to depend on the free consent, in the last resort, of its component States; this assumption is evident in nearly every article of the Covenant, of which the ultimate and most effective sanction must be the public opinion of the civilized world. If the nations of the future are in the main selfish, grasping, and bellicose, no instrument or machinery will restrain them." But in the same issue we read the complaint: "In the Imperial Conference Sir Wilfrid Laurier was never tired of saying, 'This is not a Government, but a conference of Governments with Governments.' It is a pity that there was no one in Paris to keep on saying this. For the Covenant is still marked by the traces of sham government."

By the March 1920 issue, the full bitterness of the Group on this last point became evident. It said: "The League has failed to secure the adhesion of one of its most important members, The United States, and is very unlikely to secure it.... This situation presents a very serious problem for the British Empire. We have not only undertaken great obligations under the League which we must now both in honesty and in self-regard revise, but we have looked to the League to provide us with the machinery for United British action in foreign affairs. " (my italics; this is the cat coming out of the bag). The article continued with criticism of Wilson, and praise of the Republican Senate's refusal to swallow the League as it stood. It then said:

"The vital weakness of the Treaty and the Covenant became more clear than ever in the months succeeding the signature at Versailles. A settlement based on ideal principles and poetic justice can be permanently applied and maintained only by a world government to which all nations will subordinate their private interests.... It demands, not only that they should sacrifice their private interests to this world-interest, but also that they should be prepared to enforce the claims of world-interest even in matters where their own interests are in no wise engaged. It demands, in fact, that they should subordinate their national sovereignty to an international code and an international ideal. The reservations of the American Senate... point the practical difficulties of this ideal with simple force. All the reservations ... are affirmations of the sovereign right of the American people to make their own policy without interference from an International League.... None of these reservations, it should be noted, contravenes the general aims of the League; but they are, one and all, directed to ensure that no action is taken in pursuit of those aims except with the consent and approval of the Congress.... There is nothing peculiar in this attitude. It is merely, we repeat, the broad reflex of an attitude already taken up by all the European Allies in questions where their national interests are affected, and also by the British Dominions in their relations with the British Government. It gives us a statement in plain English, of the limitations to the ideal of international action which none of the other Allies will, in practice, dispute. So far, therefore, from destroying the League of Nations, the American reservations have rendered it the great service of pointing clearly to the flaws which at present neutralize its worth."


Among these flaws, in the opinion of the Milner Croup, was the fact that their plan to use the League of Nations as a method of tying the Dominions more closely to the United Kingdom had failed and, instead, the Covenant

"gave the Dominions the grounds, or rather the excuse, to avoid closer union with the United Kingdom.... It had been found in Paris that in order to preserve its unity the British delegation must meet frequently as a delegation to discuss its policy before meeting the representatives of foreign nations in conference. How was this unity of action to be maintained after the signature of peace without committing the Dominion Governments to some new constitutional organization within the Commonwealth? And if some new constitutional organization were to be devised for this purpose, how could it fail to limit in some way the full national independent status which the Dominion Governments had just achieved by their recognition as individual members of the League of Nations? The answer to these questions was found in cooperation within the League, which was to serve, not only as the link between the British Empire and foreign Powers, but as the link also between the constituent nations of the British Empire itself. Imbued with this idea, the Dominion statesmen accepted obligations to foreign Powers under the Covenant of the League more binding than any obligations which they would undertake to their kindred nations within the British Empire. In other words, they mortgaged their freedom of action to a league of foreign States in order to avoid the possibility of mortgaging it to the British Government. It hardly required the reservations of the American Senate to demonstrate the illusory character of this arrangement.... The British Dominions have made no such reservations with regard to the Covenant, and they are therefore bound by the obligations which have been rejected by the United States. Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand are, in fact, bound by stronger written obligations to Poland and Czechoslovakia, than to the British Isles.... It is almost needless to observe that none of the democracies of the British Empire has grasped the extent of its obligations to the League of Nations or would hesitate to repudiate them at once, if put to the test. If England were threatened by invasion, the other British democracies would mobilize at once for her support; but though they have a written obligation to Poland, which they have never dreamed of giving to England, they would not in practice mobilize a single man to defend the integrity of the Corridor to Danzig or any other Polish territorial interest.... This is a dangerous and equivocal situation.... It is time that our democracies reviewed and corrected it with the clearness of vision and candour of statement displayed by the much-abused Senate of the United States.... To what course of action do these conclusions point? They point in the first place to revision of our obligations under the League. We are at present pledged to guarantees of territorial arrangements in Europe which may be challenged at any time by forces too powerful for diplomatic control, and it is becoming evident that in no part of the Empire would public opinion sanction our active interference in the local disputes which may ensue. The Polish Corridor to Danzig is a case in point.... Our proper course is to revise and restate our position towards the League in accordance with these facts.... First, we wish to do our utmost to guarantee peace, liberty, and law throughout the world without committing ourselves to quixotic obligations to foreign States. Second, we wish to assist and develop the simple mechanism of international dealing embodied in the League without mortgaging our freedom of action and judgment under an international Covenant. Our policy toward the League should, therefore, be revised on the following guiding lines:

1. We should state definitely that our action within the League will be governed solely by our own judgment of every situation as it arises, and we must undertake no general obligations which we may not be able or willing, when the test comes, to discharge.

2. We must in no case commit ourselves to responsibilities which we cannot discharge to the full with our own resources, independent of assistance from any foreign power.

3. We must definitely renounce the idea that the League may normally enforce its opinions by military or economic pressure on the recalcitrant States. It exists to bring principals together for open discussion of international difficulties, to extend and develop the mechanisms and habit of international cooperation, and to establish an atmosphere in which international controversies may be settled with fairness and goodwill.... With the less ambitious objects defined above it will sooner or later secure the whole-hearted support of American opinion.... The influence of the League of Nations upon British Imperial relations has for the moment been misleading and dangerous.... It is only a question of time before this situation leads to an incident of some kind which will provoke the bitterest recrimination and controversy. . ."


In the leading article of the September 1920 issue, The Round Table took up the same problem and repeated many of its arguments. It blamed Wilson for corrupting the Covenant into "a pseudo world-government" by adding sham decorations to a fundamentally different structure based on consultation of sovereign states. Instead of the Covenant, it concluded, we should have merely continued the Supreme Council, which was working so well at Spa.

In spite of this complete disillusionment with the League, the Milner Group still continued to keep a firm grip on as much of it as Britain could control. In the first hundred sessions of the Council of the League of Nations (1920-1938), thirty different persons sat as delegates for Britain. Omitting the four who sat for Labour governments, we have twenty-six. Of these, seven were from the Milner Group; seven others were present at only one session and are of little significance. The others were almost all from the Cecil Bloc close to the Milner Group. The following list indicates the distribution.

Name / Sessions as Delegate

Anthony Eden / 39
Sir John Simon / 22
Sir Austen Chamberlain / 20
Arthur Balfour / 16 Lord Robert Cecil / 15
Six Alexander Cadogan / 12
E. H. Carr / 8
H. A. L. Fisher / 7  
Sir William Malkin / 7
Viscount Cranborne / 5
Lord Curzon / 3
Lord Londonderry / 3
Leopold Amery / 2  
Edward Wood (Lord Halifax) / 2
Cecil Hurst / 2
Sir Edward H. Young / 2
Lord Cushendun / 2
Lord Onslow / 2
Gilbert Murray / 1
Sir Rennell Rodd / 1
Six others / 1 each


At the annual meetings of the Assembly of the League, a somewhat similar situation existed. The delegations had from three to eight members, with about half of the number being from the Milner Group, except when members of the Labour Party were present. H. A. L. Fisher was a delegate in 1920, 1921, and 1922; Mrs. Alfred Lyttelton was one in 1923, 1926, 1927, 1928, and 1931; Lord Astor was one in 1931, 1936, and 1938; Cecil Hurst was one in 1924, 1926, 1927, and 1928; Gilbert Murray was one in 1924; Lord Halifax was one in 1923 and 1936; Ormsby-Gore was one in 1933; Lord Robert Cecil was one in 1923, 1926, 1929, 1930, 1931, and 1932; E. H. Carr was one in 1933 and 1934, etc. The Milner Group control was most complete at the crucial Twelfth Assembly (1931), when the delegation of five members consisted of Lord Robert Cecil, Lord Lytton, Lord Astor, Arthur Salter, and Mrs. Lyttelton. In addition, the Group frequently had other members attached to the delegations as secretaries or substitutes. Among these were E. H. Carr, A. L. Smith, and R. M. Makins. Moreover, the Group frequently had members on the delegations from the Dominions. The South African delegation in 1920 had Robert Cecil; in 1921 it had Robert Cecil and Gilbert Murray; in 1923 it had Smuts and Gilbert Murray. The Australian delegation had Sir John Latham in 1926, while the Canadian delegation had Vincent Massey ten years later. The Indian delegation had L. F. Rushbrook Williams in 1925.

The Milner Group was also influential in the Secretariat of the League. Sir Eric Drummond (now sixteenth Earl of Perth), who had been Balfour's private secretary from 1916 to 1919, was Secretary-General to the League from 1919 to 1933, when he resigned to become British Ambassador in Rome. Not a member of the Group, he was nevertheless close to it. Harold Butler, of the Group and of All Souls, was deputy director and director of the International Labor Office in the period 1920-1938. Arthur Salter, of the Group and All Souls, was director of the Economic and Financial Section of the League in 1919-1920 and again in 1922-1931. B. H. Sumner, of the Group and All Souls (now Warden), was on the staff of the ILO in 1920-1922. R. M. Makins, of the Group and All Souls, was assistant adviser and adviser on League of Nations affairs to the Foreign Office in 1937-1939.

To build up public opinion in favor of the League of Nations, the Milner Group formed an organization known as the League of Nations Union. In this organization the most active figures were Lord Robert Cecil, Gilbert Murray, the present Lord Esher, Mrs. Lyttelton, and Wilson Harris. Lord Cecil was president from 1923 to 1945; Professor Murray was chairman from 1923 to 1938 and co-president from 1938 to 1945; Wilson Harris was its parliamentary secretary and editor of its paper, Headway, for many years. Among others, C. A. Macartney, of All Souls and the RILA, was head of the Intelligence Department from 1928 to 1936. Harris and Macartney were late additions to the Group, the former becoming a member of the inner circle about 1922, while the latter became a member of the outer circle in the late 1920s, probably as a result of his association with the Encyclopedia Britannica as an expert on Central Europe. Wilson Harris was one of the most intimate associates of Lionel Curtis, Philip Kerr, and other members of the inner core in the 1920s, and this association became closer, if possible, in the 1930s. A graduate of Cambridge University in 1906, he served for many years in various capacities with the Daily News. Since 1932 he has been editor of The Spectator, and since 1945 he has been a Member of Parliament from Cambridge University. He was one of the most ardent advocates of appeasement in the period 1935-1939, especially in the meetings at Chatham House. In this connection, it might be mentioned that he was a member of the council of the RIIA in 1924-1927. He has written books on Woodrow Wilson, the peace settlement, the League of Nations, disarmament, etc. His most recent work is a biography of J. A. Spender, onetime editor of the Westminster Gazette (1896-1922), which he and his brother founded in 1 893 in collaboration with Edmund Garrett and Edward Cook, when all four left the Pall Mall Gazette after its purchase by Waldorf Astor.

The ability of the Milner Group to mobilize public opinion in regard to the League of Nations is almost beyond belief. It was not a simple task, since they were simultaneously trying to do two things: on the one hand, seeking to build up popular opinion in favor of the League so that its work could be done more effectively; and, at the same time, seeking to prevent influential people from using the League as an instrument of world government before popular opinion was ready for a world government. In general, The Round Table and The Times were used for the latter purpose, while the League of Nations Union and a strange assortment of outlets, such as Chatham House, Toynbee Hall, extension courses at Oxford, adult-education courses in London, International Conciliation in the United States, the Institute of Politics at Williamstown, the Institute of Intellectual Cooperation at Paris, the Geneva School of International Studies and the Graduate Institute of International Studies at Geneva, and the various branches of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, were used for the former purpose. The Milner Group did not control all of these. Their influence was strong in all of them, and, since the influence of J. P. Morgan and Company was also strong in most of them and since Morgan and the Group were pursuing a parallel policy on this issue, the Group were usually able to utilize the resources of these various organizations when they wished.

As examples of this, we might point out that Curtis and Kerr each gave a series of lectures at the Institute of Politics, Williamstown, in 1922. Selections from these, along with an article from the September 1922 issue of The Round Table, were published in International Conciliation for February 1923. Kerr and Lord Birkenhead spoke at the Institute in 1923; Sir Arthur Willert, a close associate if not a member of the Group, spoke at the Institute of Politics in 1927. Sir Arthur was always close to the Group. He was a member of the staff of The Times from 1906 to 1921, chiefly as head of the Washington office; he was in the Foreign Office as head of the News Department from 1921 to 1935, was on the United Kingdom delegation to the League of Nations in 1929- 1934, was an important figure in the Ministry of Information (a Milner Group fief) in 1939-1945, and wrote a book called The Empire and the World in collaboration with H. V. Hodson and B. K. Long of the Kindergarten.

Other associates of the Group who spoke at the Institute of Politics at Williamstown were Lord Eustace Percy, who spoke on wartime shipping problems in 1929, and Lord Meston, who spoke on Indian nationalism in 1930. (7)

The relationship between the Milner Group and the valuable little monthly publication called International Conciliation was exercised indirectly through the parallel group in America, which had been organized by the associates of J. P. Morgan and Company before the First World War, and which made its most intimate connections with the Milner Group at the Peace Conference of 1919. We have already mentioned this American group in connection with the Council on Foreign Relations and the Institute of Pacific Relations. Through this connection, many of the activities and propaganda effusions of the Milner Group were made available to a wide public in America. We have already mentioned the February 1923 issue of International Conciliation, which was monopolized by the Group. A few other examples might be mentioned. Both of General Smuts's important speeches, that of 23 October 1923 and that of 13 November 1934, were reproduced in International Conciliation. So too was an article on "The League and Minorities" by Wilson Harris. This was in the September 1926 issue. A Times editorial of 22 November 1926 on "The Empire as It Is" was reprinted in March 1927; another of 14 July 1934 is in the September issue of the same year; a third of 12 July 1935 is in the issue of September 1935. Brand's report on Germany's Foreign Creditors' Standstill Agreements is in the May issue of 1932; while a long article from the same pen on "The Gold Problem" appears in the October 1937 issue. This article was originally published, over a period of three days, in The Times in June 1937. An article on Russia from The Round Table was reprinted in December 1929. Lord Lothian's speeches of 25 October 1939 and of 1 1 December 1940 were both printed in the issues of International Conciliation immediately following their delivery. An article by Lothian called "League or No League," first published in The Observer in August 1936, was reprinted in the periodical under consideration in December 1936. An article by Lord Cecil on disarmament, another by Clarence Streit (one of the few American members of the Group) on the League of Nations, and a third by Stephen King-Hall on the Mediterranean problem were published in December 1932, February 1934, and January 1938 respectively. A speech of John Simon's appears in the issue of May 1935; one of Samuel Hoare's is in the September issue of the same year; another by Samuel Hoare is in the issue of November 1935. Needless to say, the activities of the Institute of Pacific Relations, of the Imperial Conferences, of the League of Nations, and of the various international meetings devoted to reparations and disarmament were adequately reflected in the pages of International Conciliation.
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Re: The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Clivede

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Part 3 of 5

The deep dislike which the Milner Group felt for the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations was shared by the French, but for quite opposite reasons. The French felt insecure in the face of Germany because they realized that France had beaten Germany in 1918 only because of the happy fact that she had Russia, Great Britain, Italy, and the United States to help her. From 1919 onward, France had no guarantee that in any future attack by Germany she would have any such assistance. To be sure, the French knew that Britain must come to the aid of France if there was any danger of Germany defeating France. The Milner Group knew this too. But France wanted some arrangement by which Britain would be alongside France from the first moment of a German attack, since the French had no assurance that they could withstand a German onslaught alone, even for a brief period. Moreover, if they could, the French were afraid that the opening onslaught would deliver to the Germans control of the most productive part of France as captured territory. This is what had happened in 1914. To avoid this, the French sought in vain one alternative after another: (a) to detach from Germany, or, at least, to occupy for an extended period, the Rhineland area of Germany (this would put the Ruhr, the most vital industrial area of Germany, within striking distance of French forces); (b) to get a British- American, or at least a British, guarantee of French territory; (c) to get a "League of Nations with teeth," that is, one with its own police forces and powers to act automatically against an aggressor. All of these were blocked by the English and Americans at the Peace Conference in 1919. The French sought substitutes. Of these, the only one they obtained was a system of alliances with new states, like Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the enlarged Rumania, on the east of Germany. All of these states were of limited power, and the French had little faith in the effectiveness of their assistance. Accordingly, the French continued to seek their other aims: to extend the fifteen years' occupation of the Rhineland into a longer or even an indefinite period; to get some kind of British guarantee; to strengthen the League of Nations by "plugging the gaps in the Covenant"; to use the leverage of reparations and disarmament as provided in the Treaty of Versailles to keep Germany down, to wreck her economically, or even to occupy the Ruhr. All of these efforts were blocked by the machinations of the Milner Group. At the moment, we shall refer only to the efforts to "plug the gaps in the Covenant."

These "gaps," as we have indicated, were put in by Cecil Hurst and were exactly to the taste of the Milner Group. The chief efforts of the French and their allies on the Continent to "plug the gaps" were the Draft Treaty of Mutual Assistance (1923) and the Geneva Protocol (1924). What the Milner Group thought of both of these can be gathered from the following extracts from The Round Table's denunciation of the Protocol. In the December 1924 issue, in an article entitled "The British Commonwealth, the Protocol, and the League," we find the following: "What is to be the British answer to this invitation to reenter the stormy field of internal European politics? Can the British Commonwealth afford to become permanently bound up with the internal political structure of Europe? And will it promote the peace and stability of Europe or the world that Europe should attempt to solve its problems on the basis of a permanent British guarantee? The answer in our judgment to both these questions must be an emphatic, No." Then, after repeating its contention that the only purpose of the Covenant was to secure delay in a crisis for consultation, it continued:

"The idea that all nations ought to consult how they are to deal with States which precipitate war without allowing any period for enquiry and mediation is the real heart of the League of Nations, and, if the British Commonwealth wants to prevent a recurrence of the Great War, it must be willing to recognize that it has a vital interest in working out with other nations the best manner of giving effect to this fundamental idea. . . . Decisions as to the rights and wrongs of international disputes, and of what common action the nations should take when they are called together to deal with such an outlaw, must be left to be determined in the light of the circumstances of the time.... The view of The Round Table is that the British Commonwealth should make it perfectly clear . . . that it will accept no further obligations than this and that the Covenant of the League must be amended to establish beyond question that no authority, neither the Council nor any arbitral body it may appoint, has any power to render a binding decision or to order a war, except with the consent of the members themselves."


The bitterness of the Group's feelings against France at the time appears in the same article a couple of pages later when it asked: "Or is the proposal implicit in the Protocol merely one for transferring to the shoulders of Great Britain, which alone is paying her debts, some part of the cost of maintaining that preponderance which now rests upon the European States which profit most by it.... It is sheer rubbish to suggest that France needs military guarantees for security.... What France really wants is a guarantee that the allies will maintain a perpetual preponderance over Germany. This we can never give her, for in the long run it makes not for peace but for war."

In another article in the same issue, the Protocol was analyzed and denounced. The final conclusion was: "It is our firm conviction that no alternative is acceptable which fails to provide for the free exercise by the Parliaments and peoples of the Empire of their judgment as to how to deal with any disturbance of the peace, or any threat of such disturbance, on its merits as it arises. That has been the guiding principle throughout the political history of the British peoples. The methods of the Protocol belong to another world, and, if for no other reason, they should be rejected."

The Protocol was officially rejected by Austen Chamberlain at a session of the Council of the League of Nations in March 1925. John Dove, Lionel Curtis, Philip Kerr, and Wilson Harris went to Geneva to be present at the meeting. After the deed was done, they went to visit Prague and Berlin, and ended by meeting Lady Astor in Paris. From Geneva and Paris, John Dove wrote to Brand letters which Brand later published in his edition of The Letters of John Dove.

One of the reasons given by Austen Chamberlain in 1925 for rejecting the Geneva Protocol was the opposition of the Dominions. That the Milner Group was able to affect Dominion opinion on this subject is clear. They could use men like Massey and Glazebrook in Canada, Bavin and Eggleston in Australia, Downie Stewart and Allen in New Zealand, Smuts and Duncan in South Africa.

More important than the Milner Group's ability to influence opinion in the Dominions was its ability to influence decisions in London. In much of this latter field, Lord Esher undoubtedly played an important role. It is perfectly clear that Lord Esher disliked collective security, and for the same reasons as The Round Table. This can be seen in his published Journals and Letters. For example, on 18 February 1919, in a letter to Hankey, he wrote: "I fervently believe that the happiness and welfare of the human race is more closely concerned in the evolution of English democracy and of our Imperial Commonwealth than in the growth of any international League." On 7 December 1919, in another letter to Hankey, he wrote: "You say that my letter was critical and not constructive. So it was. But the ground must be cleared of debris first. I assume that this is done. We will forget the high ideals and the fourteen points for the moment. We will be eminently practical. So here goes. Do not let us bother about a League of Nations. It may come slowly or not at all. What step forward, if any, can we take? We can get a League of Empire." Shortly afterwards, writing to his heir, the present Viscount Esher, he called the League "a paper hoop." The importance of this can be seen if we realize that Lord Esher was the most important factor on the Committee of Imperial Defence, and this committee was one of the chief forces determining British foreign policy in this period. In fact, no less an authority than Lord Robert Cecil has said that the Geneva Protocol was rejected on the advice of the Committee of Imperial Defence and that he accepted that decision only when he was promised a new project which subsequently became the Locarno Pacts. (8)

The rejection of the Protocol by Britain was regarded subsequently by real supporters of the League as the turning point in its career. There was an outburst of public sentiment against this selfish and cold-blooded action. Zimmern, who knew more than he revealed, went to Oxford in May 1925 and made a brilliant speech against those who were sabotaging the League. He did not identify them, but clearly indicated their existence, and, as the crudest blow of all, attributed their actions to a failure of intelligence.

As a result of this feeling, which was widespread throughout the world, the Group determined to give the world the appearance of a guarantee to France. This was done in the Locarno Pacts, the most complicated and most deceitful international agreement made between the Treaty of Versailles and the Munich Pact. We cannot discuss them in detail here, but must content ourselves with pointing out that in appearance, and in the publicity campaign which accompanied their formation, the Locarno agreements guaranteed the frontier of Germany with France and Belgium with the power of these three states plus Britain and Italy. In reality the agreements gave France nothing, while they gave Britain a veto over French fulfillment of her alliances with Poland and the Little Entente. The French accepted these deceptive documents for reasons of internal politics: obviously, any French government which could make the French people believe that it had been able to secure a British guarantee of France's eastern frontier could expect the gratitude of the French people to be reflected at the polls. The fundamental shrewdness and realism of the French, however, made it difficult to conceal from them the trap that lay in the Locarno agreements. This trap consisted of several interlocking factors. In the first place, the agreements did not guarantee the German frontier and the demilitarized condition of the Rhineland against German actions, but against the actions of either Germany or France. This, at one stroke, gave Britain the legal grounds for opposing France if she tried any repetition of the military occupation of the Ruhr, and, above all, gave Britain the right to oppose any French action against Germany in support of her allies to the east of Germany. This meant that if Germany moved east against Czechoslovakia, Poland, and, eventually, Russia, and if France attacked Germany's western frontier in support of Czechoslovakia or Poland, as her alliances bound her to do, Great Britain, Belgium, and Italy might be bound by the Locarno Pacts to come to the aid of Germany. To be sure, the same agreement might bind these three powers to oppose Germany if she drove westward against France, but the Milner Group did not object to this for several reasons. In the first place, if Germany attacked France directly, Britain would have to come to the help of France whether bound by treaty or not. The old balance-of-power principle made that clear. In the second place, Cecil Hurst, the old master of legalistic double-talk, drew up the Locarno Pacts with the same kind of loopholes which he had put in the crucial articles of the Covenant. As a result, if Germany did violate the Locarno Pacts against France, Britain could, if she desired, escape the necessity of fulfilling her guarantee by slipping through one of Hurst's loopholes. As a matter of fact, when Hitler did violate the Locarno agreements by remilitarizing the Rhineland in March 1936, the Milner Group and their friends did not even try to evade their obligation by slipping through a loophole, but simply dishonored their agreement.

This event of March 1936, by which Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland, was the most crucial event in the whole history of appeasement. So long as the territory west of the Rhine and a strip fifty kilometers wide on the east bank of the river were demilitarized, as provided in the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pacts, Hitler would never have dared to move against Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. He would not have dared because, with western Germany unfortified and denuded of German soldiers, France could have easily driven into the Ruhr industrial area and crippled Germany so that it would be impossible to go eastward. And by this date, certain members of the Milner Group and of the British Conservative government had reached the fantastic idea that they could kill two birds with one stone by setting Germany and Russia against one another in Eastern Europe. In this way they felt that the two enemies would stalemate one another, or that Germany would become satisfied with the oil of Rumania and the wheat of the Ukraine. It never occurred to anyone in a responsible position that Germany and Russia might make common cause, even temporarily, against the West. Even less did it occur to them that Russia might beat Germany and thus open all Central Europe to Bolshevism.

This idea of bringing Germany into a collision with Russia was not to be found, so far as the evidence shows, among any members of the inner circle of the Milner Group. Rather it was to be found among the personal associates of Neville Chamberlain, including several members of the second circle of the Milner Group. The two policies followed parallel courses until March 1939. After that date the Milner Group's disintegration became very evident, and part of it took the form of the movement of several persons (like Hoare and Simon) from the second circle of the Milner Group to the inner circle of the new group rotating around Chamberlain. This process was concealed by the fact that this new group was following, in public at least, the policy desired by the Milner Group; their own policy, which was really the continuation of appeasement for another year after March 1939, was necessarily secret, so that the contrast between the Chamberlain group and the inner circle of the Milner Group in the period after March 1939 was not as obvious as it might have been.

In order to carry out this plan of allowing Germany to drive eastward against Russia, it was necessary to do three things: (1) to liquidate all the countries standing between Germany and Russia; (2) to prevent France from honoring her alliances with these countries; and (3) to hoodwink the English people into accepting this as a necessary, indeed, the only solution to the international problem. The Chamberlain group were so successful in all three of these things that they came within an ace of succeeding, and failed only because of the obstinacy of the Poles, the unseemly haste of Hitler, and the fact that at the eleventh hour the Milner Group realized the implications of their policy and tried to reverse it.

The program of appeasement can be divided into three stages: the first from 1920 to 1934, the second from 1934 to 1937, and the third from 1937 to 1940. The story of the first period we have almost completed, except for the evacuation of the Rhineland in 1930, five years ahead of the date set in the Treaty of Versailles. It would be too complicated a story to narrate here the methods by which France was persuaded to yield on this point. It is enough to point out that France was persuaded to withdraw her troops in 1930 rather than 1935 as a result of what she believed to be concessions made to her in the Young Plan. That the Milner Group approved this evacuation goes without saying. We have already mentioned The Round Table's demand of June 1923 that the Rhineland be evacuated. A similar desire will be found in a letter from John Dove to Brand in October 1927.

The second period of appeasement began with Smuts's famous speech of 13 November 1934, delivered before the RIIA. The whole of this significant speech deserves to be quoted here, but we must content ourselves with a few extracts:

"With all the emphasis at my command, I would call a halt to this war talk as mischievous and dangerous war propaganda. The expectation of war tomorrow or in the near future is sheer nonsense, and all those who are conversant with affairs know it.... The remedy for this fear complex is ... bringing it into the open and exposing it to the light of day.... And this is exactly the method of the League of Nations ... it is an open forum for discussion among the nations, it is a round table for the statesmen around which they can ventilate and debate their grievances and viewpoints.... There are those who say that this is not enough — that as long as the League remains merely a talking shop or debating society, and is not furnished with "teeth" and proper sanctions, the sense of insecurity will remain.... It is also felt that the inability of the League to guarantee the collective system by means of force, if necessary, is discrediting it and leading to its decay.... I cannot visualize the League as a military machine. It was not conceived or built for that purpose, it is not equipped for such functions. And if ever the attempt were made to transform it into a military machine, into a system to carry on war for the purpose of preventing war, I think its fate is sealed.... Defection of the United States has largely defeated its main objects. And the joining up of the United States must continue to be the ultimate goal of all true friends of the League and of the cause of peace. A conference of the nations the United States can, and eventually will, join; it can never join an international War Office. Remembering the debates on this point in the League of Nations Commission which drafted the Covenant, I say quite definitely that the very idea of a league of force was negatived there; and the League would be quite false to its fundamental idea and to its great mission ... if it allowed itself to be turned into something quite different, something just the opposite of its original idea — into a league of force.... To endeavor to cast out the Satan of fear by calling in the Beelzebub of militarism, and militarizing the League itself, would be a senseless and indeed fatal proceeding.... The removal of the inferiority complex from Germany is just as essential to future peace as the removal of fear from the mind of France; and both are essential to an effective disarmament policy. How can the inferiority complex which is obsessing and, I fear, poisoning the mind and indeed the soul of Germany be removed? There is only one way, and that is to recognize her complete equality of status with her fellows, and to do so frankly, freely, and unreservedly. That is the only medicine for her disease.... While one understands and sympathizes with French fears, one cannot but feel for Germany in the position of inferiority in which she still remains sixteen years after the conclusion of the War. The continuance of her Versailles status is becoming an offense to the conscience of Europe and a danger to future peace.... There is no place in international law for second-rate nations, and least of all should Germany be kept in that position.... Fair play, sportsmanship — indeed, every standard of private and public life — calls for frank revision of the position. Indeed, ordinary prudence makes it imperative. Let us break those bonds and set the captive, obsessed, soul free in a decent human way. And Europe will reap a rich reward in tranquillity, security, and returning prosperity.... I would say that to me the future policy and association of our great British Commonwealth lie more with the United States than with any other group in the world. If ever there comes a parting of the ways, if ever in the crisis of the future we are called upon to make a choice, that, it seems to me, should be the company we should prefer to walk with and march with to the unknown future.... Nobody can forecast the outcome of the stormy era of history on which we are probably entering."


At the time that Smuts made this significant speech, the Milner Group had already indicated to Hitler officially that Britain was prepared to give Germany arms equality. France had greeted the arrival to power of Hitler by desperate efforts to form an "Eastern Locarno" against Germany. Sir John Simon, who was Foreign Secretary from September 1931 to June 1935, repudiated these efforts on 13 July 1934 in a speech which was approved by The Times the following day. He warned the French that Britain would not approve any effort "to build up one combination against another," would refuse to assume any new obligations herself, would insist that Russia join the League of Nations before she become a party to any multilateral settlement, and insisted on arms equality for Germany. On the same day, Austen Chamberlain laid the groundwork for the German remilitarization of the Rhineland by a speech in which he insisted that the Locarno agreements did not bind Britain to use troops. He clearly indicated how Britain, by her veto power in the Council of the League, could prevent a League request to provide troops to enforce Locarno, and added that such a request would not be binding on Britain, even if voted, since "there was no automatic obligation under the Government to send our Army to any frontier."

In a debate in the House of Lords on 5 December 1934, Lord Cecil contradicted Smuts's statement that "the idea of a League of force was negatived" in 1918 and restated his own views that force should be available to compel the observance of the three months' moratorium between the settlement of a question by the Council and the outbreak of war. He said: "The thing which we were most anxious to secure against a renewal of a great war was that there should be collective action to prevent a sudden outbreak of war. It was never part of the Covenant system that force should be used in order to compel some particular settlement of a dispute. That, we thought, was going beyond what public opinion of the world would support; but we did think we could go so far as to say: 'You are not to resort to war until every other means for bringing about a settlement has been exhausted.' " This was merely a restatement of the point of view that Lord Cecil had held since 1918. It did not constitute collective security, as the expression was used by the world in general. Yet this use of the words "collective security" to mean the enforcement of a three months' moratorium before issuing a declaration of war — this weaker meaning — was being weakened even further by the Milner Group. This was made perfectly clear in a speech by Lord Lothian (Philip Kerr) immediately after Lord Cecil. On this day the latter parted from the Milner Group program of appeasement; more than ten years after Zimmern's, this defection is of less significance than the earlier one because Lord Cecil did not see clearly what was being done and he had never been, apparently, a member of the inner circle of the Group, although he had attended meetings of the inner circle in the period after 1910.(9)

Lord Lothian's speech of 5 December 1934 in the House of Lords is, at first glance, a defense of collective security, but a second look shows clearly that by "collective security" the speaker meant appeasement. He contrasts collective security with power diplomacy and, having excluded all use of force under the former expression, goes on to interpret it to mean peaceful change without war. In the context of events, this could only mean appeasement of Germany. He said: "In international affairs, unless changes are made in time, war becomes inevitable.... If the collective system is to be successful, it must contain two elements. On the one hand, it must be able to bring about by pacific means alterations in the international structure, and, on the other hand, it must be strong enough to restrain Powers who seek to take the law into their own hands either by war or by power diplomacy, from being successful in their efforts." This was nothing but the appeasement program of Chamberlain and Halifax — that concessions should be made to Germany to strengthen her on the Continent and in Eastern Europe, while Britain should remain strong enough on the sea and in the air to prevent Hitler from using war to obtain these concessions. The fear of Hitler's using war was based not so much on a dislike of force (neither Lothian nor Halifax was a pacifist in that sense) but on the realization that if Hitler made war against Austria, Czechoslovakia, or Poland, public opinion in France and England might force their governments to declare war in spite of their desire to yield these areas to Germany. This, of course, is what finally happened.

Hitler was given ample assurance by the Milner Group, both within and without the government, that Britain would not oppose his efforts "to achieve arms equality." Four days before Germany officially denounced the disarmament clauses of the Treaty of Versailles, Leopold Amery made a slashing attack on collective security, comparing "the League which exists" and "the league of make-believe, a cloud cuckoo land, dreams of a millennium which we were not likely to reach for many a long year to come; a league which was to maintain peace by going to war whenever peace was disturbed. That sort of thing, if it could exist, would be a danger to peace; it would be employed to extend war rather than to put an end to it. But dangerous or not, it did not exist, and to pretend that it did exist was sheer stupidity."

Four days later, Hitler announced Germany's rearmament, and ten days after that, Britain condoned the act by sending Sir John Simon on a state visit to Berlin. When France tried to counterbalance Germany's rearmament by bringing the Soviet Union into her eastern alliance system in May 1935, the British counteracted this by making the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 18 June 1935. This agreement, concluded by Simon, allowed Germany to build up to 35 percent of the size of the British Navy (and up to 100 percent in submarines). This was a deadly stab in the back to France, for it gave Germany a navy considerably larger than the French in the important categories of ships (capital ships and aircraft carriers) in the North Sea, because France was bound by treaty in these categories to only 33 percent of Britain's; and France, in addition, had a worldwide empire to protect and the unfriendly Italian Navy off her Mediterranean coast. This agreement put the French Atlantic coast so completely at the mercy of the German Navy that France became completely dependent on the British fleet for protection in this area. Obviously, this protection would not be given unless France in a crisis renounced her eastern allies. As if this were not enough, Britain in March 1936 accepted the German remilitarization of the Rhineland and in August 1936 began the farcical nonintervention agreement in Spain, which put another unfriendly government on France's remaining land frontier. Under such pressure, it was clear that France would not honor her alliances with the Czechs, the Poles, or the Russians, if they came due.

In these actions of March 1935 and March 1936, Hitler was running no risk, for the government and the Milner Group had assured him beforehand that it would accept his actions. This was done both in public and in private, chiefly in the House of Commons and in the articles of The Times. Within the Cabinet, Halifax, Simon, and Hoare resisted the effort to form any alignment against Germany. The authorized biographer of Halifax wrote in reference to Halifax's attitude in 1935 and 1936:

"Was England to allow herself to be drawn into war because France had alliances in Eastern Europe? Was she to give Mussolini a free pass to Addis Ababa merely to prevent Hitler marching to Vienna?" Questions similar to these were undoubtedly posed by Halifax in Cabinet. His own friends, in particular Lothian and Geoffrey Dawson of The Times, had for some time been promoting Anglo-German fellowship with rather more fervour than the Foreign Office. In January 1935 Lothian had a long conversation with Hitler, and Hitler was reputed to have proposed an alliance between England, Germany, and the United States which would in effect give Germany a free hand on the Continent, in return for which he had promised not to make Germany "a world power" or to attempt to compete with the British Navy. The Times consistently opposed the Eastern Locarno and backed Hitler's non-aggression alternative. Two days before the Berlin talks, for instance, it advocated that they should include territorial changes, and in particular the question of Memel; while on the day they began [March 1935] its leading article suggested that if Herr Hitler can persuade his British visitors, and through them the rest of the world, that his enlarged army is really designed to give them equality of status and equality of negotiation with other countries, and is not to be trained for aggressive purposes, then Europe may be on the threshold of an era in which changes can be made without the use of force, and a potential aggressor may be deterred by the certain prospect of having to face overwhelming opposition! How far The Times and Lothian were arguing and negotiating on the Government's behalf is still not clear, but that Halifax was intimately acquainted with the trend of this argument is probable."


It goes without saying that the whole inner core of the Group, and their chief publications, such as The Times and The Round Table, approved the policy of appeasement completely and prodded it along with calculated indiscretions when it was felt necessary to do so. After the remilitarization of the Rhineland, The Times cynically called this act "a chance to rebuild." As late as 24 February 1938, in the House of Lords, Lothian defended the same event. He said: "We hear a great deal of the violation by Herr Hitler of the Treaty because he returned his own troops to his own frontier. You hear much less today of the violation by which the French Army, with the acquiescence of this country, crossed the frontier in order to annihilate German industry and in effect produced the present Nazi Party."

In the House of Commons in October 1935, and again on 6 May 1936, Amery systematically attacked the use of force to sustain, the League of Nations. On the earlier occasion he said:

"From the very outset there have been two schools of thought about the League and about our obligations under the League. There has been the school, to which I belong and to which for years, I believe, the Government of this country belonged, that regards the League as a great institution, an organization for promoting cooperation and harmony among the nations, for bringing about understanding, a permanent Round Table of the nations in conference . . . provided always that it did not have at the background the threat of coercion. There is another school which thinks that the actual Articles of the Covenant, concocted in the throes of the peace settlement and in that atmosphere of optimism which led us to expect ten million pounds or more in reparations from Germany, constitute a sacrosanct dispensation, that they have introduced a new world order, and would, if they were only loyally adhered to, abolish war for good and all. The Covenant, I admit, as originally drafted, embodied both aspects and it was because the Covenant contained the Clauses that stood for coercion and for definite automatic obligations that the United States . . . repudiated it. From that moment the keystone was taken out of the whole arch of any League of coercion.... The League is now undergoing a trial which may well prove disastrous to it. In this matter, as in other matters, it is the letter that killeth. The letter of the Covenant is the one thing which is likely to kill the League of Nations."


Amery then continued with a brief resume of the efforts to make the League an instrument of coercion, especially the Geneva Protocol. In regard to this, he continued: "The case I wish to put to the House is that the stand taken by His Majesty's Government then and the arguments they used were not arguments merely against the Protocol, but arguments against the whole conception of a League based on economic and military sanctions." He quoted Austen Chamberlain in 1925 and General Smuts in 1934 with approval, and concluded: "I think that we should have got together with France and Italy and devised some scheme by which under a condominium or mandate certain if not all of the non-Amharic provinces of Abyssinia should be transferred to Italian rule. The whole thing could have been done by agreement, and I have no doubt that such agreement would have been ratified at Geneva."

This last statement was more then seven weeks before the Hoare-Laval Plan was made public, and six weeks after its outlines were laid down by Hoare, Eden, and Laval at a secret meeting in Paris (10 September 1935).

In his speech of 6 May 1936, Amery referred back to his October speech and demanded that the Covenant of the League be reformed to prevent sanctions in the future. Once again he quoted Smuts's speech of November 1934 with approval, and demanded "a League which is based not upon coercion but upon conciliation."

Between Amery's two speeches, on 5 February 1936, Sir Arthur Salter, of the Group and All Souls, offered his arguments to support appeasement. He quoted Smuts's speech of 1934 with approval and pointed out the great need for living space and raw materials for Japan, Italy, and Germany. The only solution, he felt, was for Britain to yield to these needs.

"I do not think it matters [he said] if you reintroduce conscription and quadruple or quintuple your Air Force. That will not protect you. I believe that the struggle is destined to come unless we are prepared to agree to a fairer distribution of the world's land surface and of the raw materials which are needed by modern civilized nations. But there is a way out; there is no necessity for a clash. I am sure that time presses and that we cannot postpone a settlement indefinitely.... I suggest that the way out is the application of those principles [of Christianity], the deliberate and conscious application of those principles to international affairs by this nation and by the world under the leadership of this nation. . . . Treat other nations as you would desire to be treated by them."


The liquidation of the countries between Germany and Russia could proceed as soon as the Rhineland was fortified, without fear on Germany's part that France would be able to attack her in the west while she was occupied in the east. The chief task of the Milner Group was to see that this devouring process was done no faster than public opinion in Britain could accept, and that the process did not result in any out burst of violence, which the British people would be unlikely to accept. To this double purpose, the British government and the Milner Group made every effort to restrain the use of force by the Germans and to soften up the prospective victims so that they would not resist the process and thus precipitate a war.

The countries marked for liquidation included Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, but did not include Greece and Turkey, since the Group had no intention of allowing Germany to get down onto the Mediterranean "lifeline". Indeed, the purpose of the Hoare-Laval Plan of 1935, which wrecked the collective-security system by seeking to give most of Ethiopia to Italy, was intended to bring an appeased Italy into position alongside England, in order to block any movement of Germany southward rather than eastward. The plan failed because Mussolini decided that he could get more out of England by threats from the side of Germany than from cooperation at the side of England. As a result of this fiasco, the Milner Group lost another important member, Arnold J. Toynbee, who separated himself from the policy of appeasement in a fighting and courageous preface to The Survey of International Affairs for 1935 (published in 1936). As a result of the public outcry in England, Hoare, the Foreign Secretary, was removed from office and briefly shelved in December 1935. He returned to the Cabinet the following May. Anthony Eden, who replaced him, was not a member of the Milner Group and considerably more to the public taste because of his reputation (largely undeserved) as an upholder of collective security. The Milner Group was in no wise hampered in its policy of appeasement by the presence of Eden in the Foreign Office, and the government as a whole was considerably strengthened. Whenever the Group wanted to do something which Eden's delicate stomach could not swallow, the Foreign Secretary went off for a holiday, and Lord Halifax took over his tasks. Halifax did this, for example, during the first two weeks of August 1936, when the nonintervention policy was established in Spain; he did it again in February 1937, when the capable British Ambassador in Berlin, Sir Eric Phipps, was removed at Ribbentrop's demand and replaced by Sir Nevile Henderson; he did it again at the end of October 1937, when arrangements were made for his visit to Hitler at Berchtesgaden in November; and, finally, Halifax replaced Eden as Foreign Secretary permanently in February 1938, when Eden refused to accept the recognition of the Italian conquest of Ethiopia in return for an Italian promise to withdraw their forces from Spain. In this last case, Halifax was already negotiating with Count Grandi in the Foreign Office before Eden's resignation statement was made. Eden and Halifax were second cousins, both being great-grandsons of Lord Grey of the Reform Bill of 1832, and Halifax's daughter in 1936 married the half-brother of Mrs. Anthony Eden. Halifax and Eden were combined in the Foreign Office in order that the former could counterbalance the "youthful impetuosities" of the latter, since these might jeopardize appeasement but were regarded as necessary stage-settings to satisfy the collective- security yearnings of public opinion in England. These yearnings were made evident in the famous "Peace Ballot" of the League of Nations Union, a maneuver put through by Lord Cecil as a countermove to the Group's slow undermining of collective security. This countermove, which w as regarded with extreme distaste by Lothian and others of the inner circle, resulted, among other things, in an excessively polite crossing of swords by Cecil and Lothian in the House of Lords on 16 March 1938.

During the period in which Halifax acted as a brake on Eden, he held the sinecure Cabinet posts of Lord Privy Seal and Lord President of the Council (1935-1938). He had been added to the Cabinet, after his return from India in 1931, as President of the Board of Education, but devoted most of his time from 1931 to 1935 in helping Simon and Hoare put through the Government of India Act of 1935. In October 1933, the same group of Conservative members of Convocation who had made Lord Milner Chancellor of Oxford University in 1925 selected Lord Irwin (Halifax), for the same position, in succession to the late Lord Grey of Fallodon. He spent almost the whole month of June 1934 in the active functions of this position, especially in drawing up the list of recipients of honorary degrees. This list is very significant. Among sixteen recipients of the Doctorate of Civil Law, we find the following five names: Samuel Hoare, Maurice Hankey, W. G. S. Adams, John Buchan, and Geoffrey Dawson.

We have indicated that Halifax's influence on foreign policy was increasingly important in the years 1934-1937. It was he who defended Hoare in the House of Lords in December 1935, saying: "I have never been one of those . . . who have thought that it was any part in this dispute of the League to try to stop a war in Africa by starting a war in Europe. It was Halifax who went with Eden to Paris in March 1936 to the discussions of the Locarno Powers regarding the remilitarization of the Rhineland. That his task at this meeting was to act as a brake on Eden's relatively large respect for the sanctity of international obligations is admitted by Lord Halifax's authorized biographer. It was Halifax, as we have seen, who inaugurated the nonintervention policy in Spain in August 1936. And it was Halifax who opened the third and last stage of appeasement in November 1937 by his visit to Hitler in Berchtesgaden.

It is probable that the groundwork for Halifax's visit to Hitler had been laid by the earlier visits of Lords Lothian and Londonderry to the same host, but our knowledge of these earlier events is too scanty to be certain. Of Halifax's visit, the story is now clear, as a result of the publication of the German Foreign Office memorandum on the subject and Keith Feiling's publication of some of the letters from Neville Chamberlain to his sister. The visit was arranged by Halifax himself, early in November 1937, at a time when he was Acting Foreign Secretary, Eden being absent in Brussels at a meeting of signers of the Nine-Power Pacific Treaty of 1922. As a result, Halifax had a long conversation with Hitler on 19 November 1937 in which, whatever may have been Halifax's intention, Hitler's government became convinced of three things: (a) that Britain regarded Germany as the chief bulwark against communism in Europe; (b) that Britain was prepared to join a Four Power agreement of France, Germany, Italy, and herself; and (c) that Britain was prepared to allow Germany to liquidate Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland if this could be done without provoking a war into which the British Government, however unwillingly, would be dragged in opposition to Germany. The German Foreign Ministry memorandum on this conversation makes it perfectly clear that the Germans did not misunderstand Halifax except, possibly, on the last point. There they failed to see that if Germany made war, the British Government would be forced into the war against Germany by public opinion in England. The German diplomatic agents in London, especially the Ambassador, Dirksen, saw this clearly, but the Government in Berlin listened only to the blind and conceited ignorance of Ribbentrop. As dictators themselves, unfamiliar with the British social or constitutional systems, the German rulers assumed that the willingness of the British Government to accept the liquidation of Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland implied that the British Government would never go to war to prevent this liquidation. They did not see that the British Government might have to declare war to stay in office if public opinion in Britain were sufficiently aroused. The British Government saw this difficulty and as a last resort were prepared to declare war but not to wage war on Germany. This distinction was not clear to the Germans and was not accepted by the inner core of the Milner Group. It was, however, accepted by the other elements in the government, like Chamberlain himself, and by much of the second circle of the Milner Group, including Simon, Hoare, and probably Halifax. It was this which resulted in the"phony war" from September 1939 to April 1940.

The memorandum on Halifax's interview, quoting the Englishman in the third person, says in part: (10)

"In spite of these difficulties [British public opinion, the English Church, and the Labour Party] he and other members of the British Government were fully aware that the Fuhrer had not only achieved a great deal inside Germany herself, but that, by destroying Communism in his country, he had barred its road to Western Europe, and that Germany therefore could rightly be regarded as a bulwark of the West against Bolshevism. . . . After the ground had been prepared by an Anglo-German understanding, the four Great West-European Powers must jointly lay the foundation for lasting peace in Europe. Under no conditions should any of the four Powers remain outside this cooperation, or else there would be no end to the present unstable situation.... Britons were realists and were perhaps more than others convinced that the errors of the Versailles dictate must be rectified. Britain always exercised her influence in this realistic sense in the past. He pointed to Britain's role with regard to the evacuation of the Rhineland ahead of the fixed time, the settlement of the reparations problem, and the reoccupation of the Rhineland.... He therefore wanted to know the Fuhrer's attitude toward the League of Nations, as well as toward disarmament. All other questions could be characterized as relating to changes in the European order, changes that sooner or later would probably take place. To these questions belonged Danzig, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. England was only interested that any alterations should be effected by peaceful evolution, so as to avoid methods which might cause far-reaching disturbances, which were not desired either by the Fuhrer or by other countries.... Only one country, Soviet Russia, stood to gain from a general conflict. All others were at heart in favour of the consolidation of peace."


That this attitude was not Halifax's personal argument but the point of view of the government (and of the Milner Croup) is perfectly clear. On arrival, Halifax assured the Germans that the purposes of his visit had been discussed and accepted by the Foreign Secretary (Eden) and the Prime Minister. On 26 November 1937, one week after Halifax's conversation with Hitler, Chamberlain wrote to his sister that he hoped to satisfy German colonial demands by giving them the Belgian Congo and Angola in place of Tanganyika. He then added: "I don't see why we shouldn't say to Germany, 'Give us satisfactory assurances that you won't use force to deal with the Austrians and Czechoslovakians, and we will give you similar assurances that we won't use force to prevent the changes you want if you can get them by peaceful means.'" (11)

It might be noted that when John W. Wheeler-Bennett, of Chatham House and the Milner Group, wrote his book on Munich: Prologue to Tragedy, published in 1948, he relegated the last quotation to a footnote and suppressed the references to the Belgian Congo and Angola. This, however, was an essential part of the appeasement program of the Chamberlain group. On 3 March 1938, the British Ambassador in Berlin, Nevile Henderson, one of the Chamberlain group, tried to persuade Hitler to begin negotiations to carry out this plan but did not succeed. He repeated Lord Halifax's statement that changes in Europe were acceptable to Britain if accomplished without "the free play of forces," and stated that he personally "had often expressed himself in favour of the Anschluss." In the colonial field, he tried to interest Hitler in an area in Africa between the 5th parallel and the Zambezi River, but the Fuhrer insisted that his interest was restricted to restoration of Germany's 1914 colonies in Africa.

At the famous interview between Hitler and Schuschnigg in February 1938, Hitler told the Austrian that Lord Halifax agreed"with everything he [Hitler] did with respect to Austria and the Sudeten Germans." This was reported in a "rush and strictly confidential" message of 16 February 1938 from the American Consul General in Vienna to Secretary of State Hull, a document released to the American press on 18 December 1948. Chamberlain and others made it perfectly clear, both in public and in private, that Britain would not act to prevent German occupation of Austria or Czechoslovakia. On 21 February 1938, during the Austrian crisis, John Simon said in the House of Commons, "Great Britain has never given special guarantees regarding Austrian independence." Six days later, Chamberlain said: "We must not try to delude small nations into thinking that they will be protected by the League against aggression and acting accordingly when we know that nothing of the kind can be expected." Five days after the seizure of Austria on 12 March 1938, the Soviet Union sent Britain a proposal for an international conference to stop aggression. The suggestion was rejected at once, and, on 20 March 1938, Chamberlain wrote to his sister: "I have therefore abandoned any idea of giving guarantees to Czechoslovakia or to the French in connection with her obligation to that country."

When Daladier, the French Premier, came to London at the end of April 1938 to seek support for Czechoslovakia, Chamberlain refused and apparently, if we can believe Feiling, put pressure on the French to compel the Czechoslovaks to make an agreement with Hitler. On 1 May, Chamberlain wrote to his sister in this connection: "Fortunately the papers have had no hint of how near we came to a break over Czechoslovakia. "

In a long report of 10 July 1938, Ambassador Dirksen wrote to Ribbentrop as follows:

"In England the Chamberlain-Halifax Cabinet is at the helm and the first and most essential plank of its platform was and is agreement with the totalitarian States.... This government displays with regard to Germany the maximum understanding that could be displayed by any of the likely combinations of British politicians. It possesses the inner- political strength to carry out this task. It has come nearer to understanding the most essential points of the major demands advanced by Germany, with respect to excluding the Soviet Union from the decision of the destinies of Europe, the League of Nations likewise, and the advisability of bilateral negotiations and treaties. It is displaying increasing understanding of Germany's demands in the Sudeten German question. It would be prepared to make great sacrifices to meet Germany s other just demands — on the one condition that it is endeavoured to achieve these ends by peaceful means. If Germany should resort to military means to achieve these ends, England would without the slightest doubt go to war on the side of France."


This point of view was quite acceptable to the Milner Group. In the leading article for December 1937, The Round Table examined the German question at some length. In regard to the colonial problem, it contrasted two points of view, giving greater emphasis to "those who now feel that it was a mistake to have deprived Germany of all her colonies in 1918, and that Great Britain should contribute her share towards finding a colonial area — say, in central west Africa — which could be transferred to Germany under mandate. But they, too, make it a condition that colonial revision should be part of a final all-round settlement with Germany, and that the colonies should not be used as leverage for fresh demands or as strategic bases." Later it said: "A majority would regard the abandonment of France's eastern alliances as a price well worth paying for lasting peace and the return of Germany to the League." It welcomed German rearmament, since this would force revision of the evil Treaty of Versailles. In this connection, the same article said: "The pressure of rearmament and the events of the last few years have at least had this effect, that the refusal of those who have benefitted most by the peace settlement to consider any kind of change is rapidly disappearing; for forcible changes which they have been unable to prevent have already taken place, and further changes will certainly follow, especially in eastern Europe, unless they are prepared to fight a very formidable war to prevent them." The article rejected such a war on the grounds that its"outcome is uncertain" and it "would entail objectionable domestic disasters." In adding up the balance of military forces in such a war, the article significantly omitted all mention of Czechoslovakia, whose forces at that time were considerably stronger than Germany's. It placed the French Army at two-thirds the size of Germany's (which was untrue) and Britain at no more than two or three divisions. The point of view of The Round Table was not identical with that of the Chamberlain group (which intersected, through common members, with the second circle of the Milner Group). The Round Table, speaking for the inner circle of the Milner Group, was not nearly so anti-Russian as the Chamberlain group. Accordingly, it never regarded a collision between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union as a practical solution of Europe's problems. It did accept the idea of a four-power pact to exclude Russia from Europe, but it was not willing to allow Germany to expand eastward as she wished. The Milner Group's misunderstanding of the Nazi system and of Germany itself was so great that they envisioned a stable situation in which Europe was dominated by a four-power pact, with Soviet Russia on one side and an Oceanic bloc of the British Commonwealth and the United States on the other. The Group insisted on rapid British rearmament and the building up of the Oceanic System because they had a lower opinion of Britain's own powers than did the Chamberlain group (this idea was derived from Milner) and they were not prepared to allow Germany to go eastward indefinitely in the hope she would be satisfied by a war with Russia. As we shall see, the policies of the Milner Group and the Chamberlain group went jointly forward, with slight shifts of emphasis, until March 1939, when the Group began to disintegrate.

In the same article of December 1937 The Round Table said that the democracies must

"make clear the point at which they are prepared to risk war rather than retreat.... During the last year or two The Round Table has criticized the popular dogma of "collective security" on two main grounds: that it meant fighting to maintain an out-of-date settlement, and that security depended, not merely on public opinion but on ability to bring effective military superiority to bear at the critical point. On the other hand, The Round Table is resolutely in favour of adequate defensive armaments and of a vigorous and if necessary defiant foreign policy at those points where we are sure that ... we can bring superior power effectively to bear. And for this purpose we consider that the nations of the Commonwealth should not only act together themselves, but should also work in the closest cooperation with all the democracies, especially the United States."
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Re: The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Clivede

Postby admin » Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:05 am

Part 4 of 5

In February 1938, Lord Lothian, "leader" of the Group, spoke in the House of Lords in support of appeasement. This extraordinary speech was delivered in defense of the retiring of Sir Robert Vansittart. Sir Robert, as Permanent Under Secretary in the Foreign Office from 1930 to 1938, was a constant thorn in the side of the appeasers. The opening of the third stage of appeasement at the end of 1937 made it necessary to get rid of him and his objections to their policy. Accordingly, he was "promoted" to the newly created post of Chief Diplomatic Adviser, and the Under Secretaryship was given to Sir Alexander Cadogan of the Cecil Bloc. This action led to a debate in February 1938. Lord Lothian intervened to insist that Sir Robert's new role would not be parallel to that of the new Under Secretary but was restricted to advising only on "matters specifically referred to him by the Secretary of State, and he is no longer responsible for the day to day work of the Office." From this point, Lothian launched into a long attack on the League of Nations, followed by a defense of Germany. In regard to the former, he expressed satisfaction that

"the most dangerous aspect of the League of Nations — namely, the interpretation which has habitually been put upon it by the League of Nations Union in this country — is pretty well dead.... It seems to me that that [interpretation] is inevitably going to turn the League of Nations itself not into an instrument for maintaining peace but into an instrument for making war. That was not the original concept of the League at all. The original concept of the League definitely left the way open for alteration after six months' examination even if it meant war.... I think the League of Nations now, at last, is going to have a chance of recovery, for the reason that this particular interpretation, which has been its besetting sin, the one thing which has led to its failure from the beginning, is now dead. . . . Therefore I am more hopeful of the League today than I have been for a good long time, because it has ceased to be an instrument to try to perpetuate the status quo."


When Lothian turned to the problem of Germany, his arguments became even more ridiculous. "The fundamental problem of the world today is still the problem of Germany.... Why is Germany the issue? In my view the fundamental reason is that at no time in the years after 1919 has the rest of the world been willing to concede any substantial justice or reasonable understanding to Germany, either when she was a Republic or since she has become a Totalitarian State." There followed a long attack on the war guilt thesis as applied to 1914, or even to 1870. This thesis Lothian called "propaganda," and from this false propaganda he traced all the cruel treatment given Germany since 1919. He disapproved of the Nazi Government's methods inside Germany, but added: "I do not think there is any doubt that modern Germany is the result of the policy of the United States, whom I cannot absolve from responsibility, of ourselves, and of France; and in this matter the responsibility of the United States and ourselves is more than that of France for defaulting on the obligation to give France some security so that she could allow Germany to recover."

It seems impossible that this could be the same man who was calling for the extirpation of "Prussianism" in 1908-1918 and who was to call for the same crusade as Ambassador in Washington in 1940.

In this same speech Lothian laid down what might be called the Milner Group solution to this German problem, 1938 model:

"There is only one solution to this problem. You have got to combine collective justice with collective security. You have got to give remedies to those nations which are entitled to them.... You have got to be willing to concede to them — and one of them is Germany — alterations in the status quo and you have also got to incur obligations with other like-minded nations to resist changes which go beyond what impartial justice regards as fair.... When we are willing to admit that we are ourselves largely responsible for the tragedy that confronts us, for the fact that Germany is the center of the world problem, and are willing to concede to Germany what a fair-minded and impartial authority would say was a fair solution of her problem, and if, in addition to that, we are willing to say, We will meet aggression to secure more than this with the only means in which it can be met, then I consider there is hope for the world."


The fallacy in all of this rests on the fact that every concession to Germany made her stronger, with no guarantee that she ever would stop; and if, after years of concessions, she refused to stop, she might be too strong to be compelled to do so. The Milner Group thesis was based not only on ignorance but also on logical deficiencies. The program of the Chamberlain group was at least more consistent, since it involved no effort to stop Germany at any point but aimed to solve the German problem by driving it into Russia. Such an "immoral" solution could not be acceptable to the Milner Group, so they should have had sense enough to stop Germany while she was weak.

Shortly after this speech, on 24 February 1938, Lothian intervened in the debate on Eden's resignation to reject Eden's point of view and defend Chamberlain's. He rejected the idea that Britain should commit herself to support Czechoslovakia against Germany and criticized the President of Czechoslovakia for his failure to make concessions to Republican Germany. He then repeated his speech of the week before, the chief addition being a defense of the German remilitarization of the Rhineland in March 1936.

Four days after the seizure of Austria, Lothian again advised against any new pledges to anyone and demanded rearmament and national service. In regard to rearmament he said: "Unpreparedness and the belief that you are unwilling to accept that challenge or that you do not mean what you say, does contribute to war. That will remain to be a condition of the world until the nations are willing in some way to pool their sovereignty in a common federation."

All of these ideas of Lothian's were explicitly restated by him in a speech at Chatham House on 24 March 1938. He refuted the"war-guilt thesis," condemned the Versailles settlement as "a very stiff Peace Treaty," insisted on revision, blamed all the disasters of Europe on America's withdrawal from the League in 1920, called the Hitler government a temporary "unnatural pathological state" solely caused by the stiff treaty and the failure to revise it, defended the remilitarization of the Rhineland and the seizure of Austria, condemned Czechoslovakia as "almost the only racially heterogeneous State left in Europe," praised "nonintervention" in Spain, praised Chamberlain's statement of the same day refusing to promise support to Czechoslovakia, and demanded "national service" as insurance that Hitler would not continue to use force after he obtained what he deserved injustice.



These arguments of Lothian's were all supported by the Group in other ways. The Round Table in its leading articles of March 1938, September 1938, and March 1939 demanded "national service." In the leading article of June 1938 it repeated all Lothian's arguments in somewhat different words. These arguments could be summed up in the slogan "appeasement and rearmament." Then it added:

"Until the nations can be brought to the two principles of collective security already described, the best security for peace is that the world should be divided into zones within each of which one of the great armed Powers, or a group of them, is clearly preponderant, and in which therefore other Powers do not seek to interfere. Then there may be peace for a time. The peace of the 19th century rested on the fact that the supremacy of the British Na v : kept the whole oceanic area free from general war. . . . The vital question now arises whether in that same zone, to which France and Scandinavia must be added, it is not possible, despite the immense armaments of central Europe, Russia, and the Far East, for the democracies to create security, stability, and peace in which liberal institutions can survive. The oceanic zone in fact constitutes the one part of the world in which it is possible today to realize the ideals of the League of Nations."


From this point onward (early 1938), the Milner Group increasingly emphasized the necessity for building up this Oceanic bloc. In England the basic propaganda work was done through The Round Table and Lionel Curtis, while in the United States it was done through the Rhodes Scholarship organization, especially through Clarence Streit and Frank Aydelotte. In England, Curtis wrote a series of books and articles advocating a new federal organization built around the English-speaking countries. The chief work of this nature was his Civitas Dei, which appeared in three volumes in 1934-1937. A one- volume edition was issued in 1938, with the title The Commonwealth of God. The first two volumes of this work are nothing more than a rehash and expansion of the older work The Commonwealth of Nations (1916). By a superficial and frequently erroneous rewriting of world history, the author sought to review the evolution of the "commonwealth" idea and to show that all of history leads to its fulfillment and achievement in federation. Ultimately, this federation will be worldwide, but en route it must pass through stages, of which the chief is federation of the English-speaking peoples. Writing early in 1937, he advocated that the League of Nations be destroyed by the mass resignation of the British democracies. These should then take the initiative in forming a new league, also at Geneva, which would have no power to enforce anything but would merely form a kind of international conference. Since it would be foolish to expect any federation to evolve from any such organization as this, a parallel, but quite separate, effort should be made to create an international commonwealth, based on the example of the United States in 1788. This international commonwealth would differ from the League of Nations in that its members would yield up part of their sovereignty, and the central organization would function directly on individuals and not merely on states. This international commonwealth would be formed, at first, only of those states that have evolved furthest in the direction of obtaining a commonwealth form of government for themselves. It will be recalled that this restriction on membership was what Curtis had originally advocated for the League of Nations in The Round Table of December 1918. According to Curtis, the movement toward the Commonwealth of God can begin by the union of any two national commonwealths, no matter how small. He suggested New Zealand and Australia, or these two and Great Britain. Then the international commonwealth could be expanded to include India, Egypt, Holland, Belgium, Scandinavia, France, Canada, the United States, and Ireland. That the chief obstacle to this union was to be found in men's minds was perfectly clear to Curtis. To overcome this obstacle, he put his faith in propaganda, and the chief instruments of that propaganda, he said, must be the churches and the universities. He said nothing about the Milner Group, but, considering Curtis's position in this Group and that Lothian and others agreed with him, it is not surprising that the chief source of this propaganda is to be found in those agencies controlled by the Group. (12)

In the United States, the chief source of this propaganda was the organization known as Union Now, which was an offshoot of the Rhodes Scholarship network. The publicized originator of the idea was Clarence Streit, Rhodes Scholar at Oxford in 1920 and League of Nations correspondent of The New York Times in 1929-1938. Mr. Streit's plan, which was very similar to Curtis's, except that it included fifteen countries to begin with, was first made public at a series of three lectures at Swarthmore College in February 1939. Almost simultaneously his book, Union Now, was launched and received wide publicity. Before we look at that, we might mention that at the time the president of Swarthmore College was Frank Aydelotte, the most important member of the Milner Group in the United States since the death of George Louis Beer. Dr. Aydelotte was one of the original Rhodes Scholars, attending Brasenose in 1905-1907. He was president of Swarthmore from 1921 to 1940; has been American secretary to the Rhodes Trustees since 1918; has been president of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars since 1930; has been a trustee of the Carnegie Foundation since 1922; and was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations for many years. In 1937, along with three other members of the Milner Group, he received from Oxford (and Lord Halifax) the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law. The other three recipients who were members of the Group were Brand, Ormsby-Gore, and Sir Herbert Baker, the famous architect.

As soon as Streit's book was published, it was hailed by Lord Lothian in an interview with the press. Shortly afterwards, Lothian gave it a favorable review in the Christian Science Monitor of 6 May 1939. The book was distributed to educational institutions in various places by the Carnegie Foundation and was greeted in the June 1939 issue of The Round Table as "the only way." This article said: "There is, indeed, no other cure.... In The Commonwealth of God Mr. Lionel Curtis showed how history and religion pointed down the same path. It is one of the great merits of Mr. Streit's book that he translates the general theme into a concrete plan, which he presents, not for the indefinite hereafter, but for our own generation, now." In the September 1939 issue, in an article headed "Union: Oceanic or Continental," The Round Table contrasted Streit's plan with that for European union offered by Count Coudenhove-Kalergi and gave the arguments for both.

While all this was going on, the remorseless wheels of appeasement were grinding out of existence one country after another. The fatal loss was Czechoslovakia. This disaster was engineered by Chamberlain with the full cooperation of the Milner Group. The details do not concern us here, but it should be mentioned that the dispute arose over the position of the Sudeten Germans within the Czechoslovak state, and as late as 15 September 1938 was still being expressed in those terms. Up to that day, Hitler had made no demand to annex the Sudeten area, although on 12 September he had for the first time asked for "self-determination" for the Sudetens. Konrad Henlein, Hitler's agent in Czechoslovakia and leader of the Sudeten Germans, expressed no desire "to go back to the Reich" until after 12 September. Who, then, first demanded frontier rectification in favor of Germany? Chamberlain did so privately on 10 May 1938, and the Milner Group did so publicly on 7 September 1938. The Chamberlain suggestion was made by one of those "calculated indiscretions" of which he was so fond, at an "off-the-record" meeting with certain Canadian and American newspaper reporters at a luncheon arranged by Lady Astor and held at her London house. On this occasion Chamberlain spoke of his plans for a four-power pact to exclude Russia from Europe and the possibility of frontier revisions in favor of Germany to settle the Sudeten issue. When the news leaked out, as it was bound to do, Chamberlain was questioned in Commons by Geoffrey Mander on 20 June but refused to answer, calling his questioner a troublemaker. This answer was criticized by Sir Archibald Sinclair the following day, but he received no better treatment. Lady Astor, however, interjected, "I would like to say that there is not a word of truth in it." By 27 June, however, she had a change of heart and stated: "I never had any intention of denying that the Prime Minister had attended a luncheon at my house. The Prime Minister did so attend, the object being to enable some American journalists who had not previously met him to do so privately and informally, and thus to make his acquaintance."

The second suggestion for revision of frontiers also had an Astor flavor, since it appeared as a leading article in The Times on 7 September 1938. The outraged cries of protest from all sides which greeted this suggestion made it clear that further softening up of the British public was urgently necessary before it would be safe to hand over Czechoslovakia to Hitler. This was done in the war-scare of September 15-28 in London. That this war-scare was fraudulent and that Lord Halifax was deeply involved in its creation is now clear. All the evidence cannot be given here. There is no evidence whatever that the Chamberlain government intended to fight over Czechoslovakia unless this was the only alternative to falling from office. Even at the height of the crisis, when all ways out without war seemed closed (27 September), Chamberlain showed what he thought of the case by telling the British people over the BBC that the issue was "a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing."

To frighten the British people, the British government circulated stories about the strength of the German Army and Air Force which were greatly exaggerated; they implied that Germany would use poison gas at once and from the air, although this was quite untrue; they distributed gas masks and madly built trenches in London parks, although the former were needless and the latter worthless. On 23 September, the British advised the Czechoslovakian government to mobilize, although they had previously forbidden it. This was done to increase the crisis in London, and the fact that Goring's air force allowed it to go through without attack indicates his belief that Germany did not need to fight. In fact, Goring told the French Ambassador on 12 September that he had positive assurance that Britain would not fight. As early as 1 September 1938, Sir Horace Wilson, Chamberlain's alter ego, told the German charge d'affaires in London. Theodor Kordt, "If we two, Great Britain and Germany, come to agreement regarding the settlement of the Czech problem, we shall simply brush aside the resistance that France or Czechoslovakia herself may offer to the decision."

The fraudulent nature of the Munich crisis appears throughout its history. We might mention the following: (1) the suspicious fashion in which the Runciman Mission was sent to Czechoslovakia, immediately after Hitler's aide, Captain Wiedemann, visited Halifax at the latter's home (not the Foreign Office) on 18 July 1938, and with the statement, which was untrue, that it was being sent at the desire of the Czechoslovaks; (13) (2) the fact that Runciman in Czechoslovakia spent most of his time with the Sudetens and put pressure on the government to make one concession after another to Henlein, when it was perfectly clear that Henlein did not want a settlement; (3) the fact that Runciman wrote to Hitler on 2 September that he would have a plan for a settlement by 15 September; (4) the fact that this Runciman plan was practically the same as the Munich settlement finally adopted; (5) the fact that Chamberlain made the war-scare over the Godesberg proposals and, after making a settlement at Munich, made no effort to enforce those provisions by which Munich differed from Godesberg, but on the contrary allowed the Germans to take what they wished in Czechoslovakia as they wished; (6) the fact that the government did all it could to exclude Russia from the settlement, although Russia was allied to both Czechoslovakia and France; (7) the fact that the government and the French government tried to spread the belief that Russia would not honor these commitments, although all the evidence indicated that she would; (8) the fact that Chamberlain had a tete-a-tete conference with Hitler at Berchtesgaden on 15 September, which lasted for three hours, and at which only Hitler's private interpreter was present as a third party, and that this was repeated at Godesberg on 23 September; (9) the fact that the Czechoslovaks were forced to yield to Chamberlain's settlement under pressure of ultimatums from both France and Britain, a fact that was concealed from the British people by omitting a crucial document from the White Paper of 28 September 1938 (Cmd. 5847).

Two additional points, concerned with the degree of German armaments and the position of the anti-Hitler resistance within Germany, require further elucidation. For years before June 1938, the government had insisted that British rearming was progressing in a satisfactory fashion. Churchill and others had questioned this and had produced figures on German rearmament to prove that Britain's own progress in this field was inadequate. These figures were denied by the government, and their own accomplishments were defended. In 1937 and in 1938, Churchill had clashed with Baldwin and Chamberlain on this issue. As late as March 1938, Chamberlain said that British armaments were such as to make her an "almost terrifying power ... on the opinion of the world." But as the year went on, the government adopted a quite different attitude. In order to persuade public opinion that it was necessary to yield to Germany, the Government pretended that its armaments were quite inadequate in comparison with Germany." We now know, thanks to the captured papers of the German Ministry of War, that this was a gross exaggeration. These papers were studied by Major General C. F. Robinson of the United States Army, and analyzed in a report which he submitted to the Secretary of War in October 1947. This document, entitled Foreign Logistical Organizations and Methods, shows that all of the accepted estimates of German rearmament in the period 1933-1939 were gross exaggerations. From 1936 to the outbreak of war, German aircraft production was not raised, but averaged 425 planes a month. Her tank production was low and even in 1939 was less than Britain's. In the first 9 months of 1939, Germany produced only 50 tanks a month; in the last 4 months of 1939, in wartime, Germany produced 247 "tanks and self-propelled guns," compared to a British production of 314 tanks in the same period. At the time of the Munich crisis, Germany had 35 infantry and 4 motorized divisions, none of them fully manned or equipped. This was no more than Czechoslovakia had alone. Moreover, the Czech Army was better trained, had far better equipment, and had better morale and better fortifications. As an example of this point, we might mention that the Czech tank was of 38 tons, while the Germans, before 1938, had no tank over 10 tons. During 1938 they brought into production the Mark III tank of less than 20 tons, and in 1939 brought into production the Mark IV of 23 tons. Up to September 1939, the German Army had obtained only 300 tanks of the Mark III and Mark IV types together. Most of these were delivered during 1939. In comparison, the Germans captured in Czechoslovakia, in March 1939, 469 of the superior Czech tanks. At the same time they captured 1500 planes (of which 500 were first-line), 43,000 machine-guns, and over 1 million rifles. These figures are comparable with what Germany had at Munich, and at that time, if the British government had desired, Germany would have been facing France, Britain, and Russia, as well as Czechoslovakia.

It should perhaps be mentioned that up to September 1939 the German Navy had acquired only 53 submarines during the Hitler regime. No economic mobilization for war had been made and no reserve stocks built up. When the war began, in September 1939, Germany had ammunition for 6 weeks, and the air force had bombs for 3 months at the rate of expenditure experienced during the Polish campaign. At that time the Air Force consisted of 1000 bombers and 1050 fighters. In contrast, the British air program of May 1938 planned to provide Britain with a first-line force of 2370 planes; this program was stepped up in 1939. Under it, Britain produced almost 3000 military planes in 1938 and about 8000 in 1939. The German figures for planes produced in these 2 years are 5235 and 8295, but these are figures for all planes produced in the country, including civil as well as military airplanes. As Hanson Baldwin put it, "Up until 1940, at least, Germany's production did not markedly outstrip Britain's." It might also be mentioned that British combat planes were of better quality.

We have no way of knowing if the Chamberlain government knew these facts. It should have known them. At the least, it should not have deluged its own people with untrue stories about German arms. Surprisingly, the British have generally refused to modify these stories, and, in order to perpetuate the fable about the necessity for the Munich surrender, they have continued to repeat the untrue propaganda stories of 1937- 1939 regarding German armaments. This is as true of the critics of Munich as of its defenders. Both have adopted the version that Britain yielded to superior and overwhelming force at Munich. They have done this even though this story is untrue and they are in a position to know that it is untrue. For example, Winston Churchill, in his war memoirs, repeats the old stories about German rearmament, although he has been writing two years or more after the Reichswehr archives were captured. For this he was criticized by Hanson Baldwin in The New York Times of 9 May 1948. In his recent book, Munich: Prologue to Tragedy, J. W. Wheeler-Bennett, the British editor of the captured papers of the German Foreign Ministry, accepts the old propaganda tales of German rearmament as axiomatic, and accordingly does not even discuss the subject. He merely tells his readers: "By the close of 1937 Germany's preparedness for war was complete. The preference for guns rather than for butter had brought forth results. Her rearmament had reached its apogee and could hold that peak level for a certain time. Her economy was geared to a strict regime of rationing and output on a war level." None of this was true, and Mr. Wheeler-Bennett should have examined the evidence. If he had, he would not have been so severe on what he calls Professor Frederick Schumann's "fantastic theory of the 'Pre-Munich Plot.'" (14)

The last piece of evidence which we might mention to support the theory — not of a plot, perhaps, but that the Munich surrender was unnecessary and took place because Chamberlain and his associates wanted to dismember Czechoslovakia — is even more incriminating. As a result of the inadequate rearmament of Germany, a group of conservatives within the regime formed a plot to liquidate Hitler and his close supporters if it appeared that his policy in Czechoslovakia would result in war. This group, chiefly army officers, included men on the highest level of government. In the group were Colonel General Ludwig Beck (Chief of the General Staff), Field Marshal von Witzleben, General Georg Thomas, Carl Friedrich Goerdeler (Mayor of Leipzig in 1930-1936), Ulrich von Hassell (ex-Ambassador to Italy), Johannes Popitz (Prussian Minister of Finance), and Paul Schmidt (Hitler's private interpreter). This group formed a plot to kill Hitler and remove the Nazis from power. The date was set eventually for 28 September 1938. Lord Halifax, on 5 September 1938, was informed of the plot by Theodore Kordt, the German charge d'affaires in London, whose brother, Erich Kordt, chief of Ribbentrop's office in the Foreign Ministry, was one of the conspirators. The message which Kordt gave to Halifax begged the British government to stand fast with Czechoslovakia in the Sudeten crisis and to make perfectly clear that Britain would go to war if Germany violated Czechoslovakian territory. The plot was canceled at noon on 28 September, when the news reached Berlin that Chamberlain was going to Munich. It was this plot which eventually, after many false starts, reached fruition in the attempt to assassinate Hitler on 20 July 1944.

There can be little doubt that the Milner Group knew of these anti-Nazi plots within Germany. Several of the plotters were former Rhodes Scholars and were in touch with members of the inner circle of the Milner Group in the period up to 1943, if not later. One of the leaders of the anti-Hitler plotters in Germany, Helmuth von Moltke, was probably a member of the Milner Group as well as intellectual leader of the conspirators in Germany. Count von Moltke was the son of the German commander of 1914 and grandnephew of the German commander of 1870. His mother, Dorothy Rose-Innes, was the daughter of Sir James Rose-Innes, whom Milner made Chief Justice of the Transvaal in 1902. Sir James was a supporter of Rhodes and had been Attorney General in Rhodes's ministry in 1890. He was Chief Justice of South Africa in 1914-1927 and was always close to the Milner Group. The von Moltkes were Christian Scientists, and Dorothy, as Countess von Moltke after 1905, was one of the persons who translated Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health into German. The younger Helmuth, son of Dorothy, and Count von Moltke after his father's death in 1938, was openly anti- Nazi and came to England in 1934 to join the English bar. He visited Lionel Curtis, at his mother's suggestion, and "was made a member of the family, rooms in Duke of York Street being put at his disposal, and Kidlington and All Souls thrown open to him at week-ends; the opportunities of contact which these brought with them were exploited to the full.... He was often in England until the summer of 1939, and in 1937 visited South Africa and the grandparents there to whom he was deeply attached." This quotation, from The Round Table for June 1946, makes perfectly clear to those who can read between the lines that Moltke became a member of the Milner Group. It might be added that Curtis also visited the Rose-Innes family in South Africa while Helmuth was there in 1937.

Von Moltke kept in close contact with both Curtis and Lothian even after the war began in 1939. He was made adviser on international law to the Supreme Command of the German Armed Forces (OKW) in 1939 and retained this position until his arrest in 1944. The intellectual leader of the German Underground, he was the inspiration and addressee of Dorothy Thompson's book Listen, Hans. He was the center of a group of plotters called the"Kreisau Circle," named after his estate in Silesia. After his execution by the Nazis in January 1945, his connection with the Milner Group was revealed, to those able to interpret the evidence, in the June 1946 issue of The Round Table. This article extolled Moltke and reprinted a number of his letters. The same article, with an additional letter, was published as a pamphlet in Johannesburg in 1947. (15)

Another plotter who appears to be close to the Milner Group was Adam von Trott zu Solz, a Rhodes Scholar who went to the Far East on a mission for the Rhodes Trust in 1936 and was in frequent contact with the Institute of Pacific Relations in the period 1936-1939. He seems to have attended a meeting of the Pacific Council in New York late in 1939, coming from Germany, by way of Gibraltar, after the war began. He remained in contact with the democratic countries until arrested and executed by the Nazis in 1944. It is not without significance that one of the chief projects which the plotters hoped to further in post-Hitler German foreign policy was a "federation of Europe in a commonwealth not unlike the British Empire." (16)

All of this evidence and much more would seem to support the theory of a "Munich plot" — that is, the theory that the British government had no intention or desire to save Czechoslovakia in 1938 and was willing or even eager to see it partitioned by Hitler, and only staged the war scare of September in order to make the British people accept this abuse of honor and sacrifice of Britain's international position. The efforts which the British government made after Munich to conceal the facts of that affair would support this interpretation. The chief question, from our point of view, lies in the degree to which the Milner Group were involved in this "plot." There can be no doubt that the Chamberlain group was the chief factor in the scheme. There is also no doubt that various members of the Milner Group second circle, who were close to the Chamberlain group, were involved. The position of the inner core of the Milner Group is not conclusively established, but there is no evidence that they were not involved and a certain amount of evidence that they were involved.

Among this latter evidence is the fact that the inner core of the Group did not object to or protest against the partition of Czechoslovakia, although they did use the methods by which Hitler had obtained his goal as an argument in support of their pet plan for national service. They prepared the ground for the Munich surrender both in The Times and in The Round Table. In the June 1938 issue of the latter, we read: "Czechoslovakia is apparently the danger spot of the next few months. It will require high statesmanship on all sides to find a peaceful and stable solution of the minorities problem. The critical question for the next six months is whether the four great Powers represented by the Franco-British entente and the Rome-Berlin axis can make up their minds that they will not go to war with one another and that they must settle outstanding problems by agreement together." In this statement, three implications are of almost equal importance. These are the time limit of "six months," the exclusion of both Czechoslovakia and Russia from the"agreement," and the approval of the four-power pact.
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Re: The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Clivede

Postby admin » Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:05 am

Part 5 of 5

In the September 1938 issue of The Round Table, published on the eve of Munich, we are told: "It is one thing to be able, in the end, to win a war. It is a far better thing to be able to prevent a war by a readiness for just dealing combined with resolute strength when injustice is threatened." Here, as always before 1939, The Round Table by "justice" meant appeasement of Germany.

After the dreadful deed was done, The Round Table had not a word of regret and hardly a kind word for the great sacrifice of the Czechs or for the magnificent demonstration of restraint which they had given the world. In fact, the leading article in the December 1938 issue of The Round Table began with a severe criticism of Czechoslovakia for failure to reconcile her minorities, for failure to achieve economic cooperation with her neighbors, and for failure to welcome a Hapsburg restoration. From that point on, the article was honest. While accepting Munich, it regarded it solely as a surrender to German power and rejected the arguments that it was done by negotiation, that it was a question of self-determination or minority rights, or that Munich was any better or more lenient than the Godesberg demands. The following article in the same issue, also on Czechoslovakia, is a tissue of untruths except for the statement that there never was any real Sudeten issue, since the whole thing was a fraudulent creation engineered from Germany. Otherwise the article declares categorically: (1) that Czechoslovakia could not have stood up against Hitler more than two or three weeks; (2) that no opposition of importance to Hitler existed in Germany ("A good deal has been written about the opposition of the military commanders. But in fact it does not and never did exist."); (3) "There is no such thing as a conservative opposition in Germany." In the middle of such statements as these, one ray of sanity shines like a light: in a single sentence, The Round Table tossed onto the scrap heap its basic argument in support of appeasement, namely the "injustices of Versailles." The sentence reads: "It is not Versailles but defeat that is the essential German grievance against the western Powers." This sentence should have been printed in gold letters in the Foreign Office in London in 1919 and read daily thereafter.

It is worthy of note that this issue of The Round Table discussed the Czech crisis in two articles of twenty-seven pages and had only one sentence on Russia. This sentence spoke of the weakness of Russia, where "a new Tiberius had destroyed the morale and the material efficiency of the Russian Army." However, in a separate article, dealing largely with Soviet-German relations, we find the significant sentences: "The Western democracies appear to be framing their policies on the principle of 'letting Germany go east.'. . . [Russia faces] the fundamental need of preventing a hostile coalition of the great Powers of western Europe."

The final judgment of the Milner Group on the Munich surrender could probably be found in the December 1938 issue of The Round Table, where we read the following: "The nation as a whole is acutely aware that Anglo-French predominance, resulting from victory in the great war, is now a matter of history, that the conception of an international society has foundered because the principle of the rule of law was prostituted to perpetuate an impossible inequality.... The terms of the Versailles Treaty might have been upheld for some time longer by the consistent use of military power — notably when Germany remilitarized the Rhineland zone — but it was illogical to expect a defeated and humiliated foe to accept inferiority as the immutable concomitant of a nobler world, and it was immoral to try to build the City of God on lopsided foundations."

As late as the March 1939 issue, The Round Table point of view remained unchanged. At that time it said: "The policy of appeasement, which Mr. Chamberlain represents and which he brought to what seemed to be its most triumphant moment at Munich, was the only possible policy on which the public opinion of the different nations of the Commonwealth could have been unified. It had already been unanimously approved in general terms at the Imperial Conference of 1937."

The German occupation of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939 marked the turning point for the Milner Croup, but not for the Chamberlain group. In the June 1939 issue, the leading article of The Round Table was entitled "From Appeasement to Grand Alliance." Without expressing any regrets about the past, which it regarded as embodying the only possible policy, it rejected appeasement in the future. It demanded a "grand alliance" of Poland, Rumania, France, Britain, and others. Only one sentence referred to Russia; it said: "Negotiations to include Soviet Russia in the system are continuing." Most of the article justified the previous policy as inevitable in a world of sovereign states. Until federation abolishes sovereignty and creates a true world government amenable to public opinion, the nations will continue to live in anarchy, whatever their contractual obligations may be; and under conditions of anarchy it is power and not public opinion that counts....The fundamental, though not the only, explanation of the tragic history of the last eight years is to be found in the failure of the English- speaking democracies to realize that they could prevent aggression only by unity and by being strongly armed enough to resist it wherever it was attempted."

This point of view had been expressed earlier, in the House of Lords, by Lothian and Astor. On 12 April 1939, the former said:

"One of Herr Hitler's great advantages has been that, for very long, what he sought a great many people all over the world felt was not unreasonable, whatever they may have thought of his methods. But that justification has completely and absolutely disappeared in the last three months. It began to disappear in my mind at the Godesberg Conference.... I think the right answer to the situation is what Mr. Churchill has advocated elsewhere, a grand alliance of all those nations whose interest is paramountly concerned with the maintenance of their own status-quo. But in my view if you are going to do that you have got to have a grand alliance which will function not only in the West of Europe but also in the East. I agree with what my noble friend Lord Snell has just said that in that Eastern alliance Russia may be absolutely vital.... Nobody will suspect me of any ideological sympathy with Russia or Communism. I have even less ideological sympathy with Soviet Russia than I had with the Czarist Russia. But in resisting aggression it is power alone that counts."


He then went on to advocate national service and was vigorously supported by Lord Astor, both in regard to this and in regard to the necessity of bringing Russia into the "grand alliance."

From this point onward, the course of the Milner Group was more rigid against Germany. This appeared chiefly as an increased emphasis on rearmament and national service, policies which the Group had been supporting for a long time. Unlike the Chamberlain group, they learned a lesson from the events of 15 March 1939. It would be a mistake, however, to believe that they were determined to resist any further acquisition of territory or economic advantage by Germany. Not at all. They would undoubtedly have been willing to allow frontier rectifications in the Polish Corridor or elsewhere in favor of Germany, if these were accomplished by a real process of negotiation and included areas inhabited by Germans, and if the economic interests of Poland, such as her trade outlet to the Baltic, were protected. In this the Milner Group were still motivated by ideas of fairness and justice and by a desire to avoid a war. The chief changes were two: (1) they now felt, as they (in contrast to Chamberlain's group) had long suspected, that peace could be preserved better by strength than by weakness; and (2) they now felt that Hitler would not stop at any point based only on justice but was seeking world domination. The short-run goal of the Milner Group still remained a Continent dominated by Hitler between an Oceanic Bloc on the west and the Soviet Union on the east. That they assumed such a solution could keep the peace, even on a short-term basis, shows the fundamental naivete of the Milner Group. The important point is that this view did not prohibit any modification of the Polish frontiers;, not did it require any airtight understanding with the Soviet Union. It did involve an immediate rearming of Britain and a determination to stop Hitler if he moved by force again. Of these three points, the first two were shared with the Chamberlain group; the third was not. The difference rested on the fact that the Chamberlain group hoped to permit Britain to escape from the necessity of fighting Germany by getting Russia to fight Germany. The Chamberlain group did not share the Milner Group's naive belief in the possibility of three great power blocs standing side by side in peace. Lacking that belief, they preferred a German-Russian war to a British-German war. And, having that preference, they differed from the Milner Group in their willingness to accept the partition of Poland by Germany. The Milner Group would have yielded parts of Poland to Germany if done by fair negotiation. The Chamberlain group was quite prepared to liquidate Poland entirely, if it could be presented to the British people in terms which they would accept without demanding war. Here again appeared the difference we have already mentioned between the Milner Group and Lloyd George in 1918 and between the Group and Baldwin in 1923, namely that the Milner Group tended to neglect the electoral considerations so important to a party politician. In 1939 Chamberlain was primarily interested in building up to a victorious electoral campaign for November, and, as Sir Horace Wilson told German Special Representative Wohl in June, "it was all one to the Government whether the elections were held under the cry 'Be Ready for a Coming War' or under a cry 'A Lasting Understanding with Germany.'"

These distinctions between the point of view of the Milner Group and that of the Chamberlain group are very subtle and have nothing in common with the generally accepted idea of a contrast between appeasement and resistance. There were still appeasers to be found, chiefly in those ranks of the Conservative Party most remote from the Milner Group; British public opinion was quite clearly committed to resistance after March 1939. The two government groups between these, with the Chamberlain group closer to the former and the Milner Group closer to the latter. It is a complete error to say, as most students of the period have said, that before 15 March the government was solidly appeasement and afterwards solidly resistant. The Chamberlain group, after 17 March 1939, was just as partial to appeasement as before, perhaps more so, but it had to adopt a pretense of resistance to satisfy public opinion and keep a way open to wage the November election on either side of the issue. The Milner Group was anti-appeasement after March, but in a limited way that did not involve any commitment to defend the territorial integrity of Poland or to ally with Russia.

This complicated situation is made more so by the fact that the Milner Group itself was disintegrating. Some members, chiefly in the second circle, like Hoare or Simon, continued as wholehearted, if secret, appeasers and became closer to Chamberlain. Halifax, who did not have to run for office, could speak his mind more honestly and probably had a more honest mind. He was closer to the Milner Croup, although he continued to cooperate so closely with Chamberlain that he undoubtedly lost the prime minister's post in May 1940 as a result. Amery, closer than Halifax to the inner core of the Group, was also more of a resister and by the middle of 1939 was finished with appeasement. Lothian was in a position between Halifax and Amery.

The point of view of the inner core can be found, as usual, in the pages of The Round Table. In the issue of September 1939, the leading article confessed that Hitler's aim was mastery of the world. It continued: "In this light, any further accretion of German strength — for instance through control of Danzig, which is the key to subjection of all Poland — appears as a retreat from the ramparts of the British Commonwealth itself. Perhaps our slowness to realize these facts, or at least to act accordingly in building an impregnable defence against aggression in earlier years, accounts for our present troubles." For the Milner Group, this constitutes a magnificent confession of culpability.

In the December 1939 issue of The Round Table, the whole tone has reverted to that of 1911-1918. Gone is the idea that modern Germany was the creation of the United States and Britain or that Nazism was merely a temporary and insignificant aberration resulting from Versailles. Instead the issue is "Commonwealth or Weltreich?" Nazism "is only Prussianism in more brutal shape." It quotes Lord Lothian's speech of 25 October 1939, made in New York, that "The establishment of a true reign of law between nations is the only remedy for war." And we are told once again that such a reign of law must be sought in federation. In the same issue, the whole of Lothian's speech was reprinted as a "document." In the March 1940 issue, The Round Table harked back even further than 1914. It quoted an extensive passage from Pericles's funeral oration in a leading article entitled "The Issue," and added: "That also is our creed, but it is not Hitler's."

The same point of view of the Group is reflected in other places. On 16 March 1939, in the Commons, when Chamberlain was still defending the appeasement policy and refusing to criticize Germany's policy of aggression, Lady Astor cried out to him, "Will the Prime Minister lose no time in letting the German Government know with what horror the whole of this country regards Germany's action?"

The Prime Minister did not answer, but a Conservative Member, Major Vyvyan Adams, hurled at the lady the remark, "You caused it yourself."

Major Adams was not a man to be lightly dismissed. A graduate of Haileybury and Cambridge, past president of the Cambridge Union, member of the Inner Temple Bar, an executive of the League of Nations Union, and a vice-president of Lord Davies's New Commonwealth Society, he was not a man who did not know what was going on. He subsequently published two books against appeasement under the pseudonym "Watchman."

Most of the members of the inner core of the Group who took any public stand on these issues refused to rake over the dead embers of past policy and devoted themselves to a program of preparedness and national service. The names of Amery, Grigg, Lothian, and The Times became inseparably associated with the campaign for conscription, which ultimately resulted in the National Service Act of 26 April 1939. The more aloof and more conciliatory point of view of Halifax can be seen in his speech of 9 June in the House of Lords and the famous speech of 29 June before the Royal Institute of International Affairs. The lingering overtones of appeasement in the former resulted in a spirited attack by Lord Davies, while Arthur Salter, who had earlier been plumping for a Ministry of All the Talents with Halifax as Premier, by the middle of the year was begging him, at All Souls, to meet Stalin face to face in order to get an alliance. (17)

The events of 1939 do not require our extended attention here, although they have never yet been narrated in any adequate fashion. The German seizure of Bohemia and Moravia was not much of a surprise to either the Milner or Chamberlain groups; both accepted it, but the former tried to use it as a propaganda device to help get conscription, while the latter soon discovered that, whatever their real thoughts, they must publicly condemn it in order to satisfy the outraged moral feelings of the British electorate. It is this which explains the change in tone between Chamberlain's speech of 15 March in Commons and his speech of 17 March in Birmingham. The former was what he thought; the latter was what he thought the voters wanted.

The unilateral guarantee to Poland given by Chamberlain on 31 March 1939 was also a reflection of what he believed the voters wanted. He had no intention of ever fulfilling the guarantee if it could possibly be evaded and, for this reason, refused the Polish requests for a small rearmament loan and to open immediate staff discussions to implement the guarantee. The Milner Group, less susceptible to public opinion, did not want the guarantee to Poland at all. As a result, the guarantee was worded to cover Polish "independence" and not her "territorial integrity." This was interpreted by the leading article of The Times for 1 April to leave the way open to territorial revision without revoking the guarantee. This interpretation was accepted by Chamberlain in Commons on 3 April. Apparently the government believed that it was making no real commitment because, if war broke out in eastern Europe, British public opinion would force the government to declare war on Germany, no matter what the government itself wanted, and regardless whether the guarantee existed or not. On the other hand, a guarantee to Poland might deter Hitler from precipitating a war and give the government time to persuade the Polish government to yield the Corridor to Germany. If the Poles could not be persuaded, or if Germany marched, the fat was in the fire anyway; if the Poles could be persuaded to yield, the guarantee was so worded that Britain could not act under it to prevent such yielding. This was to block any possibility that British public opinion might refuse to accept a Polish Munich. That this line of thought was not far distant from British government circles is indicated by a Reuters news dispatch released on the same day that Chamberlain gave the guarantee to Poland. This dispatch indicated that, under cover of the guarantee, Britain would put pressure on Poland to make substantial concessions to Hitler through negotiations. According to Hugh Dalton, Labour M.P., speaking in Commons on 3 April, this dispatch was inspired by the government and was issued through either the Foreign Office, Sir Horace Wilson, John Simon, or Samuel Hoare. Three of these four were of the Milner Group, the fourth being the personal agent of Chamberlain. Dalton's charge was not denied by any government spokesman, Hoare contenting himself with a request to Dalton "to justify that statement." Another M.P. of Churchill's group suggested that Geoffrey Dawson was the source, but Dalton rejected this.

It is quite clear that neither the Chamberlain group nor the Milner Group wanted an alliance with the Soviet Union to stop Hitler in 1939, and that the negotiations were not sincere or vigorously pursued. The Milner Group was not so opposed to such an agreement as the Chamberlain group. Both were committed to the four-power pact. In the case of the Chamberlain group, this pact could easily have developed into an anti-Russian alliance, but in the case of the Milner Group it was regarded merely as a link between the Oceanic Bloc and a Germanic Mitteleuropa. Both groups hated and despised the Soviet Union, but the Milner Group did not fear it as the Chamberlain group did. This fear was based on the Marxist threat to the British economic system, and the Milner Croup was not wedded nearly as closely to that system as Chamberlain and his friends. The Toynbee- Milner tradition, however weak it had become by 1939, was enough to prevent the two groups from seeing eye to eye on this issue.

The efforts of the Chamberlain group to continue the policy of appeasement by making economic and other concessions to Germany and their efforts to get Hitler to agree to a four-power pact form one of the most shameful episodes in the history of recent British diplomacy. These negotiations were chiefly conducted through Sir Horace Wilson and consisted chiefly of offers of colonial bribes and other concessions to Germany. These offers were either rejected or ignored by the Nazis.

One of these offers revolved around a semi-official economic agreement under which British and German industrialists would form cartel agreements in all fields to fix prices of their products and divide up the world's market. The Milner Group apparently objected to this on the grounds that it was aimed, or could be aimed, at the United States. Nevertheless, the agreements continued; a master agreement, negotiated at Dusseldorf between representatives of British and German industry, was signed in London on 16 March 1939. A British government mission to Berlin to help Germany exploit the newly acquired areas of eastern Europe was postponed the same day because of the strength of public feeling against Germany. As soon as this had died down, secret efforts were made through R. S. Hudson, secretary to the Department of Overseas Trade, to negotiate with Helmuth Wohlthat, Reich Commissioner for the Four Year Plan, who was in London to negotiate an international whaling agreement. Although Wohlthat had no powers, he listened to Hudson and later to Sir Horace Wilson, but refused to discuss the matter with Chamberlain. Wilson offered: (1) a nonaggression pact with Germany; (2) a delimitation of spheres among the Great Powers; (3) colonial concessions in Africa along the lines previously mentioned; (4) an economic agreement. These conversations, reported to Berlin by Ambassador Dirksen in a dispatch of 21 July 1939, would have involved giving Germany a free hand in eastern Europe and bringing her into collision with Russia. One sentence of Dirksen's says: "Sir Horace Wilson definitely told Herr Wohlthat that the conclusion of a non-aggression pact would enable Britain to rid herself of her commitments vis-a-vis Poland." In another report, three days later, Dirksen said: "Public opinion is so inflamed, and the warmongers and intriguers are so much in the ascendancy, that if these plans of negotiations with Germany were to become public they would immediately be torpedoed by Churchill and other incendiaries with the cry 'No second Munich!'"

The truth of this statement was seen when news of the Hudson- Wohlthat conversations did leak out and resulted in a violent controversy in the House of Commons, in which the Speaker of the House repeatedly broke off the debate to protect the government. According to Press Adviser Hesse in the German Embassy in London, the leak was made by the French Embassy to force a break in the negotiations. The negotiations, however, were already bogging down because of the refusal of the Germans to become very interested in them. Hitler and Ribbentrop by this time despised the British so thoroughly that they paid no attention to them at all, and the German Ambassador in London found it impossible to reach Ribbentrop, his official superior, either by dispatch or personally. Chamberlain, however, in his eagerness to make economic concessions to Germany, gave to Hitler £6 million in Czechoslovak gold in the Bank of England, and kept Lord Runciman busy training to be chief economic negotiator in the great agreement which he envisaged. On 29 July 1939, Kordt, the German charge d'affaires in London, had a long talk with Charles Roden Buxton, brother of the Labour Peer Lord Noel- Buxton, about the terms of this agreement, which was to be patterned on the agreement of 1907 between Britain and Russia. Buxton insisted that his visit was quite unofficial, but Kordt was inclined to believe that his visit was a feeler from the Chamberlain group. In view of the close parallel between Buxton's views and Chamberlain's, this seems very likely. This was corroborated when Sir Horace Wilson repeated these views in a highly secret conversation with Dirksen at Wilson's home from 4 to 6 p.m. on 3 August 1939. Dirksen's minute of the same day shows that Wilson's aims had not changed. He wanted a four-power pact, a free hand for Germany in eastern Europe, a colonial agreement, an economic agreement, etc. The memorandum reads, in part: "After recapitulating his conversation with Wohlthat, Sir Horace Wilson expatiated at length on the great risk Chamberlain would incur by starting confidential negotiations with the German Government. If anything about them were to leak out there would be a grand scandal, and Chamberlain would probably be forced to resign." Dirksen did not see how any binding agreement could be reached under conditions such as this; "for example, owing to Hudson's indiscretion, another visit of Herr Wohlthat to London was out of the question." To this, Wilson suggested that"the two emissaries could meet in Switzerland or elsewhere." The political portions of this conversation were largely repeated in an interview that Dirksen had with Lord Halifax on 9 August 1939. (18)

It was not possible to conceal these activities completely from the public, and, indeed, government spokesmen referred to them occasionally in trial balloons. On 3 May, Chamberlain suggested an Anglo-German nonaggression pact, although only five days earlier Hitler had denounced the Anglo-German naval agreement of 1935 and the Polish- German nonaggression pact of 1934. As late as 28 August, Sir Nevile Henderson offered Germany a British alliance if she were successful in direct negotiations with the Poles. (19) This, however, was a personal statement and probably went further than Halifax would have been willing to go by 1939. Halifax apparently had little faith in Chamberlain's ability to obtain any settlement with the Germans. If, by means of another Munich, he could have obtained a German-Polish settlement that would satisfy Germany and avoid war, he would have taken it. It was the hope of such an agreement that prevented him from making any real agreement with Russia, for it was, apparently, the expectation of the British government that if the Germans could get the Polish Corridor by negotiation, they could then drive into Russia across the Baltic States. For this reason, in the negotiations with Russia, Halifax refused any multilateral pact against aggression, any guarantee of the Baltic States, or any tripartite guarantee of Poland. Instead, he sought to get nothing more than a unilateral Russian guarantee to Poland to match the British guarantee to the same country. This was much too dangerous for Russia to swallow, since it would leave her with a commitment which could lead to war and with no promise of British aid to her if she were attacked directly, after a Polish settlement, or indirectly across the Baltic States. Only after the German Soviet Nonaggression Pact of 21 August 1939 did Halifax implement the unilateral guarantee to Poland with a more formal mutual assistance pact between Britain and Poland. This was done to warn Hitler that an attack on Poland would bring Britain into the war under pressure of British public opinion. Hitler, as usual, paid no attention to Britain. Even after the German attack on Poland, the British government was reluctant to fulfill this pact and spent almost three days asking the Germans to return to negotiation. Even after the British were forced to declare war on Germany, they made no effort to fight, contenting themselves with dropping leaflets on Germany. We now know that the German generals had moved so much of their forces to the east that they were gravely worried at the effects which might follow an Allied attack on western Germany or even an aerial bombing of the Ruhr.

In these events of 1939, the Milner Group took little part. They must have known of the negotiations with Germany and probably did not disapprove of them, but they had little faith in them and by the early summer of 1939 were probably convinced that war with Germany was inevitable in the long run. In this view Halifax probably shared, but other former members of the Group, such as Hoare and Simon, by now were completely in the Chamberlain group and can no longer be regarded as members of the Milner Group. From June 1939 to May 1940, the fissure between the Milner Group and the Chamberlain government became wider.

From the outbreak of war, the Milner Group were determined to fight the war against Germany; the Chamberlain group, on the other hand, were very reluctant to fight Germany, preferring to combine a declared but unfought war with Germany with a fought but undeclared war with Russia. The excuse for this last arose from the Russian pressure on Finland for bases to resist a future German attack. The Russian attack on Finland began on the last day of November 1939; by 27 December, the British and French were putting pressure on Sweden to join them in action to support the Finns. In these notes, which have been published by the Swedish Foreign Ministry, the Western Powers stated that they intended to send men, equipment, and money to Finland. By February 1940, the Western Powers had plans for a force of 30,000 to 40,000 men for Finland and were putting pressure on Sweden to allow passage for this force across Scandinavia. By 2 March 1940, the British had a force of 100,000 men ready and informed the Swedish and Norwegian governments that "the force with its full equipment is available and could sail at short notice." They invited the Scandinavian countries to receive Allied missions to make all the necessary preparations for the transit. The note to Norway, in an additional passage, said that forces would be sent to the Norwegian ports within four days of receiving permission, and the transit itself could begin on 20 March. On 12 March the Allies sent to the Scandinavian countries a formal request for right of transit. It was refused. Before anything further could be done, Finland collapsed and made peace with Russia. On 5 April, Halifax sent a very threatening note to the Scandinavian countries. It said in part:

". . . considering, in consultation with the French Government, the circumstances attending the termination of the war between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Finland and the attitude adopted by the Swedish Government at that time . . . they feel therefore that the time has come to notify the Swedish Government frankly of certain vital interests and requirements which the Allied Governments intend to assert and defend by whatever measure they may think necessary. The vital interests and the requirements which the Allied Governments wish to bring to the notice of the Swedish Government are the following: (a) The Allied Governments cannot acquiesce in any further attack on Finland by either the Soviet or German Governments. In the event therefore, of such an attack taking place, any refusal by the Swedish Government to facilitate the efforts of the Allied Governments to come to the assistance of Finland in whatever manner they may think fit, and still more any attempt to prevent such assistance would be considered by the Allied Governments as endangering their vital interests.... (c) Any attempt by the Soviet Government to obtain from Norway a footing on the Atlantic sea-board would be contrary to the vital interests of the Allied Governments."


The Swedish Foreign Minister expressed his government's astonishment at this note and its determination to decide such questions for itself and to preserve Sweden's neutrality in the future as it had been preserved in the past. (20)

It is not clear what was the attitude of the Milner Group toward this effort to open active hostilities against the Soviet Union while remaining technically in a state of war with Germany. Halifax was still at the Foreign Office and apparently actively concerned in this project. The Times was wholeheartedly in favor of the plan. On 5 March, for example, it said of the Finnish war: "It is becoming clearer every day that this war is no side issue. Finland is defending more than the cause of liberty and more than her own soil.... Our own cause is being buttressed by her resistance to the evil of tyranny.... Our interest is clear and there is a moral issue involved as well as the material. The whole sentiment of this country demands that Finland should not be allowed to fall."

The Round Table, in the only issue which appeared during the Finnish troubles, had a propagandist article on "The Civilization of Finland." It called Finland "one of the most democratic nations, on any definition, in all Europe." The rest of the article was a paean of praise for the kind and magnanimous conduct of the Finnish government in every crisis of its history from 1917, but nothing was said about the Finnish war, nor was there any mention of Allied aid.

During this period the Milner Group became increasingly impatient with the Chamberlain group. This was clear from the June 1940 issue of The Round Table, which criticized the Cabinet reshuffle of April as evoking"almost universal derision." It also criticized Chamberlain's failure to include able members of his own party in the Cabinet. This may have been a reference to Amery's continued exclusion. The article said: "This lack of imagination and courage could be seen in almost every aspect of the Chamberlain Government's conduct of the war." It excluded Simon and Hoare as possible prime ministers, on the ground that they were too close to Chamberlain. It was probably thinking of Halifax as prime minister, but, when the time came, others thought him, also, to be too closely associated with appeasement. On the crucial day, 8 May 1940, the Group was badly split. In fact, on the division that preceded Chamberlain's resignation, Lady Astor voted against the government, while her brother-in-law, John Jacob Astor, voted with the government. The debate was one of the most bitter in recent history and reached its high point when Amery cried out to the Government benches the words of Cromwell: "You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!" In the ensuing division, the whips were on with a vengeance, but the government's majority was only 81, more than a hundred Conservatives abstaining from voting. Most of the Milner Group members, since they held offices in the government, had to vote with it. Of the inner core, only Amery and Lady Astor broke away. In the majority, still supporting Chamberlain, were J. J. Astor, Grigg, Hoare, Malcolm MacDonald, Salter, Simon' and Somervell. But the fight had been too bitter. Chamberlain was replaced by Churchill, and Amery came to office (as Secretary of State for India). Once again the Milner Group and the government were united on the issues. Both, from 8 May 1940, had only one aim: to win the war with Germany.  
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Re: The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Clivede

Postby admin » Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:14 am

Chapter 13: The Second World War, 1939-1945

The Milner Group played a considerable role in the Second World War, not scattered throughout the various agencies associated with the great struggle, but concentrated in four or five chief fiefs. Among these were: (1) the Research and Intelligence Department of the Foreign Office; (2) the British Embassy in Washington; (3) the Ministry of Information; and (4) those agencies concerned with economic mobilization and economic reconstruction. Considering the age of most of the inner core of the Milner Group during the Second World War (the youngest, Lothian, was 57 in 1939; Hichens was 65; Brand was 61; Dawson was 65; and Curtis was 67), they accomplished a great deal. Unable, in most cases, to serve themselves, except in an advisory capacity, they filled their chief fiefs with their younger associates. In most cases, these were recruited from All Souls, but occasionally they were obtained elsewhere.

We have already indicated how the Research and Press Department of Chatham House was made into the Research and Intelligence Department bf the Foreign Office, at first unofficially and then officially. This was dominated by Lionel Curtis and Arnold Toynbee, the latter as director of the department for the whole period 1939-1946. Others who were associated with this activity were B. H. Sumner (Warden of All Souls), C. A. Macartney, A. E. Zimmern, J. W. Wheeler-Bennett, and most of the paid staff from Chatham House. Zimmern was deputy director in 1943-1945, and Wheeler-Bennett was deputy director in 1945.

Of even greater significance was the gathering of Milner Group members and their recruits in Washington. The Group had based most of their foreign policy since 1920 on the hope of "closer union" with the United States, and they realized that American intervention in the war was absolutely essential to insure a British victory. Accordingly, more than a dozen members of the Group were in Washington during the war, seeking to carry on this policy.

Lord Lothian was named Ambassador to the United States as soon as the war began. It was felt that his long acquaintance with the country and the personal connections built up during almost fifteen years as Rhodes Secretary more than counteracted his intimate relationship with the notorious Cliveden Set, especially as this latter relationship was unknown to most Americans. On Lothian's unexpected and lamented death in December 1940, the position in Washington was considered to be of such crucial importance that Lord Halifax was shifted to the vacant post from the Foreign Office. He retained his position in the War Cabinet. Thus the post at Washington was raised to a position which no foreign legation had ever had before. Lord Halifax continued to hold the post until 1946, a year after the war was actually finished. During most of the period, he was surrounded by members of the Milner Group, chiefly Fellows of All Souls, so that it was almost impossible to turn around in the British Embassy without running into a member of that select academic circle. The most important of these were Lord Brand, Harold Butler, and Arthur Salter.

Lord Brand was in America from March 1941 to May 1946, as head of the British Food Mission for three years and as representative of the British Treasury for two years. He was also chairman of the British Supply Council in North America in 1942 and again in 1945-1946. He did not resign his position as managing director of Lazard Brothers until May 1944. Closely associated with Brand was his protege, Adam D. Marris, son of Sir William Marris of the Kindergarten, who was employed at Lazard Brothers from 1929 to the outbreak of war, then spent a brief period in the Ministry of Economic Warfare in London. In 1940 he came to the Embassy in Washington, originally as First Secretary, later as Counselor. After the war he was, for six months, secretary general of the Emergency Economic Committee for Europe. In February 1946 he returned to Lazard Brothers.

Harold Butler (Sir Harold since 1946) came to Washington in 1942 with the rank of minister. He stayed for four years, being chiefly concerned with public relations. Sir Arthur Salter, who married a Washington lady in 1940, came to America in 1941 as head of the British Merchant Shipping Mission. He stayed until UNRRA was set up early in 1944, when he joined the new organization as Senior Deputy Director General. A year later he joined the Cabinet as Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster. Sir Arthur was well qualified as a shipping expert, having been engaged intermittently in government shipping problems since he left Brasenose College in 1904. His close personal relations with Lord Halifax went back to an even earlier period, when they both were students at Oxford.

Among the lesser persons who came to Washington during the war, we should mention four members of All Souls: I. Berlin, J. G. Foster, R. M. Makins, and J. H. A. Sparrow. Isaiah Berlin, one of the newer recruits to the Milner Group, made his way into this select circle by winning a Fellowship to All Souls in 1932, the year after he graduated from Corpus Christi. Through this connection, he became a close friend of Mr. and Mrs. H. A. L. Fisher and has been a Fellow and Tutor of New College since 1938. In 1941 he came to New York to work with J. W. Wheeler-Bennett in the Ministry of Information's American branch but stayed for no more than a year. In 1942 he became First Secretary in the Embassy in Washington, a position but recently vacated by Adam Marris. After the war he went for a brief period of four months to a similar post in the British Embassy in Moscow. In 1949 he came to Harvard University as visiting lecturer on Russia.

John Galway Foster is another recent recruit to the Milner Group and, like Berlin, won his entry by way of All Souls (1924). He is also a graduate of New College and from 1935 to 1939 was lecturer in Private International Law at Oxford. In 1939 he went to the Embassy in Washington as First Secretary and stayed for almost five years. In 1944 he was commissioned a brigadier on special service and the following year gained considerable prestige by winning a Conservative seat in Parliament in the face of the Labour tidal wave. He is still a Fellow of All Souls, after twenty-five years, and this fact alone would indicate he has a position as an important member of the Group.

Roger Mellor Makins, son of a Conservative M.P., was elected a Fellow of All Souls immediately after graduation from Christ Church in 1925. He joined the diplomatic service in 1928 and spent time in London, Washington, and (briefly) Oslo in the next nine years. In 1937 he became assistant adviser on League of Nations affairs to the Foreign Office. He was secretary to the British delegation to the Evian Conference on Refugees from Germany in 1938 and became secretary to the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees set up at that meeting. In 1939 he returned to the Foreign Office as adviser on League of Nations Affairs but soon became a First Secretary; he was adviser to the British delegation at the New York meeting of the International Labour Conference in 1941 and the following year joined the staff of the Resident Minister in West Africa. When the Allied Headquarters in the Mediterranean area was set up in 1943, he joined the staff of the Resident British Minister with that unit. At the end of the war, in 1945, he went to the Embassy in Washington with the rank of Minister. In this post he had the inestimable advantage that his wife, whom he married in 1934, was the daughter of the late Dwight F. Davis, Secretary of War in the Hoover Administration. During this period Makins played an important role at various international organizations. He was the United Kingdom representative on the Interim Commission for Food and Agriculture of the United Nations in 1945; he was adviser to the United Kingdom delegation to the first FAO Conference at Quebec the same year; he was a delegate to the Atlantic City meeting of UNRRA in the following year. In 1947 he left Washington to become Assistant Under Secretary of State in the Foreign Office in London.

Another important member of All Souls who appeared briefly in Washington during the war was John H. A. Sparrow. Graduated from Winchester School and New College by 1927, he became an Eldon Law Scholar and a Fellow of All Souls in 1929. He is still a Fellow of the latter after twenty years. Commissioned in the Coldstream Guards in 1940, he was in Washington on a confidential military mission during most of 1940 and was attached to the War Office from 1942 to the end of the war.

Certain other members of the Group were to be found in the United States during the period under discussion. We have already mentioned the services rendered to the Ministry of Information by J. W. Wheeler-Bennett in New York from 1939 to 1944. Robert J. Stopford was Financial Counselor to the British Embassy in 1940-1943. We should also mention that F. W. Eggleston, chief Australian member of the Group, was Australian Minister in Washington from 1944 to 1946. And the story of the Milner Group's activities in Washington would not be complete without at least mentioning Percy E. Corbett.

Percy Corbett of Prince Edward Island, Canada, took a M.A. degree at McGill University in 1915 and went to Balliol as a Rhodes Scholar. He was a Fellow of All Souls in 1920-1928 and a member of the staff of the League of Nations in 1920-1924. He was Professor of Roman Law at McGill University from 1924 to 1937 and had been Professor of Government and Jurisprudence and chairman of the Department of Political Science at Yale since 1944. He has always been close to the Milner Group, participating in many of their Canadian activities, such as the Canadian Royal Institute of International Affairs, the unofficial British Commonwealth relations conferences, and the Institute of Pacific Relations. He was chairman of the Pacific Council of the last organization in 1942. During the war he spent much of his time in the United States, especially in Washington, engaged in lobbying activities for the British Embassy, chiefly in Rhodes Scholarship and academic circles but also in government agencies. Since the war ended, he has obtained, by his position at Yale, a place of considerable influence, especially since Yale began, in 1948, to publish its new quarterly review called World Politics. On this review, Professor Corbett is one of the more influential members. At present he must be numbered among the three most important Canadian members of the Milner Group, the other two being Vincent Massey and George Parkin Glazebrook.

In view of the emphasis which the Milner Group has always placed on publicity and the need to control the chief avenues by which the general public obtains information on public affairs, it is not surprising to find that the Ministry of Information was one of the fiefs of the Group from its establishment in 1939.

At the outbreak of war, H. A. L. Fisher had been Governor of the BBC for four years. It was probably as a result of this connection that L. F. Rushbrook Williams, whom we have already mentioned in connection with Indian affairs and as a member of All Souls since 1914, became Eastern Service Director of the BBC. He was later adviser on Middle East affairs to the Ministry of Information but left this, in 1944, to become an editor of The Times. Edward Griggs, now Lord Altrincham, was Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Information from its creation to the Cabinet revision of 1940, when he shifted to the War Office. J. W. Wheeler-Bennett and Isaiah Berlin were with the New York office of the Ministry of Information, as we have seen, the former throughout the war and the latter in 1941-1942. H. V. Hodson, Fellow of All Souls and probably the most important of the newer recruits to the Milner Group, was Director of the Empire Division of the Ministry of Information from its creation in 1939 until he went to India as Reforms Commissioner in 1941-1942. And finally, Cyril John Radcliffe (Sir Cyril after 1944), a graduate of New College in 1922 and a Fellow of All Souls for fifteen years (1922-1937), son-in-law of Lord Charnwood since 1939, was in the Ministry of Information for the whole period of the war, more than four years of it as Director General of the whole organization. (1)

In addition to these three great fiefs (the Research and Intelligence Department of the Foreign Office, the Embassy in Washington, and the Ministry of Information), the Milner Group exercised considerable influence in those branches of the administration concerned with emergency economic regulations, although here the highest positions were reserved to those members of the Cecil Bloc closest to the Milner Group. Oliver Lyttelton, whose mother was a member of the Group, was Controller of Non-Ferrous Metals in 1939-1940, was President of the Board of Trade in 1940-1941, and was Minister of Production in 1942-1945. Lord Wolmer (Lord Selborne since 1942) was Director of Cement in the Ministry of Works in 1940-1942 and Minister of Economic Warfare in 1942-1945. In this connection, it should be mentioned that the Milner Group had developed certain economic interests in non-ferrous metals and in cement in the period of the 1920s and 1930s. The former developed both from their interest in colonial mines, which were the source of the ores, and from their control of electrical utilities, wllich supplied much of the power needed to reduce these ores. The center of these interests was to be found, on the one hand, in the Rhodes Trust and the economic holdings of the associates of Milner and Rhodes like R. S. Holland, Abe Bailey, P. L. Gell, etc., and, on the other hand, in the utility interests of Lazard Brothers and of the Hoare family. The ramifications of these interests are too complicated, and too well concealed, to be described in any detail here, but we might point out that Lord Milner was a director of Rio Tinto, that Dougal Malcolm was a director of Nchanga Consolidated Copper Mines, that Samuel Hoare was a director of Birmingham Aluminum Casting Company until he took public office, that the Hoare family had extensive holdings in Associated Tin Mines of Nigeria, in British- American Tin Corporation, in London Tin Corporation, etc.; that R. S. Holland was an Anglo-Spanish Construction Company, on British Copper Manufacturers, and on the British Metal Corporation; that Lyttelton Gell was a director of Huelva Copper and of the Zinc Corporation; that Oliver Lyttelton was managing director of the British Metal Corporation and a director of Metallgesellschaft, the German light-metals monopoly. The chief member of the Group in the cement industry was Lord Meston, who was placed on many important corporations after his return from India, including the Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers and the British Portland Cement Manufacturers. The third Lord Selborne was chairman of the Cement Makers Federation from 1934 to 1940, resigning to take charge of the government's cement-regulation program.

In lesser posts in these activities, we might mention the following. Charles R. S. Harris, whom we have already mentioned as an associate of Brand, a Fellow of All Souls for fifteen years, a leader-writer on The Times for ten years, the authority on Duns Scotus who wrote a book on Germany's foreign indebtedness for Chatham House, was in the Ministry of Economic Warfare in 1939-1940. He then spent two years in Iceland for the Foreign Office, and three years with the War Office, ending up in 1944-1945 as a member of the Allied Control Commission for Italy. H. V. Hodson was principal assistant secretary and later head of the Non-Munitions Division of the Ministry of Production from his return from India to the end of the war (1942-1945). Douglas P. T. Jay, a graduate of New College in 1930 and a Fellow of All Souls in the next seven years, was on the staff of The Times and The Economist in the period 1929-1937 and was city editor of The Daily Herald in 19371941. He was assistant secretary to the Ministry of Supply in 1941-1943 and principal assistant secretary to the Board of Trade in 1943-1945. After the Labour government came to power in the summer of 1945, he was personal assistant to the Prime Minister (Clement Attlee) until he became a Labour M.P. in 1946. Richard Pares, son of the famous authority on Russia, the late Sir Bernard Pares, and son-in-law of the famous historian Sir Maurice Powicke, was a Fellow of All Souls for twenty-one years after he graduated from Balliol in 1924. He was a lecturer at New College for eleven years, 1929-1940 and then was with the Board of Trade for the duration of the war, 1940-1945. Since the war, he has been Professor of History at Edinburgh. During most of the war his father, Sir Bernard Pares, lectured in the United States as a pro- Russian propagandist in the pay of the Ministry of Information. We have already mentioned the brief period in which Adam Marris worked for the Ministry of Economic Warfare in 1939-1940.

As the war went on, the Milner Group shifted their attention increasingly to the subject of postwar planning and reconstruction. Much of this was conducted through Chatham House. When the war began, Toynbee wrote a letter to the Council of the RIIA, in which he said: "If we get through the present crisis and are given a further chance to try and put the world in order, we shall then feel a need to take a broader and deeper view of our problems than we were inclined to take after the War of 1914-1918.... I believe this possibility has been in Mr. Lionel Curtis's mind since the time when he first conceived the idea of the Institute; his Civitas Dei and my Study of History are two reconnaissances of this historical background to the study of contemporary international affairs." (2) At the end of 1942 the Group founded a quarterly journal devoted to reconstruction. It was founded technically under the auspices of the London School of Economics, but the editor was G. N. Clark, a member of All Souls since 1912 and Chichele Professor of Economic History from 1931 to 1943. The title of this journal was Agenda, and its editorial offices were in Chatham House. These tentative plans to dominate the postwar reconstruction efforts received a rude jolt in August 1945, when the General Election removed the Conservative government from power and brought to office a Labour government. The influence of the Group in Labour circles has always been rather slight.

Since this blow, the Milner Group has been in eclipse, and it is not clear what has been happening. (3) Its control of The Times, of The Round Table, of Chatham House, of the Rhodes Trust, of All Souls, and of Oxford generally has continued but has been used without centralized purpose or conviction. Most of the original members of the Group have retired from active affairs; the newer recruits have not the experience or the intellectual conviction, or the social contacts, which allowed the older members to wield such great power. The disasters into which the Group directed British policy in the years before 1940 are not such as to allow their prestige to continue undiminished. In imperial affairs, their policies have been largely a failure, with Ireland gone, India divided and going, Burma drifting away, and even South Africa more distant than at any time since 1910. In foreign policy their actions almost destroyed western civilization, or at least the European center of it. The Times has lost its influence; The Round Table seems lifeless. Far worse than this, those parts of Oxford where the Group's influence was strongest have suffered a disastrous decline. The Montague Burton Professorship of International Relations, to which Professor Zimmern and later Professor Woodward brought such great talents, was given in 1948 to a middle-aged spinster, daughter of Sir James Headlam-Morley, with one published work to her credit. The Chichele Professorship of International Law and Diplomacy, held with distinction for twenty-five years by Professor James L. Briefly, was filled in 1947 by a common-law lawyer, a specialist in the law of real property, who, by his own confession, is largely ignorant of international law and whose sole published work, written with the collaboration of a specialist on equity, is a treatise on the Law of Mortgages. These appointments, which gave a shock to academic circles in the United States, do not allow an outside observer to feel any great optimism for the future either of the Milner Group or of the great institutions which it has influenced. It would seem that the great idealistic adventure which began with Toynbee and Milner in 1875 had slowly ground its way to a finish of bitterness and ashes.
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Re: The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Clivede

Postby admin » Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:19 am

Appendix: A Tentative Roster of the Milner Group

The following lists are tentative in the sense that they are incomplete and erroneous. The errors are more likely in the attribution of persons to one circle of the Group rather than another, and are less likely in the attribution to the Group of persons who are not members at all. For the names given I have sufficient evidence to convince me that they are members of the Croup, although I would not in many cases feel competent to insist that the persons concerned knew that they were members of a secret group. The evidence on which this list is based is derived from documentary evidence, from private information, and from circumstantial evidence.

Persons are listed in each group on the basis of general impression rather than exact demarcation, because the distinction between the two is rather vague and varies from time to time. For example, I know for a fact that Sir Alfred Zimmern and Lord Cecil of Chelwood attended meetings of the inner circle in the period before 1920, but I have attributed them to the outer circle because this appears to be the more accurate designation for the long period since 1920.

Within each list I have placed the names of the various individuals in order of chronology and of importance. In some cases where I suspected a person of being a member without having any very convincing evidence, I have enclosed the name in brackets.

A. The Society of the Elect

Cecil John Rhodes
Nathan Rothschild, Baron Rothschild
Sir Harry Johnston
William T. Stead
Reginald Brett, Viscount Esher
Alfred Milner, Viscount Milner
B. F. Hawksley
Thomas Brassey, Lord Brassey
Edmund Garrett
[Sir Edward Cook]
Alfred Beit
Sir Abe Bailey
Albert Grey, Earl Grey
Archibald Primrose, Earl of Rosebery
Arthur James Balfour
Sir George R. Parkin
Philip Lyttelton Gell
Sir Henry Birchenough
Sir Reginald Sothern Holland
Arthur Lionel Smith
Herbert A. L. Fisher
William Waldegrave Palmer, Earl of Selborne
[Sir Alfred Lyttelton]
Sir Patrick Duncan
Robert Henry Brand, Baron Brand
Philip Kerr, Marquess of Lothian
Lionel Curtis
Geoffrey Dawson
Edward Grigg, Baron Altrincham
Jan C. Smuts
Leopold Amery
Waldorf Astor, Viscount Astor
Nancy Astor, Lady Astor

B. The Association of Helpers

1 . The Inner Circle


Sir Patrick Duncan
Robert Henry Brand, Baron Brand
Philip Kerr, Marquess of Lothian
Lionel Curtis
William L. Hichens
Geoffrey Dawson
Edward Grigg, Baron Altrincham
Herbert A. L. Fisher
Leopold Amery
Richard Feetham
Hugh A. Wyndham
Sir Dougal Malcolm
Basil Williams
Basil Kellett Long
Sir Abe Bailey
Jan C. Smuts
Sir William Marris
James S. Meston
Baron Meston
Malcolm Hailey  
Baron Hailey
Flora Shaw
Lady Lugard
Sir Reginald Coupland
Waldorf Astor, Viscount Astor
Nancy Astor, Lady Astor
Maurice Hankey, Baron Hankey
Arnold J. Toynbee
Laurence F. Rushbrook Williams
Henry Vincent Hodson
Vincent Todd Harlow

2. The Outer Circle

John Buchan, Baron Tweedsmuir
Sir Fabian Ware
Sir Alfred Zimmern
Gilbert Murray
Robert Cecil, Viscount Cecil of Chelwood
Sir James W. Headlam-Morley
Frederick J. N. Thesiger, Viscount Chelmsford
Sir Valentine Chirol
Edward F. L. Wood, Earl of Halifax
[James] Arthur Salter
Sir Arthur H. D. R. Steel-Maitland
William G. A. Ormsby-Gore, Baron Harlech
Dame Edith Lyttelton, Mrs. Alfred Lyttelton
Frederick Lugard, Baron Lugard
Sir [Leander] Starr Jameson  
Henry W. C. Davis
John A. Simon, Viscount Simon
Samuel J. G. Hoare, Viscount Templewood
Maurice P. A. Hankey, Baron Hankey
Wilson Harris
[Francis Clarke]
William G. S. Adams
[William K. Hancock]
Ernest L. Woodward
Sir Harold Butler
Kenneth N. Bell
Sir Donald B. Somervell
Sir Maurice L. Gwyer
Charles R. S. Harris
Sir Edward R. Peacock
Sir Cyril J. Radcliffe
John W. Wheeler-Bennett
Robert J. Stopford
Robert M. Barrington-Ward
[Kenneth C. Wheare]
Edward H. Carr
Malcolm MacDonald
Godfrey Elton, Baron Elton
Sir Neill Malcolm
Freeman Freeman-Thomas, Viscount Willingdon
Isaiah Berlin
Roger M. Makins
Sir Arthur Willert
Ivison S. Macadam

3. Members in other countries

a. Canada


Arthur J. Glazebrook
Sir George Parkin
Vincent Massey
George P. de T. Glazebrook
Percy Corbett [Sir Joseph Flavelle]

b. United States

George Louis Beer
Frank Aydelotte
Jerome Greene
[Clarence Steit]

c. South Africa

Jan C. Smuts
Sir Patrick Duncan
Sir Abe Bailey
Basil K. Long
Richard Feetham
[Sir James Rose-Innes]

d. Australia

Sir Thomas Bavin
Sir Frederic Eggleston
[Dudley D. Braham]

e. New Zealand

James Allen
William Downie Stewart
Arthur R. Atkinson

f. Germany

Helmuth James von Moltke
Adam von Trott zu Solz
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Re: The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Clivede

Postby admin » Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:32 am

Part 1 of 2

Notes:

Chapter 1


1 . The sources of this information and a more detailed examination of the organization and personnel of the Rhodes secret society will be found in Chapter 3 below.

2. On Parkin, see the biography (1929) started by Sir John Willison and finished by Parkin's son-in-law, William L. Grant. Also see the sketches of both Parkin and Milner in the Dictionary of National Biography. The debate in the Oxford Union which first brought Parkin to Milner's attention is mentioned in Herbert Asquith's (Lord Oxford and Asquith) Memories and Reflections (2 vols., Boston, 1928), 1, 26.

3. The ideas for social service work among the poor and certain other ideas held by Toynbee and Milner were derived from the teachings of John Ruskin, who first came to Oxford as a professor during their undergraduate days. The two young men became ardent disciples of Ruskin and were members of his road-building group in the summer of 1870. The standard biography of Ruskin was written by a protege of Milner's, Edward Cook. The same man edited the complete collection of Ruskin's works in thirty-eight volumes. See Lord Oxford and Asquith, Memories and Reflections (2 vols., Boston, 1928), 1, 48. Cook's sketch in the Dictionary of National Biography was written by Asquith's intimate friend and biographer, J. A. Spender.

4. The quotation is from Cecil Headlam, ed., The Milner Papers (2 vols., London, 1931-1933), I, 15. There exists no biography of Milner, and all of the works concerned with his career have been written by members of the Milner Group and conceal more than they reveal. The most important general sketches of his life are the sketch in the Dictionary of National Biography, the obituary in The Times (May 1925), and the obituary in The Round Table (June 1925, XV, 427-430). His own point of view must be sought in his speeches and essays. Of these, the chief collections are The Nation and the Empire (Boston, 1913) and Questions of the flour (London, 1923). Unfortunately, the speeches after 1913 and all the essays which appeared in periodicals are still uncollected. This neglect of one of the most important figures of the twentieth century is probably deliberate, part of the policy of secrecy practiced by the Milner Group.

Chapter 2

1. A. C. Johnson, Viscount Halifax (New York, 1941), 54. Inasmuch as Lord Halifax assisted the author of this biography and gave to him previously unpublished material to insert in it, we are justified in considering this an "authorized" biography and giving its statements considerable weight. The author is aware of the existence of the Milner Group and attributes much of Lord Halifax's spectacular career to his connection with the Croup.

2. H. H. Henson, Retrospect of an Unimportant Life (2 vols., London, 1942-1943), II, 66.

3. C. Hobhouse, Oxford as It Was and as It Is Today (London, 1939), 18.

4. On the role of Charles Hardinge in foreign policy, see A. L. Kennedy, "Lord Hardinge of Penshurst," in The Quarterly Review (January 1945), CCLXXXIII, 97-104, and Charles Hardinge, 1st Baron Hardinge of Penshurst, Old Diplomacy; Reminiscences (London, 1947). Although not mentioned again in this work, A. I.. Kennedy appears to be a member of the Milner Group.

5. Lord Ernie, Whippingham to Westminster (London, 1938), 248.

6. Lionel Curtis, Dyarchy (Oxford, 1920), 54.

7. Another exception was "Bron" Lucas (Auberon Herbert, Lord Lucas and Dingwall), son of Auberon Herbert, the brother of Lord Carnavon. "Bron" went from Balliol to South Africa as a Times correspondent in the Boer War and lost a leg from overzealous devotion to the task. A close friend of John Buchan and Raymond Asquith, he became a Liberal M.P. through the latter's influence but had to go to the Upper 1 louse in 1905, when he inherited two titles from his mother's brother. He was subsequently private secretary to Haldane (1908), Under Secretary for War (1908-1911), Under Secretary for the Colonies (1911), Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture (1911-1914), and President of the Board of Agriculture (1914-1915). He thus became a member of the Cabinet while only thirty-eight years old. He resigned to join the Royal Flying Corps and was killed in 1916, about the same time as Raymond Asquith. Both of these, had they lived, would probably have become members of the Milner Group. Asquith was already a Fellow of All Souls (1901-1916). On "Bron" Lucas, see the autobiographies of Lords Asquith and Tweedsmuir and the article in the memorial volume to Balliol's dead in the First World War.

8. On these clubs, see Lord Oxford and Asquith, Memories and Reflections (2 vols., Boston, 1928), 1, 311-325.

9. The chief published references to the existence of the Milner Group from the pens of members will be found in the obituary notes on deceased members in The Round Table and in the sketches in the Dictionary of National Biography. In the former, see the notes on Milner, Hickens, Lord Lothian, A. J. Glazebrook, Sir Thomas Bavin, Sir Patrick Duncan, Sir Abe Bailey, etc. See also the references in the published works of Lionel Curtis, John Buchan (Lord Tweedsmuir), John Dove, etc. Quotations to this effect from John Buchan and from Lord Asquith will be found at the end of Chapter 3 below. The best published reference to the Milner Group is in M. S. Geen, The Making of the Union of South Africa (London, 1946), 150-152. The best account originating in the Group itself is in the article "Twenty-five Years" in The Round Table for September 1935, XV, 653- 659.

Chapter 3

1. This section is based on W. T. Stead, The Last Will and Testament of Cecil John Rhodes (London, 1902); Sir Francis Wylie's three articles in the American Oxonian (April 1944), XXXI, 65-69; July 1944), XXXI, 129-138; and January 1945), XXXH, 1- 11; F. Aydelotte, The American Rhodes Scholars (Princeton, 1946); and the biographies and memoirs of the men mentioned.

2. No such claim is made by Sir Francis Wylie, from whose articles Dr. Aydelotte derived most of the material for his first chapter. Sir Francis merely mentions the secret society in connection with the early wills and then drops the whole subject.

3. W. T. Stead, The Last Will and Testament of Cecil John Rhodes (London, 1902), 1 10-1 1 1. The statement of 1896 to Brett is in Journals and Letters of Reginald, Viscount Esher(4 vols., London, 1934-1938), 1, 197.

4. Dr. Aydelotte quotes at length from a letter which Rhodes sent to Stead in 1891, but he does not quote the statements which Stead made about it when he published it in 1902. In this letter he spoke about the project of federal union with the United States and said, "The only feasible [way] to carry this idea out is a secret one (society) gradually absorbing the wealth of the world to be devoted to such an object." At the end of this document Stead wrote: "Mr. Rhodes has never to my knowledge said a word nor has he ever written a syllable, that justifies the suggestion that he surrendered the aspirations which were expressed in this letter of 1891. So far from this being the case, in the long discussions which took place between us in the last years of his life, he reaffirmed as emphatically as at first his unshaken conviction as to the dream — if you like to call it so — a vision, which had ever been the guiding star of his life." See W. T. Stead, The Last Will and Testament of Cecil John Rhodes (London, 1902), 13-11.

5. Sir John Willison, Sir George Parkin (London, 1929), 234.

6. This paragraph and the two preceding it are from Sir Frederick Whyte, The Life of W. T Stead (2 vols., Boston 1925), 270-272 and 39.

7. See Journals and Letters of Reginald, Viscount Esher (4 vols., London, 1938), 1, 149-150. It should be noted that the excision in the entry for 3 February marked by three points (...) was made by Lord Esher's son when he edited the journals for publication.

8. See F. Whyte, Life ofW. T. Stead (2 vols., Boston, 1925), 199-212.

9. No mention of the secret society is to be found in either Sir Harry Johnston, The Story of My Life (London, 1923), or in Alex. Johnston, Life and Letters of Sir Harry Johnston (London, 1929). The former work does contain an account of Johnston's break with Rhodes on page 497. More details are on pages 145-148 of the later work, including a record of Rhodes's saying, "I will smash you Johnston, for this." Johnston was convinced that it was a result of this enmity that Milner rather than he was chosen to be High Commissioner of South Africa in 1897. See pages 338-339.

10. Rhodes's reason for eliminating him (given in the January 1901 codicil to his will) was "on account of the extraordinary eccentricity of Mr. Stead, though having always a great respect for him, but feeling the objects of my Will would be embarrassed by his views." Milner's reasons (given in the "Stead Memorial" number of The Review of Reviews, May 1912) were his "lack of balance," which was "his Achilles heel.' See also the letter of 12 April 1902 from Edmund Garrett to Stead, quoted below, from F. Whyte, The Life ofW. T Stead (2 vols., Boston, 1925), 211.

11. The quotation is from the sketch of Lord Esher in the Dictionary of National Biography. The other quotations from Brett are from The Journals and Letters of Reginald, Viscount Esher (4 vols., London, 1934-1938).

12. E. T. Cook, Edmund Garrett (London, 1909), 158. The excision in this letter marked by three points (. . .) was made by Cook. Cook was a protege of Milner's, found in New College, invited to contribute to the Pall Mall Gazette in 1881, and added to the staff as an editor in August 1883, when Milner was acting as editor-in-chief, during the absence of Morley and Stead. See F. Whyte, The Life ofW. T. Stead (2 vols., Boston, 1925), I, 94. Cook remained close to Milner for many years. On 4 October 1899 Lord Esher wrote to his son a letter in which he said: "Cook is the Editor of the Daily News and is in close touch with Milner and his friends" — Journals and Letters of Reginald, Viscount Esher (4 vols., London, 1938), I, 240.

13. F. Whyte, Life of W. T. Stead (2 vols., Boston, 1925), 211. The quotation in the next paragraph is from the same place.

14. As an example of this and an example of the way in which the secret society functioned in the early period, see the following passage from the Journals and Letters of Reginald, Viscount Esher (4 vols., London, 1938), under the date 21 November 1892: "I went to London on Friday and called on Rhodes. He had asked me to do so.... Rhodes asked for the Government carriage of his telegraph poles and 200 Sikhs at Blantyre. Then he will make the telegraph. He would like a gunboat on Tanganyika. I stayed there to lunch. Then saw Rosebery. He was in good spirits." From Sir Harry Johnston's autobiography, it is clear that the 200 Sikhs were for him.

15. S. G. Millen, Rhodes (London, 1934), 341-342.

16. In the House of Commons, Maguire was a supporter of Parnell, acting on orders from Rhodes, who had given £10,000 to Parnell's cause in 1888. Rhodes's own explanation of why he supported Parnell is a typical Milner Group statement. He said that he gave the money "since in Mr. Parnell's cause.... I believe he's the key to the Federal System, on the basis of perfect Home Rule in every part of the Empire." This quotation is from S. G. Millin, Rhodes (London, 1934), 1 12, and is based on W. T. Stead, The Last Will and Testament of Cecil John Rhodes (London, 1902).

17. The first quotation is from Edmund Garrett, "Milner and Rhodes," in The Empire and the Century (London, 1905), 478. According to The Times obituary of Milner, 14 May 1925, Rhodes repeated these sentiments in different words on his deathbed, 26 March 1902. The statement to Stead will be found in W. T. Stead, The Last Will and Testament of Cecil John Rhodes (London, 1902), 108.

18. See Cecil Headlam, ed., The Milner Papers, 1897-1905 (2 vols., London, 1931- 1933), 1 1,412-413; the unpublished material is at New College, Oxford, in Milner Papers, XXXVHI, ii, 200.

Chapter 4

1. The obituary of Patrick Duncan in The Round Table (September 1943), XXXIII, 303-305, reads in part: "Duncan became the doyen of the band of brothers, Milner's young men, who were nicknamed . . . The Kindergarten,' then in the first flush of youthful enthusiasm. It is a fast ageing and dwindling band now; but it has played a part in the Union of South Africa colonies, and it is responsible for the foundation and conduct of The Round Table. For forty years and more, so far as the vicissitudes of life have allowed, it has kept together; and always, while looking up to Lord Milner and to his successor in South Africa, the late Lord Selborne, as its political Chief, has revered Patrick Duncan as the Captain of the band." According to R. H. Brand, ed., The Letters of John Dove (London, 1938), Duncan was coming to England to the meetings of the Group as late was 1932.

2. The above list of eighteen names does not contain all the members of the Kindergarten. A complete list would include: (1) Harry Wilson (Sir Harry after 1908), who was a "Seeley lecturer" with Parkin in the 1890s; was chief private secretary to Joseph Chamberlain in 1895-1897; was legal adviser to the Colonial Office and to Milner in 1897-1901; was Secretary and Colonial Secretary to the Orange River Colony in 1901- 1907; was a member of the Intercolonial Council and of the Railway Committee in 1903- 1907. (2) E. B. Sargant, who organized the school system of South Africa for Milner in 1900-1904 and was Director of Education for both the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony in 1902-1904; he wrote a chapter for The Empire and the Century in 1905. (3) Gerard Craig Sellar, who died in 1929, and on whom no information is available. There was a Craig-Sellar Fellowship in his honor at Balliol in 1946. (4) Oscar Ferris Watkins, a Bible Clerk at All Souls at the end of the nineteenth century, received a MA. from this college in 1910; he was in the South African Constabulary in 1902-1904, was in the Transvaal Civil Service in 1904-1907; was in the East African Protectorate Service and the E.A. Civil Service from 1908, being a District Commissioner in 1914, Acting Chief Native Commissioner in 1920-1927, a member of the Legislative Council in 1920-1922, Deputy Chief Native Commissioner of Kenya in 1921-1927; he was Director of Military Labour under Smuts in German East Africa in 1914-1918. (5) Percy Girouard (later Sir Percy) was chairman of the Egyptian Railway Board in 1898-1899; was Director of Railways in the Boer War in 1899-1902; was Commissioner of Railways and Head of the Central South African Railways in 1902-1904; was High Commissioner of Northern Nigeria in 1907-1908 and Governor in 1908-1909; was Governor of the East African Protectorate in 1909-1912; was director of Armstrong, Whitworth and Company in 1912- 1915; and was Director General of Munitions Supply in 1914-1915. He was fired by Lloyd George for inefficiency in 1915.

3. Douglas Malcolm's sister in 1907 married Neill Malcolm (since 1919 Major General Sir Neill Malcolm), who was a regular army officer from 1889 to his retirement in 1924. He was on the British Military Mission to Berlin in 1919-1921; Commanding General in Malaya, 1921-1924; a founder of the RIIA, of which he was chairman from 1926 (succeeding Lord Meston) to 1935 (succeeded by Lord Astor). He was High Commissioner for German Refugees in 1936-1938, with R. M. Makins (member of All Souls and the Milner Group and later British Minister in Washington) as his chief British subordinate. He is president of the British North Borneo Company, of which Dougal Malcolm is vice-president. Ian Malcolm (Sir Ian since 1919), a brother of Neill Malcolm, was an attache at Berlin, Paris, and Petersburg in 1891-1896; and M.P. in 1895-1906 and again 1910-1919; assistant private secretary to Lord Salisbury (1895-1900); parliamentary private secretary to the Chief Secretary for Ireland (George Wyndham) in 1901-1903; Secretary to the Union Defence League, organized by Walter Long, in 1906-1910; a Red Cross officer in Europe and North America (1914-1917); on Balfour's mission to the United States in 1917; private secretary to Balfour during the Peace Conference (1919); and British representative on the Board of Directors of the Suez Canal Company. He wrote Walter Long's biography in the Dictionary of National Biography.

4. See W. B. Worsfold, The Reconstruction of the New Colonies under Lord Milner (2 vols., London, 1913), II, 207-222 and 302-419.

5. The last quotation is from Dyarchy (Oxford, 1920), liii. The other are from The Problem of the Commonwealth (London, 1915), 18, and 200-219.

6. Fisher was one of the most important members of the Milner Group, a fact which would never be gathered from the recent biography written by David Ogg, Herbert Fisher, 1865-1940 (London, 1947). He was associated with members of the Group, or persons close to it all his life. At New College in the period 1884-1888, he was a student of W. L. Courtney, whose widow, Dame Janet Courtney, was later close to the Group. He became a Fellow of New College in 1888, along with Gilbert Murray, also a member of the Group. His pupils at New College included Curtis, Kerr, Brand, Malcolm, and Hichens in the first few years of teaching; the invitation to South Africa in 1908 came through Curtis, his articles on the trip were published in The Times. He sailed to India in 1913 with Herbert Baker of the Group (Rhodes's architect). He refused the post of Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1918, so it was given to Amery's brother-in-law; he refused the post of Assistant Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in December 1918, when Robert Cecil resigned. He played a certain role in drafting the Montagu-Chelmsford Report of 1919 and the Government of Ireland Bill of 1921, and piloted the latter through Commons. He refused the post of Ambassador to Washington in 1919. Nevertheless, he did not see eye to eye with the inner core of the Group on either religion or protection, since he was an atheist and a free-trader to the end. His book on Christian Science almost caused a break with some members of the Group.

7. H. H. Henson, Memoirs of Sir William Anson (Oxford, 1920), 212.

8. Cecil Headlam, ed., The Milner Papers, 1897-1905 (2 vols., London, 1931-1933), n, 501.

9. R. H. Brand, The Union of South Africa (Oxford, 1909), 39.

10. Smuts was frequently used by the Milner Group to enunciate its policies in public (as, for example, in his speeches of 15 May 1917 and 13 November 1934). The fact that he was speaking for the Milner Group was generally recognized by the upper classes in England, was largely ignored by the masses in England, and was virtually unknown to Americans. Lord Davies assumed this as beyond the need of proof in an article which he published in The Nineteenth Century in January 1935. He was attacking the Milner Group's belief that British defense could be based on the Dominions and the United States and especially on its efforts to reduce the League of Nations to a simple debating society. He pointed out the need for an international police force, then asked, "Will the Dominions and the United States volunteer as special constables? And, if they refuse, does it mean that Great Britain is precluded from doing so? The reply of The Round Table is 'yes,' and the most recent exposition of its policy is contained in the speech delivered by General Smuts at the dinner given in his honor by the Royal Institute of International Affairs on November 13" — The Nineteenth Century (January 1935), CXVII, 51.

Smuts's way in imperial affairs was much smoothed by the high opinion which Lord Esher held of him; see, for example, The Journals and Letters of Reginald Viscount Esher (4 vols., London, 1938), IV, 101, 224, and 254.

11. Lord Oxford and Asquith, Memories and Reflections 1852-1927 (2 vols., Boston, 1928), I, 213-214. Asquith was a member of the Cecil Bloc and of "The Souls." He was a lifelong friend of both Balfour and Milner. It was the former who persuaded Asquith to write his memoirs, after talking the matter over privately with Margot Asquith one evening while Asquith himself was at Grillions. When Asquith married Margot Tennant in 1894, the witnesses who signed the marriage certificates were A. J. Balfour, W. E. Gladstone, Lord Rosebery, Charles Tennant, H. J. Tennant, and R. B. Haldane. Asquith's friendship with Milner went back to their undergraduate days. In his autobiography Asquith wrote (pp. 210-21 1): "We sat together at the Scholar's table in Hall for three years. We then formed a close friendship, and were for many years on intimate terms and in almost constant contact with one another. ... At Oxford we both took an active part at the Union in upholding the unfashionable Liberal cause.... In my early married days [1877-1885] he used often to come to my house at Hampstead for a frugal Sunday supper when we talked over political and literary matters, for the most part in general agreement." For Milner's relationship with Margot Tennant before her marriage to Asquith in 1894, see her second fling at autobiography, More or Less about Myself (London, 1932). On 22 April 1908, W. T. Stead wrote to Lord Esher that Mrs. Asquith had three portraits over her bed: Rosebery, Balfour, and Milner. See The Journals and Letters of Reginald, Viscount Esher (4 vols., London, 1938), 11, 304.

Chapter 5

1. The Times's obituary on Milner (14 May 1925), obviously written by a person who knew the situation well (probably either Dawson or Amery), said; "He would never in any circumstances have accepted office again.... That he always disliked it, assumed it with reluctance, and laid it down with infinite relief, is a fact about which in his case there was never the smallest affectation." It will be recalled that Milner had refused the Colonial Secretaryship in 1903; about six years later, according to The Times obituary, he refused a Unionist offer of a Cabinet post in the next Conservative government, unless the party would pledge itself to establish compulsory military training. This it would not do. It is worth recalling that another initiate, Lord Esher, shared Milner's fondness for compulsory military training, as well as his reluctance to hold public of flee.

2. E. Garrett, The Empire and the Century (London, 1905), 481. Eight years later in 1913, in the introduction to a collection of his speeches called The Nation and the Empire (Boston, 1913), Milner said almost the same thing. Milner's distaste for party politics was shared by Lord Esher and Lord Grey to such an extent as to become a chief motivating force in their lives. See H. Begbie, Albert, Fourth Earl Grey (London, 1918), especially p. 52, and The Journals and Letters of Reginald, Viscount Esher (4 vols., London, 1938), passim.

3. Letter of Milner to Congdon, 23 November 1904, in Cecil Headlam, ed., The Milner Papers (2 vols., London, 1931-1933), H, 506.

4. Cecil Headlam, ed., The Milner Papers (2 vols., London, 1931-1933), I, 267 and 288; II, 505. Milner's antipathy for party politics was generally shared by the inner circle of the Milner Group. The future Lord Lothian, writing in The Round Table, August 1911, was very critical of party politics and used the same arguments against it as Milner. He wrote: "At any moment a party numbering among its numbers all the people best qualified to manage foreign affairs may be cast from office, for reasons which have nothing to do with their conduct of these matters. ... If the people of Great Britain manage to keep at the head of the great Imperial offices of State, men who will command the confidence of the Dominions, and who pursue steadfastly a . . . successful policy, and if the people of the Dominions are tolerant and far-sighted enough to accept such a policy as their own, the present arrangement may last. Does history give us any reason for expecting that the domestic party system will produce so great a combination of good fortune and good management?" (The Round Table, I, 414-418).

In the introduction to The Nation and the Empire, written in 1913, Milner expressed himself in a similar vein.

5. Marquess of Crewe, Lord Rosebery (2 vols., London, 1931), 615.

6. See John, Viscount Morley, Recollections (2 vols., New York, 1917), II.

7. The fact that a small "secret" group controlled the nominations for Chancellor of Oxford was widely recognized in Britain, but not frequently mentioned publicly. In May 1925 the Earl of Birkenhead wrote a letter to The Times to protest against this usurpation by a nonofficial group and was answered in The Times, by a letter which stated that, when the group was formed after the interruption of the First World War, he had been invited to join it but had never acknowledged the invitation! Milner's nomination was made by a group that met in New College, under the chairmanship of H. A. L. Fisher, on 5 May 1925. There were was about thirty present, including Fisher, Lord Astor, Lord Ernie, Steel-Maitland, Pember, Wilkinson, Brand, Lucas, M. G. Glazebrook, Sir Herbert Warren (classmate and friend of Milner's), Archbishop Davidson, Cyril Bailey, etc. The same group, according to Lord Halifax's biographer, nominated Lord Halifax to the Chancellorship in 1933.

8. The editors were assisted in the work of producing the two volumes by Margaret Toynbee. The influence of the Milner Group can be discerned in the list of acknowledgments in the preface to Weaver's volume. Among eighteen names listed may be found those of Cyril Bailey (Fellow of Balliol, 1902-1939, and member of the Ministry of Munitions, 1915-1918); C. R. M. F. Cruttwell (member of All Souls and the Round Table Group, Principal of Hertford College since 1930); Geoffrey Dawson, H. A. L. Fisher; and Ernest Swinton (Fellow of All Souls, 1925-1939). Apparently these persons decided what names should be included in the Dictionary.
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Re: The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Clivede

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Part 2 of 2

Chapter 6

1 . The Milner Group's control over these lectures appears as much from the list of presiding officers as from the list of lecturers, thus:

President / Speaker / Title

A. D. Steel-Maitland / Michael Sadler / The Universities and the War
Lord Bryce / Charles Lucas / The Empire and Democracy
Lord Milner / A. L. Smith / The People and the Duties of Empire
Lord Selborne / H. A. L. Fisher / Imperial Administration
Earl St. Aldwyn / Philip Kerr / The Commonwealth and the Empire
Lord Sumner / G. R. Parkin / The Duty of the Empire in the World


2. Buckle came to The Times staff in 1880 because of his All Souls connection, being recommended by Sir William Anson, according to the official History of The Times. He was apparently selected to be the future editor from the beginning, since he was given a specially created position as "confidential assistant" to the editor, at a salary "decidedly higher than an Oxford graduate with a good degree could reasonably hope to gain in a few years in any of the regular professions." See The History of The Times (4 vols., London, 1935), II, 529. Buckle may have been the link between Lord Salisbury and The Times, since they could easily meet at All Souls. Obviously The History of the Times, which devotes a full volume of 862 pages to the period of Buckle's editorship, does not tell the full story on Buckle, since he rarely appears on the scene as an actor and would seem, from the History, to have been ignorant of most of what was happening in his offices (the Rhodes-Jameson connection, for example). This is difficult to believe.

The History of The Times is unsatisfactory on other grounds as well. For example, it is not possible from this work to construct a complete record of who held various staff positions. We are told, for example, that Flora Shaw became head of the Colonial Department in 1890, but that ends that department as far as the volume is concerned. There is considerable material on Miss Shaw, especially in the chapters on the Transvaal, but we never find out w ho was her successor, or when she left the staff, or if (as appears likely) the Colonial Department was a creation for her occupancy only and did not survive her (undated) withdrawal from the staff; similarly the exact dates and positions of men like Amery and Grigg are not clear.

3. The History of The Times (4 vols., London, 1935), III, 755.

4. There were others, but they are not of primary, or even secondary importance in the Milner Croup. We might mention Aubrey L. Kennedy (son of Sir John Kennedy of the diplomatic service), who was on The Times staff from 1910 to 1942, in military intelligence in 1914-1919, diplomatic correspondent for the BBC in 1942-1945, and an influential member of Chatham House since 1919.

5. E. Moberly Bell, Flora Shaw (London, 1947), 115.

6. At the suggestion of the British Foreign Office, copies of these articles were circulated in America and in Europe. See E. Moberly Bell, Flora Shaw (London, 1947) 228.  

7. The History of The Times (4 vols., London, 1935), 111, 212, 214.

8. All quotations are from The History of The Times (4 vols., London, 1935), III, chapters 7 and 9.

9. See E. T. Cook, Edmund Garrett (London, 1909), 118-119. The difference of opinion between Stead and the others can be traced in F. Whyte, The Life of W. T. Stead (2 vols., Boston, 1925), Ch. 21.

The failure of the plotters in Johannesburg to revolt so haunted the plotters elsewhere that they salved their wounds by fantasy. Stead wrote this fantasy for The Review of Reviews annual of January 1897, and consulted with Garrett, who had similar plans for the Christmas 1896 number of the Cape Times. In Stead's story, the Jameson fiasco was to be turned into a smashing success by a heroic South African editor, who, when all appeared lost, would rush to Johannesburg, stir up the revolt, and save the day. Garrett, who was to be the original model for the hero, wrote back: 'A suggestion which will help to keep us distinct, give you a much grander theme, and do something for C.J. R. which no one has yet dared — I went nearer to 'Cecil Rhodes' Dream' but that was a hint only: viz. Make world see what he was driving at and what would have come if all had come off and if Johannesburg had played up.... As to making me the hero. No.... But he must be not only me but you also, and A. Milner, and a few more rolled into one, and he must do what I dreamed of doing but time and space prevented." For the name of this hero Garrett suggested combining the three names into 'Milner Garsted" or "Milstead." Ultimately, Stead made the hero a woman. The new model was probably Flora Shawl The story appeared with the title "The History of a Mystery." See F. Whyte, The Life of W. T. Stead, 94-95.

10. Even after the view of the majority prevailed, Stead refused to yield and published his version of a proper defense in The Scandal of the South Africa Committee (London, 1899). It was Stead's belief that preparation for"a raid" was a patriotic act which, if confessed, would have won public acclaim rather than condemnation.

11. On this see Journals and Letters of Reginald, Viscount Esher, (4 vols., London, 1938N, 1, 196-202.

12. The History of The Times (4 vols., London, 1935), 111, 244. It is clear from Miss Moberly Bell's biography of Flora Shaw (183-188) that Buckle knew this fact at least by 24 May 1897, although Miss Shaw had previously written him a letter stating explicit!) (probably for the record) that she had been acting without either Buckle's or Bell's knowledge. The night before Miss Shaw testified before the Select Committee, Buckle sent her a detailed letter of instruction on how to answer the committee's questions.

13. W. S. Blunt, My Diaries (London, 1932), 226.

14. See The History of The Times (4 vols., London, 1935), 111, 315-316.

Chapter 7

1. L. Curtis, Dyarchy (Oxford, 1920), 41.

There can be no doubt that the original inspiration for the Round Table movement was to be found in anti-German feeling. In fact, there are some indications that this was the primary motive and that the stated purpose of working for imperial federation was, to some extent at least, a mask. The Round Table, in 1940, in its obituary of Abe Bailey (September 1940, XXX, 743-746) attributes its foundation to this cause as follows: "German ambitions to destroy and supplant the British Commonwealth were manifest to those who had eyes to see.... [These asked] 'Can not all the Dominions he brought to realize the common danger that confronts them as much as it confronts Great Britain and think out in mutual discussion the means of uniting all the force and resolution of the Empire in its defense?' To the solution of this question the founders of the Closer Union Societies resolved to apply a similar procedure. Round Table Groups were established in all the British Dominions to study the problem." A similar cause for the founding appeared in The Round Table as recently as the issue of September 1948.

2. The original leader of the Round Table Groups in New Zealand was apparently James Allen (Sir James after 1917), who had been educated in England, at Clifton School and Cambridge University, and was an M. P. in New Zealand from 1887 to 1920. He was Minister of Defense (1912-1920), Minister of Finance and Education (1912-1915), and Minister of Finance (1919-1920), before he became in 1920, New Zealand's High Commissioner in London. He was a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

In the Round Table Group for New Zealand, Allen was soon supplemented and eventually succeeded by William Downie-Stewart as the most important member. Stewart was at the time Mayor of Dunedin (1913) but soon began a twenty-one-year period as an M.P. (1914-1935). He was also Minister of Customs (1921-1928); Minister of Internal Affairs (1921-1924); Minister of Industries and Commerce (1923-1926); Attorney General (1926); Minister of Finance (1926-1928, 1931-1933); Acting Prime Minister (1926); New Zealand delegate to the Ottawa Conference (1932); Vice- Chancellor of Otago University; prominent businessman, and president of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs (1935- ). According to Dove's letters, he attended a Milner Group discussion meeting at Lord Lothian's country house in October 1932.

3. The chief leaders in Australia were Thomas Bavin (Sir Thomas after 1933) and Frederic W. Eggleston (Sir Frederic since 1941). The former, who died in 1941 (see obituary in The Round Table for December 1941), was a barrister in New South Wales from 1897, Professor of Law and Modern History at the University of Tasmania (1900- 1901); private secretary to the first Prime Minister of Australia, Sir Edmund Barton, in 1901-1904; Secretary and Chief Law Officer of Australia in 1907; It. commander in naval intelligence in 1916-1918; an Australian M.P. in 1919-1935; held many cabinet posts in New South Wales from 1922 to 1930, ending as Premier (1927-1930). He finished his career as a judge of the Supreme Court in 1935-1941. He was one of the original members of the Round Table Group in Australia, a regular contributor to The Round Table, and an important member of the Australian Institute of International Affairs.

Eggleston was a barrister from 1897; a member, correspondent, and chief agent in Australia for The Round Table from 1911; a member of the Legislative Assembly of Australia, (1920-1927); Minister for Railways, (1924-1926); chairman of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, (1934-1941); Minister of China (1941-1944) and to the United States (1944-1946). He was one of the founders and chief officers of the Australian Institute of International Affairs and its representative on the council of the Institute of Pacific Relations.

4. Glazebrook, although virtually unknown, was a very important figure in Canadian life, especially in financial and imperialist circles, up to his death in 1940. For many years he had a practical monopoly in foreign exchange transactions in Toronto, through his firm, Glazebrook and Cronyn (founded 1900). Like most members of the Milner Group, he was interested in adult education, workers' education, and university management. He promoted all of these in Toronto, lecturing himself to the Workers' Educational Association, and at the University of Toronto where he was assistant Professor of Banking and Finance (1926-1937). He was the chief adviser of leading bankers of Canada, and of London and New York bankers on Canadian matters. The Round Table says of him: "Through his friendship with Lord Milner and others he had at one time a wide acquaintance among the prominent figures in British public life, and it is well-known to his intimates that on numerous occasions British ministers, anxious to secure reliable information about certain Canadian affairs through unofficial channels, had recourse of Glazebrook.... By precept and example he exercised an immense influence for good upon the characters and outlook of a number of young Canadians who had the privilege of his society and knew him as 'The Sage.' Some of them, who have come to high place in the life of the Dominion, will not be slow to acknowledge the value of the inspiration and enlightenment which they derived from him. Continually he preached the doctrine to his young friends that it was their duty, if fortune had placed them in comfortable circumstances, to give some of their time to the intelligent study of public affairs and to the service of the community, and he awakened in not a few minds for the first time the idea that there were better goals in life than the making of money. It is true that the Round Table Groups which he organized with such enthusiasm have now faded into oblivion, but many of their members did not lose the zest for an intelligent study of politics which Glazebrook had implanted in them, and after the last war they proved keen supporters of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs as an agency for continuing the political education which Glazebrook had begun."

5. That Curtis consulted with Lord Chelmsford on the planned reforms before Lord Chelmsford went to India in 1916 was revealed in the House of Lords by Lord Crewe on 12 December 1919, and by Curtis in his book Dyarchy (Oxford, 1920), xxvii.

6. Dyarchy (Oxford, 1920), 74.

7. See R. H. Brand, ed., Letters of John Dove (London, 1938), 115-116.

8. See R. H. Brand, ed., Letters of John Dove (London, 1938), 326, 340.

9. Some of Milner's Canadian speeches in 1908 and in 1912 will be found in The Nation and the Empire (Boston, 1913). Kerr's speech at Toronto on 30 July 1912 was published by Glazebrook in June 1917 as an aid to the war effort. It bore on the cover the inscription "The Round Table in Canada." Curtis's speech, so far as I can determine, is unpublished.

10. See R. L. Schuyler, "The Rise of Anti-Imperialism in England," in The Political Science Quarterly (September 1928 and December 1921); O. D. Skelton, Life and Times of Sir Alexander Tilloch Gait (Toronto, 1920),440; and C. A. Bodelson, Studies in Mid- Victorian Imperialism (Copenhagen, 1924), 104.

11. All of these papers will be found in The Proceedings of the Royal Colonial Institute, VI, 36-85; XII, 346-391; and XI, 90-132.

12. The ideas expressed by Lionel Curtis were really Milner's ideas. This was publicly admitted by Milner in a speech before a conference of British and Dominion parliamentarians called together by the Empire Parliamentary Association, 28 July 1916. At this meeting "Milner expressed complete agreement with the general argument of Mr. Curtis, making lengthy quotations from his book, and also accepted the main lines of his plan for Imperial Federation. The resulting discussion showed that not a single Dominion Member present agreed either with Mr. Curtis or Lord Milner." H. D. Hall, The British Commonwealth of Nations (London, 1920), 166. The whole argument of Curtis's book was expressed briefly by Milner in 1913 in the Introduction to The Nation and the Empire.

13. Milner's two letters were in Cecil Headlam, ed., The Milner Papers (2 vols., London, 1931-1933), I, 159-160 and 267; On Edward Wood's role, see A. C. Johnson, Viscount Halifax (New York, 1941), 88-95. The project for devolution on a geographic basis for political matters and on a functional basis for economic matters was advocated by The Round Table in an article entitled "Some problems in democracy and reconstruction" in the issue of September 1917. The former type was accepted by Curtis as a method for solving the Irish problem and as a method which might well have been used in solving the Scottish problem in 1707. He wrote: "The continued existence in Edinburgh and London of provincial executives and legislatures, entrusted respectively with interests which were strictly Scottish and strictly English, was not incompatible with the policy of merging Scots and Englishmen in a common state. The possibility of distinguishing local from general interests had not as yet been realized." Again, he wrote: "If ever it should prove expedient to unburden the Parliament of the United Kingdom by delegating to the inhabitants of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales the management of their own provincial affairs and the condition of Ireland should prove no bar to such a measure, the Irish problem will once for all have been closed" — The Commonwealth of Nations (London, 1916), 295, 518.

14. R. H. Brand, ed., Letters of John Dove (London, 1938), 321.)

15. "The Financial and Economic Future" in The Round Table (December 1918), IX, 1 14-134. The quotation is from pages 121-123.

16. The Commonwealth of Nations (London, 1916), 8. This emphasis on duty to the community is to be found throughout the Milner Group. See, for example, Lord Grey's violent retort to a Canadian (who tried to belittle A. J. Glazebrook because he made no real effort to accumulate wealth) in The Round Table obituary of Glazebrook (March 1941 issue). The same idea was advocated by Hichens and Milner to settle the problems of management and labor within the industrial system. In a speech at Swanwick in 1919, the former said: "The industrial problem is primarily a moral one.... If we have rights, we also have duties.... In the industrial world our duty clearly is to regard our work as the Service which we render to the rest of the community, and it is obvious that we should give, not grudgingly or of necessity but in full measure" (The Round Table, December 1940, XXXI, 11). Milner's views are in Questions of the Hour (London, 1923).

17. In the August 1911 issue of The Round Table the future Lord Lothian wrote: "There are at present two codes of international morality — the British or Anglo-Saxon and the continental or German. Both cannot prevail. If the British Empire is not strong enough to be a real influence for fair dealing between nations, the reactionary standards of the German bureaucracy will triumph, and it will then only be a question of time before the British Empire itself is victimized by an international 'hold-up' on the lines of the Agadir incident. Unless the British peoples are strong enough to make it impossible for backward rivals to attack them with any prospect of success, they will have to accept the political standards of the aggressive military powers" (The Round Table, August 1911, 1, 422-423). What a disaster for the world that Lord Lothian, in March 1936, was not able to take to heart his own words written twenty-five years earlier!

18. As a matter of fact, one American Rhodes Scholar was a Negro; the experiment was not a success, not because of any objections by the English, but because of the objections of other American Rhodes Scholars.

19. L. Curtis, Dyarchy (Oxford, 1920), liii-liv.

20. The Commonwealth of Nations (London, 1916), 16, 24.

21. The Commonwealth of Nations (London, 1916), 181. See also The Problems of the Commonwealth (London, 1915), 18-19.

22. The quotations from Curtis will be found in The Commonwealth of Nations (London, 1916), 181 and 176; also The Problem of the Commonwealth (London, 1915), 18-19; the quotation from Dove is in a long letter to Brand, dated 9 September 1919, in Letters of John Dove, edited by R. H. Brand (London, 1938), 96-106; Philip Kerr's statement will be found in L. Curtis, Dyarchy (Oxford, 1920),73. See also Kerr's speech at King's College in 1915, published in The Empire and the Future (London, 1916); he attacks jingo-imperialism, racial superiority, and national conceit as "Prussian heresy" and adds: "That the spirit of Prussia has brooded over this land is proved by the shortest examination of the history of Ireland." He then attacks the Little Englanders and economic or commercial imperialism, giving shocking examples of their effects on native lives and cultures. He concludes: "The one thing you cannot do, if you are a human being, is to do nothing. Civilization cannot stand on one side and see native tribes destroyed by so-called civilized looters and marauders, or as the result of the free introduction of firearms, drink, and other instruments of vice. He decides that Britain, by following a middle ground, has "created not an Empire but a Commonwealth" and defines the latter as a community activated by the spirit "Love thy neighbor as thyself." (The Empire and the Future, 70-86). George R. Parkin expresses similar ideas in the same volume on pp. 95-97. Kerr had expressed somewhat similar sentiments in a speech before the Canadian Round Table in Toronto, 30 July 1912. This was published by Glazebrook as a pamphlet (Toronto, 1917).

23. The quotations from A. L. Smith are from The Empire and the Future (London, 1916), 29-30.

Chapter 8

1. The success of the Group in getting the foreign policy they wanted under a Liberal government may be explained by the pressure from without through The Times and the assistance from within through Asquith, Grey, and Haldane, and through the less obvious but no less important work of persons like Sir Eyre Crowe and above all Lord Esher.

2. During this period Lord Esher played a vital but still mysterious role in the government. He was a strong supporter of Milner and his Group and was an influential adviser of Lloyd George. On 12 November 1917, he had a long walk with his protege, Hankey, in Paris and "urged the vital importance of sending Milner as Ambassador, Minister- Plenipotentiary, call him what you will. Henry Wilson cannot stand alone." Later the same day he spoke to Lloyd George: "I urged most strongly that he should send Milner here, on the ground that he would give stability where there is none and that his presence would ensure Henry Wilson getting 'information.' this I urged specially in view of the future as of the present. Otherwise we might one day find the Italian position reproduced in France. He finds Milner almost indispensable, but he will seriously think of the proposal." Milner was sent to Paris, as Esher wished, four months later. On 2 February 1918, Esher had another conversation, in which Lloyd George spoke of putting Milner in Derby's place at the War Office. The change was made two months later. (Journals and Letters of Reginald, Viscount Esher [4 vols., London, 1938], 158-159 and 178.)

3. Zimmern was unquestionably one of the better minds in the Milner Group, and his ideas were frequently closer to Milner's than those of others of the inner circle. Although Zimmern agreed with the others in 1919 about the severity of the treaty, his reasons were quite different and do credit to both his integrity and his intelligence. He objected to the severity of the treaty because it was a breach of the pre-armistice commitments to the Germans; at the same time he wanted a continuation of the alliance that had won the war and a strong League of Nations, because he had no illusions about converting the Germans to peaceful ways in the near future. The inner circle of the Milner Group were against a severe treaty or a strong League or an alliance with France because they believed that Germany could be converted to the British way of thinking and acting and because they wanted to rebuild Germany as a weapon in a balance-of-power system against "Russian bolshevism" and "French militarism." Part II of Europe in Convalescence (New York, 1922) remains to this day the most brilliant summary available on what went wrong in 1919.

Chapter 9

1. In June 1908, in a speech to the Royal Colonial Institute, Milner said: "Anything like imperial federation — the effective union of the self-governing states — is not, indeed as some think, a dream, but is certainly at present little more than an aspiration" (Milner, The Nation and the Empire [Boston, 1913], 293). In 1891 Sir Charles Tupper said: "Most people have come to the conclusion stated by Lord Rosebery at the Mansion House, that a Parliamentary Federation, if practicable, is so remote that during the coming century it is not likely to make any very great advance." In 1899, Rosebery said: "Imperial Federation in any form is an impossible dream." See H. D. Hall, The British Commonwealth of Nations (London, 1920), 70-71. In October 1905, Joseph Chamberlain said: "You cannot approach closer union by that means." Philip Kerr in 1911 spoke of federation as "the ill-considered proposals of the Imperial Federation League" (The Round Table, August 1911, 1, 374). By this last date, only Lionel Curtis, of the Milner Group, had much faith in the possibility of federation. This is why his name alone was affixed, as editor, to the two volumes published by the Group in 1916.

2. On the secret group of 1903-1905, see H. D. Hall, The British Commonwealth of Nations (London, 1920). The group was clearly made up of members of the Cecil Bloc and Milner Group. On its report, see the Proceedings of the Royal Colonial Institute for 1905, appendix; W. B. Worsfold, The Empire on the Anvil (London, 1916); and R. Jebb, The Imperial Conference (London, 1911), Vol. n. Lyttleton's dispatch is Cond. 2785 of 1905. Kerr's remark is in The Round Table (August 1911), I, 410.

3. This opinion of the important role played by Milner in the period 1916-1921 undoubtedly originated from Geoffrey Dawson, but it was shared by all the members of the Kindergarten. It is stated in different words by Basil Williams in The Dictionary of National Biography and by John Buchan in his autobiography, Pilgrim's Way (Boston, 1940).

4. On the reaction to the speeches of Smuts and Halifax, see J. G. Allen, Editorial Opinion in the Contemporary British Commonwealth and Empire (Boulder, Colorado, 1946).

5. On this whole section, see "George Louis Beer" in The Round Table (September 1920), X, 933-935; G. L. Beer, African Questions at the Peace Conference (New York 1923), 424-425; H. D. Hall, Mandates, Dependencies, and Trusteeship (Washington, 1948); U.S. State Department, Foreign Relations of the United States. Paris Peace Conference 1919, VI, 727-729. That Kerr wrote Article 22 is revealed in H. V. Temperley, History of the Peace Conference, VI, 501. That Curtis wrote" Windows of Freedom" and showed it to Smuts before he wrote his memorandum was revealed by Curtis in a private communication to Professor Quincy Wright, according to Q. Wright, Mandates under the League of Nations (Chicago, 1930), 22-23, note 53a.

6. W. K. Hancock, Survey of British Commonwealth Affairs (3 vols., London, 1940- 1942), 1, 125.

7. S. G. Millen, General Smuts (2 vols., London, 1936), U, 321.

Chapter 10

1. Robert Jemmett Stopford (1895- ) was a banker in London from 1921 to 1928. He was private secretary to the chairman of the Simon Commission in 1928-1930, a member of the "Standstill Committee" on German Foreign Debts, a member of the Runciman Commission to Czechoslovakia in 1938, Liaison Officer for Refugees with the Czechoslovakian government in 1938-1939, Financial Counselor at the British Embassy in Washington in 1943-1945.

Chapter 11

1. See Journals and Letters of Reginald, Viscount Esher (4 vols., London 1938), 11, 56, and III, 8.

2. According to David Ogg, Herbert Fisher, 1865-1940 (London, 1947), 96, Fisher, "helped Mr. Montagu in drafting the Montagu-Chelmsford Report."

3. This memorandum was published, with Lord Halifax's permission, in A. C. Johnson, Viscount Halifax (New York, 1941).

Chapter 12

1. See the minutes of the Council of Four, as recorded by Sir Maurice Hankey, in U.S. Department of State, Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States. The Paris Peace Conference, (Washington, D.C., 1946), VI, 138-160.

2. In Europe in Convalescence (New York, 1922), Alfred Zimmern wrote of October 1918 as follows: "Europe, 'from the Rhine to the Volga' to quote from a memorandum written at the time, was in solution. It was not a question now of autocratic against popular government; it was a question of government against anarchy. From one moment to the next every responsible student of public affairs, outside the ranks of the professional revolutionaries, however red his previous affiliations may have been, was turned perforce into a Conservative. The one urgent question was to get Europe back to work" (80).

In The Round Table for December 1918 (91-92) a writer (probably Curtis) stated: "Modern civilization is at grips with two great dangers, the danger of organized militarism . . . and the more insidious, because more pervasive danger of anarchy and class conflict.... As militarism breeds anarchy, so anarchy in its turn breeds militarism. Both are antagonistic to civilization."

In The Round Table for June 1919, Brand wrote: "It is out of any surplus on her foreign balance of trade that Germany can alone — apart from any immediately available assets — pay an indemnity. Why should Germany be able to do the miracle that France and Italy cannot do, and not only balance her trade, but have great surpluses in addition to pay over to her enemies? ... If , as soon as peace is declared, Germany is given assistance and credit, she can pay us something, and should pay all she can. But what she can pay in the next five years must be, we repeat, limited. If, on the other hand, we take away from her all her liquid assets, and all her working capital, if furthermore, she is bound in future to make yearly payments to an amount which will in any reasonable human expectation exceed her capacity, then no one outside of a lunatic asylum will lend her money or credit, and she will not recover sufficiently to pay anything" — War and National Finance (London, 1921), 193.

3. The attitude of the Group toward "French militarism" can be found in many places. Among others, see Smuts's speech of October 1923, quoted below. This attitude was not shared by Professor Zimmern, whose understanding of Europe in general and of France in particular was much more profound than that of other members of the Group. In Europe in Convalescence (158-161) he wrote: "A declaration of British readiness to sign the Guarantee Treaty would be the best possible answer to French, and it may be added also to Belgian fears.... He little knows either the French peasant or the French townsman who thinks that aggression, whether open or concealed, against Germany need ever be feared from their country.... France feels that the same willfully uncomprehending British policy, the same aggravatingly self-righteous professions of rectitude, pursue her in the East, from Danzig to Upper Silesia, as on the Western frontier of her hereditary foe; and in her nervous exasperation she puts herself ever more in the wrong with her impeccably cool-headed neighbor."

The Group's attitude toward Bolshevism was clearly stated is an article in The Round Table for March 1919: "Bolshevism is a tyranny — a revolutionary tyranny if you will — which is the complete abnegation of democracy and of all freedom of thought and action. Based on force and terroristic violence, it is simply following out the same philosophy which was preached by Nietzsche and Haeckel, and which for the past twenty-five years has glorified the might of force as the final justification of all existence.... In its present form Bolshevism must either spread or die. It certainly cannot remain stationary. And at the present moment, it stands as a very real menace to the peace of Europe and to any successful establishment of a League of Nations. This is the real problem which the Allied delegates in Paris have now to face." (The italics are mine.)

4. The German emissary, whose name Smuts does not mention, was Walter de Haas, Ministerialdirektor in the Foreign Ministry in Berlin.

5. When the Labour government was in power in 1924 and the Dawes settlement of reparations was an accomplished fact, Stresemann was so afraid that DAbernon would be replaced as British Ambassador in Berlin that he w rote a letter to Lord Parmoor (father of Stafford Cripps, Lord President in the Labour Cabinet, and delegate at the time to the League of Nations), asking that DAbernon be continued in his post as Ambassador. This letter, dated 16 September 1924, was answered by Lord Parmoor on 18 September from Geneva. He said, in part: "I think that in the first instance Lord DAbernon was persuaded to go to Berlin especially in relation to financial and economic difficulties, but perhaps he may be persuaded to stay on, and finish the good work he has begun. In any case your letter is sure to be fully considered by our Foreign Minister, who is also our Prime Minister." See E. Sutton, Gustav Stresemann: His Diaries, Letters, and Papers (New York, 1935), 1,451-454.

6. This paragraph is largely based on J. H. Morgan, Assize of Arms (London, 1945), especially 199, 42, and 268. It is worthy of note that H. A. L. Fisher consulted with both Lord DAbernon and General Morgan on his visit to Germany in 1923 and came away accepting the ideas of the former. Furthermore, when Gilbert Murray went to Geneva in 1924 as League delegate from South Africa, Fisher wrote him instructions to this effect. See D. Ogg, Herbert Fisher (London, 1947), 1 15-117.

7. On this organization see Institute of Politics, Williams College, The Institute of Politics at Williamstown: Its First Decade (Williams/own, Mass., 1931).

8. Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, The Great Experiment (London, 1941), 166. The quotations from Lord Esher's Journals and Letters (4 vols., London, 1938) are in Vol. IV, 227, 250, and 272.

9. Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, The Great Experiment (London, 1941), 250.

10. The whole memorandum and other valuable documents of this period will be found in USSR, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Documents and Materials Relating to the Eve of the Second World War (5 vole., 1948-1949), Vol. I, November 1937-1938. From the Archives of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 13-45. The authenticity of these documents was challenged by an "unnamed spokesman" for the British Foreign Office when they were first issued, but I am informed by the highest American authority on the captured German documents that the ones published by the Russians are completely authentic.

11. Keith Feiling, Life of Neville Chamberlain (London, 1941), 333. The author is a Fellow of All Souls, close to the Milner Group, and wrote his book on the basis of the late Prime Minister's papers, which were made available by the family.

12. See Lionel Curtis, Civitas Dei; The Commonwealth of God (London, 1938), 914- 930.

13. Robert J. Stopford, a close associate of the Milner Group whom we have already mentioned on several occasions, went to Czechoslovakia with Runciman as a technical adviser. See J. W. Wheeler-Bennett, Munich: Prologue to Tragedy (New York, 1948), 79, n. 1.

14. The reference to Professor Schumann is in J. W. Wheeler-Bennett, Munich (New York, 1948), 436, n.l. If Mr. Wheeler-Bennett had placed a little more credence in the "pre-Munich plot," many of the facts which he cannot explain would be easily fitted into the picture. Among them we might point out the mystifying (to Mr. Wheeler-Bennett) fact that Lord Runciman's report of 16 September went further than either Hitler or Henlein in demanding sacrifices from the Czechs (see Munich, p. 1 12). Or again he would not have had to make such an about-face as that between page 96 and page 97 of the book. On page 96, The Times' s demand of 7 September was similar to the views of Mr. Chamberlain, as expressed at Lady Astor's on 10 May, and "Geoffrey Dawson was a personal friend of Lord Halifax." But on page 97, "The thoughtless irresponsibility of The Times did not voice at that moment the views of His Majesty's Government. If Mr. Wheeler-Bennett had added to his picture a few additional facts, such as a more accurate version of German re-armaments, Runciman's letter of 2 September to Hitler, etc., he would have found it even more difficult to make his picture of Munich stand up.

15. Count Helmuth lames von Moltke, a German of the Resistance (Johannesburg, 1947). See also Allen W. Dulles, Germany's Underground (New York, 1947), 85-90. The additional letter added to the Johannesburg publication was written by von Moltke to his wife just before his death. Curtis's name is mentioned in it.

16. On this whole movement, see Hans Rothfels, The German Opposition to Hitler (Hinsdale, Illinois, 1948), and F. L. Ford, "The Twentieth of July in the History of the German Resistance" in The American Historical Review (July 1946), LI, 609-626. On Kordt's message to Lord Halifax, see Rothfels, 58-63.

17. A. C. Johnson, Viscount Halifax (New York, 1941), 531.

18. USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Documents and Materials Relating to the Eve of the Second World War. II Dirksen Papers (1938-1939) (Moscow, 1948), 126-131.

19. British Blue Book, Cmd. 6106.

20. All documents on these negotiations will be found in a Swedish Foreign Ministry White Paper, Forspelet till det tyska angreppet pa Danmark och Norge den 9 April 1940 (Stockholm 1947).

Chapter 13

1 . On the Ministry of Information during the war, see Great Britain, Central Office of Information, First Annual Report, 1947-1948. This is Cmd. 7567.

2. This extract is printed in the Report of the Council of the Royal Institute of International Affairs for 1938-1939.

3. The last important public act of the Milner Group was the drawing of the Italo- Yugoslav boundary in 1946. The British Delegate on the Boundary Commission was C. H. Waldock, now a Chichele Professor and Fellow of All Souls, assisted by R. J. Stopford.  
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