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 » Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:35 pm

Chapter 3: The Secret Society of Cecil Rhodes (1)

When Milner went to South Africa in 1897, Rhodes and he were already old acquaintances of many years' standing. We have already indicated that they were contemporaries at Oxford, but, more than that, they were members of a secret society which had been founded in 1891. Moreover, Milner was, if not in 1897, at least by 1901, Rhodes's chosen successor in the leadership of that society.

The secret society of Cecil Rhodes is mentioned in the first five of his seven wills. In the fifth it was supplemented by the idea of an educational institution with scholarships, whose alumni would be bound together by common ideals — Rhodes's ideals. In the sixth and seventh wills the secret society was not mentioned, and the scholarships monopolized the estate. But Rhodes still had the same ideals and still believed that they could be carried out best by a secret society of men devoted to a common cause. The scholarships were merely a facade to conceal the secret society, or, more accurately, they were to be one of the instruments by which the members of the secret society could carry out his purpose. This purpose, as expressed in the first will (1877), was:

"The extension of British rule throughout the world, the perfecting of a system of emigration from the United Kingdom and of colonization by British subjects of all lands wherein the means of livelihood are attainable by energy, labour, and enterprise, . . . the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of a British Empire, the consolidation of the whole Empire, the inauguration of a system of Colonial Representation in the Imperial Parliament which may tend to weld together the disjointed members of the Empire, and finally the foundation of so great a power as to hereafter render wars impossible and promote the best interests of humanity."


To achieve this purpose, Rhodes, in this first will, written while he was still an undergraduate of Oxford at the age of twenty-four, left all his wealth to the Secretary of State for the Colonies (Lord Carnarvon) and to the Attorney General of Griqualand West (Sidney Shippard), to be used to create a secret society patterned on the Jesuits. The reference to the Jesuits as the model for his secret society is found in a "Confession of Faith" which Rhodes had written two years earlier (1875) and which he enclosed in his will. Thirteen years later, in a letter to the trustee of his third will, Rhodes told how to form the secret society, saying, "In considering questions suggested take Constitution of the Jesuits if obtainable and insert 'English Empire' for 'Roman Catholic Religion.'"

In his "Confession of Faith" Rhodes outlined the types of persons who might be useful members of this secret society. As listed by the American Secretary to the Rhodes Trust, this list exactly describes the group formed by Milner in South Africa:

"Men of ability and enthusiasm who find no suitable way to serve their country under the current political system; able youth recruited from the schools and universities; men of wealth with no aim in life; younger sons with high thoughts and great aspirations but without opportunity; rich men whose careers are blighted by some great disappointment. All must be men of ability and character.... Rhodes envisages a group of the ablest and the best, bound together by common unselfish ideals of service to what seems to him the greatest cause in the world. There is no mention of material rewards. This is to be a kind of religious brotherhood like the Jesuits, 'a church for the extension of the British Empire.'"


In each of his seven wills, Rhodes entrusted his bequest to a group of men to carry out his purpose. In the first will, as we have seen, the trustees were Lord Carnarvon and Sidney Shippard. In the second will (1882), the sole trustee was his friend N. E. Pickering. In the third will (1888), Pickering having died, the sole trustee was Lord Rothschild. In the fourth will (1891), W. T. Stead was added, while in the fifth (1892), Rhodes's solicitor, B. F. Hawksley, was added to the previous two. In the sixth (1893) and seventh (1899) wills, the personnel of the trustees shifted considerably, ending up, at Rhodes's death in 1902, with a board of seven trustees: Lord Milner, Lord Rosebery, Lord Grey, Alfred Beit, L. L. Michell, B. F. Hawksley, and Dr. Starr Jameson. This is the board to which the world looked to set up the Rhodes Scholarships.

Dr. Frank Aydelotte, the best-known American authority on Rhodes's wills, claims that Rhodes made no reference to the secret society in his last two wills because he had abandoned the idea. The first chapter of his recent book, The American Rhodes Scholarships, states and reiterates that between 1891 and 1893 Rhodes underwent a great change in his point of view and matured in his judgment to the point that in his sixth will "he abandons forever his youthful idea of a secret society." This is completely untrue, and there is no evidence to support such a statement. (2) On the contrary, all the evidence, both direct and circumstantial, indicates that Rhodes wanted the secret society from 1875 to his death in 1902. By Dr. Aydelotte's own admission, Rhodes wanted the society from 1877 to 1893, a period of sixteen years. Accepted practice in the use of historical evidence requires us to believe that Rhodes persisted in this idea for the remaining nine years of his life, unless there exists evidence to the contrary. There is no such evidence. On the other hand, there is direct evidence that he did not change his ideas. Two examples of this evidence can be mentioned here. On 5 February 1896, three years after his sixth will, Rhodes ended a long conversation with R. B. Brett (later Lord Esher) by saying, "Wish we could get our secret society." And in April 1900, a year after he wrote his seventh and last will, Rhodes was reprimanding Stead for his opposition to the Boer War, on the grounds that in this case he should have been willing to accept the judgment of the men on the spot who had made the war. Rhodes said to Stead, "That is the curse which will be fatal to our ideas — insubordination. Do not you think it is very disobedient of you? How can our Society be worked if each one sets himself up as the sole judge of what ought to be done? Just look at the position here. We three are in South Africa, all of us your boys ... I myself, Milner, and Garrett, all of whom learned their politics from you. We are on the spot, and we are unanimous in declaring this war to be necessary. You have never been in South Africa, and yet, instead of deferring to the judgment of your own boys, you fling yourself into a violent opposition to the war."(3)

Dr. Aydelotte's assumption that the scholarships were an alternative to the secret society is quite untenable, for all the evidence indicates that the scholarships were but one of several instruments through which the society would work. In 1894 Stead discussed with Rhodes how the secret society would work and wrote about it after Rhodes's death as follows: "We also discussed together various projects for propaganda, the formation of libraries, the creation of lectureships, the dispatch of emissaries on missions of propaganda throughout the Empire, and the steps to be taken to pave the way for the foundation and the acquisition of a newspaper which was to be devoted to the service of the cause." This is an exact description of the way in which the society, that is the Milner Group, has functioned. Moreover, when Rhodes talked with Stead, in January 1895, about the scholarships at Oxford, he did not abandon the society but continued to speak of it as the real power behind the scholarships. It is perfectly clear that Rhodes omitted mentioning the secret society in his last two wills because he knew that by that time he was so famous that the one way to keep a society from being secret would be to mention it in his will. Obviously, if Rhodes wanted the secret society after 1893, he would have made no mention of it in his will but would have left his money in trust for a legitimate public purpose and arranged for the creation of the secret society by a private understanding with his trustees. This is clearly what happened, because the secret society was established, and Milner used Rhodes's money to finance it, just as Rhodes had intended. (4)

The creation of the secret society was the essential core of Rhodes's plans at all times. Stead, even after Rhodes's death, did not doubt that the attempt would be made to continue the society. In his book on Rhodes's wills he wrote in one place: "Mr. Rhodes was more than the founder of a dynasty. He aspired to be the creator of one of those vast semi-religious, quasi-political associations which, like the Society of Jesus, have played so large a part in the history of the world. To be more strictly accurate, he wished to found an Order as the instrument of the will of the Dynasty, and while he lived he dreamed of being both its Caesar and its Loyola. It was this far-reaching, world-wide aspiration of the man which rendered, to those who knew him, so absurdly inane the speculations of his critics as to his real motives." Sixty pages later Stead wrote: "The question that now arises is whether in the English-speaking world there are to be found men of faith adequate to furnish forth materials for the Society of which Mr. Rhodes dreamed."

This idea of a society throughout the world working for federal union fascinated Milner as it had fascinated Rhodes. We have already mentioned the agreement which he signed with George Parkin in 1893, to propagandize for this purpose. Eight years later, in a letter to Parkin from South Africa, Milner wrote at length on the subject of imperial union and ended: "Good-bye for today. Keep up the touch. I wish we had some like-minded persons in New Zealand and Australia, who were personal friends. More power to your elbow. "(5) Moreover, there were several occasions after 1902 when Milner referred to his desire to see "a powerful body of men" working "outside the existing political parties" for imperial unity. He referred to this desire in his letter to Congdon in 1904 and referred to it again in his "farewell speech" to the Kindergarten in 1905. There is also a piece of negative evidence which seems to me to be of considerable significance. In 1912 Parkin wrote a book called The Rhodes Scholarships, in which he devoted several pages to Rhodes's wills. Although he said something about each will and gave the date of each will, he said nothing about the secret society. Now this secret society, which is found in five out of the seven wills, is so astonishing that Parkin's failure to mention it must be deliberate. He would have no reason to pass it by in silence unless the society had been formed. If the existing Rhodes Trust were a more mature alternative for the secret society rather than a screen for it, there would be no reason to pass it by, but, on the contrary, an urgent need to mention it as a matter of great intrinsic interest and as an example of how Rhodes's ideas matured.

As a matter of fact, Rhodes's ideas did not mature. The one fact which appears absolutely clearly in every biography of Rhodes is the fact that from 1875 to 1902 his ideas neither developed nor matured. Parkin, who clearly knew of the secret society, even if he did not mention it, says in regard to Rhodes's last will: "It is essential to remember that this final will is consistent with those which had preceded it, that it was no late atonement for errors, as some have supposed, but was the realization of life-long dreams persistently pursued."

Leaving aside all hypothesis, the facts are clear: Rhodes wanted to create a worldwide secret group devoted to English ideals and to the Empire as the embodiment of these ideals, and such a group was created. It was created in the period after 1890 by Rhodes, Stead, and, above all, by Milner.

The idea of a secret international group of propagandists for federal imperialism was by no means new to Milner when he became Rhodes Trustee in 1901, since he had been brought into Rhodes's secret society as the sixth member in 1891. This was done by his old superior, W. T. Stead. Stead, as we have indicated, was the chief Rhodes confidant in England and very close to Milner. Although Stead did not meet Rhodes until 1889, Rhodes regarded himself as a disciple of Stead's much earlier and eagerly embraced the idea of imperial federation based on Home Rule. It was in pursuit of this idea that Rhodes contributed £10,000 to Parnell in 1888. Although Rhodes accepted Stead's ideas, he did not decide that Stead was the man he wanted to be his lieutenant in the secret society until Stead was sent to prison in 1885 for his articles on organized vice in the Pall Mall Gazette. This courageous episode convinced Rhodes to such a degree that he tried to see Stead in prison but was turned away. After Stead was released, Rhodes did not find the opportunity to meet him until 4 April 1889. The excitement of that day for Stead can best be shown by quoting portions of the letter which he wrote to Mrs. Stead immediately after the conference. It said:

"Mr. Rhodes is my man! I have just had three hours talk with him. He is full of a far more gorgeous idea in connection with the paper than even I have had. I cannot tell you his scheme because it is too secret. But it involves millions. He had no idea that it would cost £250,000 to start a paper. But he offered me down as a free gift £20,000 to buy a share in the P.M. Gazette as a beginning. Next year he would do more. He expects to own before he dies 4 or 5 millions, all of which he will leave to carry out the scheme of which the paper is an integral part. He is giving £500,000 to make a railway to Matabeleland, and so has not available, just at this moment, the money necessary for starting the morning paper. His ideas are federation, expansion, and consolidation of the Empire.... He took to me. Told me some things he has told no other man — save Lord Rothschild — and pressed me to take the £20,000, not to have any return, to give no receipt, to simply take it and use it to give me a freer hand on the P.M.G. It seems all like a fairy dream.... He said he had taken his ideas from the P.M.G., that the paper permeated South Africa, that he met it everywhere.... How good God is to me.... Remember all the above about R. is very private."


The day following this sensational conversation Stead lost a libel action to the amount of £2000 damages. Rhodes at once sent a check to cover it and said: "You must keep my confidence secret. The idea is right, but until sure of the lines would be ruined in too many hands. Your subsidiary press idea can be discussed without risk, but the inner circle behind would never be many, perhaps three or four." (6)

About the same time, Rhodes revealed to Stead his plans to establish the British South Africa Company and asked him who in England could best help him get the necessary charter. Stead recommended Albert Grey, the future Earl Grey, who had been an intimate friend of Stead's since 1873 and had been a member of the Milner-Toynbee group in 1880-1884. As a result, Grey became one of the original directors of the British South Africa Company and took the first steps which eventually brought him into the select circle of Rhodes's secret society.

This society took another step forward during Rhodes's visit to England in February 1890. The evidence for this is to be found in the Journals of Lord Esher (at that time R. B. Brett), who had obviously been let in on the plan by Stead. Under date of 3 February 1890, we read in these Journals: "Cecil Rhodes arrived last night from South Africa. I was at Stead's today when he called. I left them together. Tonight I saw Stead again. Rhodes had talked for three hours of all his great schemes.... Rhodes is a splendid enthusiast. But he looks upon men as 'machines.' This is not very penetrating." Twelve days after this, on 15 February, at Lord Rothschild's country house, Brett wrote in his journal: 'Came here last night. Cecil Rhodes, Arthur Balfour, Harcourts, Albert Grey, Alfred Lyttelton. A long talk with Rhodes today. He has vast ideas. Imperial notions. He seems disinterested. But he is very ruse and, I suspect, quite unscrupulous as to the means he employs."(7)

The secret society, after so much preliminary talk, took form in 1891, the same year in which Rhodes drew up his fourth will and made Stead as well as Lord Rothschild the trustee of his fortune. It is perfectly clear from the evidence that he expected Rothschild to handle the financial investments associated with the trust, while Stead was to have full charge of the methods by which the funds were used. About the same time, in February 1891, Stead and Rhodes had another long discussion about the secret society. First they discussed their goals and agreed that, if necessary in order to achieve Anglo-American unity, Britain should join the United States. Then they discussed the organization of the secret society and divided it into two circles: an inner circle, "The Society of the Elect", and an outer circle to include "The Association of Helpers" and The Review of Reviews (Stead's magazine, founded 1890). Rhodes said that he had already revealed the plan for "The Society of the Elect" to Rothschild and "little Johnston." By "little Johnston" he meant Harry H. Johnston (Sir Harry after 1896), African explorer and administrator, who had laid the basis for the British claims to Nyasaland, Kenya, and Uganda. Johnston was, according to Sir Frederick Whyte, the biographer of Stead, virtually unknown in England before Stead published his portrait as the frontispiece to the first issue of The Review of Reviews in 1890.(8) This was undoubtedly done on behalf of Rhodes. Continuing their discussion of the membership of "The Society of the Elect," Stead asked permission to bring in Milner and Brett. Rhodes agreed, so they telegraphed at once to Brett, who arrived in two hours. They then drew up the following "ideal arrangement' for the society:

1. General of the Society: Rhodes
2. Junta of Three: (1) Stead, (2) Brett, (3) Milner
3. Circle of Initiates: (1) Cardinal Manning, (2) General Booth, (3) Bramwell Booth, (4) "Little" Johnston, (5) Albert Grey, (6) Arthur Balfour
4. The Association of Helpers
5. A College, under Professor Seeley, to be established to train people in the English-speaking idea."

Within the next few weeks Stead had another talk with Rhodes and a talk with Milner, who was "filled with admiration" for the scheme, according to Stead's notes as published by Sir Frederick Whyte.

The "ideal arrangement" for the secret society, as drawn up in 1891, never came into effect in all its details. The organization as drawn on paper reflected the romantic and melodramatic ideas of Cecil Rhodes and Stead, and doubtless they envisioned formal initiations, oaths, secret signs of recognition, etc. Once Milner and Brett were made initiates, the atmosphere changed. To them secret signs or oaths were so much claptrap and neither necessary nor desirable, for the initiates knew each other intimately and had implicit trust in each other without the necessity of signs or oaths. Thus the melodrama envisioned by Rhodes was watered down without in any way reducing the seriousness with which the initiates determined to use their own personal influence and Rhodes's wealth and power to achieve the consolidation of the British Empire, which they shared as an ideal with Rhodes.

With the elimination of signs, oaths, and formal initiations, the criteria for membership in "The Society of the Elect" became knowledge of the secret society and readiness to cooperate with the other initiates toward their common goal. The distinction between the initiates and The Association of Helpers rested on the fact that while members of both circles were willing to cooperate with one another in order to achieve their common goal, the initiates knew of the secret society, while the "helpers" probably did not. This distinction rapidly became of little significance, for the members of The Association of Helpers would have been very stupid if they had not realized that they were members of a secret group working in cooperation with other members of the same group. Moreover, the Circle of Initiates became in time of less importance because as time passed the members of this select circle died, were alienated, or became less immediately concerned with the project. As a result, the secret society came to be represented almost completely by The Association of Helpers — that is, by the group with which Milner was most directly concerned. And within this Association of Helpers there appeared in time gradations of intimacy, the more select ones participating in numerous areas of the society's activity and the more peripheral associated with fewer and less vital areas. Nevertheless, it is clear that "The Society of the Elect" continued to exist, and it undoubtedly recruited additional members now and then from The Association of Helpers. It is a very difficult task to decide who is and who is not a member of the society as a whole, and it is even more difficult to decide if a particular member is an initiate or a helper. Accordingly, the last distinction will not usually be made in this study. Before we abandon it completely, however, an effort should be made to name the initiates, in the earlier period at least.

Of the persons so far named, we can be certain that six were initiates. These were Rhodes, Lord Rothschild, Johnston, Stead, Brett, and Milner. Of these, Rothschild was largely indifferent and participated in the work of the group only casually. Of the others, Johnston received from £10,000 to £17,000 a year from Rhodes for several years after 1889, during which period he was trying to eliminate the influence of slave-traders and the Portuguese from Nyasaland. About 1894 he became alienated from Rhodes because of Johnston's refusal to cooperate with him in an attack on the Portuguese in Manikaland. As a result Johnston ceased to be an active member of the society. Lord Grey's efforts to heal the breach were only nominally successful. (9)

Stead was also eliminated in an informal fashion in the period 1899-1904, at first by Rhodes's removing him from his trusteeship and later by Milner's refusal to use him, confide in him, or even see him, although continuing to protest his personal affection for him. Since Milner was the real leader of the society after 1902, this had the effect of eliminating Stead from the society. (10)

Of the others mentioned, there is no evidence that Cardinal Manning or the Booths were ever informed of the scheme. All three were friends of Stead and would hardly be acceptable to the rising power of Milner. Cardinal Manning died in 1892. As for "General" Booth and his son, they were busily engaged in directing the Salvation Army from 1878 to 1929 and played no discernible role in the history of the Group.

Of the others who were mentioned, Brett, Grey, and Balfour can safely be regarded as members of the society, Brett because of the documentary evidence and the other two because of their lifelong cooperation with and assistance to Milner and the other members of the Group.

Brett, who succeeded his father as Viscount Esher in 1899, is one of the most influential and one of the least-known men in British politics in the last two generations. His importance could be judged better by the positions he refused than by those he held during his long life (1852-1930). Educated at Eton and Cambridge, he was a lifelong and intimate friend of Arthur Balfour, Albert Grey, Lord Rosebery, and Alfred Lyttelton. He was private secretary to the Marquess of Hartington (Duke of Devonshire) in 1878-1885 and a Liberal M.P. in 1880-1885. In the last year he was defeated in an attempt to capture the seat for Plymouth, and retired from public life to his country house near Windsor at the advanced age of thirty-three years. That he emerged from this retirement a decade later may well be attributed to his membership in the Rhodes secret society. He met Stead while still in public life and by virtue of his confidential position with the future Duke of Devonshire was able to relay to Stead much valuable information. These messages were sent over the signature "XIII."

This assistance was so highly esteemed by Stead that he regarded Brett as an important part of the Pall Mall Gazette organization. Writing in 1902 of Milner and Brett, Stead spoke of them, without mentioning their names, as "two friends, now members of the Upper House, who were thoroughly in sympathy with the gospel according to the Pall Mall Gazette and who had been as my right and left hands during my editorship of the paper." In return Stead informed Brett of Rhodes's secret schemes as early as February 1890 and brought him into the society when it was organized the following year.

The official positions held by Brett in the period after 1895 were secretary of the Office of Works (1895-1902), Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Windsor Castle (1901-1930), member of the Royal Commission on the South African War (1902-1903), permanent member of the Committee of Imperial Defence (1905-1930), chairman and later president of the London County Territorial Force Association (1909-1921), and chief British member of the Temporary Mixed Commission on Disarmament of the League of Nations (1922-1923). Although some of these posts, especially the one on the Committee of Imperial Defence, play an important role in the history of the Milner Group, none of them gives any indication of the significant position which Esher held in British political life. The same thing could be said of the positions which he refused, although they, if accepted, would have made him one of the greatest names in recent British history. Among the positions which he refused we might mention the following: Permanent Under Secretary in the Colonial Office (1899), Governor of Cape Colony (1900), Permanent Under Secretary in the War Office (1900), Secretary of State for War (1903), Director of The Times (1908), Viceroy of India (1908), and an earldom (date unknown). Esher's reasons for refusing these positions were twofold: he wanted to work behind the scenes rather than in the public view, and his work in secret was so important and so influential that any public post would have meant a reduction in his power. When he refused the exalted position of viceroy in 1908, he wrote frankly that, with his opportunity of influencing vital decisions at the center, India for him "would be (it sounds vain, but it isn't) parochial."(11) This opportunity for influencing decisions at the center came from his relationship to the monarchy. For at least twenty-five years (from 1895 to after 1920) Esher was probably the most important adviser on political matters to Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, and King George V. This position arose originally from his personal friendship with Victoria, established in the period 1885-1887, and was solidified later when, as secretary to the Office of Works and Lieutenant Governor of Windsor Castle, he was in charge of the physical properties of all the royal residences. These opportunities were not neglected. He organized the Diamond Jubilee of 1897, the royal funeral of 1901, and the coronation of the same year. In the latter case he proved to be indispensable, for in the sixty-four years without a coronation the precedents had been forgotten. In this way Esher reached a point where he was the chief unofficial representative of the King and the "liaison between King and ministers." As an example of the former role, we might mention that in 1908, when a purchaser known only as "X" acquired control of The Times, Esher visited Lord Northcliffe on behalf of "a very high quarter" to seek assurance that the policy of the paper would not be changed. Northcliffe, who was "X," hastened to give the necessary assurances, according to the official History of The Times. Northcliffe and the historian of The Times regarded Esher on this occasion as the emissary of King Edward, but we, who know of his relationship with the Rhodes secret society, are justified in asking if he were not equally the agent of the Milner Group, since it was as vital to the Group as to the King that the policy of The Times remain unchanged. As we shall see in a later chapter, when Northcliffe did adopt a policy contrary to that of the Group, in the period 1917-1919, the Group broke with him personally and within three years bought his controlling interest in the paper.

Certain other persons were probably taken into "The Society of the Elect" in the next few years. Hawksley, Rhodes's lawyer, was one. He obviously knew about the secret society, since he drew up the wills in which it was mentioned. This, combined with the fact that he was an intimate confidant of Rhodes in all the activities of the society and was made a trustee of the last three wills (1892), makes it probable that he should be regarded as an initiate.

Likewise it is almost certain that Milner brought in Sir Thomas Brassey (later Lord Brassey), the wealthy naval enthusiast whose name is preserved in Brassey's Naval Annual. Brassey was treasurer and most active figure in the Imperial Federation League during its ten years' existence. In 1889, as we have mentioned, he hired George Parkin to go to Australia on behalf of the League to make speeches in support of imperial federation. We have already indicated that Milner in 1893 approached Parkin in behalf of a mysterious and unnamed group of wealthy imperialists, and, some time later, Milner and Brassey signed a contract with Parkin to pay him £450 a year for three years to propagandize for imperial federation. Since this project was first broached to Parkin by Milner alone and since the Imperial Federation League was, by 1893, in process of dissolution, I think we have the right to assume that the unnamed group for which Milner was acting was the Rhodes secret society. If so, Brassey must have been introduced to the scheme sometime between 1891 and 1893. This last interpretation is substantiated by the numerous and confidential letters which passed between Milner and Brassey in the years which followed. Some of these will be mentioned later. It is worth mentioning here that Brassey was appointed Governor of Victoria in 1895 and played an important role in the creation of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1900.

The propaganda work which Parkin did in the period 1893-1895 in fulfillment of this agreement was part of a movement that was known at the time as "Seeley's lecturers." This movement was probably all that ensued from the fifth portion of the "ideal arrangement" — that is, from the projected college under Professor Seeley.

Another person who was brought into the secret society was Edmund Garrett, the intimate friend of Stead, Milner, and Rhodes, who was later used by Milner as a go-between for communications with the other two. Garrett had been sent to South Africa originally by Stead while he was still on the Pall Mall Gazette in 1889. He went there for a second time in 1895 as editor of the Cape Times, the most influential English-language newspaper in South Africa. This position he undoubtedly obtained from Stead and Rhodes. Sir Frederick Whyte, in his biography of Stead, says that Rhodes was the chief proprietor of the paper. Sir Edward Cook, however, the biographer of Garrett and a man who was very close to the Rhodes secret society, says that the owners of the Cape Times were Frederick York St. Leger and Dr. Rutherfoord Harris. This is a distinction without much difference, since Dr. Harris, as we shall see, was nothing more than an agent of Rhodes.

In South Africa, Garrett was on most intimate personal relationships with Rhodes. Even when the latter was Prime Minister of Cape Colony, Garrett used to communicate with him by tossing pebbles at his bedroom window in the middle of the night. Such a relationship naturally gave Garrett a prestige in South Africa which he could never have obtained by his own position or abilities. When High Commissioner Hercules Robinson drew up a proclamation after the Jameson Raid, he showed it to Garrett before it was issued and cut out a paragraph at the latter's insistence.

Garrett was also on intimate terms with Milner during his period as High Commissioner after 1897. In fact, when Rhodes spoke of political issues in South Africa, he frequently spoke of "I myself, Milner, and Garrett." We have already quoted an occasion on which he used this expression to Stead in 1900. Milner's relationship with Garrett can be gathered from a letter which he wrote to Garrett in 1899, after Garrett had to leave South Africa to go to a sanatorium in Germany: "It is no use protesting against the decrees of fate, nor do I want to say too much on what Rhodes calls 'the personal.' But this really was a great blow to me, and I have never quite got over your breakdown and departure, never quite felt the same man since, either politically or privately. . . . Dear Friend, I miss you fearfully, always shall miss you. So does this young country."' (12)

I think we are justified in assuming that a man as intimate as this with Rhodes and Milner, who was used in such confidential and important ways by both of them, who knew of the plans for the Johannesburg revolt and the Jameson Raid before they occurred, and who knew of the Rhodes secret society, was an initiate. That Garrett knew of the Jameson plot beforehand is recorded by Sir Edward Cook in his biography. That Garrett knew of the secret society is recorded by Garrett himself in an article which he published in the Contemporary Review after Rhodes's death in 1902. The words in which Garrett made this last revelation are of some significance. He spoke of "that idea of a sort of Jesuit-like Secret Society for the Promotion of the Empire, which for long he hugged and which — minus, perhaps, the secrecy and the Jesuitry — I know to have had a good deal of fascination for others among our contemporaries not reckoned visionaries by the world."

We have said that Garrett was used by Milner as an intermediary with both Rhodes and Stead. The need for such an intermediary with Rhodes arose from Milner's feeling that it was politically necessary to conceal the intimacy of their relationship. As Rhodes told Stead, speaking of Milner, on 10 April 1900, "I have seen very little of him. He said to me, 'The less you and I are seen together the better.' Hence, I never invited him to Groote Schuur." (13)

Garrett was also used by Milner as an intermediary with Stead after the latter became alienated from the initiates because of his opposition to the Boer War. One example of this is of some significance. In 1902 Milner made a trip to England without seeing Stead. On 12 April of that year, Garrett, who had seen Milner, wrote the following letter to Stead: "I love the inner man, Stead, in spite of all differences, and should love him if he damned me and my policy and acts ten times more. So does Milner — in the inner court — we agreed when he was over — only there are temporary limitations and avoidances.... He told me why he thought on the whole he'd better not see you this time. I quite understood, though I'm not sure whether you would, but I'm sure you would have liked the way in which, without any prompting at all, he spoke of his personal feelings for you being unaffected by all this. Someday let us hope, all this tyranny will be overpass, and we shall be able to agree again, you and Milner, Cook and I." It is possible that the necessity for Milner to overrule his personal feelings and the mention of "the inner court" may be oblique references to the secret society. In any case, the letter shows the way in which Stead was quietly pushed aside in that society by its new leader.

Another prominent political figure who may have been an initiate in the period before 1902 is Lord Rosebery. Like his father-in-law, Lord Rothschild, who was an initiate, Rosebery was probably not a very active member of The Society of the Elect, although for quite different reasons. Lord Rothschild held aloof because to him the whole project was incomprehensible and unbusinesslike; Lord Rosebery held aloof because of his own diffident personality and his bad physical health. However, he cooperated with the members of the society and was on such close personal relationships with them that he probably knew of the secret society. Brett was one of his most intimate associates and introduced him to Milner in 1885. As for Rhodes, Rosebery's official biographer, the Marquess of Crewe, says that he "both liked and admired Cecil Rhodes who was often his guest." He made Rhodes a Privy Councillor, and Rhodes made him a trustee of his will. These things, and the fact that the initiates generally assumed that Rosebery would grant their requests, give certain grounds for believing that he was a member of their society.(14) If he was, he played little role in it after 1900.

Two other men, both fabulously wealthy South Africans, may be regarded as members of the society and probably initiates. These were Abe Bailey and Alfred Beit.

Abe Bailey (later Sir Abe, 1864-1940) was the largest landowner in Rhodesia, a large Transvaal mine-owner, and one of the chief, if not the chief, financial supporters of the Milner Group in the period up to 1925. These financial contributions still continue, although since 1925 they have undoubtedly been eclipsed by those of Lord Astor. Bailey was an associate of Rhodes and Alfred Beit, the two most powerful figures in South Africa, and like them was a close friend of Milner. He named his son, born in 1900, John Milner Bailey. Like Rhodes and Beit, he was willing that his money be used by Milner because he sympathized with his aims. As his obituary in The Times expressed it, "In politics he modeled himself deliberately on Rhodes as his ideal of a good South African and a devoted Imperialist.... He had much the same admiration of Milner and remained to the end a close friend of 'Milner's young men.'" This last phrase refers to Milner's Kindergarten or The Association of Helpers, which will be described in detail later.

Abe Bailey was one of the chief plotters in the Jameson Raid in 1895. He took over Rhodes's seat in the Cape Parliament in 1902-1907 and was Chief Whip in the Progressive Party, of which Dr. Jameson was leader. When the Transvaal obtained self- government in 1907, he went there and was Whip of the same party in the Legislative Assembly at Pretoria. After the achievement of the Union of South Africa, in the creation of which, as we shall see, he played a vital role, he was a member of the Union Parliament and a loyal supporter of Botha and Smuts from 1915 to 1924. After his defeat in 1924, he divided his time between South Africa and London. In England, as The Times said at his death, he "took a close interest behind the scenes in politics." This "close interest" was made possible by his membership in the innermost circle of the Milner Group, as we shall see.

Certain others of Rhodes's chief associates cooperated with Milner in his designs after Rhodes's death and might well be regarded as members of Rhodes's society and of the Milner Group. Of these we might mention Alfred Beit, Dr. Starr Jameson and his assistant R. S. Holland, J. Rochfort Maguire, and Lewis Loyd Michell.

Alfred Beit (1853-1906) was the business genius who handled all Rhodes's business affairs and incidentally had most to do with making the Rhodes fortune. He was a Rhodes Trustee and left much of his own fortune for public and educational purposes similar to those endowed by Rhodes. This will be discussed later. His biography was written by George Seymour Fort, a protege of Abe Bailey, who acted as Bailey's agent on the boards of directors of many corporations, a fact revealed by Fort himself in a letter to The Times, 13 August 1940.

Leander Starr Jameson (later Sir Starr, 1853-1917) was Rhodes's doctor, roommate, and closest friend, and had more to do with the opening up of Rhodesia than any other single man. His famous raid into the Transvaal with Rhodesian police in 1895 was one of the chief events leading up to the Boer War. After Rhodes's death, Jameson was leader of his party in Cape Colony and served as Premier in 1904-1908. A member of the National Convention of 1908-1909, he was also director of the British South Africa Company and a Rhodes Trustee. He was a great admirer of Milner and, even before the death of Rhodes, had given evidence of a desire to shift his allegiance from Rhodes to Milner. In 1898 he wrote to his brother: "Rhodes had done absolutely nothing but go backwards.... I hate it all and hate the people more than ever; would clear out by the next boat, but have not pluck enough to acknowledge myself beaten.... Milner is the only really healthy personality in the whole crowd."(15) This feeling may have been only a temporary reaction, resulting from the way in which Rhodes received news of the Jameson Raid, but it is likely that more basic issues were concerned, since more than two years had elapsed between the raid and these statements. At any rate, Milner and Jameson were able to cooperate loyally thereafter. Jameson's biographical sketch in The Dictionary of National Biography was written by Dougal Malcolm of Milner's Kindergarten.

Reginald Sothern Holland (now Sir Sothern) was private secretary to Dr. Jameson in 1904 and later for three years permanent head of the Prime Minister's Department (1905-1908). He was secretary to the South African Shipping Freights Conference (1905-1906) with Birchenough and succeeded Birchenough as His Majesty's Trade Commissioner to South Africa (1908-1913). During the war he was in charge of supply of munitions, at first in the War Office and later (1915) in the Ministry of Munitions. He was also on various commissions in which Milner was interested, such as the Royal Commission on Paper Supplies (with Birchenough), and ended the war as Controller of the Cultivation Division of the Food Production Department (which was seeking to carry out recommendations made by the Milner and Selborne Committee on Food Production). He became a Rhodes Trustee in 1932.

Lewis Loyd Michell (later Sir Lewis, 1842-1928) was Rhodes's banker in South Africa and after his death took over many of his interests. A Minister without Portfolio in Jameson's Cabinet in the Cape Colony (1904-1905), he was also a director of the British South Africa Company and a Rhodes Trustee. He published a two-volume Life of Rhodes in 1910.

J. Rochfort Maguire (1855-1925), Fellow of All Souls, was an exact contemporary of Milner's at Oxford (1873-1877) and Rhodes's most intimate friend in college. He worked for Rhodes for the rest of his life. He obtained the original mining concession (which became the basis of the British South Africa Company) from Lobengula in 1883, was Rhodes's representative in the House of Commons for five years (1890-1895), (16) and his personal representative in Rhodesia or London during Rhodes's absences from either place. Director of the British South Africa Company for twenty-seven years (1898-1925), he was president for the last two. His sketch in the Dictionary of National Biography was written by Dougal Malcolm.

Of these six men whom Milner inherited from Rhodes, only one was young enough to become an active member of the Milner Group. This was Sothern Holland, born 1876, who did become a member, although perhaps not of the inner circle. The other five were Milner's own age, with established positions and power of their own. They all knew Milner well and cooperated with him. Even if they were initiates, they played no vital role in the history of the Milner Group after 1905.

As we have indicated, the character of the secret society and its personnel were changed after 1902. This was the result of the activities of Lord Milner. The death of Rhodes and the elimination of Stead gave the organization a much less melodramatic form while making it a much more potent political instrument. Moreover, as a result of the personal ascendancy of Milner, the membership of the organization was drastically changed. Of the initiates or probable initiates whom we have mentioned, Rothschild, Johnston, Hawksley, Rosebery, Jameson, Michell, and Maguire played little or no role in the society after 1902. Beit died in 1906, and Garrett the following year. Of the others, Grey, Brassey, Esher, and Balfour continued in active cooperation with the members of the Group. The real circle of initiates in the twentieth century, however, would appear to include the following names: Milner, Abe Bailey, George Parkin, Lord Selborne, Jan Smuts, A. J. Glazebrook, R. H. Brand (Lord Brand), Philip Kerr (Lord Lothian), Lionel Curtis, Geoffrey Dawson, H. A. L. Fisher, Edward Grigg, Leopold Amery, and Lord Astor. Since 1925, when Milner died, others have undoubtedly been added. This circle, with certain additional names, we shall call the "inner core" or the "inner circle" of the Milner Group. The history of these men's activities and the evidence which entitles us to attribute them to the circle of initiates will occupy most of the remainder of this volume.

The changes which Milner made in the Rhodes secret society were not important. There was no change in goals, and there was very little change in methods. In fact, both of these were modified more by Lord Lothian and his friends after Milner's death than they were by Milner after Rhodes's death.

Rhodes and Milner were aiming at the same goals, and had been for twenty-five years, in 1902. They differed slightly on how these goals could be obtained, a difference based on different personalities. To Rhodes it seemed that the ends could be won by amassing great wealth, to Milner it seemed that they could be won by quiet propaganda, hard work, and personal relationships (as he had learned from Toynbee). Neither rejected the other's methods, and each was willing to use the other and his methods to achieve their common dream as the occasion arose. With the death of Rhodes in 1902, Milner obtained control of Rhodes's money and was able to use it to lubricate the workings of his propaganda machine. This is exactly as Rhodes had wanted and had intended. Milner was Rhodes's heir, and both men knew it. Rhodes himself said before his death, "They tell me I can only live five years. I don't mean to die. I want to live. But if I go, there is one man — Sir Alfred Milner. Always trust Milner. You don't know yet what you have got in him." In 1898, in conversation with Stead, Rhodes said, "You will support Milner in any measure that he may take short of war. I make no such limitation. I support Milner absolutely without reserve. If he says peace, I say peace; if he says war, I say war. Whatever happens, I say ditto to Milner." (17)

The goals which Rhodes and Milner sought and the methods by which they hoped to achieve them were so similar by 1902 that the two are almost indistinguishable. Both sought to unite the world, and above all the English-speaking world, in a federal structure around Britain. Both felt that this goal could best be achieved by a secret band of men united to one another by devotion to the common cause and by personal loyalty to one another. Both felt that this band should pursue its goal by secret political and economic influence behind the scenes and by the control of journalistic, educational, and propaganda agencies. Milner's intention to work for this goal, and to use Rhodes's money and influence to do it, is clearly implied in all his actions (both before and after 1902), in his correspondence with Rhodes (some of it unpublished), and in letters to Parkin in September 1901 and to Lord Grey in May 1902. (18)

It is very likely that, long before Rhodes died, this plan was discussed in private conversations of which no record was kept. For example, three of the Rhodes Trustees under the last will — Grey, Milner, and Beit — with Lyttelton Gell had dinner at Beit's house and talked over important matters far into the night of 30 November 1898. It is quite clear that Rhodes talked over with his associates the ways in which his ideals would be carried out after his death. He lived constantly under the fear of death and regarded his whole life as a race in which he must achieve as much of his purpose as possible before he died. The biographer of Alfred Beit is quite confident that Rhodes discussed with Beit a plan by which Rhodes would omit from his will all mention of a project close to his heart — the Cape to Cairo Railway — leaving this project to be covered, as it was, by Beit's own will. There can be little doubt that Rhodes would have discussed a project even closer to his heart — the worldwide group of Anglo-Saxon sympathizers — with the trustees of his own will, and, above all, with the one most clearly devoted to his ideas, Milner.
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Re: The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Clivede

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Part 1 of 2

Chapter 4: Milner's Kindergarten, 1897-1910

The appointment as High Commissioner of South Africa was the turning point in Milner's life. It was obtained, apparently, through his membership in Rhodes's secret society, through the influence of Stead, Brett, and Rhodes. Stead, in his book on Rhodes's wills, claims the chief credit for the nomination, while Brett was with Milner at Windsor when he received the appointment and returned with him to London. Sir Harry Johnston, who had already been offered the appointment for himself by a Foreign Office official, felt that it was Rhodes's influence which gave it to Milner. In his autobiography he wrote: "At last the decision was made — Sir Alfred Milner. I suspect very much on the personal pleadings of Cecil Rhodes, who professed himself delighted with the choice.... The non-selection of myself for a work that would have greatly interested me, was a disappointment, and I felt it was due to Rhodes' enmity more than to any other cause."

As High Commissioner, Milner was subordinate to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, a post held at that time by Joseph Chamberlain, who was already acquainted with Milner. They had fought Home Rule together in the election of 1886 and had both been in Egypt in 1889. They already agreed on most of the important issues of the day, combining, like other members of the Milner Group, advocacy of social welfare and imperialism. Moreover, both were strong believers in union with Ireland and a new tariff policy based on imperial preference. When Chamberlain joined Lord Salisbury's government as Secretary of State for the Colonies (1895-1903), he was eager to accept the suggestion that Milner be sent to South Africa. As Colonial Secretary, Chamberlain did a number of things that won the complete support of Milner. Among these we might mention the new constitution for Jamaica (1899), the federation of the Malay States (1895), and the creation of the Commonwealth of Australia (1900). When Chamberlain resigned from the Colonial Office in 1903 on the issue of tariff reform, the post was offered by Balfour to Milner. The latter refused in order to complete the work he had started in South Africa. When he was ready to retire from his post, he recommended that his successor be either Alfred Lyttelton or Lord Selborne. The latter obtained the appointment and not only carried Milner's work to completion but did it with Milner's picked personnel. That personnel regarded Selborne as second leader to Milner in the Group. (1)

As High Commissioner, Milner built up a body of assistants known in history as "Milner's Kindergarten." The following list gives the chief members of the Kindergarten, their dates of birth and death (where possible), their undergraduate colleges (with dates), and the dates in which they were Fellows of All Souls.

Name / Dates / College / All Souls

Patrick Duncan (later Sir Patrick) / 1870-1946 / Balliol 1890-1894 / Never
Philip Kerr (later Lord Lothian) / 1882-1940 / New 1897-1901 / Never
Robert Henry Brand (later Lord Brand) / 1878-1963 / New 1897-1901 / 1901-
Lionel Curtis / 1872-1955 / New 1891-1905 / 1921-
Geoffrey Dawson (until 1917 Robinson) / 1874-1944 / Magdalen 1893-1897 / 1898-1905; 1915-1944
John Buchan (later Lord Tweedsmuir) / 1875-1940 / Brasenose 1895-1899 / Never
Dougal Orme Malcolm (later Sir Dougal) / 1877-1955 / New 1895-1899 / 1899-1955
William Lionel Hichens / 1874-1941 / New 1894-1898 / Never
Richard Feetham / 1874-1965 / New 1893-1898 / Never
John Dove / 1872-1934 / New 1891-1895 / Never
Basil Williams / 1867-1950 / New 1886-1891 / 1924-1925
Lord Basil Blackwood / 1870-1917 / Balliol 1891- / Never
Hugh A. Wyndham / 1877- / New 1896-1900 / Never
George V. Fiddes (later Sir George) / 1858-1925 / Brasenose 1880-1884 / Never
John Hanbury-Williams (later Sir John) / 1859-1946 / Wellington, N. Z. / Never
Main S. O. Walrond / 1870- / Balliol / Never
Fabian Ware (later Sir Fabian) / 1869-1949 / Univ. of Paris / Never
William Flavelle Monypenny / 1866-1912 / Balliol (1888-1890) / Never


To these eighteen names should be added five others who were present in South Africa between the Boer War and the creation of the Union and were members of the Milner Group but cannot be listed under the Kindergarten because they were not members of Milner's civil service. (2) These five are:

Name / Dates / College / All Souls

Leopold Amery / 1873-1955 / Balliol 1892-1896 / 1897-1911, 1938 -
Edward Grigg (later Lord Altrincham) / 1879-1955 / New 1898-1902 / Never
H. A. L. Fisher / 1865-1940 / New 1884-1888 / Never
Edward F. L. Wood (later Lord Irwin and Lord Halifax) / 1881-1959 / Christ Church 1899-1903 / 1903-1910
Basil K. Long / 1878-1944 / Brasenose 1897-1901 / Never


Of these twenty-three names, eleven were from New College. Seven were members of All Souls, six as Fellows. These six had held their fellowships by 1947 an aggregate of one hundred and sixty-nine years, or an average of over twenty-eight years each. Of the twenty-three, nine were in the group which founded, edited, and wrote The Round Table in the period after 1910, five were in close personal contact with Lloyd George (two in succession as private secretaries) in the period 1916-1922, and seven were in the group which controlled and edited The Times after 1912.

Eleven of these twenty-three men, plus others whom we have mentioned, formed the central core of the Milner Group as it has existed from 1910 to the present. These others will be discussed in their proper place. At this point we should take a rapid glance at the biographies of some of the others.

Two members of the Kindergarten, Patrick Duncan and Richard Feetham, stayed in South Africa after the achievement of the Union in 1910. Both remained important members of the Milner Group and, as a result of this membership, rose to high positions in their adopted country. Patrick Duncan had been Milner's assistant on the Board of Internal Revenue from 1894 to 1897 and was taken with him to South Africa as private secretary. He was Treasurer of the Transvaal in 1901, Colonial Secretary of the Transvaal in 1903-1906, and Acting Lieutenant Governor in 1906. He remained in South Africa as a lieutenant to Jan Smuts, becoming an advocate of the Supreme Court there, a member of the South African Parliament, Minister of Interior, Public Health, and Education (1921-1924), Minister of Mines (1933-1936), and finally Governor-General of South Africa (1936-1946). He frequently returned to England to confer with the Group (in September 1932, for example, at Lord Lothian's country house, Blickling).

Richard Feetham was made Deputy Town Clerk and later Town Clerk of Johannesburg (1902-1905). He was legal adviser to Lord Selborne, the High Commissioner, in 1907 and a member of the Legislative Council of the Transvaal later (1907-1910). He was chairman of the Committee on Decentralization of Powers in India in 1918-1919; a King's Counsel in Transvaal (1919-1923); a judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa (1923-1930); chairman of the Irish Boundary Commission (1924-1925); chairman of the Local Government Commission in Kenya Colony (of which Edward Grigg was Governor) in 1926; adviser to the Shanghai Municipal Council (1930-1931); chairman of the Transvaal Asiatic Land Tenure Commission (1930-1935); Vice-Chancellor of the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (1938); and has been a judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa since 1939. Most of these positions, as we shall see, came to him as a member of the Milner Group.

Hugh A. Wyndham also remained in South Africa after 1910 and was a member of the Union Parliament for ten years (1910-1920). He had previously been secretary to Milner. In spite of the prominence of his family and his own position as heir presumptive to the third Baron Leconfield, it is difficult to obtain any adequate information about him. His biography in Who's Who does not mention his experiences in South Africa or his other connections with the Milner Group. This is obviously the result of a deliberate policy, since editions of Who's Who of thirty-five years ago do mention the South African connection. Wyndham wrote Problems of Imperial Trusteeship (1933); Britain and the World; and the chapter on "The Formation of the Union of South Africa, 1901-1910" in volume VIII of the Cambridge History of the British Empire (1936). He was, like all the members of the Milner Group, a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, wrote many book reviews for its Journal, and at the outbreak of war in 1939 became the usual presiding officer at its meetings (in the absence of Lord Astor). When publication of the Journal was resumed after the war, he became chairman of its editorial board, a position he still holds. Married to Maude Lyttelton, daughter of Viscount Cobham, he is also a brother-in-law of Sir Ivor Maxse (the brother of Lady Milner) and a nephew of Lord Rosebery.

Dougal Malcolm (Sir Dougal since 1938), a grandson of Lord Charles Wellesley, joined the Colonial Office in 1900 and served there under Chamberlain and Alfred Lyttelton for several years. In 1905 he went to South Africa as private secretary to Lord Selborne and remained there until Union was achieved. He was secretary to Lord Grey, Governor-General of Canada, during the last year of his tenure (1910-1911); an official of the British Treasury for a year; and, in 1913, became a director of the British South Africa Company (president since 1938). He is also vice-president of the British North Borneo Company, of which his brother-in-law, General Sir Neill Malcolm, is president.(3) Sir Dougal wrote the biographies of Otto Beit, of Dr. Jameson, and of J. Rochford Maguire for the Dictionary of National Biography.

William Lionel Hichens (1874-1940), on graduating from New College, served briefly as a cyclist messenger in the Boer War and then joined the Egyptian Ministry of Finance (1900). After only nine months' service, he was shifted by Milner to South Africa to join the Kindergarten as Treasurer of Johannesburg. He at once went to England to float a loan, and on his return (in 1902) was made Colonial Treasurer of the Transvaal and Treasurer of the Inter-colonial Council. Later he added to his responsibilities the role of Acting Commissioner of Railways. In 1907 he went to India as a member of the Royal Commission on Decentralization, following this with a stint as chairman of the Board of Inquiry into Public Service in Southern Rhodesia (1909). In 1910 he went into private business, becoming chairman of the board of a great steel firm, Cammell Laird and Company, but continued as a member of the Milner Group. In 1915, Lloyd George sent Hichens and Brand to organize the munitions industry of Canada. They set up the Imperial Munitions Board of Canada, on which Joseph Flavelle (Sir Joseph after 1917) was made chairman, Charles B. Gordon (Sir Charles after 1917) vice-chairman, and Brand a member. In later years Hichens was a prominent businessman, one of the great steel masters of England, director of the Commonwealth Trust Company (which sent John Dove to India in 1918), of the London Northwestern Railway and its successor, the London, Midlands and Scottish. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust for over twenty years (1919-1940), which may help to explain the extraordinary generosity of the Carnegie Foundation toward the Royal Institute of International Affairs (of which Hichens was a member). He was an enthusiastic supporter of adult education programs and spent years of effort on Birkbeck College, the graduate evening school of the University of London. He was chairman of the board of governors of this institution from 1927 until his death, by a German bomb, in December of 1940. From 1929 onwards, like most of the inner circle of the Milner Group, he lived close to Oxford (at North Aston). He married Hermione Lyttelton, daughter of Sir Neville Lyttelton, niece of Viscount Cobham, and cousin of the present Oliver Lyttelton.

George Vandeleur Fiddes (Sir George after 1912) had been private secretary to the Earl of Onslow, father of Lady Halifax, before he was secretary to Milner in South Africa (1897-1900). Later he was political secretary to the Commander-in-Chief in South Africa (1900), secretary to the Transvaal administration (1900-1902), Assistant Under Secretary of State for the Colonies (1909-1916), and Permanent Under Secretary for the Colonies (1916-1921).

John Hanbury-Williams (Sir John after 1908) had been in the regular army for nineteen years, chiefly as aide to various colonial administrators, when he was assigned to Milner as military secretary in 1897. After three years of that, he went to London as secretary to the Secretary of State for War (St. John Brodrick, 1900-1903), and to Canada as secretary and military secretary to the Governor-General, Earl Grey (1904-1909). Then he was brigadier general in charge of administration in Scotland (1909-1914) and on the General Staff (1914), Chief of the British Military Mission to Russia (1914-1917), in charge of the British Prisoners of War Department at The Hague (1917-1918) and in Switzerland (1918), and ended his career in a blaze of glory as a major general, marshal of the diplomatic corps (1920-1934), and extra equerry to three Kings of England (1934-1946).

John Buchan was not a member of the inner core of the Milner Group, but was close to it and was rewarded in 1935 by being raised to a barony as Lord Tweedsmuir and sent to Canada as Governor-General. He is important because he is (with Lionel Curtis) one of the few members of the inner circles of the Milner Group who have written about it in published work. In his autobiography, Pilgrim's Way (Boston, 1940), he gives a brief outline of the personnel of the Kindergarten and their subsequent achievements, and a brilliant analysis of Milner himself. He wrote:

"He (Milner) had received — chiefly from Arnold Toynbee — an inspiration which centered all his interests on the service of the state. He had the instincts of a radical reformer joined to a close-textured intellect which reformers rarely possess. He had a vision of the Good Life spread in a wide commonalty; and when his imagination apprehended the Empire, his field of vision was marvelously enlarged. So at the outset of his career he dedicated himself to a cause, putting things like leisure, domestic happiness, and money-making behind him. In Bacon's phrase he espoused the State. On the intellectual side he found that which wholly satisfied him in the problems of administration, when he confronted them as Goschen's secretary, and in Egypt, and at Somerset House. He had a mind remarkable both for its scope and its mastery over details — the most powerful administrative intelligence, I think, which Britain has produced in our day. If I may compare him with others, he was as infallible as Cromer in detecting the center of gravity in a situation, as brilliant as Alfred Beit in bringing order out of tangled finances, and he had Curzon's power of keeping a big organization steadily at work. He was no fanatic — his intelligence was too supreme for that — but in the noblest sense of the word, he was an enthusiast. He narrowed his interests of set purpose, and this absorption meant a certain rigidity. He had cut himself off from some of the emollients of life. Consequently, the perfect administrator was a less perfect diplomatist. . . [Later, Buchan adds,] I was brought into close touch with a great character. Milner was the most selfless man I have ever known. He thought of his work and his cause, much of his colleagues, never of himself. He simply was not interested in what attracts common ambition. He could not be bribed, for there was nothing on the globe wherewith to bribe him; or deterred by personal criticism, for he cared not at all for fame; and it would have been as easy to bully the solar system, since he did not know the meaning of fear."


The effect Milner had on Buchan was shared by the other members of the Kindergarten and provided that spiritual bond which animated the Milner Group. This spirit, found in Toynbee, in Goschen, in Milner, and later in Lionel Curtis, was the motivating force of the Milner Group until after 1922. Indeed, much of what Buchan says here about Milner could be applied with slight change to Lionel Curtis, and Curtis, as we shall see, was the motivating force of the Milner Group from 1910 to 1922. After 1922, as the influence of Lord Lothian, Lord Astor, and Lord Brand increased and that of Milner declined, the spirit of the Group became somewhat tarnished but not completely lost.

Buchan went to Brasenose College, but, as he says himself, "I lived a good deal at Balliol and my closest friends were of that college." He mentions as his closest friends Hilaire Belloc, F. E. Smith (the future Lord Birkenhead), John Simon, Leo Amery, T. A. Nelson, Arthur Salter, Bron Lucas, Edward Wood (the future Lord Halifax), and Raymond Asquith. Of this list, five were future Fellows of All Souls, and four of these were important members of the Milner Group.

Buchan went to South Africa in 1901, on Milner's personal invitation, to be his private secretary, but stayed only two years. Placed in charge of resettlement of displaced Boers and agricultural reform (both close to Milner's heart), he left in 1903 to take an important position in the administration of Egypt. This appointment was mysteriously canceled after his return to England because, according to Buchan, he was too young for the task. It is more than likely that Milner, who had obtained the appointment for him, changed his mind because of Buchan's rapidly declining enthusiasm for imperial federation. This was a subject on which Milner and other members of his Group were adamant for many years. By 1915 most members of the Group began to believe that federation was impossible, and, as a compromise, took what we know now as the Commonwealth of Nations — that is, a group of nations joined together by common ideals and allegiances rather than by fixed political organization. Lionel Curtis remains to this day a fanatical believer in federation, and some of the decline in his influence after 1922 may be attributed to inability to obtain federation in the face of world — and above all Dominion — opposition. The present Commonwealth is in reality the compromises worked out when the details of the Milner Group clashed with the reality of political facts.

As a result of Buchan's failure to obtain the appointment of Egypt, he continued to practice law in London for three years, finally abandoning it to become a partner in the publishing firm of his old classmate Thomas A. Nelson (1906-1916). In 1907 he married Susan Grosvenor, whose family (Dukes of Westminister) was allied, as we have seen, to the Wyndhams, Cavendishes, Lytteltons, and Primroses (Earls of Rosebery and Lords Dalmeny). As a result of this family connection, Buchan wrote a memoir on Lord Rosebery for Proceedings of the British Academy in 1930 and a book on the Grosvenor twins, who were killed in the war.

During the war, Buchan was a correspondent for The Times, wrote Nelson's History of the Great War in twenty-four volumes (1915-1919), was the military intelligence in France (1916-1917), and finally was Director of Information for the War Office (1917-1918). During this period and later, he was a prolific writer of travel, historical, and adventure stories, becoming eventually, by such works as Greenmantle, The Three Hostages, and The Thirty-nine Steps, the most famous writer of adventure stories in Britain. His connection with South Africa gained him the post of official historian of the South African forces in France. He was a close friend of Lord Haldane and Lord Rosebery, both of whom can be regarded as members of the Milner Group. Of Haldane, Buchan wrote: "What chiefly attracted me to him was his loyalty to Milner. Milner thought him the ablest man in public life, abler even than Arthur Balfour, and alone of his former Liberal allies Haldane stood by him on every count." Haldane, with Rosebery, Asquith, and Edward Grey, had formed the Liberal League to support liberal imperialism, with which Milner was closely associated.

Buchan was representative of the Scottish universities in the House of Commons for eight years (1927-1935), Lord High Commissioner for the Church of Scotland in 1933-1934, president of the Scottish Historical Society (1929-1933), and Chancellor of Edinburgh University, before he obtained his last post, Governor-General of Canada (1935-1940).


Basil Williams graduated from New College in 1891 and almost immediately became clerk in the House of Commons, holding this post for nine years before he went soldiering in the Boer War. He became Secretary of the Transvaal Education Department, wrote Volume IV of The Times History of the South African War, and was The Times special correspondent at the South African Convention of 1908-1919, which made the Union. A major on the General Staff in 1918-1909, he was later Ford Lecturer at Oxford (in 1921), Professor of History at McGill (1921-1925), and Professor of History at Edinburgh (1925-1937). He wrote the very revealing article on Milner in the Dictionary of National Biography and numerous other works, including Cecil Rhodes (1921), The British Empire (for the Home University Library, 1928), Volume XI of the Oxford History of England (The Whig Supremacy, 1714-1760), Botha, Smuts, and South Africa (1946), and edited The Makers of the Nineteenth Century (1915-1928).

Lord Basil Blackwood, son and heir of Lord Dufferin, went to Balliol in 1891 but never graduated, being an adventurer of the first order. Taken to South Africa by Milner, he was employed in the Judge Advocate's Department for a year (1900-1901), then was Assistant Colonial Secretary of Orange River Colony for six years (1901-1907). He became Colonial Secretary of Barbados in 1907 and Assistant Secretary of the Land Development Commission in England in 1910. He would have been an important member of the Milner Group but was killed in France in 1917.

Of the major members of the Kindergarten, Robert H. Brand (since 1946 Baron Brand) stands close to the top. His father was second Viscount Brand, twenty-fourth Baron Dacre (created 1307), son of a Speaker of the House of Commons (1872-1884), while his mother was Susan Cavendish, daughter of Lord George Cavendish, and niece of the seventh Duke of Devonshire. His father, as Governor of New South Wales in 1895-1899, was one of the original instigators of the federation of the Australian Colonies, which came into effect in 1900. His older brother, the third Viscount Hampden, was a lord-in-waiting to the King (1924-1936), while another brother, Admiral Sir Hubert Brand, was extra equerry to the King (1922) and principal naval aide to the King (1931-1932). His nephew, Freeman Freeman-Thomas (Baron Willingdon after 1910; Marquess of Willingdon after 1936), in 1892 married the daughter of Lord Brassey, and became Governor-General of Canada (1926-1931) and Viceroy of India (1931-1936).

Brand, who has been a Fellow of All Souls since 1901, is chiefly responsible for the Astor influence in the Milner Group. He went to South Africa in 1902 and was made secretary of the Inter-colonial Council of the Transvaal and Orange River Colony and secretary of the Railway Committee of the Central South African Railways, with Philip Kerr (the future Lord Lothian) as assistant secretary on both organizations. He was secretary to the Transvaal Delegation at the South African National Convention (1908-1909) and at once wrote a deliberately naive work published by Oxford University Press in 1909 with the title The Union of South Africa. In this work there is no mention of the Kindergarten, and where it is necessary to speak of its work, this is done as if it were performed by persons unknown to the writer. He says, for example (page 40): "The Transvaal Delegation alone was assisted throughout the convention by a staff of legal advisers and experts," and thus dismisses the Kindergarten's essential work. His own work is passed over in silence, and at the front of the volume is placed a quotation in Dutch from President Sir John Brand of the Orange River Colony, possibly to mislead the ordinary reader into believing that there was a family connection between the South African politician and the author of the book.

Brand's role in the Milner Group after 1910 is too great to be covered adequately here. Suffice it to say that he was regarded as the economist of the Round Table Group and became a partner and managing director of Lazard Brothers and Company, a director of Lloyd's Bank, and a director of The Times, retiring from these positions in 1944 and 1945. During the First World War, he was a member of the Imperial Munitions Board of Canada (1915-1918) and deputy chairman of the British Mission in Washington (1917-1918). While in Washington, he married Nancy Astor's sister, daughter of Chiswell Dabney Langhorne of Virginia. It was this connection which gave him his entree to Cliveden in the period when that name became notorious.

Brand was one of the important figures in international finance in the period after 1918. At the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 he was financial adviser to Lord Robert Cecil, chairman of the Supreme Economic Council. He was later vice-president of the Brussels Conference (1920) and financial representative for South Africa at the Genoa Conference (1922). He was a member of the committee of experts on stabilization of the German mark in 1923, the committee which paved the way for the Dawes Plan. After an extended period in private business, he was head of the British Food Mission to Washington (1941-1944), chairman of the British Supply Council in North America (1942-1945, 1946), and His Majesty's Treasury Representative in Washington (1944-1946). In this last capacity he had much to do with negotiating the enormous American loan to Britain for postwar reconstruction. During the years 1942-1944, Brand put in his own place as managing director of Lazard Brothers his nephew, Thomas Henry Brand, son of Viscount Hampden, and, when Brand left Lazard in 1944, he brought the same nephew to Washington as chief executive officer on the British side of the Combined Production and Resources Board, and later (1945) as chairman of the official Committee on Supplies for Liberated Areas. In all of his activities Brand has remained one of the most central figures in the core of the Milner Group.

Just as important as Brand was his intimate friend Philip Kerr (later Lord Lothian), whom we have already seen as Brand's assistant in South Africa.
Kerr, grandson, through his mother, of the fourteenth Duke of-Norfolk, originally went to South Africa as private secretary to a friend of his father's, Sir Arthur Lawley, Lieutenant Governor of the Transvaal (1902). Kerr was Brand's assistant on the Inter-colonial Council and on the Committee of the Central South African Railways (1905-1908). Later, as secretary to the Transvaal Indigency Commission (1907-1908), he wrote a report on the position of poor white laborers in a colored country which was so valuable that it was republished by the Union government twenty years later.

From 1908 on, Kerr was, as we shall see, one of the chief organizers of publicity in favor of the South African Union. He was secretary to the Round Table Group in London and editor of The Round Table from 1910 to 1916, leaving the post to become secretary to Lloyd George (1916-1922), manager of the Daily Chronicle (1921), and secretary to the Rhodes Trust (1925-1939). He obtained several governmental offices after the death of his cousin, the tenth Marquess of Lothian, in 1930, gave him a title, 28,000 acres of land, and a seat in the House of Lords. He was Chancellor to the Duchy of Lancaster (1931), Parliamentary Under Secretary to the India Office (1931-1932), a member of the first and second Round Table Conferences on India, and chairman of the Indian Franchise Committee, before he finished his life as Ambassador to the United States (1939-1940). In 1923 he and Lionel Curtis published a book called The Prevention of War, consisting of lectures which they had previously given at Williams College. After his death, Curtis edited a collection of American Speeches of Lord Lothian, with an introduction by Lord Halifax and a biographical sketch by Edward Grigg (reprinted from The Round Table). This was published, as might be expected, by Chatham House.

On his death, Lord Lothian left his ancestral estate, Newbattle Abbey in Midlothian, as a residential college for adult education in Scotland, and left his Tudor country house, Blickling (frequent assembly place of the Milner Group), as a national monument. He never married and gave up his Roman Catholic faith for Christian Science in the course of an almost fatal illness in 1914.

Geoffrey Dawson (1874-1944), who changed his name from Robinson in 1917, was also one of the innermost members of the Milner Group. A member of the Colonial Office under Chamberlain (1898-1901), he became for five years private secretary to Milner in South Africa (1901-1905) and then was made South African correspondent of The Times and editor of the Johannesburg Star in the critical period of the formation of the Union (1905-1910). Always a member of the Round Table Group and the Milner Group, Dawson added to these the offices of editor of The Times (1912-1919, 1922-1941) and secretary to the Rhodes Trustees (1921-1922). During the period in which Dawson was not editor of The Times, he was well provided for by the Milner Group, being made estates bursar of All Souls, a director of Consolidated Gold Fields, Ltd., and of Trust Houses, Ltd. (both Rhodes concerns), as well as being secretary to the Rhodes Trust. He married in 1919 the daughter of Sir Arthur Lawley (later sixth Baron Wenlock), Kerr's old chief in the Transvaal. Sir Arthur, who had started his career as private secretary to his uncle, the Duke of Westminster, in 1892, ended it as Governor of Madras (1906-1911).

Dawson was probably as close to Milner personally as any member of the Kindergarten, although Amery must be regarded as Milner's political heir. The Times' obituary of Dawson says: "To none was Milner's heart more wholly given than to Dawson; the sympathy between the older and the younger man was almost that of father and son, and it lasted unchanged until Milner's death." As editor of The Times, Dawson was one of the most influential figures in England. He used that influence in the directions decided by the Group. This was to be seen, in later years, in the tremendous role which he played in the affairs of India and, above all, in the appeasement policy. In 1929 he visited his "long-standing friend" Lord Halifax, then Viceroy of India, and subsequently wrote most of The Times editorials on India in the fight which preceded the Government of India Act of 1935. In 1937 he wrote The Times articles which inaugurated the last stage of appeasement, and personally guided The Times support of that policy. After his retirement from the chair of editor of The Times in 1941, he served for the last three years of his life as editor of The Round Table.

William Flavelle Monypenny was assistant editor of The Times (1894-1899) before he went to South Africa to become editor of the Johannesburg Star. He left this position at the outbreak of the Boer War, since the publication of a pro-British paper was not possible during the hostilities. After a short period as a lieutenant in the Imperial Light Horse (1899-1900), Monypenny was made Director of Civil Supplies under Milner (1900-1902) and then resumed his post as editor of the Star. In 1903 he resigned in protest against Milner's policy of importing Chinese laborers and walked across Africa from the Cape to Egypt. Resuming his position on The Times (1903-1908), he became a director of the firm for the last four years of his life (1908-1912). About this time Lord Rowton, who had been Disraeli's private secretary, left his papers to The Times to be used for a Life of Disraeli. The task was begun by Monypenny, but he finished only the first two volumes of the six-volume work. The last four volumes were written by George E. Buckle, editor of The Times (1884-1912), Fellow of All Souls (1877-1885), and a contemporary of Milner's at Oxford (1872-1876).

It is perhaps worth noting that when Monypenny resigned from the Johannesburg Star he was replaced as editor by William Basil Worsfold, who held the post for two years, being replaced, as we have said, by Geoffrey Dawson. In the years 1906-1913 Worsfold published a three-volume study of Milner's accomplishments in South Africa. This contains the most valuable account in existence of the work of the Kindergarten. (4)

Fabian Ware (Sir Fabian since 1922), who had been a reporter on The Morning Post (1899-1901), was Assistant Director and Director of Education in the Transvaal (1901-1905) and Director of Education in the Orange River Colony (1903), as well as a member of the Transvaal Legislative Council (1903-1905). He was editor of The Morning Post in 1905-1911 and then became special commissioner to the board of the Rio Tinto Company, on which Milner was director. During the First World War he rose to the rank of major general. Since then he has been permanent vice-chairman of the Imperial War Graves Commission. A book which he wrote in 1937, The Immortal Heritage, The Work of the Imperial War Graves Commission, was made the occasion of an article on this subject in The Round Table. Sir Fabian was a member of the Imperial Committee on Economic Consultation and Cooperation in 1933 and was a director-general in the War Office in 1939-1944.

Main Swete Osmond Walrond was in the Ministry of Finance in Egypt (1894-1897) before he became Milner's private secretary for the whole period of his High Commissionership (1897-1905)
. He was then appointed District Commissioner in Cyprus but did not take the post. In 1917-1919 he was in the Arab Bureau in Cairo under the High Commissioner and acted as an unofficial, but important, adviser to Milner's mission to Egypt in 1919-1921. This mission led to Egyptian independence from Britain.

Lionel Curtis is one of the most important members of the Milner Group, or, as a member of the Group expressed it to me, he is the fans et origo. It may sound extravagant as a statement, but a powerful defense could be made of the claim that what Curtis thinks should be done to the British Empire is what happens a generation later. I shall give here only two recent examples of this. In 1911 Curtis decided that the name of His Majesty's Dominions must be changed from "British Empire" to "Commonwealth of Nations." This was done officially in 1948. Again, about 1911 Curtis decided that India must be given complete self-government as rapidly as conditions permitted. This was carried out in 1947. As we shall see, these are not merely coincidental events, for Curtis, working behind the scenes, has been one of the chief architects of the present Commonwealth. It is not easy to discern the places where he has passed, and no adequate biographical sketch can be put on paper here. Indeed, much of the rest of this volume will be a contribution to the biography of Lionel Curtis. Burning with an unquenchable ardor, which some might call fanatical, he has devoted his life to his dominant idea, that the finer things of life — liberty, democracy, toleration, etc. — could be preserved only within an integrated world political system, and that this political system could be constructed about Great Britain, but only if Britain adopted toward her Dominions, her colonies, and the rest of the world a policy of generosity, of trust, and of developing freedom. Curtis was both a fanatic and an idealist. But he was not merely "a man in a hurry." He had a fairly clear picture of what he wanted. He did not believe that complete and immediate freedom and democracy could be given to the various parts of the imperial system, but felt that they could only be extended to these parts in accordance with their ability to develop to a level where they were capable of exercising such privileges. When that level was achieved and those privileges were extended, he felt that they would not be used to disrupt the integrated world system of which he dreamed, but to integrate it more fully and in a sounder fashion — a fashion based on common outlook and common patterns of thought rather than on the dangerous unity of political subjection, censorship, or any kind of duress. To Curtis, as to H. G. Wells, man's fate depended on a race between education and disaster. This was similar to the feeling which animated Rhodes when he established the Rhodes Scholarships, although Curtis has a much broader and less nationalistic point of view than Rhodes. Moreover, Curtis believed that people could be educated for freedom and responsibility by giving them always a little more freedom, a little more democracy, and a little more responsibility than they were quite ready to handle. This is a basically Christian attitude — the belief that if men are trusted they will prove trustworthy — but it was an attitude on which Curtis was prepared to risk the existence of the British Empire. It is not yet clear whether Curtis is the creator of the Commonwealth of Nations or merely the destroyer of the British Empire. The answer will be found in the behavior of India in the next few years. The Milner Group knew this. That is why India, since 1913, has been the chief object of their attentions.

These ideas of Curtis are clearly stated in his numerous published works. The following quotations are taken from The Problem of the Commonwealth drawn up by the Round Table Group and published under Curtis's name in 1916:

"Responsible government can only be realized for any body of citizens in so far as they are fit for the exercise of political power. In the Dependencies the great majority of the citizens are not as yet capable of governing themselves and for them the path to freedom is primarily a problem of education.... The Commonwealth is a typical section of human society including every race and level of civilization organized in one state. In this world commonwealth the function of government is reserved to the European minority, for the unanswerable reason that for the present this portion of its citizens is alone capable of the task — civilized states are obliged to assume control of backward communities to protect them from exploitation by private adventurers from Europe.... The Commonwealth cannot, like despotisms, rest content with establishing order within and between the communities it includes. It must by its nature prepare these communities first to maintain order within themselves. The rule of law must be rooted in the habits and wills of the peoples themselves.... The peoples of India and Egypt, no less than those of the British Isles and Dominions, must be gradually schooled to the management of their national affairs.... It is not enough that free communities should submit their relations to the rule of law. Until all those people control that law the principle by which the commonwealth exists is unfulfilled. The task of preparing for freedom the races which cannot as yet govern themselves is the supreme duty of those races who can. It is the spiritual end for which the Commonwealth exists, and material order is nothing except a means to it.... In India the rule of law is firmly established. Its maintenance is a trust which rests on the government of the Commonwealth until such time as there are Indians enough able to discharge it. India may contain leaders qualified not only to make but also to administer laws, but she will not be ripe for self-government until she contains an electorate qualified to recognize those leaders and place them in office.... For England the change is indeed a great one. Can she face it? Can she bear to lose her life, as she knows it, to find it in a Commonwealth, wide as the world itself, a life greater and nobler than before? Will she fail at this second and last crisis of her fate, as she failed at the first, like Athens and Prussia, forsaking freedom for power, thinking the shadow more real than the light, and esteeming the muckrake more than the crown?"


Four years later, in 1920, Curtis wrote: "The whole effect of the war has been to bring movements long gathering to a sudden head . . . companionship in arms has fanned . . . long smouldering resentment against the prescription that Europeans are destined to dominate the rest of the world. In every part of Asia and Africa it is bursting into flames.... Personally, I regard this challenge to the long unquestioned claim of the white man to dominate the world as inevitable and wholesome especially to ourselves." (5)

Unfortunately for the world, Curtis, and the Milner Group generally, had one grave weakness that may prove fatal. Skilled as they were in political and personal relations, endowed with fortune, education, and family connections, they were all fantastically ignorant of economics — even those, like Brand or Hichens, who were regarded within the Group as its experts on this subject. Brand was a financier, while Hichens was a businessman — in both cases occupations that guarantee nothing in the way of economic knowledge or understanding.


Curtis was registered as an undergraduate at New College for fourteen years (1891-1905) because he was too busy to take time to get his degree. This is undoubtedly also the reason he was admitted to All Souls so belatedly, since an ordinary fellowship requires as a qualification the possession either of a university prize or of a first-class honours degree. By the time Curtis took his degree he had fought in the Boer War, been Town Clerk of Johannesburg, and been assistant secretary for local government in the Transvaal. In 1906 he resigned his official positions to organize "Closer Union Groups" agitating for a federation of South Africa. When this work was well started, he became a member of the Transvaal Legislative Council and wrote the Transvaal draft of a projected constitution for such a federation. In 1910-1912, and at various times subsequently, he traveled about the world, organizing Round Table Groups in the Dominions and India. In 1912 he was chosen Beit Lecturer in Colonial History at Oxford, but gave it up in 1913 to turn his attention for almost six years to the preparatory work for the Government of India Act of 1919. He was secretary to the Irish Conference of 1921 (arranged by General Smuts) and was adviser on Irish affairs to the Colonial Office for the next three years. In 1919 he was one of the chief — if not the chief, — founders of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and during the 1920s divided his attention between this and the League of Nations — in neither case, however, in a fashion to attract public attention. Undoubtedly his influence within the Milner Group declined after 1922, the preponderance falling into the hands of Lothian, Brand, and Dawson. The failure to achieve federation within the Empire was undoubtedly a blow to his personal feeling and possibly to his prestige within the Group. Nonetheless, his influence remained great, and still is. In the 1920s he moved to Kidlington, near Oxford, and thus was available for the Group conferences held at All Souls. His chief published works include The Problem of the Commonwealth (1915), The Commonwealth of Nations (1916), Dyarchy (1920), The Prevention of War (1924), the Capital Question of China (1932), The Commonwealth of God (1932-1938), and The Protectorates of South Africa (1935).

John Dove (1872-1934) was sent to Milner in 1903 by Sir William Anson, Warden of All Souls. He was assistant Town Clerk and later Clerk of Johannesburg (1903-1907) and then chairman of the Transvaal Land Settlement Board (1907-1909). After a trip to Australia and India with Lionel Curtis, for the purpose of organizing Round Table Groups, he returned to London in 1911 and lived with Brand and Kerr in Cumberland Mansions. He went to South Africa with Earl Grey in 1912 to unveil the Rhodes Memorial, and served in the First World War with military intelligence in France. In 1918 he became a kind of traveling representative of financial houses, probably as a result of his relationship with Brand. He began this with an extended trip to India for the Commonwealth Trust Company in 1918 and in the next fifteen years made almost annual trips to Europe. Editor of The Round Table from 1921 to his death in 1934, he displayed an idealistic streak similar to that found in Curtis but without the same driving spirit behind it. After his death, Brand published a volume of his letters (1938). These are chiefly descriptive of foreign scenes, the majority written to Brand himself.
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Re: The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Clivede

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Part 2 of 2

Leopold Amery was not a member of the Kindergarten but knew all the members well and was in South Africa, during their period of service, as chief correspondent of The Times for the Boer War and the editor of The Times History of the South African War (which appeared in seven volumes in the decade 1900-1909). Amery, who was a Fellow of All Souls for fourteen years early in the century and has been one again since 1938, is one of the inner core of the Milner Group. He started his career as private secretary to Leonard H. Courtney, Unionist Member of Parliament and Deputy Speaker in Lord Salisbury's second government. Through this connection, Amery was added to The Times editorial staff (1899-1909) and would have become editor but for his decision to go into politics. In this he was not, at first, successful, losing three contests as a Unionist and tariff reformer in the high tide of Liberal supremacy (1906-1910). When victory came in 1911, it was a good one, for Amery held the same seat (for Birmingham) for thirty-four years. During that time he held more important government posts than can be mentioned here. These included the following: assistant secretary of the War Cabinet and Imperial War Council (1917); secretary to the Secretary of State for War (Milner, 1917-1918); Parliamentary Under Secretary for Colonies (1919-1921); Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty (1921-1922); First Lord of the Admiralty (1922-1924); Secretary of State for Colonies (1924-1929) and for Dominion Affairs (1925-1929); Secretary of State for India and Burma (1940-1945). Amery wrote dozens of volumes, chiefly on the Empire and imperial trade relations. In 1910 he married the sister of a fellow Member of Parliament, Florence Greenwood. The colleague, Hamar Greenwood (Baron Greenwood since 1929 and Viscount Greenwood since 1937), was a Liberal M.P. for sixteen years (1906-1922) and a Conservative M.P. for five (1924-1929), a change in which Amery undoubtedly played an important role. Lord Greenwood was secretary of the Overseas Trade Department (1919-1920) and Chief Secretary for Ireland (1920- 1922). In recent years he has been chairman of the board of directors of one of England's greatest steel firms (Dorman, Long, and Company), treasurer of the Conservative Party, and president of the British Iron and Steel Federation (1938-1939).

Amery can be regarded as Milner's political heir. From the beginning of his own political career in 1906 to the death of Milner in 1925, he was more closely associated with Milner's active political life than any other person. In 1906, when Amery made his first effort to be elected to Parliament, Milner worked actively in support of his candidacy. It is probable that this, in spite of Milner's personal prestige, lost more votes than it gained, for Milner made no effort to conceal his own highly unorthodox ideas. On 17 December 1906, for example, he spoke at Wolverhampton as follows: "Not only am I an Imperialist of the deepest dye — and Imperialism, you know, is out of fashion — but I actually believe in universal military training.... I am a Tariff Reformer and one of a somewhat pronounced type.... I am unable to join in the hue and cry against Socialism. That there is an odious form of Socialism I admit, a Socialism which attacks wealth simply because it is wealth, and lives on the cultivation of class hatred. But that is not the whole story; most assuredly not. There is a nobler Socialism, which so far from springing from envy, hatred, and uncharitableness, is born of genuine sympathy and a lofty and wise conception of what is meant by national life." These sentiments may not have won Amery many votes, but they were largely shared by him, and his associations with Milner became steadily more intimate. In his last years of public office, Milner was generally assisted by Amery (1917-1921), and when he died it was Amery who arranged the public memorial service and controlled the distribution of tickets.

Edward William Mackay Grigg (Sir Edward after 1920, Lord Altrincham since 1945) is one of the most important members of the Milner Group. On graduating from New College, he joined the staff of The Times and remained with it for ten years (1903-1913), except for an interval during which he went to South Africa. In 1913 he became joint editor of The Round Table, but eventually left to fight the war in the Grenadier Guards. In 1919, he went with the Prince of Wales on a tour of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. After replacing Kerr for a year or so as secretary to Lloyd George (1921-1922), he was a Member of Parliament in 1922-1925 and again in 1933-1945. He has also been Governor of Kenya Colony (1925-1931), parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of Information (1939-1940), Joint Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for War (1940-1942), and Minister Resident in the Middle East (1944-1945). He also found time to write many books, such as The Greatest Experiment in History (1924); Three Parties or Two? (1931), The Faith of an Englishman (1931), Britain Looks at Germany (1938), The British Commonwealth (1943), and British Foreign Policy (1944).

Another visitor to South Africa during the period of the Kindergarten was H. A. L. Fisher. Fisher, a famous historian in his own right, can be regarded as one of the founders of the Kindergarten and was a member of the Milner Group from at least 1899. The chief recruiting for the Kindergarten, beyond that done by Milner himself, was done by Fisher and his close friend Sir William Anson. The relationships between these two, Goschen, and Milner were quite close (except that Milner and Anson were by no means close), and this quartet had a great deal to do with the formation of the Milner Group and with giving it a powerful hold on New College and All Souls. Fisher graduated from New College in 1888 and at once became fellow and tutor in the same college. These positions were held, with interruptions, until 1912, when Fisher left Oxford to become Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield University. He returned to New College as Warden for the last fifteen years of his life (1925-1940). Fisher originally expected to tutor in philosophy, but his appointment required him to teach history. His knowledge in this field was scanty, so it was amplified by vacation reading with A. L. Smith (the future Master of Balliol, an older contemporary of Milner's at Balliol, and a member of the Milner Group). Smith, in addition to teaching Fisher history, also taught him how to skate and to ride a bicycle and worked with him on the literary remains of Fisher's brother-in-law, Frederic W. Maitland, the great historian of the English law. As a result of this last activity, Fisher produced in 1911 a three-volume set of Maitland's Collected Works, and a biographical sketch of Maitland (1910), while Smith in 1908 published two lectures and a bibliography on Maitland. Smith's own biographical sketch in the Dictionary of National Biography was written by another member of the Milner Group, Kenneth Norman Bell (Fellow of All Souls, 1907-1914; Beit Lecturer in Colonial History, 1924-1927; and member of the family that controlled the publishing house of G. Bell and Sons). His son, Arthur Lionel Foster Smith, was a Fellow of All Souls under Anson (1904-1908) and later organized and supervised the educational system of Mesopotamia (1920-1931).

H. A. L. Fisher held many important posts in his career, partly because of membership in the Milner Group. In 1908, while the Kindergarten, which he had helped to assemble, was still in South Africa, he went there on an extended lecture tour; in 1911-1912 he was Chichele Lecturer in Foreign History; in 1912-1915 he was an important member of the Royal Commission on Public Services in India; in 1916-1926 he was a member of the House of Commons, the first half of the period as a Cabinet member (President of the Board of Education, 1916-1922). He was a delegate to the Assembly of the League of Nations for three years (1920-1922), governor of the British Broadcasting Corporation for four (1935-1939), and a Rhodes Trustee for about fifteen (1925-1940). (6)

Fisher's bibliography forms an extensive list of published works. Besides his Unfinished Biography (1940) and his famous three-volume History of Europe (1935- 1936), it contains many writings on subjects close to the Milner Group. His Creighton Lecture in 1911 on Political Unions examines the nature of federalism and other unions and fits in well with the discussions going on at the time within Round Table Groups on this subject — discussions in which Fisher played an important part. In the section of this lecture dealing with the Union of South Africa, Fisher was almost as deliberately evasive as Brand had been in his book on the Union, which appeared two years earlier. He mentions the preliminary work of the Kindergarten toward union (work in which he had taken a part himself during his visit to South Africa in 1908) as the work of anonymous persons, but does state that the resulting constitution for a united South Africa was largely the work of the Transvaal delegation (which, as we shall see, was one controlled by the Kindergarten).

Other writings of Fisher's resulting from his work with the Milner Group are his "Imperial Administration" in Studies in History and Politics (1920); his An International Experiment, dealing with the League of Nations (1921); The Common Weal, dealing with the duties of citizenship (1924); and Our New Religion (1929), dealing with Christian Science. In connection with this last book, it might be mentioned that Christian Science became the religion of the Milner Group after Milner's death. Among others, Nancy Astor and Lord Lothian were ardent supporters of the new belief. Christian Science was part of the atmosphere of Cliveden.

Fisher's relationship with Milner was quite close and appeared chiefly in their possession of fellowships in New College, obtained by the older man in 1878 and by the younger ten years later. In 1901, when the Kindergarten was formed, the two had been Fellows together for thirteen years, and in 1925, when Milner died and Fisher became Warden, they had been Fellows together for thirty-seven years.

There was also a more personal relationship, created in 1899, when Fisher married Lettice Ilbert. Her father, Sir Courtenay Ilbert (1841-1924), was a lifelong friend of Anson and an old friend of Milner. Sir Courtenay, as law member of the Viceroy of India's Council in 1883, had tried in vain to remove from the Indian code"every judicial disqualification based merely upon race distinctions." Under Lord Dufferin (Lord Basil Blackwood's father), he set up the general system of law and procedure for Burma (1885), and in 1898 he issued what became the basic codification of Indian law. He was clerk of the House of Commons from 1902 to 1921. Mrs. H. A. L. Fisher, one of Sir Courtenay's five daughters, recalls in The Milner Papers how Alfred Milner use to romp with the girls when they were children.

Fisher was a very valuable member of the Milner Group because he, along with Lord Goschen, became the chief means by which the Group secured access to the College of All Souls. This access was secured by the friendship of these two men with Sir William Anson. Anson himself was a member of the Cecil Bloc rather than the Milner Group. His personal relations with Milner were not very close, and, indeed, there is some doubt as to his actual feeling toward Milner. The only comment about Milner in the published portions of Anson's journal is a rather acid remark regarding the lack of eloquence in a Milner speech in the House of Lords against the Parliament Act of 1911.(7) Nor did Anson see eye to eye with Milner, or indeed with most members of the Milner Group, since he was much too conservative. He was, to be sure, a Liberal Unionist, as most important members of the Group were. He was also an imperialist and interested in social welfare, but he did not have the high disregard for systems of economics that is so characteristic of all members of the Group before 1917. Anson had an ingrained respect for the economic status quo, and the old Liberal's suspicion of the intervention by public authority in the economic field. These tendencies had been strengthened by years of tender attention to the extensive landed wealth possessed by All Souls. Nonetheless, Anson became one of the chief architects of the Milner Group and is undoubtedly the chief factor in the Group's domination of All Souls since Anson's death. During his wardenship (1881-1914), Anson was the most influential figure in All Souls, not merely in its social and intellectual life but also in the management of its fortune and the selection of its members. In the ordinary expectation of affairs, the former task was generally left in the hands of the estates bursar, and the latter was shared with the other Fellows. Anson, however, took the dominant role in both matters, to such a degree in fact that Bishop Henson (himself a member of All Souls since 1884), in his Memoir of Anson, says that the Warden was always able to have his candidate emerge with the prized fellowship.

In seeking to bestow fellowships at All Souls on those individuals whom we now regard as the chief members of the Milner Group, Anson was not conscious that he was dealing with a group at all. The candidates who were offering themselves from New College in the period 1897-1907 were of such high ability that they were able to obtain the election on their own merits. The fact that they came strongly recommended by Fisher served to clinch the matter. They thus did not enter All Souls as members of the Milner Group — at least not in Anson's lifetime. After 1914 this was probably done (as in the case of Lionel Curtis in 1921, Basil Williams in 1924, or Reginald Coupland in 1920), but not before. Rather, likely young men who went to New College in the period on either side of the Boer War were marked out by Fisher and Anson, elected to All Souls, and sent into Milner's Kindergarten on the basis of merit rather than connections.

Another young man who came to visit in South Africa in 1904 and 1905 was Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, already a Fellow of All Souls and a future member of the Milner Group. Better known to the world today as the first Earl of Halifax, he was the son of the second Viscount Halifax and in every way well qualified to become a member of the Milner Group. Lord Halifax is a great-grandson of Lord Grey of the great Reform Bill of 1832, and a grandson of Lord Grey's secretary and son-in-law, Charles Wood (1800-1885), who helped put the Reform Bill through. The same grandfather became, in 1859-1866, the first Secretary of State for the new India, putting through reforms for that great empire which were the basis for the later reforms of the Milner Group in the twentieth century. Lord Halifax is also a grandnephew of Lord Durham, whose famous report became the basis for the federation of Canada in 1867.

As Edward Wood, the future Lord Halifax undoubtedly found his path into the select company of All Souls smoothed by his own father's close friendship with Phillimore and with the future Archbishop Lang, who had been a Fellow for fifteen years when Wood was elected in 1903.

As a newly elected Fellow, Wood went on a world tour, which took him to South Africa twice (in 1904 and 1905). Each time, he was accompanied by his father, Viscount Halifax, who dined with Milner and was deeply impressed. The Viscount subsequently became Milner's chief defender in the House of Lords. In 1906, for example, when Milner was under severe criticism in the Commons for importing Chinese laborers into South Africa, Lord Halifax introduced and carried in the Upper House a resolution of appreciation for Milner's work.

Edward Wood's subsequent career is one of the most illustrious of contemporary Englishmen. A Member of Parliament for fifteen years (1910-1925), he held posts as Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Colonies (1921-1922), President of the Board of Education (in succession to H. A. L. Fisher, 1922-1924), and Minister of Agriculture, before he went to India (as Baron Irwin) to be Viceroy. In this post, as we shall see, he furthered the plans of the Milner Group for the great subcontinent (1926-1931), before returning to more brilliant achievements as president of the Board of Education (1932- 1935), Secretary of State for War (1935), Lord Privy Seal (1935-1937), Lord President of the Council (1937-1938), Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1938-1940), and, finally, Ambassador to Washington (as successor to Lord Lothian, 1941-1946). In Washington, as we shall see, he filled the embassy with members of All Souls College.

There can be little doubt that Lora Halifax owed much of his rise in public affairs to his membership in the Milner Group. His authorized biographer, Alan Campbell Johnson, writes in connection with one appointment of Halifax's: "It is widely believed that the influence of Geoffrey Dawson and other members of The Times editorial staff discovered him as an ideal Viceroy and whispered his name at the proper time both to the proper authorities in George V's entourage and at 10 Downing Street." In connection with his appointment as Foreign Secretary, Johnson says:

"Lothian, Geoffrey Dawson, and Brand, who used to congregate at Cliveden House as the Astors' guests and earned the title of a "set," to which, in spite of imaginative left- wing propaganda, they never aspired, urged Chamberlain at the decisive moment to have the courage of his convictions and place Halifax, even though he was a Peer, in the office to which his experience and record so richly entitled him. They argued forcibly that to have a Foreign Secretary safely removed from the heat of the House of Commons battle was just what was required to meet the delicate international situation."


Another member of this South African group who was not technically a member of the Kindergarten (because not a member of the civil service) was Basil Kellett Long. He went from Brasenose to Cape Town to study law in 1902 and was called to the bar three years later. In 1908 he was elected to the Cape Parliament, and a year later succeeded Kerr as editor of the Kindergarten's propagandist journal, The State (1909-1912). He was a member of the first Parliament of a united South Africa for three years (1910-1913) and then succeeded Amery as head of the Dominions Department of The Times. In 1921 he left this post and the position of foreign editor (held jointly with it in 1920-1921) to return to South Africa as editor of the Cape Times (1921-1935). He was one of the most important figures in the South African Institute of International Affairs after its belated foundation. With the outbreak of war in 1939, he was put in charge of liaison work between the South African branch and the parent institute in London.

The work of the Kindergarten in South Africa is not so well known as might be expected. Indeed, until very recently the role played by this group, because of its own deliberate policy of secrecy, has been largely concealed. The only good narration of their work is to be found in Worsfold's The Reconstruction of the New Colonies under Lord Milner, but Worsfold, writing so early, could not foresee the continued existence of the Kindergarten as a greater and more influential group. Lionel Curtis's own account of what the Group did, in his Letter to the People of India (1917), is very brief and virtually unknown in the United States or even in England. The more recent standard accounts, such as that in Volume VIII of the Cambridge History of the British Empire (1936), give even less than Worsfold. This will not appear surprising when we point out that the chapter in this tome dealing with "The Formation of the Union, 1901-1910" is written by Hugh A. Wyndham, a member of the Kindergarten. It is one of the marvels of modern British scholarship how the Milner Group has been able to keep control of the writing of history concerned with those fields in which it has been most active.

Only in very recent years has the role played by the Kindergarten as part of a larger group been appreciated, and now only by a very few writers, such as the biographer of Lord Halifax, already mentioned, and M. S. Green. The latter, a high school teacher in Pretoria, South Africa, in his brief work on The Making of the Union of South Africa (1946) gives an account of the Kindergarten which clearly shows his realization that this was only the early stages of a greater group that exercised its influence through The Round Table, The Times, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and the College of All Souls.

The work of union in South Africa was only part of the much greater task of imperial union. This was always the ultimate goal of Cecil Rhodes, of Milner, and of the Kindergarten. Milner wrote in his diary on 25 January 1904: "My work has been constantly directed to a great and distant end — the establishment in South Africa of a great and civilized and progressive community, one from Cape Town to the Zambesi — independent in the management of its own affairs, but still remaining, from its own firm desire, a member of the great community of free nations gathered together under the British flag. That has been the object of all my efforts. It is my object still." (8) In his great farewell speech of March 1905, Milner called upon his hearers, and especially the Kindergarten, to remain loyal to this ultimate goal. He said:

"What I pray for hardest is, that those with whom I have worked in a great struggle and who may attach some weight to my words should remain faithful, faithful above all in the period of reaction, to the great idea of Imperial Unity. Shall we ever live to see its fulfillment? Whether we do or not, whether we succeed or fail, 1 shall always be steadfast in that faith, though I should prefer to work quietly and in the background, in the formation of opinion rather than in the exercise of power.... When we who call ourselves Imperialists talk of the British Empire, we think of a group of states, all independent in their local concerns, but all united for the defense of their own common interests and the development of a common civilization; united, not in an alliance — for alliances can be made and unmade, and are never more than nominally lasting — but in a permanent organic union. Of such a union the dominions as they exist today, are, we fully admit, only the raw material. Our ideal is still distant but we deny that it is either visionary or unattainable.... The road is long, the obstacles are many, the goal may not be reached in my lifetime — perhaps not in that of any man in this room. You cannot hasten the slow growth of a great idea like that by any forcing process. But what you can do is to keep it steadily in view, to lose no opportunity to work for it, to resist like grim death any policy which leads away from it. I know that the service of that idea requires the rarest combination of qualities, a combination of ceaseless effort with infinite patience. But then think on the other hand of the greatness of the reward; the immense privilege of being allowed to contribute in any way to the fulfillment of one of the noblest conceptions which has ever dawned on the political imagination of mankind."


For the first couple of years in South Africa the Kindergarten worked to build up the administrative, judicial, educational, and economic systems of South Africa. By 1905 they were already working for the Union. The first steps were the Inter-colonial Council, which linked the Transvaal and Orange River Colony; the Central South African Railway amalgamation; and the customs union. As we have seen, the Kindergarten controlled the first two of these completely; in addition, they controlled the administration of Transvaal completely. This was important, because the gold and diamond mines made this colony the decisive economic power in South Africa, and control of this power gave the Kindergarten the leverage with which to compel the other states to join a union.

In 1906, Curtis, Dawson, Hichens, Brand, and Kerr, with the support of Feetham and Malcolm, went to Lord Selborne and asked his permission to work for the Union. They prevailed upon Dr. Starr Jameson, at that time Premier of Cape Colony, to write to Selborne in support of the project. When permission was obtained, Curtis resigned from his post in Johannesburg and, with Kerr's assistance, formed "Closer Union Societies" as propaganda bodies throughout South Africa. Dawson, as editor, controlled the Johannesburg Star. The Times of London was controlled completely, as far as news from South Africa was concerned, with Monypenny, Amery, Basil Williams, and Grigg in strategic spots — the last as head of the imperial department of the paper. Fabian Ware published articles by various members of the Milner Group in his Morning Post. In South Africa, £5000 was obtained from Abe Bailey to found a monthly paper to further the cause of union. This paper, The State, was edited by Philip Kerr and B. K. Long and became the predecessor of The Round Table, also edited by Kerr and financed by Bailey. Bailey was not only the chief financial support of the Kindergarten's activities for closer union in South Africa, but also the first financial contributor to The Round Table in 1910, and to the Royal Institute of International Affairs in 1919. He contributed to both during his life, and at his death in 1940 gave The Round Table £1000 a year for an indefinite period. He had given the Royal Institute £5000 a year in perpetuity in 1928. Like his close associates Rhodes and Beit, he left part of his immense fortune in the form of a trust fund to further imperial interests. In Bailey's case, the fund amounted to £250,000.

As part pf the project toward a Union of South Africa, Curtis in 1906 drew up a memorandum on the need for closer union of the South African territories, basing his arguments chiefly on the need for greater railway and customs unity. This, with the addition of a section written by Kerr on railway rates, and a few paragraphs by Selborne, was issued with the famous Selborne Federation Dispatch of 7 January 1907 and published as an Imperial Blue Book (Cmd. 3564 of 1907). It was republished, with an introduction by Basil Williams of the Kindergarten, by Oxford University Press in 1925. The Central Committee of the Closer Union Societies (which was nothing but the Kindergarten) wrote a complete and detailed account of the political institutions of the various areas concerned. This was called The Government of South Africa and was issued anonymously in five parts, and revised later in two quarto volumes. A copy was sent to every delegate to the National Convention in Durban in 1908, along with another anonymous work (edited by B. K. Long), called The Framework of Union. This latter work contained copies of the five chief federal constitutions of the world (United States, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia). Curtis was also the chief author of the draft of projected constitution presented by the Transvaal delegation to the National Convention. This draft, with modifications, became the Constitution of the Union of South Africa in 1910. The Transvaal delegation, alone of the various delegations, lived together in one house and had a body of expert advisers; both of these circumstances were due to the Kindergarten.

After the convention accepted the Union Constitution, it was necessary to have it accepted by the Imperial Parliament and the various states of South Africa. In both of these tasks the Kindergarten played an important role, in England through their control of The Times and The Morning Post as well as other sources of propaganda, and in South Africa by the economic pressure of the Transvaal. In Natal, the only state which submitted the question to a referendum, the Kindergarten put on an intensive propaganda drive, financed with money from the Transvaal. Of this struggle in Natal, Brand, with his usual secrecy on all matters dealing with the Kindergarten, merely says: "A referendum was therefore taken — contrary to general expectation, it revealed an overwhelming majority for union, a good testimony to the sound sense of the people of the colony. "(9) Brand, as secretary to the Transvaal delegation to the Convention, knew more than this!

The same secrecy was maintained in regard to the whole convention. No record of its proceedings was kept, but, according to Worsfold, its resolutions were drafted by Brand and Duncan.

Throughout these activities, the Kindergarten received powerful support from a man who by this time was a member of the Milner Group and later gained international fame, chiefly because of this membership. This was Jan C. Smuts.

Smuts had studied in England, at Cambridge University and the Middle Temple. By 1895 he was a lawyer in Cape Town. His lack of success in this profession doubtless had some influence in turning him into the devious opportunist he soon became, but throughout his opportunism he clung to that ideal which he shared with Rhodes and Milner — the ideal of a united South Africa. All his actions from this date onward — no matter how much they may seem, viewed superficially, to lead in another direction — were directed toward the end ultimately achieved: a United South Africa within the British Empire — and, to him almost equally important, a United South Africa in which he would be the dominant figure. Smuts and Milner differed chiefly on this last point, for if Milner was "selfless," this was almost the last word which could be applied to Smuts. Otherwise the two seemed very similar — similar in their desires for a united South Africa and later a united British Empire, and extraordinarily similar in their cold austerity, impersonal intellectualism, and driving discipline (applied to self even more than to others). In spite of their similar goals for the Empire, Smuts and Milner were not close friends. Perhaps such similar personalities could not be expected to find mutual agreement, but the divergence probably rests, rather, on the one characteristic in their personalities where they most obviously differed.

Smuts and Rhodes, on the other hand, got on together very well. As early as 1895, the unsuccessful Cape Town lawyer was sent by the great imperialist to Kimberley to speak in his defense. But after the Jameson Raid, Smuts became one of the most vociferous critics of Rhodes and the British. These attacks gave Smuts a reputation as an Anglophobe, which yielded considerable profits immediately. Going to the Transvaal (where he added to his fame by uncompromising support of President Kruger), he was raised, at the age of twenty-eight, to the post of State Attorney (1898). In this position, and later as Colonial Secretary, he adopted tactics which led steadily to war (forcing the Uitlanders to pay taxes while denying them the franchise, arresting Uitlander newspaper editors like Monypenny, etc.). At the Bloemfontein Conference of 1899 between Kruger and Milner, all of Smuts's advice to the former was in the direction of concessions to Milner, yet it was Smuts who drafted the ultimatum of 9 October, which led to the outbreak of war. During the war he was one of the most famous of Boer generals, yet, when negotiations for peace began, it was he who drew up the proposal to accept the British terms without delay. With the achievement of peace, Smuts refused Milner's invitation to serve in the Legislative Council of the Transvaal, devoting himself instead to violent and frequently unfair attacks on Milner and the Kindergarten, yet as soon as self- government was granted (in 1906) he became Colonial Secretary and Minister of Education and worked in the closest cooperation with the Kindergarten to obtain Milner's ideal of a united South Africa.

There is really nothing puzzling or paradoxical in these actions. From the beginning, Smuts wanted a brilliant career in a united South Africa within a united British Empire, within, if possible, a united world. No stage would be too big for this young actor's ambitions, and these ambitions were not, except for his own personal role, much different from those of Milner or Rhodes. But, as a very intelligent man, Smuts knew that he could play no role whatever in the world, or in the British Empire, unless he could first play a role in South Africa. And that required, in a democratic regime (which he disliked), that he appear pro-Boer rather than pro-British. Thus Smuts was pro-Boer on all prominent and nonessential matters but pro-British on all unobtrusive and essential matters (such as language, secession, defense, etc.).

At the National Convention of 1908-1909, it was Smuts who dominated the Transvaal delegation and succeeded in pushing through the projects prepared by the Kindergarten. From this emerged a personal connection that still exists, and from time onward, as a member of the Milner Group, Smuts, with undeniable ability, was able to play the role he had planned in the Empire and the world. He became the finest example of the Milner Group's contention that within a united Empire rested the best opportunities for freedom and self-development for all men. (10)

In the new government formed after the creation of the Union of South Africa, Smuts held three out of nine portfolios (Mines, Defense, and Interior). In 1912 he gave up two of these (Mines and Interior) in exchange for the portfolio of Finance, which he held until the outbreak of war. As Minister of Defense (1910-1920) and Prime Minister (1919- 1924), he commanded the British forces in East Africa (1916-1917) and was the South African representative and one of the chief members of the Imperial War Cabinet (1917- 1918). At the Peace Conference at Paris he was a plenipotentiary and played a very important role behind the scenes in cooperation with other members of the Milner Group. In 1921 he went on a secret mission to Ireland and arranged for an armistice and opened negotiations between Lloyd George and the Irish leaders. In the period following the war, his influence in South African politics declined, but he continued to play an important role within the Milner Group and in those matters (such as the Empire) in which the Group was most concerned. With the approach of the Second World War, he again came to prominence in political affairs. He was Minister of Justice until the war began (1933- 1939) and then became Prime Minister, holding the Portfolios of External Affairs and Defense (1939-1948). Throughout his political life, his chief lieutenant was Patrick Duncan, whom he inherited directly from Milner.

Smuts was not the only addition made to the Milner Group by the Kindergarten during its stay in South Africa. Among the others were two men who were imported by Milner from the Indian Civil Service to guide the efforts of the Kindergarten in forming the Transvaal Civil Service. These two were James S. Meston (later Lord Meston, 1865- 1943) and William S. Marris (later Sir William, 1873-1945). Both had studied briefly at Oxford in preparation for the Indian Civil Service. Meston studied at Balliol (after graduating from Aberdeen University) at the time when Milner was still very close to the college (c. 1884), and when Toynbee, tutor to Indian Civil Service candidates at Balliol, had just died. It may have been in this fashion that Milner became acquainted with Meston and thus called him to South Africa in 1903. Until that time, Meston's career in the Indian Civil Service had been fairly routine, and after eighteen years of service he had reached the position of Financial Secretary to the United Provinces.

Marris, a younger colleague of Meston's in the Indian Civil Service, was a native of New Zealand and, after studying at Canterbury College in his own country, went to Christ Church, Oxford, to prepare for the Indian Civil Service. He passed the necessary examinations and was made an assistant magistrate in the United Provinces. From this post he went to South Africa to join the Kindergarten two years after Meston had.

Meston's position in South Africa was adviser to the Cape Colony and the Transvaal on civil service reform (1904-1906). He remained ever after a member of the Milner Group, being used especially for advice on Indian affairs. On his return from South Africa, he was made secretary to the Finance Department of the Government of India (1906-1912). Two years later he was made Finance Member of the Governor-General's Council, and, the following year, became a member of the Imperial Legislative Council. In 1912 he became for five years Lieutenant Governor of the United Provinces. During this period he worked very closely with Lionel Curtis on the projected reforms which ultimately became the Government of India Act of 1919. In 1917 Meston went to London as Indian representative to the Imperial War Cabinet and to the Imperial Conference of that year. On his return to India, he again was Finance Member of the Governor- General's Council until his retirement in 1919. He then returned to England and, as the newly created Baron Meston of Agra and Dunottar, continued to act as chief adviser on Indian affairs to the Milner Group. He was placed on the boards of directors of a score of corporations in which the Group had influence. On several of these he sat with other members of the Group. Among these we might mention the English Electric Company (with Hichens), the Galloway Water Power Company (with Brand), and the British Portland Cement Manufacturers Association (with the third Lord Selborne). From its foundation he was an important member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, was chairman of its executive committee in 1919-1926, and was a member of the council for most of the period 1926-1943.

Marris, who replaced Meston in the Transvaal in 1906, was eight years his junior (born 1873) and, perhaps for this reason, was much closer to the member of the Kindergarten and became, if possible, an even more intimate member of the Milner Group. He became Civil Service Commissioner of the Transvaal and deputy chairman of the Committee on the Central South African Railways. He did not return to India for several years, going with Curtis instead on a world tour through Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, organizing the Round Table Groups (1911). It was he who persuaded Curtis, and through him the Milner Group, that India should be allowed to proceed more rapidly than had been intended on the path toward self-government.

Back in India in 1912, Marris became a member of the Durbar Executive Committee and, later, secretary to the Home Department of the Government of India. In 1916 he became Inspector General of Police for the United Provinces, and the following year Joint Secretary to the Government of India. During this period he helped Curtis with the projected reforms plans, and he was made responsible for carrying them out when the act was passed in 1919, being made Commissioner of Reforms and Home Secretary to the Government of India (1919-1921). At the same time he was knighted. After a brief period as Governor of Assam (1921-1922), he was Governor of the United Provinces (1922- 1928) and a member of the Council of India (1928-1929). After his retirement from active participation in the affairs of India, he embarked upon a career in academic administration, which brought him additional honors. He was Principal of Armstrong College in 1929-1937, Vice-Chancellor and Pro- Vice-Chancellor of Durham University in 1929-1937, a Governor of the Royal Agricultural College at Cirencester in 1937-1945.

Marris's son, Adam D. Marris, born in the year his father went to the Transvaal, is today still a member of the Milner Group. After graduating from Winchester School and Trinity College, Oxford, he went to work with Lazard Brothers. There is no doubt that this position was obtained through his father's relationship with Brand, at that time manager of Lazard. Young Marris remained with the banking firm for ten years, but at the outbreak of war he joined the Ministry of Economic Warfare for a year. Then he joined the All Souls Group that was monopolizing the British Embassy in Washington, originally as First Secretary and later as Counselor to the Embassy (1940-1945). After the war he was British Foreign Office representative on the Emergency Economic Committee for Europe as secretary-general. In 1946 he returned to Lazard Brothers.

The older Marris brought into the Milner Group from the Indian Civil Service another member who has assumed increasing importance in recent years. This was Malcolm Hailey (since 1936 Lord Hailey). Hailey, a year older than Marris, took the Indian Civil Service examinations with Marris in 1895 and followed in his footsteps thereafter. Secretary to the Punjab government in 1907 and Deputy Secretary to the Government of India the following year, he was a member of the Delhi Durbar Committee in 1912 and Chief Commissioner in that city for the next eight years. In this post he was one of the advisers used by Curtis on Indian reforms (1916). After the war Hailey was a member of the Executive Council of the Viceroy in the Financial and Home Departments (1919- 1924), Governor of Punjab (1924-1928), and Governor of the United Provinces (1928- 1930, 1931-1934). During this last period he was one of the closest advisers to Baron Irwin (Lord Halifax) during his term as Viceroy (1926-1936). After Hailey left the Indian Service in 1934, he was used in many important capacities by the Milner Group, especially in matters concerned with Africa and the mandates. Since this use illustrates to perfection the skillful way in which the Milner Group has functioned in recent years, it might be presented here as a typical case.

We have seen that the Milner Group controlled the Rhodes money after Rhodes's death in 1902. In 1929 the Group invited General Smuts to give the Rhodes Lectures at Oxford. In these lectures, Smuts suggested that a detailed survey of Africa and its resources was badly needed. The Royal Institute of International Affairs took up this suggestion and appointed a committee, with Lord Lothian as chairman, to study the project. This committee secured the services of the retiring Governor of the United Provinces to head the survey. Thus Sir Malcolm Hailey became the director of the project and general editor of the famous African Survey, published in 1938 by the Royal Institute of International Affairs, with funds obtained from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Thus the hand of the Milner Group appears in this work from its first conception to its final fruition, although the general public, ignorant of the existence of such a group, would never realize it.

Hailey was also made a member of the Council of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, a member of the Permanent Mandate Commission of the League of Nations (1935-1939), chairman of the School of Oriental and African Studies (1941-1945), chairman of International African Institute, president of the Royal Central Asian Society, chairman of the Colonial Research Committee, member of the Senate of the University of London, Visiting Fellow of Nuffield College at Oxford (1939-1947), head of an economic mission to the Belgian Congo (1941), Romanes Lecturer at Oxford (1941), etc., etc.

Along with all these important posts, Lord Hailey found time to write in those fields with which the Milner Group was most concerned. Among these works we might mention: Britain and Her Dependencies, The Future of Colonial Peoples, and Great Britain, India, and the Colonial Dependencies in the Post-War World (all three published in 1943).

The achievement of the Union of South Africa in 1910 did not mean the end of the Kindergarten. Instead, it set out to repeat on the imperial scene what it had just accomplished in South Africa. In this new project the inspiration was the same (Milner), the personnel was the same (the Kindergarten), the methods were the same (with the Round Table Groups replacing the 'Closer Union Societies" and The Round Table replacing The State. But, as befitted a larger problem, additional personnel and additional funds were required. The additional personnel came largely from New College and All Souls; the additional funds came from Cecil Rhodes and his associates and All Souls. The older sources of funds (like Abe Bailey) and influence (like The Times) remained loyal to the Group and continued to assist in this second great battle of the Milner Croup. As John Buchan wrote in his autobiography, "Loyalty to Milner and his creed was a strong cement which endured long after our South African service ended, since the Round Table coterie in England continued the Kindergarten." Or, if we may call another competent witness, Lord Oxford and Asquith, writing of Milner after his death, stated: "His personality was so impressive that he founded a school of able young men who during his lifetime and since have acknowledged him as their principal political leader.... He was an Expansionist, up to a point a Protectionist, with a strain in social and industrial matters of semi-Socialist sentiment." (11)

More convincing, perhaps, than either Buchan or Asquith is the word of the Group itself. The Round Table, in its issue of September 1935, celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary by printing a brief history of the Group. This sketch, while by no means complete and without mentioning any names of members, provides irrefutable proof of the existence and importance of the Milner Group. It said, in part:

"By the end of 1913 The Round Table had two aspects. On the one hand, it published a quarterly review. . . . On the other hand it represented a body of men united in support of the principle of freedom and enquiring jointly, through the method of group study, how it could be preserved and expanded in the conditions of the then existing world. In calling for preparation against the German danger (as it did from the very beginning) The Round Table was not merely, or even chiefly, concerned with saving British skins. It was concerned with upholding against the despotic state what it began to call 'the principle of the commonwealth.' . . . The root principle of The Round Table remained freedom — 'the government of men by themselves' and it demanded that within the Empire this principle should be persistently pursued and expressed in institutions. For that reason it denounced the post-war attempt to repress the Irish demand for national self-government by ruthless violence after a century of union had failed to win Irish consent, as a policy in conflict with British wealth; and it played its part in achieving the Irish Treaty, and the Dominion settlement. Within the limits of the practiceable it fought for the Commonwealth ideal in India. It was closely associated with the device of dyarchy, which seemed for the time being the most practical method of preventing the perpetuation of an irremovable executive confronting an irresponsible legislature and of giving Indians practical training in responsibility for government — the device embodied in the Montagu-Chelmsford Report and the Government of India Act.... The Round Table, while supporting the legal formulation of national freedom in the shape of Dominion autonomy, has never lost sight of its ultimate ideal of an organic and articulate Commonwealth. The purpose of devolution is not to drive liberty to the point of license but to prepare for the ultimate basis on which alone freedom can be preserved the reign of law over all.... Federal Union is the only security for the freedom both of the individual and of the nation. . . . The principle of anonymity has never been broken and it remains not only as a means of obtaining material from sources that would otherwise be closed, but also as a guarantee that both the opinions and the facts presented in the articles are scrutinized by more than one individual judgment.... Imperceptibly, the form of the review has changed to suit altered circumstances.... But the fundamentals remain unchanged. Groups in the four overseas Dominions still assemble their material and hammer out their views, metaphorically, 'round the table.' Some of their members have shared continuously in this work for a quarter of a century; and in England, too, the group of friends who came together in South Africa still help to guide the destinies and contribute to the pages of the review they founded, though the chances of life and death have taken some of their number, and others have been brought in to contribute new points of view and younger blood."
 
 
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Re: The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Clivede

Postby admin » Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:42 pm

Chapter 5: Milner Group, Rhodes, and Oxford, 1901-1925

It is generally believed, and stated as a fact by many writers, that Milner hoped for some new political appointment after his return from Africa and was deprived of this by the election of 1906, which swept the Conservatives from office and brought in the Liberals. It is perfectly true that Milner was out of political life for ten years, but there is, so far as I know, no evidence that this was contrary to his own wish. In his farewell speech of March 1905, delivered long before the Liberal victory at the polls, Milner stated in reference "to the great idea of Imperial Unity": "I shall always be steadfast in that faith, though I should prefer to work quietly and in the background, in the formation of opinion rather than in the exercise of power." This is exactly what Milner did. Even after he returned to positions of power in 1915-1921, he worked as quietly as possible and attracted public attention at an absolute minimum. (1)

Milner had nothing to gain from public office after 1905, until the great crisis of 1915- 1918 made it imperative for all able men to take a hand in active affairs. If he wanted to speak his own mind, he always had his seat in the House of Lords, and speaking engagements elsewhere were easy — indeed, too easy — to get. In South Africa his union program after 1905 was going forward at a rate that exceeded his most optimistic hopes. And nowhere else did it seem, in 1905, that he could, in actual administration, accomplish more than he could in quietly building up a combination propaganda and patronage machine at home. This machine was constructed about Rhodes and his associates, New College, and All Souls.

Milner was not of any political party himself and regarded party politics with disgust long before 1905. As his friend Edmund Garrett wrote in 1905: "Rhodes and Milner both number themselves of that great unformed party which is neither the ins nor the outs, which touches here the foreign politics of the one, here the home politics of the other; a party to which Imperialism and Carlyle's Condition of the People Question are one and the same business of fitly rearing, housing, distributing, coordinating, and training for war and peace the people of this commonwealth; a party which seems to have no name, no official leader, no paper even, but which I believe, when it comes by a soul and a voice, will prove to include a majority of the British in Britain and a still greater majority of the British overseas." (2) There can be no doubt that these were Milner's sentiments. He hoped to give that unformed party "a soul and a voice," and he intended to do this apart from party politics. When he was offered the position of president of the imperial federalist organization he refused it, but wrote to the secretary, Mr. F. H. Congdon, as follows:

"Personally I have no political interest worth mentioning, except the maintenance of the Imperial connection, and I look upon the future with alarm. The party system at home and in the Colonies seems to me to work for the severance of ties, and that contrary to the desire of our people on both sides. It is a melancholy instance of the manner in which bad political arrangements, lauded to the skies from year s end to year's end as the best in the world, may not only injure the interests, but actually frustrate the desires of the people. I can see no remedy or protection, under the present circumstances, except a powerful body of men — and it would have to be very powerful — determined at all times and under all circumstances to vote and work, regardless of every other circumstance, against the man or party who played fast and loose with the cause of National Unity. You can be sure that for my own part I shall always do that.... " (3)


Milner, in his distaste for party politics and for the parliamentary system, and in his emphasis on administration for social welfare, national unity, and imperial federation, was an early example of what James Burnham has called the "managerial revolution" — that is, the growth of a group of managers, behind the scenes and beyond the control of public opinion, who seek efficiently to obtain what they regard as good for the people. To a considerable extent this point of view became part of the ideology of the Milner Group, although not of its most articulate members, like Lionel Curtis, who continued to regard democracy as a good in itself.

Milner's own antipathy to democracy as practiced in the existing party and parliamentary system is obvious. Writing to his old friend Sir Clinton Dawkins, who had been, with Milner, a member of the Toynbee group in 1879-1884, he said in 1902: "Two things constantly strike me. One is the soundness of the British nation as a whole, contrasted with the rottenness of party politics." About the same time he wrote to another old Balliol associate, George Parkin: "I am strongly impressed by two things: one that the heart of the nation is sound, — and secondly that our constitution and methods are antiquated and bad, and the real sound feeling of the nation does not get a chance of making itself effective." Two years later he wrote to a friend of Rhodes, Sir Lewis Michell: "Representative government has its merits, no doubt, but the influence of representative assemblies, organized on the party system, upon administration — 'government' in the true sense of the word — is almost uniformly bad. "(4)

With sentiments such as these, Milner laid down the duties of public office with relief and devoted himself, not to private affairs, but to the secret public matters associated with his "Association of Helpers." To support himself during this period, Milner acted as confidential adviser to certain international financiers in London's financial district. His entree to this lucrative occupation may have been obtained through Lord Esher, who had just retired from a similar well-remunerated collaboration with Sir Ernest Cassel.

Milner's most important work in this period was concerned with the administration of the Rhodes Trust and the contacts with Oxford University which arose out of this and from his own position as a Fellow of New College.

The Rhodes Trust was already in operation when Milner returned from Africa in 1905, with the actual management of the scholarships in the hands of George Parkin, who had been brought from his position as Principal of Upper Canada College by Milner. He held the post for eighteen years (1902-1920). The year following his appointment, an Oxford secretary to the trustees was appointed to handle the local work during Parkin's extended absences. This appointment went to Francis Wylie (Sir Francis since 1929), Fellow and tutor of Brasenose, who was named by the influence of Lord Rosebery, whose sons he had tutored. (5) The real control of the trust has rested with the Milner Group from 1902 to the present. Milner was the only really active trustee and he controlled the bureaucracy which handled the trust. As secretary to the trustees before 1929, we find, for example, George Parkin (1902-1920), Geoffrey Dawson (1921-1922), Edward Grigg (1922-1925), and Lord Lothian (1925-1940) — all of them clearly Milner's nominees. On the Board of Trustees itself, in the same period, we find Lord Rosebery, Lord Milner, Lord Grey, Dr. Jameson, Alfred Beit, Lewis Michell, B. F. Hawksley, Otto Beit, Rudyard Kipling, Leopold Amery, Stanley Baldwin, Geoffrey Dawson, H. A. L. Fisher, Sothern Holland, and Sir Edward Peacock. Peacock had been teacher of English and housemaster at Upper Canada College during the seven years in which Parkin was principal of that institution (1895-1902) and became an international financier as soon as Parkin became secretary of the Rhodes Trust. Apparently he did not represent the Rhodes Trust but rather the interests of that powerful and enigmatic figure Edward Rogers Wood of Toronto. Wood and Peacock were very close to the Canadian branch of the Milner Group, that is to say, to A. J. Glazebrook, Parkin, and the Massey family, but it is not clear that either represented the interests of the Milner Group. Peacock was associated at first with the Dominion Securities Corporation of London (1902-1915) and later with Baring Brothers as a specialist in utility enterprises in Mexico, Spain, and Brazil (1915-1924). He was made Receiver-General of the Duchy of Cornwall in 1929 and was knighted in 1934. He was a director of the Bank of England from 1921-1946, managing director of Baring Brothers from 1926, a director of Vickers-Armstrong from 1929, and in addition a director of many world-famous corporations, such as the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Hudson Bay Company, and the Sun Life Assurance Society. He was an expert at the Genoa Conference in 1922 and acted as the British Treasury's representative in Washington during the Second World War.

If we look at the list of Rhodes Trustees, we see that the Milner Group always had complete control. Omitting the five original trustees, we see that five of the new additions were from the Milner Group, three were from the Rhodes clique, and three represented the outside world. In the 1930s the Board was stabilized for a long period as Amery, Baldwin, Dawson, Fisher, Holland, and Peacock, with Lothian as secretary. Six of these seven were of the Milner Group, four from the inner core.

A somewhat similar situation existed in respect to the Beit Railway Fund. Although of German birth, Alfred Beit became a British subject and embraced completely the ideas on the future role of the British Empire shared by Rhodes and Milner. An intimate friend of these and of Lord Rosebery, he was especially concerned with the necessity to link the British possessions in Africa together by improved transportation (including the Cape to Cairo Railway). Accordingly, he left £1,200,000 as the Beit Railway Trust, to be used for transportation and other improvements in Africa. The year before his death (1906), he was persuaded by the Milner Group to establish a Beit Professorship and a Beit Lecturership in Colonial History at Oxford. The money provided yielded an income far in excess of the needs of these two chairs, and the surplus has been used for other "imperialist" purposes. In addition, Beit gave money to the Bodleian Library at Oxford for books on colonial history. In 1929, when Rhodes House was opened, these and other books on the subject were moved from the Bodleian to Rhodes House, and the Beit Professor was given an office and lecture hall in Rhodes House. There have been only two incumbents of the Beit Professorship since 1905: Hugh Edward Egerton in 1905- 1920, and Reginald (Sir Reginald since 1944) Coupland since 1920. Egerton, a member of the Cecil Bloc and the Round Table Group, was a contemporary of Milner's at Oxford whose father was a member of the House of Commons and Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He was originally private secretary to his cousin Edward Stanhope, Colonial Secretary and Secretary of War in Lord Salisbury's first government. In 1886, Egerton became a member of the managing committee of the newly created Emigrants Information Office. He held this job for twenty years, during which time he came into the sphere of the Milner Group, partly because of the efforts of South Africa, and especially the British South Africa Company, to encourage emigration to their territories, but also because of his Short History of British Colonial Policy, published in 1897. On the basis of this contact and this book, he was given the new Beit Chair in 1905 and with it a fellowship at All Souls. In his professional work he constantly supported the aims of the Milner Group, including the publication of Federations and Unions within the British Empire (1911) and British Colonial Policy in the Twentieth Century (1922). His book Canadian Constitutional Development, along with Sir Charles Lucas's edition of Lord Durham's reports, was the chief source of information for the process by which Canada was federated used by the Milner Group. He wrote the biography of Joseph Chamberlain in the Dictionary of National Biography, while his own biography in the same collection was written by Reginald Coupland. He remained a Fellow of All Souls and a member of the Milner Group until his death in 1927, although he yielded his academic post to Reginald Coupland in 1920. Coupland, who was a member of the Milner Group from his undergraduate days at New College (1903-1907), and who became one of the inner circle of the Milner Group as early as 1914, will be discussed later. He has been, since 1917, one of the most important persons in Britain in the formation of British imperial policy.

The Beit Railway Trust and the Beit chairs at Oxford have been controlled by the Milner Group from the beginning, through the board of trustees of the former and through the board of electors of the latter. Both of these have interlocking membership with the Rhodes Trust and the College of All Souls. For example, the board of electors of the Beit chair in 1910 consisted of the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, the Regius Professor of Modern History, the Chichele Professor of Modern History, the Secretary of State for Colonies, Viscount Milner, H. A. L. Fisher, and Leopold Amery. By controlling All Souls and the two professorships (both ex-officio fellowships of All Souls), the Milner Group could control five out of seven electors to the Beit professorship. In recent years the board of electors has consistently had a majority of members of All Souls and/or the Milner Group. In 1940, for example, the board had, besides three ax-officio members, two members of All Souls, a Rhodes Trustee, and H. A. L. Fisher.

The Beit Lectureship in Colonial History was similarly controlled. In 1910 its board of electors had seven members, four ex-officio (The Vice-Chancellor, the Regius Professor of History, the Chichele Professor of History, the Beit Professor) and three others (A. L. Smith, H, A. L. Fisher, and Leopold Amery). In 1930 the board consisted of the Vice- Chancellor, the Beit Professor, H. A. L. Fisher, F. M. Powicke, and three fellows of All Souls. As a result, the lectureship has generally been held by persons close to the Milner Group, as can be seen from the following list of incumbents:

W. L. Grant, 1906-1910
J. Munro, 1910-1912
L. Curtis, 1912-1913
R. Coupland, 1913-1918
E. M. Wrong, 1919-1924
K. N. Bell, 1924-1927
W. P. Morrell, 1927-1930
V. T. Harlow, 1930-1935
K. C. Wheare, 1935-1940


Without attempting to identify all of these completely, it should be pointed out that four were Fellows of All Souls, while, of the others, one was the son-in-law of George Parkin, another was the son-in-law of A. L. Smith, and a third was librarian of Rhodes House and later acting editor of The Round Table.

During this period after 1905, the Milner Group was steadily strengthening its relationships with New College, All Souls, and to some extent with Balliol. Through Fisher and Milner there came into the Group two tutors and a scholar of New College. These were Alfred Zimmern, Robert S. Rait (1874-1936), and Reginald Coupland.

Alfred Zimmern (Sir Alfred since 1936) was an undergraduate at New College with Kerr, Grigg, Brand, Curtis, Malcolm, and Waldorf Astor (later Lord Astor) in 1898-1902. As lecturer, fellow, and tutor there in the period 1903-1909, he taught a number of future members of the Milner Group, of whom the chief was Reginald Coupland. His teaching and his book The Greek Commonwealth (1911) had a profound effect on the thinking of the inner circle of the Milner Group, as can be seen, for example, in the writings of Lionel Curtis. In the period up to 1921 he was close to this inner core and in fact can be considered as a member of it. After 1921 he disagreed with the policy of the inner core toward the League of Nations and Germany, since the core wanted to weaken the one and strengthen the other, an opinion exactly opposite to that of Zimmern. He remained, however, a member of the Group and was, indeed, its most able member and one of its most courageous members. Since his activities will be mentioned frequently in the course of this study, we need do no more than point out his various positions here. He was a staff inspector of the Board of Education in 1912-1915; the chief assistant to Lord Robert Cecil in the Political Intelligence Department of the Foreign Office in 1918-1919; Wilson Professor of International Politics at University College of Wales, Abersytwyth, in 1919-1921; Professor of Political Science at Cornell in 1922-1923; deputy director and chief administrator of the League of Nations Institute of Intellectual Cooperation in 1926- 1930; Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at Oxford in 1930-1944; deputy director of the Research Department of the Foreign Office in 1943-1945; adviser to the Ministry of Education in 1945; director of the Geneva School of International Studies in 1925-1939; adviser and chief organizer of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization in 1946; and Visiting Professor at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, from 1947.

Another Fellow of New College who joined the Milner Group was R. S. Rait (1874- 1936). Of much less significance than Zimmern, he worked with the Group in the Trade Intelligence Department of the War Office in 1915-1918. He is the chief reason why the Milner Group, especially in the writings of Lionel Curtis, emphasized the union with Scotland as a model for the treatment of Ireland. A close friend of A. V. Dicey, Fellow of All Souls, he wrote with him Thoughts on the Union between England and Scotland (1920), and, with C. H. Firth, another Fellow of All Souls, he wrote Acts and Ordonnances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660 (1911). He left New College in 1913 to become Professor of Scottish History at the University of Glasgow (1913-1929) and five years later was made Royal Historiographer of Scotland (1919-1929). Originally intimate with the inner circle of the Milner Group, he drifted away after 1913.

Reginald Coupland (Sir Reginald since 1944) came into the Milner Group's inner circle shortly before Rait moved out, and has been there ever since. A student of Zimmern's at New College in 1903-1907, he became a Fellow and lecturer in ancient history at Trinity College, Oxford, immediately upon graduation and stayed there for seven years. Since then his academic career has carried him to the following positions: Beit Lecturer in Colonial History (1913-1918), Beit Professor of Colonial History (since 1920), Fellow of All Souls (since 1920), and Fellow of Nuffield College (since 1939). He was also editor of The Round Table after Lord Lothian left (1917-1919) and again at the beginning of the Second World War (1939-1941). His most important activities, however, have been behind the scenes: as member of the Royal Commission on Superior Civil Services in India (1923), as adviser to the Burma Round Table Conference of 1931, as a member of the Peel Commission to Palestine (1936-1937), and as a member of Sir Stafford Cripps's Mission to India (1942). He is reputed to have been the chief author of the Peel Report of 1937, which recommended partition of Palestine and restriction of Jewish immigration into the area — two principles which remained at the basis of British policy until 1949. In fact, the pattern of partition contained in the Peel Report, which would have given Transjordan an outlet to the Mediterranean Sea across the southern portion of Palestine, was a subject of violent controversy in 1948.

Coupland has been a prolific writer. Besides his many historical works, he has written many books that reflect the chief subjects of discussion in the inmost circle of the Milner Group. Among these, we might mention Freedom and Unity, his lecture at Patna College, India, in 1924; The American Revolution and the British Empire (1930); The Empire in These Days (1935); The Cripps Mission (1942); and Report on the Constitutional Problem in India (3 parts, 1942-1943).

The Milner Group's relationships with All Souls were also strengthened after Milner returned to England in 1905, and especially after the Kindergarten returned to England in 1909-1911. The Milner Group's strength in All Souls, however, was apparently not sufficiently strong for them to elect a member of the Milner Group as Warden when Anson died in 1914, for his successor, Francis W. Pember, onetime assistant legal adviser to the Foreign Office, and a Fellow of All Souls since 1884, was of the Cecil Bloc rather than of the Milner Group. Pember did not, however, resist the penetration of the Milner Group into All Souls, and as a result both of his successors as Warden, W. G. S. Adams (1933-1945) and B. H. Sumner (1945- ), were members of the Milner Group.

In general, the movement of persons was not from the Milner Group to All Souls but in the reverse direction. All Souls, in fact, became the chief recruiting agency for the Milner Group, as it had been before 1903 for the Cecil Bloc. The inner circle of this Group, because of its close contact with Oxford and with All Souls, was in a position to notice able young undergraduates at Oxford. These were admitted to All Souls and at once given opportunities in public life and in writing or teaching, to test their abilities and loyalty to the ideals of the Milner Group. If they passed both of these tests, they were gradually admitted to the Milner Group's great fiefs such as the Royal Institute of International Affairs, The Times, The Round Table, or, on the larger scene, to the ranks of the Foreign or Colonial Offices. So far as I know, none of these persons recruited through All Souls ever reached the inner circle of the Milner Group, at least before 1939. This inner circle continued to be largely monopolized by the group that had been in South Africa in the period before 1909. The only persons who were not in South Africa, yet reached the inner circle of the Milner Group, would appear to be Coupland, Lord Astor, Lady Astor, Arnold Toynbee, and H. V. Hodson. There may be others, for it is difficult for an outsider to be sure in regard to such a secret matter.

Of the members of All Souls who got into at least the second circle of the Milner Group, we should mention the names of the following:

Name / Birth Date / College / All Souls Fellow

W. G. S. Adams / 1874 / Balliol, 1896-1900 / 1910- (Warden 1933-1945)
K. N. Bell / 1884 / Balliol, 1903-1906 / 1907-1914
I. Berlin / 1909 / Corpus Christi, 1928-1932 / 1932-1939
H. B. Butler / 1883 / Balliol, 1902-1905 / 1905-1912
R. D'O. Butler / - / Balliol, 1935-1938 / 1938-
F. Clarke / -- / Balliol, 1905-1908 / 1908-1915
P. E. Corbett / 1892 / Balliol, 1919-1920 / 1920-1928
C. R. M. F. Cruttwell / -- / Queen's, 1906-1910 / 1911-1918
H. W. C. Davis / 1874 / Balliol, 1891-1895 / 1895-1902
G. C. Faber / 1889 / Christ Church, 1908-1913 / 1919-
J. G. Foster / -- / New College, 1922-1925 / 1924-
M. L. Gwyer / 1878 / Christ Church, 1897-1901 / 1902-1916
W. K. Hancock / 1898 / Balliol, 1922-1923 / 1924-1930, 1944-
C. R. S. Harris / 1896 / Corpus Christi, 1918-1923 / 1921-1936
H. V. Hodson / 1906 / Balliol, 1925-1928 / 1928-1935
C. S. Macartney / 1896 / Trinity College, Cambridge / 1936-
R. M. Makins / 1904 / Christ Church, 1922-1925 / 1925-1932
J. Morley / 1938 / Lincoln, 1856-1859 / 1904-1911
C. J. Radcliffe / 1899 / New College, 1919-1922 / 1922-1937
J. A. Salter / 1881 / Brasenose, 1899-1904 / 1932-
D. B. Somervell / 1889 / Magdalen 1907-1911 / 1912-
A. H. D. R. Steel-Maitland / 1876 / Balliol, 1896-1900 / 1900-1907
B. H. Sumner / 1893 / Balliol, 1912-1916 / 1919-1926, Warden 1945-
L. F. R. Williams / 1890 / University 1909-1912 / 1914-1921
E. L. Woodward / 1890 / Corpus Christi, 1908-1911 / 1911-1944


Of these twenty-five names, four were Fellows of Balliol during the periods in which they were not Fellows of All Souls (Bell, David, Sumner, and Woodward). It is not necessary to say much about these various men at this time, but certain of them should be identified. The others will be mentioned later.

William George Stewart Adams was lecturer in Economics at Chicago and Manchester universities and Superintendent of Statistics and Intelligence in the Department of Agriculture before he was elected to All Souls in 1910. Then he was Gladstone Professor of Political Theory and Institutions (1912-1933), a member of the committee to advise the Irish Cabinet (191 1), in the Ministry of Munitions (1915), Secretary to Lloyd George (1916-1919), editor of the War Cabinet Reports (1917-1918), and a member of the Committee on Civil Service Examinations (1918).

The Reverend Kenneth Norman Bell was lecturer in history at Toronto University during his fellowship in All Souls (1907-1914); a director of G. Bell and Sons, Publishers; a tutor and Fellow of Balliol (1919-1941); Beit Lecturer in Colonial History (1924-1927); and a member of the committee for supervision of the selection of candidates for the Colonial Administrative Service. He edited, with W. P. Morrell, Select Documents in British Colonial History, 1830-1860 (1928).

Harold Beresford Butler (Sir Harold since 1946) was a civil servant, chiefly in the Home Office, and secretary to the British delegation to the International Conference on Aerial Navigation in Paris during his Fellowship at All Souls. He was subsequently in the Foreign Trade Department of the Foreign Office (1914-1917) and in the Ministry of Labour (1917-1919). On the Labour Commission of the Paris Peace Conference and at the International Labor Conference in Washington (1919), he later became deputy director (1920-1932) and director (1932-1938) of the International Labour Office of the League of Nations. Since 1939, he has been Warden of Nuffield College (1939-1943) and minister in charge of publicity in the British Embassy in Washington (1942-1946). He has written a number of books, including a history of the inter-war period called The Lost Peace (1941).

H. W. C. Davis, the famous medieval historian, became a Fellow of All Souls immediately after graduating from Balliol in 1895, and was a Fellow of Balliol for nineteen years after that, resigning from the latter to become Professor of History at Manchester University (1921-1925). During this period he was a lecturer at New College (1897-1899), Chichele Lecturer in Foreign History (1913), editor of the Oxford Pamphlets on the war (1914-1915), one of the organizers of the War Trade Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Blockade in the Foreign Office (1915), acting director of the Department of Overseas Trade under Sir Arthur Steel-Maitland (1917-1919), an expert at the Paris Peace Conference (1918-1919), and editor of the Dictionary of National Biography (1920-1928). In 1925 he returned from Manchester to Oxford as Regius Professor of Modern History in succession to Sir Charles Firth, became a Fellow of Oriel College, Curator of the Bodleian, and was named by the International Labour Office (that is, by Harold Butler) as the British representative on the Blanesburgh Committee on Factory Legislation in Europe. He edited the report of this committee. In addition to his very valuable studies in medieval history, Davis also wrote The History of the Blockade (1920) and sections of the famous History of the Peace Conference, edited by Harold Temperley (also a member of the Group).

Sir Maurice Linford Gwyer was a Fellow of All Souls for fourteen years after graduating from Christ Church (1902-1916). During this time he was admitted to the bar, practiced law, was lecturer in Private International Law at Oxford (1912-1915) and solicitor to the Insurance Commissioners (1902-1916). He was then legal adviser to the Ministry of Shipping (1917-1919) and to the Ministry of Health (1919-1926), then Procurator-General and Solicitor to the Treasury (1926-1933), First Parliamentary Counsel to the Treasury (1934-1937), and Chief Justice of India (1937-1943). He was first British delegate to The Hague Conference on Codification of International Law (1930) and a member of the Indian States Inquiry Committee (1932). He edited the later editions of Anson's Law of Contract and Law and Custom of the Constitution.

William Keith Hancock, of Australia and Balliol, was a member of All Souls from 1924. He was Professor of History at Adelaide in 1924-1933, Professor of Modern History at Birmingham in 1934-1944, and is now Chichele Professor of Economic History at Oxford. He wrote the three-volume work Survey of British Commonwealth Affairs, published by Chatham House in 1937-1942.

John Morley (Lord Morley of Blackburn) was a member of the Cecil Bloc rather than of the Milner Group, but in one respect, his insistence on the inadvisability of using force and coercion within the Empire, a difference which appeared most sharply in regard to Ireland, he was more akin to the Group than to the Bloc. He was a close friend of Lord Salisbury, Lord Esher, and Joseph Chamberlain and was also a friend of Milner's, since they worked together on the Pall Mall Gazette in 1882-1883. He had close personal and family connections with H. A. L. Fisher, the former going back to a vacation together in 1 892 and the latter based on Morley's lifelong friendship with Fisher's uncle, Leslie Stephen. It was probably through Fisher's influence that Morley was elected a Fellow of All Souls in 1904. He had shown that his heart was in the right place, so far as the Milner Group was concerned, in 1894, when Gladstone retired from the leadership of the Liberal Party and Morley used his influence to give the vacant position to Lord Rosebery. Morley was Secretary of State for India in the period 1905-1910, putting through the famous Morley-Minto reforms in this period. In this he made use of a number of members of the Milner and All Souls groups. The bill itself was put through the House of Commons by a member of All Souls, Thomas R. Buchanan (1846-1911), who was shifted from Financial Secretary in the War Office under Haldane to Under Secretary in the India Office for the purpose (1908-1909).(6)

James Arthur Salter (Sir Arthur since 1922) was born in Oxford and lived there until he graduated from Brasenose in 1904. He went to work for the Shipping Department of the Admiralty in the same year and worked in this field for most of the next fourteen years. In 1917 he was Director of Ship Requisitioning and later secretary and chairman of the Allied Maritime Transport Executive. He was on the Supreme Economic Council in 1919 and became general secretary to the Reparations Commission for almost three years (1920- 1922). He was Director of the Economic and Finance Section of the League of Nations in 1919-1922 and again in 1922-1931. In the early 1930s he went on several missions to India and China and served on various committees concerned with railroad matters. He was Gladstone Professor of Political Theory and Institutions in 1934-1944, Member of Parliament from Oxford University after 1937, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Shipping in 1939-1941, head of the British Merchant Shipping Mission in America in 1941-1943, Senior Deputy Director General of UNRRA in 1944, and Chancellor to the Duchy of Lancaster in 1945.

Donald B. Somervell (Sir Donald since 1933) has been a Fellow of All Souls since he graduated from Magdalen in 1911, although he took his degree in natural science. He entered Parliament as a Unionist in 1931 and almost at once began a governmental career. He was Solicitor General (1933-1936), Attorney General (1936-1945), and Home Secretary (1945), before becoming a Lord Justice of Appeal in 1946. His brother, D. C. Somervell, edited the one-volume edition of Toynbee's A Study of History for Chatham House.

Sir Arthur Ramsay Steel-Maitland was a Fellow of All Souls for the seven years following his graduation from Balliol in 1900. He was unsuccessful as a candidate for Parliament in 1906, but was elected as a Conservative from Birmingham four years later. He was Parliamentary Under Secretary for Colonies (1915-1917), Joint Parliamentary Under Secretary in the Foreign Office and Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade in the capacity of head of the Department of Overseas Trade (1917-1919), and Minister of Labour (1924-1929).

Benedict H. Sumner was a Fellow of All Souls for six years (1919-1928) and a Fellow of Balliol for twenty (1925-1944), before he became Warden of All Souls (1945). During the First World War, he was with Military Intelligence and afterwards with the British delegation at the Peace Conference. During the Second World War, he was attached to the Foreign Office (1939-1942). He is an authority on Russian affairs, and this probably played an important part in his selection as Warden of All Souls in 1945.

Laurence F. R. Williams went to Canada as lecturer in medieval history at Queen's University after leaving Balliol (1913-1914). Immediately on becoming a Fellow of All Souls in 1914, he went to India as Professor of Indian History at the University of Allahabad. In 1918 and in 1919 he was busy on constitutional reforms associated with the Government of India Act of 1919, working closely with Sir William Marris. He then became director of the Central Bureau of Information for six years (1920-1926) and secretary to the Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes for four (1926-1930). He was, in this period, also secretary to the Indian Delegation at the Imperial Conference of 1923, political secretary to the Maharaja of Patiala, substitute delegate to the Assembly of the League of Nations (1925), member of the Legislative Assembly (1924-1925), joint director of the Indian Princes' Special Organization (1929-1931), adviser to the Indian States delegation at the Round Table Conference of 1930-1931, and delegate to the Round Table Conference of 1932. In the 1930s he was Eastern Service director of the BBC (under H. A. L. Fisher), and in the early days of the Second World War was adviser on Middle East Affairs to the Ministry of Information. Since 1944 he has been in the editorial department of The Times. His written output is considerable, much of it having been published as official documents or parliamentary papers. Among these are the Moral and Material Progress Reports of India for 1917-1925, the official Report on Lord Chelmsford's Administration, and the official History of the Tour of the Prince of Wales. He also wrote Lectures on the Handling of Historical Material (1917), a History of the Abbey of St. Alban (1917), and a half dozen books and pamphlets on India.

Ernest Llewellyn Woodward, the last Fellow of All Souls whom we shall mention here, is of great significance. After studying at Oxford for seven years (1908-1915) he went into the British Expeditionary Force for three, and then was elected a Fellow of All Souls, an appointment he held until he became a Fellow of Balliol in the middle of the 1940s. He was also a tutor and lecturer at New College, a Rhodes Traveling Fellow (1931), and in 1944 succeeded Sir Alfred Zimmern as Montague Burton Professor of International Relations. When the decision was made after the Second World War to publish an extensive selection of Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919-1939, Woodward was made general editor of the series and at once associated with himself Rohan D'Olier Butler, who has been a Fellow of All Souls since leaving Balliol in 1938.

Woodward was a member of the council of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in the middle 1930s, and domestic bursar of All Souls a little later. He has written a number of historical works, of which the best known are Volume XIII of the Oxford History of England ("The Age of Reform," 1938), Three Studies in European Conservatism (1929), and Great Britain and the German Navy (1935).

These twenty-five names give the chief members of All Souls, in the period before 1939, who became links with the Milner Group and who have not previously been discussed. In the same period the links with New College and Balliol were also strengthened. The process by which this was done for the former, through men like H. A. L. Fisher, has already been indicated. Somewhat similar but less intimate relationships were established with Balliol, especially after A. L. Smith became Master of that college in 1916. Smith, as we have indicated, was a contemporary and old friend of Milner at Balliol and shared his (and Toynbee's) ideas regarding the necessity of uplifting the working classes and preserving the Empire. His connections with Fisher and with All Souls were intimate. He was a close friend of Lord Brassey, whose marital relationships with the Rosebery and Brand families and with the Cecil Bloc have been mentioned already. Through A. L. Smith, Brassey reorganized the financial structure of the Balliol foundation in 1904. He was, as we have shown, a close collaborator of Milner in his secret plans, by intimate personal relationships before 1897 and by frequent correspondence after that date. There can be no doubt that A. L. Smith shared in this confidence. He was a collaborator with the Round Table Group after 1910, being especially useful, by his Oxford position, in providing an Oxford background for Milner Group propaganda among the working classes. This will be mentioned later. A. L. Smith's daughter Mary married a Fellow of All Souls, F. T. Barrington-Ward, whose older brother, R. M. Barrington-Ward, was assistant editor of The Times in 1927-1941 and succeeded Dawson as editor in 1941. Smith's son, A. L. F. Smith, was elected to All Souls in 1904, was director, and later adviser, of education to the Government of Iraq in 1920-1931, and was Rector of Edinburgh Academy from 1931 to 1945.

A. L. Smith remained as Master of Balliol from 1916 to his death in 1924. His biographical sketch in The Dictionary of National Biography was written by K. N. Bell of All Souls.

The influence of the Milner Group and the Cecil Bloc on Balliol in the twentieth century can be seen from the following list of persons who were Fellows or Honorary Fellows of Balliol:

Archbishop Lang
K. N. Bell Lord Asquith
H. W. C. Davis Lord Brassey
J. H. Hofmeyr Lord Curzon
Vincent Massey Lord Ernie
F. W. Pember Lord Grey of Fallodon
A. L. Smith Lord Lansdowne
B. H. Sumner Lord Milner
A. J. Toynbee Leopold Amery
E. L. Woodward


Of these eighteen names, nine were Fellows of All Souls, and seven were clearly of the Milner Group.

There was also a close relationship between the Milner Group and New College. The following list gives the names of eight members of the Milner Group who were also Fellows or Honorary Fellows of New College in the years 1900-1947:

Lothian
Lord Milner
Isaiah Berlin
H. A. L. Fisher
Sir Samuel Hoare (Lord Templewood)
Gilbert Murray
W. G. A. Ormsby-Gore (Lord Harlech)
Sir Alfred Zimmern


If we wished to add names to the Cecil Bloc, we would add those of Lord David Cecil, Lord Quickswood (Lord Hugh Cecil), and Bishop A. C. Headlam.

It is clear from these lists that almost every important member of the Milner Group was a fellow of one of the three colleges — Balliol, New College, or All Souls. Indeed, these three formed a close relationship, the first two on the undergraduate level and the last in its own unique position. The three were largely dominated by the Milner Group, and they, in turn, largely dominated the intellectual life of Oxford in the fields of law, history, and public affairs. They came close to dominating the university itself in administrative matters. The relationships among the three can be demonstrated by the proportions of All Souls Fellows who came from these two colleges, in relation to the numbers which came from the other eighteen colleges at Oxford or from the outside world. Of the one hundred forty-nine Fellows at All Souls in the twentieth century, forty- eight came from Balliol and thirty from New College, in spite of the fact that Christ Church was larger than these and Trinity, Magdalen, Brasenose, St. John's, and University colleges were almost as large. Only thirty-two came from these other five large colleges, while at least fifteen were educated outside Oxford.

The power of the Cecil Bloc and the Milner Group in Oxford in the twentieth century can be seen by glancing at the list of Chancellors of the University during the century: (7)

Salisbury, 1869-1903
Lord Goschen, 1903-1907
Lord Curzon, 1907-1925
Lord Milner, 1925
Lord George Cave, 1925-1928
Lord Grey of Fallodon, 1928-1933
Lord Halifax, 1933-


The influence of the Milner Group at Oxford was sufficient to enable it to get control of the Dictionary of National Biography after this work was given to the university in 1917. This control was exercised by H. W. C. Davis and his protege J. R. H. Weaver during the period before 1938. The former had been brought into the gifted circle because he was a Fellow of All Souls and later a Fellow of Balliol (1895-1921). In this connection he was naturally acquainted with Weaver (who was a Fellow of Trinity from 1913 to 1938) and brought him into the War Trade Intelligence Department when Davis organized this under Cecil-Milner auspices in 1915. Davis became editor of the Dictionary of National Biography under the same auspices in 1921 and soon asked Weaver to join him. They jointly produced the Dictionary supplement for 1912-1921. After Davis's death in 1928, Weaver became editor and brought out the supplement for 1922-1930. (8) He continued as editor until shortly before he was made President of Trinity College in 1938. Weaver wrote the sketch of Davis in the Dictionary and also a larger work called Henry William Carless Davis, a Memoir and a Selection of His Historical Papers, published in 1933.

This control of the Dictionary of National Biography will explain how the Milner Group controlled the writing of the biographies of its own members so completely in that valuable work. This fact will already have been observed in the present work. The only instance, apparently, where a member of the Milner Group or the Cecil Bloc did not have his biographical sketch written by another member of these groups is to be found in the case of Lord Phillimore, whose sketch was written by Lord Sankey, who was not a member of the groups in question. Phillimore is also the only member of these groups whose sketch is not wholeheartedly adulatory.

The influence of the Milner Group in academic circles is by no means exhausted by the brief examination just made of Oxford. At Oxford itself, the Group has been increasingly influential in Nuffield College, while outside of Oxford it apparently controls (or greatly influences) the Stevenson Professorship of International Relations at London; the Rhodes Professorship of Imperial History at London; Birkbeck College at London; the George V Professorship of History in Cape Town University; and the Wilson Professorship of International Politics at University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. Some of these are controlled completely, while others are influenced in varying degrees. In Canada the influence of the Group is substantial, if not decisive, at the University of Toronto and at Upper Canada College. At Toronto the Glazebrook- Massey influence is very considerable, while at present the Principal of Upper Canada College is W. L. Grant, son-in-law of George Parkin and former Beit Lecturer at Oxford. Vincent Massey is a governor of the institution.  
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Re: The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Clivede

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Chapter 6: The Times

Beyond the academic field, the Milner Group engaged in journalistic activities that sought to influence public opinion in directions which the Group desired. One of the earliest examples of this, and one of the few occasions on which the Group appeared as a group in the public eye, was in 1905, the year in which Milner returned from Africa. At that time the Group published a volume, The Empire and the Century, consisting of fifty articles on various aspects of the imperial problem. The majority of these articles were written by members of the Milner Group, in spite of the fact that so many of the most important members were still in Africa with Lord Selborne. The volume was issued under the general editorship of Charles S. Goldman, a friend of John Buchan and author of With General French and the Cavalry in South Africa. Among those who wrote articles were W. F. Monypenny, Bernard Holland, John Buchan, Henry Birchenough, R. B. Haldane, Bishop Lang, L. S. Amery, Evelyn Cecil, George Parkin, Edmund Garrett, Geoffrey Dawson, E. B. Sargant (one of the Kindergarten), Lionel Phillips, Valentine Chirol, and Sir Frederick and Lady Lugard.

This volume has many significant articles, several of which have already been mentioned. It was followed by a sequel volume, called The Empire and the Future, in 1916. The latter consisted of a series of lectures delivered at King's College, University of London, in 1915, under the sponsorship of the Royal Colonial Institute. The lectures were by members of the Milner Group who included A. L. Smith, H. A. L. Fisher, Philip Kerr, and George R. Parkin.(1) A somewhat similar series of lectures was given on the British Dominions at the University of Birmingham in 1910-1911 by such men as Alfred Lyttelton, Henry Birchenough, and William Hely-Hutchinson. These were published by Sir William Ashley in a volume called The British Dominions.

These efforts, however, were too weak, too public, and did not reach the proper persons. Accordingly, the real efforts of the Milner Group were directed into more fruitful and anonymous activities such as The Times and The Round Table.

The Milner Group did not own The Times before 1922, but clearly controlled it at least as far back as 1912. Even before this last date, members of the innermost circle of the Milner Group were swarming about the great newspaper. In fact, it would appear that The Times had been controlled by the Cecil Bloc since 1884 and was taken over by the Milner Group in the same way in which All Souls was taken over, quietly and without a struggle. The midwife of this process apparently was George E. Buckle (1854-1935), graduate of New College in 1876, member of All Souls since 1877, and editor of The Times from 1884 to 1912. (2) The chief members of the Milner Group who were associated with The Times have already been mentioned. Amery was connected with the paper from 1899 to 1909. During this period he edited and largely wrote the Times History of the South African War. Lord Esher was offered a directorship in 1908. Grigg was a staff writer in 1903-1905, and head of the Imperial Department in 1908-1913. B. K. Long was head of the Dominion Department in 1913-1921 and of the Foreign Department in 1920-1921. Monypenny was assistant editor both before and after the Boer War (1894-1899, 1903-1908) and on the board of directors after the paper was incorporated (1908-1912). Dawson was the paper's chief correspondent in South Africa in the Selborne period (1905-1910), while Basil Williams was the reporter covering the National Convention there (1908-1909). When it became clear in 1911 that Buckle must soon retire, Dawson was brought into the office in a rather vague capacity and, a year later, was made editor. The appointment was suggested and urged by Buckle. (3) Dawson held the position from 1912 to 1941, except for the three years 1919-1922. This interval is of some significance, for it revealed to the Milner Group that they could not continue to control The Times without ownership. The Cecil Bloc had controlled The Times from 1884 to 1912 without ownership, and the Milner Group had done the same in the period 1912-1919, but, in this last year, Dawson quarreled with Lord Northcliffe (who was chief proprietor from 1908-1922) and left the editor's chair. As soon as the Milner Group, through the Astors, acquired the chief proprietorship of the paper in 1922, Dawson was restored to his post and held it for the next twenty years. Undoubtedly the skillful stroke which acquired the ownership of The Times from the Harmsworth estate in 1922 was engineered by Brand. During the interval of three years during which Dawson was not editor, Northcliffe entrusted the position to one of The Time's famous foreign correspondents, H. W. Steed.

Dawson was succeeded as editor in 1944 by R. M. Barrington-Ward, whose brother was a Fellow of All Souls and son-in-law of A. L. Smith. Laurence Rushbrook Williams, who functions in many capacities in Indian affairs after his fellowship in All Souls (1914- 1921), also joined the editorial staff in 1944. Douglas Jay, who graduated from New College in 1930 and was a Fellow of All Souls in 1930-1937, was on the staff of The Times in 1929-1933 and of the Economist in 1933-1937. He became a Labour M.P. in 1946, after having performed the unheard-of feat of going directly from All Souls to the city desk of the Labour Party's Daily Herald (1937-1941). Another interesting figure on The Times staff in the more recent period was Charles R. S. Harris, who was a Fellow of All Souls for fifteen years (1921-1936), after graduating from Corpus Christi. He was leader-writer of The Times for ten years (1925-1935) and, during part of the same period, was on the staff of the Economist (1932-1935) and editor of The Nineteenth Century and After (1930-1935). He left all three positions in 1935 to go for four years to the Argentine to be general manager of the Buenos Aires Great Southern and Western Railways. During the Second World War he joined the Ministry of Economic Warfare for a year, the Foreign Office for two years, and the Finance Department of the/W ar Office for a year (1942-1943). Then he was commissioned a lieutenant colonel with the military government in occupied Sicily, and ended up the war as a member of the Allied Control Commission in Italy. Harris's written works cover a range of subjects that would be regarded as extreme anywhere outside the Milner Group. A recognized authority on Duns Scotus, he wrote two volumes on this philosopher as well as the chapter on "Philosophy" in The Legacy of the Middle Ages, but in 1935 he wrote Germany's Foreign Indebtedness for the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Harris's literary versatility, as well as the large number of members of All Souls who drifted over to the staff on The Times, unquestionably can be explained by the activities of Lord Brand. Brand not only brought these persons from All Souls to The Times, but also brought the Astors to The Times. Brand and Lord Astor were together at New College at the outbreak of the Boer War. They married sisters, daughters of Chiswell Dabney Langhorne of Virginia. Brand was apparently the one who brought Astor into the Milner Group in 1917, although there had been a movement in this direction considerably earlier. Astor was a Conservative M.P. from 1910 to 1919, leaving the Lower House to take his father's seat in the House of Lords. His place in Commons has been held since 1919 by his wife, Nancy Astor (1919-1945), and by his son Michael Langhorne Astor (1945- ). In 1918 Astor became parliamentary secretary to Lloyd George; later he held the same position with the Ministry of Food (1918-1919) and the Ministry of Health (1919-1921). He was British delegate to the Assembly of the League of Nations in 1931, chairman of the League Committee on Nutrition (1936-1937), and chairman of the council of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (since 1935). With help from various people, he wrote three books on agricultural problems: Land and Life (1932), The Planning of Agriculture (1933), and British Agriculture (1938). Both of his sons graduated from New College, and both have been Members of Parliament, the older in the period 1935-1945, and the younger since 1945. The older was secretary to Lord Lytton on the League of Nations Commission of Enquiry into the Manchurian Episode (1932) and was parliamentary private secretary to Sir Samuel Hoare when he was First Lord of the Admiralty and Home Secretary (1936-1939).

Lord Astor's chief importance in regard to The Times is that he and his brother became chief proprietors in 1922 by buying out the Harmsworth interest. As a result, the brother, Colonel John Jacob Astor, has been chairman of the board of The Times Publishing Company since 1922, and Brand was a director on the board for many years before 1944. Colonel Astor, who matriculated at New College in 1937, at the age of fifty-one, was military aide to the Viceroy of India (Lord Hardinge) in 1911-1914, was a Member of Parliament from 1922 to 1945, and is a director of both Hambros' and Barclay's Banks.

This connection between the Milner Group and The Times was of the greatest importance in the period up to 1945, especially in the period just before the Munich crisis. However, the chief center of gravity of the Milner Group was never in The Times. It is true that Lord Astor became one of the more important figures in the Milner Group after Milner's death in 1925, but the center of gravity of the Group as a whole was elsewhere: before 1920, in the Round Table Group; and after 1920, in All Souls. Lord Astor was of great importance in the later period, especially after 1930, but was of no significance in the earlier period — an indication of his relatively recent arrival in the Group.

The Times has recently published the first three volumes of a four-volume history of itself. Although no indication is given as to the authorship of these volumes, the acknowledgments show that the authors worked closely with All Souls and the Milner Group. For example, Harold Temperley and Keith Feiling read the proofs of the first two volumes, while E. L. Woodward read those of the third volume.

While members of the Milner Group thus went into The Times to control it, relatively few persons ever came into the Milner Group from The Times. The only two who readily come to mind are Sir Arthur Willert and Lady Lugard. (4)

Arthur Willert (Sir Arthur since 1919) entered Balliol in 1901 but did not take a degree until 1928. From 1906 to 1910 he was on the staff of The Times in Paris, Berlin, and Washington, and was then chief Times correspondent in Washington for ten years (1910-1920). During this period he was also secretary to the British War Mission in Washington (1917-1918) and Washington representative of the Ministry of Information. This brought him to the attention of the Milner Group, probably through Brand, and in 1921 he joined the Foreign Office as head of the News Department. During the next fifteen years he was a member of the British delegations to the Washington Conference of 1922, to the London Economic Conference of 1924, to the London Naval Conference of 1930, to the World Disarmament Conference of 1932-1934, and to the League of Nations in 1929-1934. He retired from the Foreign Office in 1935, but returned to an active life for the duration of the Second World War as head of the southern region for the Ministry of Information (1939-1945). In 1937, in cooperation with H. V. Hodson (then editor of The Round Table) and B. K. Long (of the Kindergarten), he wrote a book called The Empire in the World. He had previously written Aspects of British Foreign Policy (1928) and The Frontiers of England (1935).

The second person to come into the Milner Group from The Times was Lady Lugard (the former Flora Shaw), who was probably a member of the Rhodes secret society on The Times and appears to have been passing from The Times to the Milner Group, when she was really passing from the society to the Milner Group. She and her husband are of great significance in the latter organization, although neither was a member of the innermost circle.

Frederick Lugard (Sir Frederick after 1901 and Lord Lugard after 1928) was a regular British army officer who served in Afghanistan, the Sudan, and Burma in 1879-1887. In 1888 he led a successful expedition against slave-traders on Lake Nyasa, and was subsequently employed by the British East African Company, the Royal Niger Company, and British West Charterland in leading expeditions into the interior of Africa (1889- 1897). In 1897 he was appointed by the Salisbury government to be Her Majesty's Commissioner in the hinterland of Nigeria and Lagos and commandant of the West African Frontier Force, which he organized. Subsequently he was High Commissioner of Northern Nigeria (1900-1906) and Governor of Hong Kong (1907-1912), as well as Governor, and later Governor-General, of Nigeria (1912-1919). He wrote Our East African Empire (1893) and The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa (1922), and also numerous articles (including one on West Africa in The Empire and the Century). He was one of the chief assistants of Lord Lothian and Lord Hailey in planning the African Survey in 1934- 1937, was British member of the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations from 1922 to 1936, was one of the more influential figures in the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and is generally regarded as the inventor of the British system of "indirect rule" in colonial areas.

Flora Shaw, who married Sir Frederick Lugard in 1902, when he was forty-four and she was fifty, was made head of the Colonial Department of The Times in 1890, at the suggestion of Sir Robert George Wyndham Herbert, the Permanent Under Secretary of the Colonial Office. Sir Robert, whose grandmother was a Wyndham and whose grandfather was Earl of Carnarvon, was a Fellow of All Souls from 1854 to 1905. He was thus elected the year following Lord Salisbury's election. He began his political career as private secretary to Gladstone and was Permanent Under Secretary for twenty-one years (1871-1892, 1900). He was subsequently Agent General for Tasmania (1893-1896), High Sheriff of London, chairman of the Tariff Commission, and adviser to the Sultan of Johore, all under the Salisbury-Balfour governments.

When Miss Shaw was recommended to The Times as head of the Colonial Department, she was already a close friend of Moberly Bell, manager of The Times, and was an agent and close friend of Stead and Cecil Rhodes. The story of how she came to work for The Times, as told in that paper's official history, is simplicity itself: Bell wanted someone to head the Colonial Department, so he wrote to Sir Robert Herbert and was given the name of Flora Shawl Accordingly, Bell wrote, "as a complete stranger," to Miss Shaw and asked her "as an inexperienced writer for a specimen column." She wrote a sample article on Egyptian finance, which pleased Bell so greatly that she was given the position of head of the Colonial Department. That is the story as it appears in volume III of The History of The Times, published in 1947. Shortly afterward appeared the biography of Flora Shaw, written by the daughter of Moberly Bell and based on his private papers. The story that emerges from this volume is quite different. It goes somewhat as follows:

Flora Shaw, like most members of that part of the Cecil Bloc which shifted over to the Milner Group, was a disciple of John Ruskin and an ardent worker among the depressed masses of London's slums. Through Ruskin, she came to write for W. T. Stead of the Pall Mall Gazette in 1886, and three years later, through Stead, she met Cecil Rhodes. In the meantime, in 1888, she went to Egypt as correspondent of the Pall Mall Gazette and there became a close friend of Moberly Bell, The Times correspondent in that country. Bell had been employed in this capacity in Egypt since 1865 and had become a close friend of Evelyn Baring (Lord Cromer), the British agent in Egypt. He had also become an expert on Egyptian finance and published a pamphlet on that subject in 1887. Miss Shaw's friendship with the Bell family was so close that she was practically a member of it, and Bell's children knew her, then and later, as "Aunt Flora."

In 1890, when Bell was transferred to Printing House Square as manager of The Times, Baring tried to persuade The Times to name Miss Shaw as Egyptian correspondent in Bell's place. This was not done. Instead, Miss Shaw returned to London and was introduced by Bell to Buckle. When Buckle told Miss Shaw that he wanted a head for the Colonial Department of the paper, she suggested that he consult with Sir Robert Herbert. From that point on, the account in The History of The Times is accurate. But it is clear, to anyone who has the information just mentioned, that the recommendation by Sir Robert Herbert, the test article on Egyptian finance, and probably the article itself, had been arranged previously between Moberly Bell and "Aunt Flora."

None of these early relationships of Miss Shaw with Bell, Buckle, and Herbert are mentioned in The History of The Times, and apparently they are not to be found in the records at Printing House Square. They are, however, a significant indication of the methods of the Milner Group. It is not clear what was the purpose of this elaborate scheme. Miss Moberly Bell apparently believes that it was to deceive Buckle. It is much more likely that it was to deceive the chief owners of The Times, John Walter III and his son, Arthur F. Walter.

Miss Shaw, when she came to The Times, was an open champion of Lord Salisbury and an active supporter of a vigorous imperial policy, especially in South Africa. She was in the confidence of the Colonial Office and of Rhodes to a degree that cannot be exaggerated. She met Rhodes, on Stead's recommendation, in 1889, at a time when Stead was one of Rhodes's closest confidants. In 1892, Miss Shaw was sent to South Africa by Moberly Bell, with instructions to set up two lines of communication from that area to herself. One of these was to be known to The Times and would handle routine matters; the second was to be known only to herself and was to bring confidential material to her private address. The expenses of both of these avenues would be paid for by The Times, but the expenses of the secret avenue would not appear on the records at Printing House Square. (5)

From this date onward, Miss Shaw was in secret communication with Cecil Rhodes. This communication was so close that she was informed by Rhodes of the plot which led up to the Jameson Raid, months before the raid took place. She was notified by Rhodes of the approximate date on which the raid would occur, two weeks before it did occur. She even suggested on several occasions that the plans be executed more rapidly, and on one occasion suggested a specific date for the event.

In her news articles, Miss Shaw embraced the cause of the British in the Transvaal even to the extent of exaggerating and falsifying their hardships under Boer rule. (6) It was The Times that published as an exclusive feature the famous (and fraudulent) "women and children" letter, dated 20 December 1895, which pretended to be an appeal for help from the persecuted British in the Transvaal to Dr. Jameson's waiting forces, but which had really been concocted by Dr. Jameson himself on 20 November and sent to Miss Shaw a month later. This letter was published by The Times as soon as news of the Jameson' Raid was known, as a justification of the act. The Times continued to defend and justify the raid and Jameson. After this became a rather delicate policy — that is, after the raid failed and had to be disavowed — The Times was saved from the necessity of reversing itself by the "Kruger telegram" sent by the German Kaiser to congratulate the Boers on their successful suppression of the raiders. This "Kruger telegram" was played up by The Times with such vigor that Jameson was largely eclipsed and the incident assumed the dimensions of an international crisis. As the official History of The Times puts it, "The Times was carried so far by indignation against the outrageous interference of the Kaiser in the affairs of the British Empire that it was able to overlook the criminality of Jameson's act." A little later, the same account says, "On January 7, Rhodes' resignation from the Premiership was announced, while the Editor found it more convenient to devote his leading article to the familiar topic of German interference rather than to the consequences of the Raid." (7)

All of this was being done on direct instructions from Rhodes, and with the knowledge and approval of the management of The Times. In fact, Miss Shaw was the intermediary between Rhodes, The Times, and the Colonial Office (Joseph Chamberlain). Until the end of November 1895, her instructions from Rhodes came to her through his agent in London, Dr. Rutherfoord Harris, but, when the good Dr. Harris and Alfred Beit returned to South Africa in order to be on hand for the anticipated excitement, the former gave Miss Shaw the secret code of the British South Africa Company and the cable address TELEMONES LONDON, so that communications from Rhodes to Miss Shaw could be sent directly. Dr. Harris had already informed Rhodes by a cable of 4 November 1895:

"If you can telegraph course you wish Times to adopt now with regard to Transvaal Flora will act."


On 10 December 1895, Miss Shaw cabled Rhodes:
"Can you advise when will you commence the plans, we wish to send at earliest opportunity sealed instructions representative of the Lond Times European Capitals; it is most important using their influence in your favor."


The use of the word "we" in this message disposes once and for all of Miss Shaw's later defense that all her acts were done on her own private responsibility and not in her capacity as a department head of The Times. In answer to this request, Rhodes replied the next day: "We do think about new year."

This answer made The Times' s manager "very depressed," so the next day (12 December) Miss Shaw sent the following cable to Rhodes:

"Delay dangerous sympathy now complete but will depend very much upon action before European powers given time enter a protest which as European situation considered serious might paralyze government."


Five days after this came another cable, which said in part:

"Chamberlain sound in case of interference European powers but have special reason to believe wishes you must do it immediately."


To these very incriminating messages might be added two of several wires from Rhodes to Miss Shaw. One of 30 December 1895, after Rhodes knew that the Jameson Raid had begun and after Miss Shaw had been so informed by secret code, stated:

"Inform Chamberlain that I shall get through all right if he supports me, but he must not send cable like he sent high commissioner in South Africa. Today the crux is, I will win and South Africa will belong to England."


And the following day, when the outcome of the raid was doubtful because of the failure of the English in the Transvaal to rise against the Boers — a failure resulting from that the fact that they were not as ill-treated as Miss Shaw, through The times, had been telling the world for months — Rhodes cabled:

"Unless you can make Chamberlain instruct the high commissioner to proceed at once to Johannesburg the whole position is lost. High commissioner would receive splendid reception and still turn position to England advantage but must be instructed by cable immediately. The instructions must be specific as he is weak and will take no responsibility." (8)


When we realize that the anticipated uprising of the English in the Transvaal had been financed and armed with munitions from the funds of the British South Africa Company, it is clear that we must wait until Hitler's coup in Austria in March 1938 to find a parallel to Rhodes's and Jameson's attempted coup in South Africa forty- two years earlier.

The Jameson Raid, if the full story could ever be told, would give the finest possible example of the machinations of Rhodes 's secret society. Another example, almost as good, would be the completely untold story of how the society covered up these activities in the face of the investigation of the Parliamentary Select Committee. The dangers from this investigation were so great that even Lord Rothschild was pressed into service as a messenger. It was obvious from the beginning that the star witness before the committee would be Cecil Rhodes and that the chief danger would be the incrimination of Joseph Chamberlain, who clearly knew of the plot. Milner, Garrett, Stead, and Esher discussed possible defenses and reached no conclusion, since Stead wanted to admit that Chamberlain was implicated in plans for a raid but not plans for the raid. By this, Stead meant that Chamberlain and Rhodes had seen the possibility of an uprising in the Transvaal and, solely as a precautionary measure, had made the preparations for Jameson's force so that it would be available to go to Johannesburg to restore order. The others refused to accept this strategy and insisted on the advantages of a general and blanket denial. This difference of opinion probably arose from the fact that Stead did not know that the prospective rebels in Johannesburg were armed and financed by Rhodes, were led by Rhodes's brother and Abe Bailey, and had written the"women and children" message, in collaboration with Jameson, weeks before. These facts, if revealed to the committee, would make it impossible to distinguish between "the raid" and "a raid." The event of 31 December 1895, which the committee was investigating, was the former and not the latter merely because the plotters in Johannesburg failed to revolt on schedule. This is clear from Edward Cook's statement, in his biography of Garrett, that Garrett expected to receive news of a revolution in Johannesburg at any moment on 30 December 1895. (9)

The difficulty which the initiates in London had in preparing a defense for the Select Committee was complicated by the fact that they were not able to reach Rhodes, who was en route from South Africa with Garrett. As soon as the boat docked, Brett (Lord Esher) sent "Natty" Rothschild from London with a message from Chamberlain to Rhodes. When Rothschild returned, Brett called in Stead, and they discussed the projected defense. Stead had already seen Rhodes and given his advice. (10) The following day (5 February 1896), Brett saw Rhodes and found that he was prepared to confess everything. Brett tried to dissuade him. As he wrote in his Journal, "I pointed out to him that there was one consideration which appeared to have escaped him, that was the position of Mr. Chamberlain, the Secretary of State. Chamberlain was obviously anxious to help and it would not do to embarrass him or to tie his hands. It appeared to me to be prudent to endeavour to ascertain how Chamberlain would receive a confidence of this kind. I said I would try to find out. On leaving me he said, 'Wish we could get our secret society.'" Brett went to Chamberlain, who refused to receive Rhodes's confession, lest he have to order the law officers to take proceedings against Rhodes as against Jameson. Accordingly, the view of the majority, a general denial, was adopted and proved successful, thanks to the leniency of the members of the Select Committee. Brett recognized this leniency. He wrote to Stead on 19 February 1897: "I came up with Milner from Windsor this morning. He has a heavy job; and has to start de novo. The committee will leave few of the old gang on their legs. Alas. Rhodes was a pitiful object. Harcourt very sorry for him; too sorry to press his question home. Why did Rhodes try to shuffle after all we had told him?" (11)

It is clear that the Select Committee made no real effort to uncover the real relationships between the conspirators, The Times, and the Salisbury government. When witnesses refused to produce documents or to answer questions, the committee did not insist, and whole fields of inquiry were excluded from examination by the committee.

One of these fields, and probably the most important one, was the internal policies and administration of The Times itself. As a result, when Campbell-Bannerman, an opposition leader, asked if it were usual practice for The Times correspondents to be used to propagate certain policies in foreign countries as well as to obtain information, Miss Shaw answered that she had been excused from answering questions about the internal administration of The Times. We now know, as a result of the publication of the official History of The Times, that all Miss Shaw's acts were done in consultation with the manager, Moberly Bell.(12) The vital telegrams to Rhodes, signed by Miss Shaw, were really drafted by Bell. As The History of The Times puts it, "Bell had taken the risk of allowing Miss Shaw to commit The Times to the support of Rhodes in a conspiracy that was bound to lead to controversy at home, if it succeeded, and likely to lead to prosecution if it failed. The conspiracy had failed; the prosecution had resulted. Bell's only salvation lay in Miss Shaw's willingness to take personal responsibility for the telegrams and in her ability to convince the Committee accordingly." And, as the evidence of the same source shows, in order to convince the committee it was necessary for Miss Shaw to commit perjury, even though the representatives of both parties on the Committee of Enquiry (except Labouchere) were making every effort to conceal the real facts while still providing the public with a good show.

Before leaving the discussion of Miss Shaw and the Jameson Raid, it might be fitting to introduce testimony from a somewhat unreliable witness, Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, a member by breeding and education of this social group and a relative of the Wyndhams, but a psychopathic anti-imperialist who spent his life praising and imitating the Arabs and criticizing Britain's conduct in India, Egypt, and Ireland. In his diaries, under the date 25 April 1896, he says: "[George Wyndham] has been seeing much of Jameson, whom he likes, and of the gang that have been running the Transvaal business, about a dozen of them, with Buckle, The Times editor, and Miss Flora Shaw, who, he told me confidentially, is really the prime mover in the whole thing, and who takes the lead in all their private meetings, a very clever middle-aged woman. "(13) A somewhat similar conclusion was reached by W. T. Stead in a pamphlet called Joseph Chamberlain: Conspirator or Statesman, which he published from the office of The Review of Reviews in 1900. Stead was convinced that Miss Shaw was the intermediary among Rhodes, The Times, and the Colonial Office. And Stead was Rhodes's closest confidant in England.

As a result of this publicity, Miss Shaw's value to The Times was undoubtedly reduced, and she gave up her position after her marriage in 1902. In the meantime, however, she had been in correspondence with Milner as early as 1899, and in December 1901 made a trip to South Africa for The Times, during which she had long interviews with Milner, Monypenny, and the members of the Kindergarten. After her resignation, she continued to review books for The Times Literary Supplement, wrote an article on tropical dependencies for The Empire and the Century, wrote two chapters for Amery's History of the South African War, and wrote a biographical sketch of Cecil Rhodes for the eleventh edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

A third member of this same type was Valentine Chirol (Sir Valentine after 1912). Educated at the Sorbonne, he was a clerk in the Foreign Office for four years (1872- 1 876) and then traveled about the world, but chiefly in the Near East, for sixteen years (1876-1892). In 1892 he was made The Times correspondent in Berlin, and for the next four years filled the role of a second British ambassador, with free access to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin and functioning as a channel of unofficial communication between the government in London and that in Berlin. After 1895 he became increasingly anti- German, like all members of the Cecil Bloc and the Milner Group, and was chiefly responsible for the great storm whipped up over the "Kruger telegram." In this last connection he even went so far as to announce in The Times that the Germans were really using the Jameson episode as part of a long-range project to drive Britain out of South Africa and that the next step in that process was to be the dispatch in the immediate future of a German expeditionary force to Delagoa Bay in Portuguese Angola. As a result of this attitude, Chirol found the doors of the Foreign Ministry closed to him and, after another unfruitful year in Berlin, was brought to London to take charge of the Foreign Department of The Times. He held this post for fifteen years (1897-1912), during which he was one of the most influential figures in the formation of British foreign and imperial policy. The policy he supported was the policy that was carried out, and included support for the Boer War, the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, the Entente Cordiale, the agreement of 1907 with Russia, the Morley-Minto Reforms in India, and the increasing resistance to Germany. When he retired in 1912, he was knighted by Asquith for his important contributions to the Morley-Minto Reforms of 1909 and was made a member of the Royal Commission on Public Services in India (1912-1914). He remained in India during most of the First World War, and, indeed, made seventeen visits to that country in his life. In 1916 he was one of the five chief advisers to Lionel Curtis in the preparatory work for the Government of India Act of 1919 (the other four being Lord Chelmsford, Meston, Marris, and Hailey). Later Chirol wrote articles for The Round Table and was a member of the British delegation at the Paris Peace Conference.

Chirol was replaced as head of the Foreign Department during his long absences from London by Leopold Amery. It was expected that Amery would be Chirol's successor in the post, but Amery entered upon a political career in 1910, so the position was given briefly to Dudley Disraeli graham, graham, a former classmate of many of the Kindergarten at New College, was a foreign correspondent of The Times for ten years (1897-1907) and Chirol's assistant for five (1907-1912), before he became Chirol's successor in the Foreign Department and Grigg's successor in the Imperial Department, thus combining the two. He resigned from The Times in 1914 to become editor of the Daily Telegraph in Sydney, Australia, and was subsequently a very important figure in Australian newspaper life.

This account, by no means complete, shows clearly that the Milner Group controlled The Times, indirectly from 1912 if not earlier, and directly from 1922. The importance of this control should be obvious. The Times, although of a very limited circulation (only about 35,000 at the beginning of the century, 50,000 at the outbreak of the First World War, and 187,000 in 1936), was the most influential paper in England. The reason for this influence is not generally recognized, although the existence of the condition itself is widely known. The influence depended upon the close relationship between the paper and the Foreign Office. This relationship, as we are trying to show, was the result of the Milner Group's influence in both.

This influence was not exercised by acting directly on public opinion, since the Milner Group never intended to influence events by acting through any instruments of mass propaganda, but rather hoped to work on the opinions of the small group of "important people," who in turn could influence wider and wider circles of persons. This was the basis on which the Milner Group itself was constructed; it was the theory behind the Rhodes Scholarships; it was the theory behind "The Round Table and the Royal Institute of International Affairs; it was the theory behind the efforts to control All Souls, New College, and Balliol and, through these three, to control Oxford University; and it was the theory behind The Times. No effort was made to win a large circulation for The Times, for, in order to obtain such a circulation, it would have been necessary to make changes in the tone of the paper that would have reduced its influence with the elite, to which it had been so long directed. The theory of "the elite" was accepted by the Milner Group and by The Times, as it was by Rhodes. The historian of The Times recognizes this and, after describing the departure from Printing House Square of Bell, Chirol, and Buckle, says, "It is a valid criticism of the 'Olaf Gang' that they had not realized that they were in the habit of valuing news according to the demands and interests of a governing class too narrowly defined for the twentieth century." It was on this issue that the "Old Gang" disputed with Northcliffe in the period 1908-1912 and that Dawson disputed with Northcliffe in 1919. Although the new owner protested to all who would listen, in 1908 and later, that he would not try to make The Times into a popular paper, he was, as The History of The Times shows, incapable of judging the merits of a newspaper by any other standard than the size of its circulation. After he was replaced as chief proprietor by Astor, and Dawson re-occupied the editor's chair, the old point of view was reestablished. The Times was to be a paper for the people who are influential, and not for the masses. The Times was influential, but the degree of its influence would never be realized by anyone who examined only the paper itself. The greater part of its influence arose from its position as one of several branches of a single group, the Milner Group. By the interaction of these various branches on one another, under the pretense that each branch was an autonomous power, the influence of each branch was increased through a process of mutual reinforcement. The unanimity among the various branches was believed by the outside world to be the result of the influence of a single Truth, while really it was the result of the existence of a single group. Thus, a statesman (a member of the Group) announces a policy. About the same time, the Royal Institute of International Affairs publishes a study on the subject, and an Oxford don, a Fellow of All Souls (and a member of the Group) also publishes a volume on the subject (probably through a publishing house, like G. Bell and Sons or Faber and Faber, allied to the Group). The statesman's policy is subjected to critical analysis and final approval in a "leader" in The Times, while the two books are reviewed (in a single review) in The Times Literary Supplement. Both the "leader" and the review are anonymous but are written by members of the Group. And finally, at about the same time, an anonymous article in The Round Table strongly advocates the same policy. The cumulative effect of such tactics as this, even if each tactical move influences only a small number of important people, is bound to be great. If necessary, the strategy can be carried further, by arranging for the secretary to the Rhodes Trustees to go to America for a series of "informal discussions" with former Rhodes Scholars, while a prominent retired statesman (possibly a former Viceroy of India) is persuaded to say a few words at the unveiling of a plaque in All Souls or New College in honor of some deceased Warden. By a curious coincidence, both the "informal discussions" in America and the unveiling speech at Oxford touch on the same topical subject.

An analogous procedure in reverse could be used for policies or books which the Group did not approve. A cutting editorial or an unfriendly book review, followed by a suffocating blanket of silence and neglect, was the best that such an offering could expect from the instruments of the Milner Group. This is not easy to demonstrate because of the policy of anonymity followed by writers and reviewers in The Times, The Round Table, and The Times Literary Supplement, but enough cases have been found to justify this statement. When J. A. Farrer's book England under Edward VII was published in 1922 and maintained that the British press, especially The Times, was responsible for bad Anglo-German feeling before 1909, The Times Literary Supplement gave it to J. W. Headlam-Morley to review. And when Baron von Eckardstein, who was in the German Embassy in London at the time of the Boer War, published his memoirs in 1920, the same journal gave the book to Chirol to review, even though Chirol was an interested party and was dealt with in a critical fashion in several passages in the book itself. Both of these reviews were anonymous.

There is no effort here to contend that the Milner Group ever falsified or even concealed evidence (although this charge could be made against The Times). Rather it propagated its point of view by interpretation and selection of evidence. In this fashion it directed policy in ways that were sometimes disastrous. The Group as a whole was made up of intelligent men who believed sincerely, and usually intensely, in what they advocated, and who knew that their writings were intended for a small minority as intelligent as themselves. In such conditions there could be no value in distorting or concealing evidence. To do so would discredit the instruments they controlled. By giving the facts as they stood, and as completely as could be done in consistency with the interpretation desired, a picture could be construed that would remain convincing for a long time.

This is what was done by The Times. Even today, the official historian of The Times is unable to see that the policy of that paper was anti-German from 1895 to 1914 and as such contributed to the worsening of Anglo-German relations and thus to the First World War. This charge has been made by German and American students, some of them of the greatest diligence and integrity, such as Professors Sidney B. Fay, William L. Langer, Oron J. Hale, and others. The recent History of The Times devotes considerable space and obviously spent long hours of research in refuting these charges, and fails to see that it has not succeeded. With the usual honesty and industry of the Milner Group, the historian gives the evidence that will convict him, without seeing that his interpretation will not hold water. He confesses that the various correspondents of The Times in Berlin played up all anti-English actions and statements and played down all pro-English ones; that they quoted obscure and locally discredited papers in order to do this; that all The Times foreign correspondents in Berlin, Paris, Vienna, and elsewhere were anti-German, and that these were the ones who were kept on the staff and promoted to better positions; that the one member of the staff who was recognized as being fair to Germany (and who was unquestionably the most able man in the whole Times organization), Donald Mackenzie Wallace, was removed as head of the Foreign Department and shunted off to be editor of the supplementary volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica (which was controlled by The Times); and that The Times frequently printed untrue or distorted information on Germany. All of this is admitted and excused as the work of honest, if hasty, journalists, and the crowning proof that The Times was not guilty as charged is implied to be the fact that the Germans did ultimately get into a war with Britain, thus proving at one stroke that they were a bad lot and that the attitude of The Times staff toward them was justified by the event.

It did not occur to the historian of The Times that there exists another explanation of Anglo-German relations, namely that in 1895 there were two Germanies — the one admiring Britain and the other hating Britain — and that Britain, by her cold-blooded and calculated assault on the Boers in 1895 and 1899, gave the second (and worse) Germany the opportunity to criticize and attack Britain and gave it the arguments with which to justify a German effort to build up naval defenses. The Times, by quoting these attacks and actions representative of the real attitude and actual intentions of all Germans, misled the British people and abandoned the good Germans to a hopeless minority position, where to be progressive, peaceful, or Anglophile was to be a traitor to Germany itself. Chirol's alienation of Baron von Eckardstein (one of the "good" Germans, married to an English lady), in a conversation in February 1900,(14) shows exactly how The Times attitude was contributing to consolidate and alienate the Germans by the mere fact of insisting that they were consolidated and alienated — and doing this to a man who loved England and hated the reactionary elements in Germany more than Chirol ever did.  
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Re: The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Clivede

Postby admin » Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:18 am

Part 1 of 2

Chapter 7: The Round Table

The second important propaganda effort of the Milner Group in the period after 1909 was The Round Table. This was part of an effort by the circle of the Milner Group to accomplish for the whole Empire what they had just done for South Africa. The leaders were Philip Kerr in London, as secretary of the London group, and Lionel Curtis throughout the world, as organizing secretary for the whole movement, but most of the members of the Kindergarten cooperated in the project. The plan of procedure was the same as that which had worked so successfully in South Africa — that is, to form local groups of influential men to agitate for imperial federation and to keep in touch with these groups by correspondence and by the circulation of a periodical. As in South Africa, the original cost of the periodical was paid by Abe Bailey. This journal, issued quarterly, was called The Round Table, and the same name was applied to the local groups.

Of these local groups, the most important by far was the one in London. In this, Kerr and Brand were the chief figures. The other local groups, also called Round Tables, were set up by Lionel Curtis and others in South Africa, in Canada, in New Zealand, in Australia, and, in a rather rudimentary fashion and somewhat later, in India.

The reasons for doing this were described by Curtis himself in 1917 in A Letter to the People of India, as follows: "We feared that South Africa might abstain from a future war with Germany, on the grounds that they had not participated in the decision to make war.... Confronted by this dilemma at the very moment of attaining Dominion self- government, we thought it would be wise to ask people in the oldest and most experienced of all Dominions what they thought of the matter. So in 1909, Mr. Kerr and I went to Canada and persuaded Mr. Marris, who was then on leave, to accompany us." (1)

On this trip the three young men covered a good portion of the Dominion. One day, during a walk through the forests on the Pacific slopes of the Canadian Rockies, Marris convinced Curtis that "self-government, . . . however far distant, was the only intelligible goal of British policy in India.... The existence of political unrest in India, far from being a reason for pessimism, was the surest sign that the British, with all their manifest failings, had not shirked their primary duty of extending Western education to India and so preparing Indians to govern themselves." "I have since looked back on this walk," wrote Curtis, "as one of the milestones of my own education. So far I had thought of self- government as a Western institution, which was and would always remain peculiar to the peoples of Europe.... It was from that moment that I first began to think of 'the Government of each by each and of all by all' not merely as a principle of Western life, but rather of all human life, as the goal to which all human societies must tend. It was from that moment that I began to think of the British Commonwealth as the greatest instrument ever devised for enabling that principle to be realized, not merely for the children of Europe, but for all races and kindreds and peoples and tongues. And it is for that reason that I have ceased to speak of the British Empire and called the book in which I published my views The Commonwealth of Nations."

Because of Curtis's position and future influence, this walk in Canada was important not only in his personal life but also in the future history of the British Empire. It needs only to be pointed out that India received complete self-government in 1947 and the British Commonwealth changed its name officially to Commonwealth of Nations in 1948. There can be no doubt that both of these events resulted in no small degree from the influence of Lionel Curtis and the Milner Group, in which he was a major figure.

Curtis and his friends stayed in Canada for four months. Then Curtis returned to South Africa for the closing session of the Transvaal Legislative Council, of which he was a member. He there drafted a memorandum on the whole question of imperial relations, and, on the day that the Union of South Africa came into existence, he sailed to New Zealand to set up study groups to examine the question. These groups became the Round Table Groups of New Zealand. (2)

The memorandum was printed with blank sheets for written comments opposite the text. Each student was to note his criticisms on these blank pages. Then they were to meet in their study groups to discuss these comments, in the hope of being able to draw up joint reports, or at least majority and minority reports, on their conclusions. These reports were to be sent to Curtis, who was to compile a comprehensive report on the whole imperial problem. This comprehensive report would then be submitted to the groups in the same fashion and the resulting comments used as a basis for a final report.

Five study groups of this type were set up in New Zealand, and then five more in Australia. (3) The decision was made to do the same thing in Canada and in England, and this was done by Curtis, Kerr, and apparently Dove during 1910. On the trip to Canada, the missionaries carried with them a letter from Milner to his old friend Arthur J. Glazebrook, with whom he had remained in close contact throughout the years since Glazebrook went to Canada for an English bank in 1893. The Round Table in 1941, writing of Glazebrook, said, "His great political hero was his friend Lord Milner, with whom he kept up a regular correspondence." As a result of this letter from Milner, Glazebrook undertook the task of founding Round Table Groups in Canada and did this so well that he was for twenty years or more the real head of the network of Milner Group units in the Dominion. He regularly wrote the Canadian articles in The Round Table magazine. When he died, in 1940, The Round Table obituary spoke of him as "one of the most devoted and loyal friends that The Round Table has ever known. Indeed he could fairly claim to be one of its founding fathers." In the 1930s he relinquished his central position in the Canadian branch of the Milner Group to Vincent Massey, son-in- law of George Parkin. Glazebrook's admiration for Parkin was so great that he named his son George Parkin de Twenebrokes Glazebrook. (4) At the present time Vincent Massey and G. P. de T. Glazebrook are apparently the heads of the Milner Group organization in Canada, having inherited the position from the latter's father. Both are graduates of Balliol, Massey in 1913 and Glazebrook in 1924. Massey, a member of a very wealthy Canadian family, was lecturer in modern history at Toronto University in 1913-1915, and then served, during the war effort, as a staff officer in Canada, as associate secretary of the Canadian Cabinet's War Committee, and as secretary and director of the Government Repatriation Committee. Later he was Minister without Portfolio in the Canadian Cabinet (1924), a member of the Canadian delegation to the Imperial Conference of 1926, and first Canadian Minister to the United States (1926-1930). He was president of the National Liberal Federation of Canada in 1932-1935, Canadian High Commissioner in London in 1935-1946, and Canadian delegate to the Assembly of the League of Nations in 1936. He has been for a long time governor of the University of Toronto and of Upper Canada College (Parkin's old school). He remains to this day one of the strongest supporters of Oxford University and of a policy of close Canadian cooperation with the United Kingdom.

G. P. de T. Glazebrook, son of Milner's old friend Arthur J. Glazebrook and namesake of Milner's closest collaborator in the Rhodes Trust, was born in 1900 and studied at Upper Canada College, the University of Toronto, and Balliol. Since 1924 he has been teaching history at Toronto University, but since 1942 has been on leave to the Dominion government, engaged in strategic intelligence work with the Department of External Affairs. Since 1948 he has been on loan from the Department of External Affairs to the Department of Defense, where he is acting as head of the new Joint Services Intelligence. This highly secret agency appears to be the Canadian equivalent to the American Central Intelligence Agency. Glazebrook has written a number of historical works, including a History of Transportation in Canada (1938), Canadian External Affairs, a Historical Study to 1914 (1942), and Canada at the Peace Conference (1942).

It was, as we have said, George Parkin Glazebrook's father who, acting in cooperation with Curtis, Kerr, and Marris and on instructions from Milner, set up the Round Table organization in Canada in 1911. About a dozen units were established in various cities.

It was during the effort to extend the Round Table organization to Australia that Curtis first met Lord Chelmsford. He was later Viceroy of India (in 1916-1921), and there can be little doubt that the Milner Group was influential in this appointment, for Curtis discussed the plans which eventually became the Government of India Act of 1919 with him before he went to India and consulted with him in India on the same subject in 1916. (5)

From 1911 to 1913, Curtis remained in England, devoting himself to the reports coming in from the Round Table Groups on imperial organization, while Kerr devoted himself to the publication of The Round Table itself. This was an extraordinary magazine. The first issue appeared with the date 15 November 1910. It had no names in the whole issue, either of the officers or of the contributors of the five articles. The opening statement of policy was unsigned, and the only address to which communications could be sent was "The Secretary, 175 Piccadilly, London, W." This anonymity has been maintained ever since, and has been defended by the journal itself in advertisements, on the grounds that anonymity gives the contributors greater independence and freedom. The real reasons, however, were much more practical than this and included the fact that the writers were virtually unknown and were so few in numbers, at first at least, as to make the project appear ridiculous had the articles been signed. For example, Philip Kerr, during his editorship, always wrote the leading article in every issue. In later years the anonymity was necessary because of the political prominence of some of the contributors. In general, the policy of the journal has been such that it has continued to conceal the identity of its writers until their deaths. Even then, they have never been connected with any specific article, except in the case of one article (the first one in the first issue) by Lord Lothian. This article was reprinted in The Round Table after the author's death in 1940.

The Round Table was essentially the propaganda vehicle of a handful of people and could not have carried signed articles either originally, when they were too few, or later, when they were too famous. It was never intended to be either a popular magazine or self-supporting, but rather was aimed at influencing those in a position to influence public opinion. As Curtis wrote in 1920, "A large quarterly like The Round Table is not intended so much for the average reader, as for those who write for the average reader. It is meant to be a storehouse of information of all kinds upon which publicists can draw. Its articles must be taken on their merits and as representing nothing beyond the minds and information of the individual writer of each." (6)

It is perhaps worth mentioning that the first article of the first issue, called "Anglo- German Rivalry," was very anti-German and forms an interesting bit of evidence when taken in connection with Curtis's statement that the problem of the Empire was raised in 1909 by the problem of what role South Africa would play in a future war with Germany. The Group, in the period before 1914, were clearly anti-German. This must be emphasized because of the mistaken idea which circulated after 1930 that the Cliveden group, especially men like Lord Lothian, were pro-German. They were neither anti- German in 1910 nor pro-German in 1938, but pro-Empire all the time, changing there their attitudes on other problems as these problems affected the Empire. And it should be realized that their love for the Empire was not mere jingoism or flag-waving (things at which Kerr mocked within the Group) (7) but was based on the sincere belief that freedom, civilization, and human decency could best be advanced through the instrumentality of the British Empire.

In view of the specific and practical purpose of The Round Table — to federate the Empire in order to ensure that the Dominions would join with the United Kingdom in a future war with Germany — the paper could not help being a propagandist organ, propagandist on a high level, it is true, but nonetheless a journal of opinion rather than a journal of information. Every general article in the paper (excluding the reports from representatives in the Dominions) was really an editorial — an unsigned editorial speaking for the group as a whole. By the 1920s these articles were declaring, in true editorial style, that "The Round Table does not approve of" something or other, or, "It seems to The Round Table that" something else.

Later the members of the Group denied that the Group were concerned with the propagation of any single point of view. Instead, they insisted that the purpose of the Group was to bring together persons of various points of view for purposes of self- education. This is not quite accurate. The Group did not contain persons of various points of view but rather persons of unusual unanimity of opinion, especially in regard to goals. There was a somewhat greater divergence in regard to methods, and the circulating of memoranda within the Group to evoke various comments was for the purpose of reaching some agreement on methods only — the goals being already given. In this, meetings of the Group were rather like the meetings of the British Cabinet, although any normal Cabinet would contain a greater variety of opinion than did the usual meetings of the Group. In general, an expression of opinion by any one member of the Group sounded like an echo of any of the others. Their systems of values were identical; the position of the British Commonwealth at the apex of that system was almost axiomatic; the important role played by moral and ideological influences in the Commonwealth and in the value system was accepted by all; the necessity of strengthening the bonds of the Commonwealth in view of the approaching crisis of the civilization of the West was accepted by all, so also was the need for closer union with the United States. There was considerable divergence of opinion regarding the practicality of imperial federation in the immediate future; there was some divergence of ideas regarding the rate at which self-government should be extended to the various parts of the Empire (especially India). There was a slight difference of emphasis on the importance of relations between the Commonwealth and the United States. But none of these differences of opinion was fundamental or important. The most basic divergence within the Group during the first twenty years or so was to be found in the field of economic ideas — a field in which the Group as a whole was extremely weak, and also extremely conservative. This divergence existed, however, solely because of the extremely unorthodox character of Lord Milner's ideas. Milner's ideas (as expressed, for example, in his book Questions of the Hour, published in 1923) would have been progressive, even unorthodox, in 1935. They were naturally ahead of the times in 1923, and they were certainly far ahead of the ideas of the Group as a whole, for its economic ideas would have been old-fashioned in 1905. These ideas of the Group (until 1931, at least) were those of late-nineteenth-century international banking and financial capitalism. The key to all economics and prosperity was considered to rest in banking and finance. With "sound money," a balanced budget, and the international gold standard, it was expected that prosperity and rising standards of living would follow automatically. These ideas were propagated through The Round Table, in the period after 1912, in a series of articles written by Brand and subsequently republished under his name, with the title War and National Finance (1921). They are directly antithetical to the ideas of Milner as revealed in his book published two years later. Milner insisted that financial questions must be subordinated to economic questions and economic questions to political questions. As a result, if a deflationary policy, initiated for financial reasons, has deleterious economic or political effects, it must be abandoned. Milner regarded the financial policy advocated by Brand in 1919 and followed by the British government for the next twelve years as a disaster, since it led to unemployment, depression, and ruination of the export trade, instead, Milner wanted to isolate the British economy from the world economy by tariffs and other barriers and encourage the economic development of the United Kingdom by a system of government spending, self-regulated capital and labor, social welfare, etc. This program, which was based on "monopoly capitalism" or even "national socialism" rather than "financial capitalism," as Brand's was, was embraced by most of the Milner Group after September 1931, when the ending of the gold standard in Britain proved once and for all that Brand's financial program of 1919 was a complete disaster and quite unworkable. As a result, in the years after 1931 the businessmen of the Milner Group embarked on a policy of government encouragement of self-regulated monopoly capitalism. This was relatively easy for many members of the Group because of the distrust of economic individualism which they had inherited from Toynbee and Milner. In April 1932, when P. Horsfall, manager of Lazard Brothers Bank (a colleague of Brand), asked John Dove to write a defense of individualism in The Round Table, Dove suggested that he write it himself, but, in reporting the incident to Brand, he clearly indicated that the Group regarded individualism as obsolete. (8)

This difference of opinion between Milner and Brand on economic questions is not of great importance. The important matter is that Brand's opinion prevailed within the Group from 1919 to 1931, while Milner's has grown in importance from 1931 to the present. The importance of this can be seen in the fact that the financial and economic policy followed by the British government from 1919 to 1945 runs exactly parallel to the policy of the Milner Group. This is no accident but is the result, as we shall see, of the dominant position held by the Milner Group in the councils of the Conservative-Unionist party since the First World War.

During the first decade or so of its existence, The Round Table continued to be edited and written by the inner circle of the Milner Group, chiefly by Lothian, Brand, Hichens, Grigg, Dawson, Fisher, and Dove. Curtis was too busy with the other activities of the Group to devote much time to the magazine and had little to do with it until after the war. By that time a number of others had been added to the Group, chiefly as writers of occasional articles. Most of these were members or future members of All Souls; they include Coupland, Zimmern, Arnold Toynbee, Arthur Salter, Sir Maurice Hankey, and others. The same Group that originally started the project in 1910 still controls it today, with the normal changes caused by death or old age. The vacancies resulting from these causes have been filled by new recruits from All Souls. It would appear that Coupland and Brand are the most influential figures today. The following list gives the editors of The Round Table from 1910 to the recent past:

Philip Kerr, 1910-1917 (assisted by E. Grigg, 1913-1915)
Reginald Coupland, 1917-1919
Lionel Curtis, 1919-1921
John Dove, 1921-1934
Henry V. Hodson, 1934-1939
Vincent Todd Harlow, (acting editor) 1938
Reginald Coupland, 1939-1941
Geoffrey Dawson, 1941-1944


Of these names, all but two are already familiar. H. V. Hodson, a recent recruit to the Milner Group, was taken from All Souls. Born in 1906, he was at Balliol for three years (1925-1928) and on graduation obtained a fellowship to All Souls, which he held for the regular term (1928-1935). This fellowship opened to him the opportunities which he had the ability to exploit. On the staff of the Economic Advisory Council from 1930 to 1931 and an important member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, he was assistant editor of The Round Table for three years (1931-1934) and became editor when Dove died in 1934. At the same time he wrote for Toynbee the economic sections of the Survey of International Affairs from 1929 on, publishing these in a modified form as a separate volume, with the title Slump and Recovery, 1929-1937, in 1938. With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, he left The Round Table editorship and went to the Ministry of Information (which was controlled completely by the Milner Group) as director of the Empire Division. After two years in this post he was given the more critical position of Reforms Commissioner in the Government of India for two years (1941-1942) and then was made assistant secretary and later head of the non-munitions division of the Ministry of Production. This position was held until the war ended, three years later. He then returned to private life as assistant editor of The Sunday Times. In addition to the writings already mentioned, he published The Economics of a Changing World (1933) and The Empire in the World (1937), and edited The British Commonwealth and the Future (1939).

Vincent T. Harlow, born in 1898, was in the Royal Field Artillery in 1917-1919 and then went to Brasenose, where he took his degree in 1923. He was lecturer in Modern History at University College, Southampton, in 1923-1927, and then came into the magic circle of the Milner Group. He was keeper of Rhodes House Library in 1928-1938, Beit Lecturer in Imperial History in 1930-1935, and has been Rhodes Professor of Imperial History at the University of London since 1938. He was a member of the Imperial Committee of the Royal Institute of International Affairs and, during the war, was head of the Empire Information Service at the Ministry of Information. He lives near Oxford, apparently in order to keep in contact with the Group.

In the decade 1910-1920, the inner circle of the Milner Group was busy with two other important activities in addition to The Round Table magazine. These were studies of the problem of imperial federation and of the problem of extending self-government to India. Both of these were in charge of Lionel Curtis and continued with little interruption from the war itself. The Round Table, which was in charge of Kerr, never interrupted its publication, but from 1915 onward it became a secondary issue to winning the war and making the peace. The problem of imperial federation will be discussed here and in Chapter 8, the war and the peace in Chapter 7, and the problem of India in Chapter 10.

During the period 1911-1913, as we have said, Curtis was busy in England with the reports from the Round Table Groups in the Dominions in reply to his printed memorandum. At the end of 1911 and again in 1913, he printed these reports in two substantial volumes, without the names of the contributors. These volumes were never published, but a thousand copies of each were distributed to the various groups. On the basis of these reports, Curtis drafted a joint report, which was printed and circulated as each section was completed. It soon became clear that there was no real agreement within the groups and that imperial federation was not popular in the Dominions. This was a bitter pill to the Group, especially to Curtis, but he continued to work for several years more. In 1912, Milner and Kerr went to Canada and made speeches to Round Table Groups and their associates. The following year Curtis went to Canada to discuss the status of the inquiry on imperial organization with the various Round Table Groups there and summed up the results in a speech in Toronto in October 1913.(9) He decided to draw up four reports as follows: (a) the existing situation; (b) a system involving complete independence for the Dominions; (c) a plan to secure unity of foreign relations by each Dominion's following a policy independent from but parallel to that of Britain itself; (d) a plan to reduce the United Kingdom to a Dominion and create a new imperial government over all the Dominions. Since the last was what Curtis wanted, he decided to write that report himself and allow supporters of each of the other three to write theirs. A thousand copies of this speech were circulated among the groups throughout the world.

When the war broke out in 1914, the reports were not finished, so it was decided to print the four sections already sent out, with a concluding chapter. A thousand copies of this, with the title Project of a Commonwealth, were distributed among the groups. Then a popular volume on the subject, with the title The Problem of the Commonwealth and Curtis's name as editor, was published (May 1916). Two months later, the earlier work (Project) was published under the title The Commonwealth of Nations, again with Curtis named as editor. Thus appeared for the first time in public the name which the British Empire was to assume thirty-two years later. In the September 1916 issue of The Round Table, Kerr published a statement on the relationship of the two published volumes to the Round Table Groups. Because of the paper shortage in England, Curtis in 1916 went to Canada and Australia to arrange for the separate publication of The Problem of the Commonwealth in those countries. At the same time he set up new Round Table Groups in Australia and New Zealand. Then he went to India to begin serious work on Indian reform. From this emerged the Government of India Act of 1919, as we shall see later.

By this time Curtis and the others had come to realize that any formal federation of the Empire was impossible. As Curtis wrote in 1917 (in his Letter to the People of India): "The people of the Dominions rightly aspire to control their own foreign affairs and yet retain their status as British citizens. On the other hand, they detest the idea of paying taxes to any Imperial Parliament, even to one upon which their own representatives sit. The inquiry convinced me that, unless they sent members and paid taxes to an Imperial Parliament, they could not control their foreign affairs and also remain British subjects. But I do not think that doctrine is more distasteful to them than the idea of having anything to do with the Government of India."

Reluctantly Curtis and the others postponed the idea of a federated Empire and fell back on the idea of trying to hold the Empire together by the intangible bonds of common culture and common outlook. This had originally (in Rhodes and Milner) been a supplement to the project of a federation. It now became the chief issue, and the idea of federation fell into a secondary place. At the same time, the idea of federation was swallowed up in a larger scheme for organizing the whole world within a League of Nations. This idea had also been held by Rhodes and Milner, but in quite a different form. To the older men, the world was to be united around the British Empire as a nucleus. To Curtis, the Empire was to be absorbed into a world organization. This second idea was fundamentally mystical. Curtis believed: "Die and ye shall be born again." He sincerely felt that if the British Empire died in the proper way (by spreading liberty, brotherhood, and justice), it would be born again in a higher level of existence — as a world community, or, as he called it, a "Commonwealth of Nations."
It is not yet clear whether the resurrection envisaged by Curtis and his associates will occur, or whether they merely assisted at the crucifixion of the British Empire. The conduct of the new India in the next few decades will decide this question.
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Re: The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Clivede

Postby admin » Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:18 am

Part 2 of 2

The idea for federation of the Empire was not original with the Round Table Group, although their writings would indicate that they sometimes thought so. The federation which they envisaged had been worked out in detail by persons close to the Cecil Bloc and was accepted by Milner and Rhodes as their own chief goal in life.

The original impetus for imperial federation arose within the Liberal Party as a reaction against the Little England doctrines that were triumphant in England before 1868. The original movement came from men like John Stuart Mill (whose arguments in support of the Empire are just like Curtis's) and Earl Grey (who was Colonial Secretary under Russell in 1846-1 852). (10)

This movement resulted in the founding of the Royal Colonial Society (now Royal Empire Society) in 1868 and, as a kind of subsidiary of this, the Imperial Federation League in 1884. Many Unionist members of the Cecil Bloc, such as Brassey and Goschen, were in these organizations. In 1875 F. P. Labilliere, a moving power in both organizations, read a paper before the older one on "The Permanent Unity of the Empire" and suggested a solution of the imperial problem by creating a superimposed imperial legislative body and a central executive over the whole Empire, including the United Kingdom. Seven years later, in "The Political Organization of the Empire," he divided authority between this new federal authority and the Dominions by dividing the business of government into imperial questions, local questions, and questions concerning both levels. He then enumerated the matters that would be allotted to each division, on a basis very similar to that later advocated by Curtis. Another speaker, George Bourinot, in 1880, dealt with "The Natural Development of Canada" in a fashion that sounds exactly like Curtis. (11)

These ideas and projects were embraced by Milner as his chief purpose in life until, like Curtis, he came to realize their impracticality. (12) Milner's ideas can be found in his speeches and letters, especially in two letters of 1901 to Brassey and Parkin. Brassey had started a campaign for imperial federation accompanied by devolution (that is, granting local issues to local bodies even within the United Kingdom) and the creation of an imperial parliament to include representatives of the colonies. This imperial parliament would deal with imperial questions, while local parliaments would deal with local questions. In pursuit of this project, Brassey published a pamphlet, in December 1900, called A Policy on Which All Liberals May Unite and sent to Milner an invitation to join him. Milner accepted in February 1901, saying:


"There are probably no two men who are more fully agreed in their general view of Imperial policy [than we].... It is clear to me that we require separate organs to deal with local home business and with Imperial business. The attempt to conduct both through one so-called Imperial Parliament is breaking down.... Granted that we must have separate Parliaments for Imperial and Local business, I have been coming by a different road, and for somewhat different reasons, to the conclusion which you also are heading for, viz: that it would be better not to create a new body over the so-called Imperial Parliament, but ... to create new bodies, or a new body under it for the local business of Great Britain and Ireland, leaving it to deal with the wider questions of Foreign Policy, the Defence of the Empire, and the relations of the several parts. In that case, of course, the colonies would have to be represented in the Imperial Parliament, which would thus become really Imperial. One great difficulty, no doubt, is that, if this body were to be really effective as an instrument of Imperial Policy, it would require to be reduced in numbers.... The reduction in numbers of British members might no doubt be facilitated by the creation of local legislatures.... The time is ripe to make a beginning.... I wish Rosebery, who could carry through such a policy if any man could, was less pessimistic."


The idea of devolving the local business of the imperial parliament upon local legislative bodies for Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland was advocated in a book by Lord Esher called After the War and in a book called The Great Opportunity by Edward Wood (the future Lord Halifax). These books, in their main theme, were nothing more than a restatement of this aspect of the imperial federation project. They were accompanied, on 4 June 1919, by a motion introduced in the House of Commons by Wood, and carried by a vote of 187 to 34, that "the time has come for the creation of subordinate legislatures within the United Kingdom." Nothing came of this motion, just as nothing came of the federation plans.

Milner's ideas on the latter subject were restated in a letter to Parkin on 18 September 1901:

"The existing Parliaments, whether British or Colonial, are too small, and so are the statesmen they produce (except in accidental cases like Chamberlain), for such big issues. Until we get a real Imperial Council, not merely a Consultative, but first a Constitutional, and then an Executive Council with control of all our world business, we shall get nothing. Look at the way in which the splendid opportunities for federal defence which this war afforded, have been thrown away. I believe it will come about, but at present I do not see the man to do it. Both you and I could help him enormously, almost decisively indeed, for I have, and doubtless you have, an amount of illustration and argument to bring to bear on the subject, drawn from practical experience, which would logically smash the opposition. Our difficulty in the old days was that we were advocating a grand, but, as it seemed, an impractical idea. I should advocate the same thing today as an urgent practical necessity." (13)


The failure of imperial federation in the period 1910-1917 forced Parkin and Milner to fall back on ideological unity as achieved through the Rhodes Scholarships, just as the same event forced Curtis and others to fall back on the same goal as achieved through the Royal Institute of International Affairs. All parties did this with reluctance. As Dove wrote to Brand in 1923, "This later thing [the RIIA] is all right — it may help us to reach that unity of direction in foreign policy we are looking for, if it becomes a haunt of visitors from the Dominions; but Lionel's first love has still to be won, and if, as often happens, accomplishment lessens appetite, and he turns again to his earlier and greater work, we shall all be the gainers. "(14)

This shift from institutional to ideological bonds for uniting the Empire makes it necessary that we should have a clear idea of the outlook of The Round Table and the whole Milner Group. This outlook was well stated in an article in Volume III of that journal, from the pen of an unidentified writer. This article, entitled "The Ethics of Empire," is deserving of close attention. It emphasized that the arguments for the Empire and the bonds which bind it together must be moral and not based on considerations of material advantage or even of defense. This emphasis on moral considerations, rather than economic or strategic, is typical of the Group as a whole and is found in Milner and even in Rhodes. Professional politicians, bureaucrats, utilitarians, and materialist social reformers are criticized for their failure to "appeal convincingly as an ideal of moral welfare to the ardour and imagination of a democratic people." They are also criticized for failure to see that this is the basis on which the Empire was reared.

"The development of the British Empire teaches how moral conviction and devotion to duty have inspired the building of the structure. Opponents of Imperialism are wont to suggest that the story will not bear inspection, that it is largely a record of self-aggrandizement and greed. Such a charge betrays ignorance of its history.... The men who have laboured most enduringly at the fabric of Empire were not getters of wealth and plunderers of spoil. It was due to their strength of character and moral purpose that British rule in India and Egypt has become the embodiment of order and justice.... Duty is an abstract term, but the facts it signifies are the most concrete and real in our experience. The essential thing is to grasp its meaning as a motive power in men s lives. [This was probably from Kerr, but could have been Toynbee or Milner speaking. The writer continued:] The end of the State is to make men, and its strength is measured not in terms of defensive armaments or economic prosperity but by the moral personality of its citizens.... The function of the State is positive and ethical, to secure for its individual members that they shall not merely live but live well. Social reformers are prone to insist too strongly on an ideal of material comfort for the people.... A life of satisfaction depends not on higher wages or lower prices or on leisure for recreation, but on work that calls into play the higher capacities of man's nature.... The cry of the masses should be not for wages or comforts or even liberty, but for opportunities for enterprise and responsibility. A policy for closer union in the Empire is full of significance in relation to this demand.... There is but one way of promise. It is that the peoples of the Empire shall realize their national unity and draw from that ideal an inspiration to common endeavour in the fulfillment of the moral obligations which their membership of the Empire entails. The recognition of common Imperial interests is bound to broaden both their basis of public action and their whole view of life. Public life is ennobled by great causes and by these alone.... Political corruption, place-hunting, and party intrigue have their natural home in small communities where attention is concentrated upon local interests. Great public causes call into being the intellectual and moral potentialities of people.... The phrases "national character," "national will," and "national personality" are no empty catchwords. Everyone knows that esprit de corps is not a fiction but a reality; that the spirit animating a college or a regiment is something that cannot be measured in terms of the private contributions of the individual members.... The people of the Empire are face to face with a unique and an historic opportunity! It is their mission to base the policy of a Great Empire on the foundations of freedom and law.... It remains for them to crown the structure by the institution of a political union that shall give solidarity to the Empire as a whole. Duty and the logic of facts alike point this goal of their endeavour."


In this article can be found, at least implicitly, all the basic ideas of the Milner Group: their suspicion of party politics; their emphasis on moral qualities and the cement of common outlook for linking people together; their conviction that the British Empire is the supreme moral achievement of man, but an achievement yet incomplete and still unfolding; their idea that the highest moral goals are the development of personality through devotion to duty and service under freedom and law; their neglect, even scorn, for economic considerations; and their feeling for the urgent need to persuade others to accept their point of view in order to allow the Empire to achieve the destiny for which they yearn.

The Milner Group is a standing refutation of the Marxist or Leninist interpretations of history or of imperialism. Its members were motivated only slightly by materialistic incentives, and their imperialism was motivated not at all by the desire to preserve or extend capitalism. On the contrary their economic ideology, in the early stages at least, was more socialistic than Manchester in its orientation. To be sure, it was an undemocratic kind of socialism, which was willing to make many sacrifices to the well-being of the masses of the people but reluctant to share with these masses political power that might allow them to seek their own well-being. This socialistic leaning was more evident in the earlier (or Balliol) period than in the later (or New College) period, and disappeared almost completely when Lothian and Brand replaced Esher, Grey, and Milner at the center of the Group. Esher regarded the destruction of the middle class as inevitable and felt that the future belonged to the workers and an administrative state. He dedicated his book After the War (1919) to Robert Smillie, President of the Miners' Federation, and wrote him a long letter on 5 May 1919. On 12 September of the same year, he wrote to his son, the present Viscount Esher: "There are things that cannot be confiscated by the Smillies and Sidney Webbs. These seem to me the real objectives." Even earlier, Arnold Toynbee was a socialist of sorts and highly critical of the current ideology of liberal capitalism as proclaimed by the high priests of the Manchester School. Milner gave six lectures on socialism in Whitechapel in 1882 (published in 1931 in The National Review). Both Toynbee and Milner worked intermittently at social service of a mildly socialistic kind, an effort that resulted in the founding of Toynbee Hall as a settlement house in 1884. As chairman of the board of Internal Revenue in 1892-1897, Milner drew up Sir William Harcourt's budget, which inaugurated the inheritance tax. In South Africa he was never moved by capitalistic motives, placing a heavy profits tax on the output of the Rand mines to finance social improvements, and considering with objective calm the question of nationalizing the railroads or even the mines. Both Toynbee and Milner were early suspicious of the virtues of free trade — not, however, because tariffs could provide high profits for industrial concerns but because tariffs and imperial preference could link the Empire more closely into economic unity. In his later years, Milner became increasingly radical, a development that did not fit any too well with the conservative financial outlook of Brand, or even Hichens. As revealed in his book Questions of the Hour (1923), Milner was a combination of technocrat and guild socialist and objected vigorously to the orthodox financial policy of deflation, balanced budget, gold standard, and free international exchange advocated by the Group after 1918. This orthodox policy, inspired by Brand and accepted by The Round Table after 1918, was regarded by Milner as an invitation to depression, unemployment, and the dissipation of Britain's material and moral resources. On this point there can be no doubt that Milner was correct. Not himself a trained economist, Milner, nevertheless, saw that the real problems were of a technical and material nature and that Britain's ability to produce goods should be limited only by the real supply of knowledge, labor, energy, and materials and not by the artificial limitations of a deliberately restricted supply of money and credit. This point of view of Milner's was not accepted by the Group until after 1931, and not as completely as by Milner even then. The point of view of the Group, at least in the period 1918-1931, was the point of view of the international bankers with whom Brand, Hichens, and others were so closely connected. This point of view, which believed that Britain's prewar financial supremacy could be restored merely by reestablishing the prewar financial system, with the pound sterling at its prewar parity, failed completely to see the changed conditions that made all efforts to restore the prewar system impossible. The Group's point of view is clearly revealed in The Round Table articles of the period. In the issue of December 1918, Brand advocated the financial policy which the British government followed, with such disastrous results, for the next thirteen years. He wrote:

"That nation will recover quickest after the war which corrects soonest any depreciation in currency, reduces by production and saving its inflated credit, brings down its level of prices, and restores the free import and export of gold.... With all our wealth of financial knowledge and experience behind us it should be easy for us to steer the right path — though it will not be always a pleasant one — amongst the dangers of the future. Every consideration leads to the view that the restoration of the gold standard — whether or not it can be achieved quickly — should be our aim. Only by that means can we be secure that our level of prices shall be as low as or lower than prices in other countries, and on that condition depends the recovery of our export trade and the prevention of excessive imports. Only by that means can we provide against and abolish the depreciation of our currency which, though the [existing] prohibition against dealings in gold prevents our measuring it, almost certainly exists, and safeguard ourself against excessive grants of credit."


He then outlined a detailed program to contract credit, curtail government spending, raise taxes, curtail imports, increase exports, etc. (15) Hichens, who, as an industrialist rather than a banker, was not nearly so conservative in financial matters as Brand, suggested that the huge public debt of 1919 be met by a capital levy, but, when Brand's policies were adopted by the government, Hichens went along with them and sought a way out for his own business by reducing costs by "rationalization of production."

These differences of opinion on economic matters within the Group did not disrupt the Group, because it was founded on political rather than economic ideas and its roots were to be found in ancient Athens rather than in modern Manchester. The Balliol generation, from Jowett and Nettleship, and the New College generation, from Zimmern, obtained an idealistic picture of classical Greece which left them nostalgic for the fifth century of Hellenism and drove them to seek to reestablish that ancient fellowship of intellect and patriotism in modern Britain. The funeral oration of Pericles became their political covenant with destiny, duty to the state and loyalty to one's fellow citizens became the chief values of life. But, realizing that the jewel of Hellenism was destroyed by its inability to organize any political unit larger than a single city, the Milner Group saw the necessity of political organization in order to insure the continued existence of freedom and higher ethical values and hoped to be able to preserve the values of their day by organizing the whole world around the British Empire.

Curtis puts this quite clearly in The Commonwealth of Nations (1916), where he says:

"States, whether autocracies or commonwealths, ultimately rest on duty, not on self-interest or force.... The quickening principle of a state is a sense of devotion, an adequate recognition somewhere in the minds of its subjects that their own interests are subordinate to those of the state. The bond which unites them and constitutes them collectively as a state is, to use the words of Lincoln, in the nature of dedication. Its validity, like that of the marriage tie, is at root not contractual but sacramental. Its foundation is not self-interest, but rather some sense of obligation, however conceived, which is strong enough to over-master self-interest." (16)


History for this Group, and especially for Curtis, presented itself as an age-long struggle between the principles of autocracy and the principles of commonwealth, between the forces of darkness and the forces of light, between Asiatic theocracy and European freedom. This view of history, founded on the work of Zimmern, E. A. Freeman, Lord Bryce, and A. V. Dicey, felt that the distinguishing mark between the two hosts could be found in their views of law — the forces of light regarding law as man-made and mutable, but yet above all men, while the forces of darkness regarded law as divine and eternal, yet subordinate to the king. The one permitted diversity, growth, and freedom, while the other engendered monotony, stultification, and slavery. The struggle between the two had gone on for thousands of years, spawning such offspring as the Persian Wars, the Punic Wars, and the struggles of Britain with the forces of Philip II, of Louis XIV, of Napoleon, and of Wilhelm II. Thus, to this Group, Britain stood as the defender of all that was fine or civilized in the modern world, just as Athens had stood for the same values in the ancient world. (17) Britain's mission, under this interpretation, was to carry freedom and light (that is, the principles of commonwealth) against the forces of theocracy and darkness (that is, autocracy) in Asia — and even in Central Europe. For this Group regarded the failure of France or Germany to utilize the English idea of "supremacy of law" (as described by Dicey in his The Law of the Constitution, 1885) as proof that these countries were still immersed, at least partially, in the darkness of theocratic law. The slow spread of English political institutions to Europe as well as Asia in the period before the First World War was regarded by the Group as proof both of their superiority and of the possibility of progress. In Asia and Africa, at least, England's civilizing mission was to be carried out by force, if necessary, for "the function of force is to give moral ideas time to take root." Asia thus could be compelled to accept civilization, a procedure justifiable to the Group on the grounds that Asians are obviously better off under European rule than under the rule of fellow Asians and, if consulted, would clearly prefer British rule to that of any other European power. To be sure, the blessings to be extended to the less fortunate peoples of the world did not include democracy. To Milner, to Curtis, and apparently to most members of the Group, democracy was not an unmixed good, or even a good, and far inferior to rule by the best, or, as Curtis says, by those who "have some intellectual capacity for judging the public interest, and, what is no less important, some moral capacity for treating it as paramount to their own."

This disdain for unrestricted democracy was quite in accordance with the ideas revealed by Milner's activities in South Africa and with the Greek ideals absorbed at Balliol or New College. However, the restrictions on democracy accepted by the Milner Group were of a temporary character, based on the lack of education and background of those who were excluded from political participation. It was not a question of blood or birth, for these men were not racists.

This last point is important because of the widespread misconception that these people were racially intolerant. They never were; certainly those of the inner circle never were. On the contrary, they were ardent advocates of a policy of education and uplift of all groups, so that ultimately all groups could share in political life and in the rich benefits of the British way of life. To be sure, the members of the Group did not advocate the immediate extension of democracy and self-government to all peoples within the Empire, but these restrictions were based not on color of skin or birth but upon cultural outlook and educational background. Even Rhodes, who is widely regarded as a racist because his scholarships were restricted to candidates from the Nordic countries, was not a racist. He restricted his scholarships to these countries because he felt that they had a background sufficiently homogeneous to allow the hope that educational interchange could link them together to form the core of the worldwide system which he hoped would ultimately come into existence. Beyond this, Rhodes insisted that there must be no restrictions placed on the scholarships on a basis of race, religion, skin color, or national origin.(8) In his own life, Rhodes cared nothing about these things. Some of his closest friends were Jews (like Beit), and in three of his wills he left Lord Rothschild as his trustee, in one as his sole trustee. Milner and the other members felt similarly. Lionel Curtis, in his writings, makes perfectly clear both his conviction that character is acquired by training rather than innate ability and his insistence on tolerance in personal contact between members of different races. In his The Commonwealth of Nations (1916) he says: "English success in planting North America and the comparative failure of their rivals must, in fact, be traced to the respective merits not of breed but of institutions"; and again: "The energy and intelligence which had saved Hellas [in the Persian Wars] was the product of her free institutions." In another work he protests against English mistreatment of natives in India and states emphatically that it must be ended. He says: "The conduct on the part of Europeans ... is more than anything else the root cause of Indian unrest . . . I am strongly of opinion that governors should be vested with powers to investigate judicially cases where Europeans are alleged to have outraged Indian feelings. Wherever a case of wanton and unprovoked insult such as those I have cited is proved, government should have the power to order the culprit to leave the country.... A few deportations would soon effect a definite change for the better."(19) That Dove felt similarly is clear from his letters to Brand.

Without a belief in racism, it was perfectly possible for this Group to believe, as they did, in the ultimate extension of freedom and self-government to all parts of the Empire. To be sure, they believed that this was a path to be followed slowly, but their reluctance was measured by the inability of "backward" peoples to understand the principles of a commonwealth, not by reluctance to extend to them either democracy or self- government.

Curtis defined the distinction between a commonwealth and a despotism in the following terms: "The rule of law as contrasted with the rule of an individual is the distinguishing mark of a commonwealth. In despotism government rests on the authority of the ruler or of the invisible and uncontrollable power behind him. In a commonwealth rulers derive their authority from the law and the law from a public opinion which is competent to change it." Accordingly, "the institutions of a commonwealth cannot be successfully worked by peoples whose ideas are still those of a theocratic or patriarchal society. The premature extension of representative institutions throughout the Empire would be the shortest road to anarchy."(20) The people must first be trained to understand and practice the chief principles of commonwealth, namely the supremacy of law and the subjection of the motives of self-interest and material gain to the sense of duty to the interests of the community as a whole. Curtis felt that such an educational process was not only morally necessary on the part of Britain but was a practical necessity, since the British could not expect to keep 430 million persons in subjection forever but must rather hope to educate them up to a level where they could appreciate and cherish British ideals. In one book he says: "The idea that the principle of the commonwealth implies universal suffrage betrays an ignorance of its real nature. That principle simply means that government rests on the duty of the citizens to each other, and is to be vested in those who are capable of setting public interest before their own." (21) In another work he says: "As sure as day follows the night, the time will come when they [the Dominions] will have to assume the burden of the whole of their affairs. For men who are fit for it, self- government is a question not of privilege but rather of obligation. It is duty, not interest, which impels men to freedom, and duty, not interest, is the factor which turns the scale in human affairs." India is included in this evolutionary process, for Curtis wrote: " A despotic government might long have closed India to Western ideas. But a commonwealth is a living thing. It cannot suffer any part of itself to remain inert. To live it must move, and move in every limb.... Under British rule Western ideas will continue to penetrate and disturb Oriental society, and whether the new spirit ends in anarchy or leads to the establishment of a higher order depends upon how far the millions of India can be raised to a fuller and more rational conception of the ultimate foundations upon which the duty of obedience to government rests."

These ideas were not Curtis's own, although he was perhaps the most prolific, most eloquent, and most intense in his feelings. They were apparently shared by the whole inner circle of the Group. Dove, writing to Brand from India in 1919, is favorable to reform and says: "Lionel is right. You can't dam a world current. There is, I am convinced, 'purpose' under such things. All that we can do is to try to turn the flood into the best channel." In the same letter he said: "Unity will, in the end, have to be got in some other way.... Love — call it, if you like, by a longer name — is the only thing that can make our post-war world go round, and it has, I believe, something to say here too. The future of the Empire seems to me to depend on how far we are able to recognize this. Our trouble is that we start some way behind scratch. Indians must always find it hard to understand us." And the future Lord Lothian, ordering an article on India for The Round Table from a representative in India, wrote: "We want an article in The Round Table and I suggest to you that the main conclusion which the reader should draw from it should be that the responsibility rests upon him of seeing that the Indian demands are sympathetically handled without delay after the war." (22)

What this Group feared was that the British Empire would fail to profit from the lessons they had discerned in the Athenian empire or in the American Revolution. Zimmern had pointed out to them the sharp contrast between the high idealism of Pericles's funeral oration and the crass tyranny of the Athenian empire. They feared that the British Empire might fall into the same difficulty and destroy British idealism and British liberties by the tyranny necessary to hold on to a reluctant Empire. And any effort to hold an empire by tyranny they regarded as doomed to failure. Britain would be destroyed, as Athens was destroyed, by powers more tyrannical than herself. And, still drawing parallels with ancient Greece, the Group feared that all culture and civilization would go down to destruction because of our inability to construct some kind of political unit larger than the national state, just as Greek culture and civilization in the fourth century B.C. went down to destruction because of the Greeks' inability to construct some kind of political unit larger than the city-state. This was the fear that had animated Rhodes, and it was the same fear that was driving the Milner Group to transform the British Empire into a Commonwealth of Nations and then place that system within a League of Nations. In 1917, Curtis wrote in his Letter to the People of India: "The world is in throes which precede creation or death. Our whole race has outgrown the merely national state, and as surely as day follows night or night the day, will pass either to a Commonwealth of Nations or else an empire of slaves. And the issue of these agonies rests with us."

At the same time the example of the American Revolution showed the Group the dangers of trying to rule the Empire from London: to tax without representation could only lead to disruption. Yet it was no longer possible that 45 million in the United Kingdom could tax themselves for the defense of 435 million in the British Empire. What, then, was the solution? The Milner Group's efforts to answer this question led eventually, as we shall see in Chapter 8, to the present Commonwealth of Nations, but before we leave The Round Table, a few words should be said about Lord Milner's personal connection with the Round Table Group and the Group's other connections in the field of journalism and publicity.

Milner was the creator of the Round Table Group (since this is but another name for the Kindergarten) and remained in close personal contact with it for the rest of his life. In the sketch of Milner in the Dictionary of National Biography, written by Basil Williams of the Kindergarten, we read: "He was always ready to discuss national questions on a non-party basis, joining with former members of his South African 'Kindergarten' in their 'moot,' from which originated the political review, The Round Table, and in a more heterogeneous society, the 'Coefficients,' where he discussed social and imperial problems with such curiously assorted members as L. S. Amery, H. G. Wells, (Lord) Haldane, Sir Edward Grey, (Sir) Michael Sadler, Bernard Shaw, J. L. Garvin, William Pember Reeves, and W. A. S. Hewins." In the obituary of Hichens, as already indicated, we find in reference to the Round Table the sentence: "Often at its head sat the old masters of the Kindergarten, Lord Milner and his successor, Lord Selborne, close friends and allies of Hichens to the end." And in the obituary of Lord Milner in The Round Table for June 1925, we find the following significant passage:

"The founders and the editors of The Round Table mourn in a very special sense the death of Lord Milner. For with him they have lost not only a much beloved friend, but one whom they have always regarded as their leader. Most of them had the great good fortune to serve under him in South Africa during or after the South African war, and to learn at firsthand from him something of the great ideals which inspired him. From those days at the very beginning of this century right up to the present time, through the days of Crown Colony Government in the Transvaal and Orange Free State, of the making of the South African constitution, and through all the varied and momentous history of the British Empire in the succeeding fifteen years, they have had the advantage of Lord Milner's counsel and guidance, and they are grateful to think that, though at times he disagreed with them, he never ceased to regard himself as the leader to whom, above everyone else, they looked. It is of melancholy interest to recall that Lord Milner had undertaken to come on May 13, the very day of his death, to a meeting specially to discuss with them South African problems."


The Round Table was published during the Second World War from Rhodes House, Oxford, which is but one more indication of the way in which the various instruments of the Milner Group are able to cooperate with one another.

The Times and The Round Table are not the only publications which have been controlled by the Milner Group. At various times in the past, the Group has been very influential on the staffs of the Quarterly Review, The Nineteenth Century and After, The Economist, and the Spectator. Anyone familiar with these publications will realize that most of them, for most of the time, have been quite secretive as to the names of the members of their staffs or even as to the names of their editors. The extent of the Milner Group's influence and the periods during which it was active cannot be examined here.

The Milner Group was also very influential in an editorial fashion in regard to a series of excellent and moderately priced volumes known as The Home University Library. Any glance at the complete list of volumes in this series will reveal that a large number of the names are those of persons mentioned in this study. The influence of the Group on The Home University Library was chiefly exercised through H. A. L. Fisher, a member of the inner circle of the Group, but the influence, apparently, has survived his death in 1940.

The Milner Group also attempted, at the beginning at least, to use Milner's old connections with adult education and working-class schools (a connection derived from Toynbee and Samuel Barnett) to propagate its imperial doctrines. As A. L. Smith, the Master of Balliol, put it in 1915, "We must educate our masters." In this connection, several members of the Round Table Group played an active role in the Oxford Summer School for Working Class Students in 1913. This was so successful (especially a lecture on the Empire by Curtis) that a two-week conference was held early in the summer of 1914, "addressed by members of the Round Table Group, and others, on Imperial and Foreign Problems" (to quote A. L. Smith again). As a result, a plan was drawn up on 30 July 1914 to present similar programs in the 110 tutorial classes existing in industrial centers. The outbreak of war prevented most of this program from being carried out. After the war ended, the propaganda work among the British working classes became less important, for various reasons, of which the chief were that working-class ears were increasingly monopolized by Labour Party speakers and that the Round Table Group were busy with other problems like the League of Nations, Ireland, and the United States.(23)  
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Re: The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Clivede

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Chapter 8: War and Peace, 1915-1920

The Milner Group was out of power for a decade from 1906 to 1915. We have already indicated our grounds for believing that this condition was not regarded with distaste, since its members were engaged in important activities of their own and approved of the conduct of foreign policy (their chief field of interest) by the Liberal Party under Asquith, Grey, and Haldane. During this period came the Union of South Africa, The Morley- Minto reforms, the naval race with Germany, the military conversations with France, the agreement of 1907 with Russia, the British attitude against Germany in the Agadir crisis (a crisis to whose creation The Times had contributed no little material) — in fact, a whole series of events in which the point of view of the Milner Group was carried out just as if they were in office. To be sure, in domestic matters such as the budget dispute and the ensuing House of Lords dispute, and in the question of Home Rule for Ireland, the Milner Group did not regard the Liberal achievements with complete satisfaction, but in none of these were the members of the Milner Group diehards (as members of the Cecil Bloc sometimes were). (1) But with the outbreak of war, the Milner Group and the Cecil Bloc wanted to come to power and wanted it badly, chiefly because control of the government in wartime would make it possible to direct events toward the postwar settlement which the Group envisaged. The Group also believed that the war could be used by them to fasten on Britain the illiberal economic regulation of which they had been dreaming since Chamberlain resigned in 1903 (at least).

The Group got to power in 1916 by a method which they repeated with the Labour Party in 1931. By a secret intrigue with a parvenu leader of the government, the Group offered to make him head of a new government if he would split his own party and become Prime Minister, supported by the Group and whatever members he could split off from his own party. The chief difference between 1916 and 1931 is that in the former year the minority that was being betrayed was the Group's own social class — in fact, the Liberal Party members of the Cecil Bloc. Another difference is that in 1916 the plot worked — the Liberal Party was split and permanently destroyed — while in 1931 the plotters broke off only a fragment of the Labour Party and damaged it only temporarily (for fourteen years). This last difference, however, was not caused by any lack of skill in carrying out the intrigue but by the sociological differences between the Liberal Party and the Labour Party in the twentieth century. The latter was riding the wave of the future, while the former was merely one of two "teams" put on the field by the same school for an intramural game, and, as such, it was bound to fuse with its temporary antagonist as soon as the future produced an extramural challenger. This strange (to an outsider) point of view will explain why Asquith had no real animosity for Bonar Law or Balfour (who really betrayed him) but devoted the rest of his life to belittling the actions of Lloyd George. Asquith talked later about how he was deceived (and even lied to) in December 1915, but never made any personal attack on Bonar Law, who did the prevaricating (if any). The actions of Bonar Law were acceptable in the code of British politics, a code largely constructed on the playing fields of Eton and Harrow, but Lloyd George's actions, which were considerably less deliberate and cold-blooded, were quite unforgivable, coming as they did from a parvenu who had been built up to a high place in the Liberal Party because of his undeniable personal ability, but who, nonetheless, was an outsider who had never been near the playing fields of Eton.

In the coalition governments of May 1915 and December 1916, members of the Cecil Bloc took the more obvious positions (as befitted their seniority), while members of the Milner Group took the less conspicuous places, but by 1918 the latter group had the whole situation tied up in a neat package and held all the strings.

In the first coalition (May 1915), Lansdowne came into the Cabinet without portfolio, Curzon as Lord Privy Seal, Bonar Law at the Colonial Office, Austen Chamberlain at the India Office, Balfour at the Admiralty, Selborne as President of the Board of Agriculture, Walter Long as President of the Local Government Board, Sir Edward Carson as Attorney General, F. E. Smith as Solicitor General, Lord Robert Cecil as Under Secretary in the Foreign Office, and Arthur Steel-Maitland as Under Secretary in the Colonial Office. Of these eleven names, at least nine were members of the Cecil Bloc, and four were close to the Milner Group (Cecil, Balfour, Steel-Maitland, and Selborne).

In the second coalition government (December 1916), Milner was Minister without Portfolio; Curzon was Lord President of the Council; Bonar Law, Chancellor of the Exchequer; Sir Robert Finlay, Lord Chancellor; the Earl of Crawford, Lord Privy Seal; Sir George Cave, Home Secretary; Arthur Balfour, Foreign Secretary; The Earl of Derby, War Secretary; Walter Long, Colonial Secretary; Austen Chamberlain, at the India Office; Sir Edward Carson, First Lord of the Admiralty; Henry E. Duke, Chief Secretary for Ireland; H. A. L. Fisher, President of the Board of Education; R. E. Prothero, President of the Board of Agriculture; Sir Albert Stanley, President of the Board of Trade; F. E. Smith, Attorney General; Robert Cecil, Minister of Blockade; Lord Hardinge, Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs; Steel-Maitland, Under Secretary for the Colonies; and Lord Wolmer (son of Lord Selborne), assistant director of the War Trade Department. Of these twenty names, eleven, at least, were members of the Cecil Bloc, and four or five were members of the Milner Group.

Milner himself became the second most important figure in the government (after Lloyd George), especially while he was Minister without Portfolio. He was chiefly interested in food policy, war trade regulations, and postwar settlements. He was chairman of a committee to increase home production of food (1915) and of a committee on postwar reconstruction (1916). From the former came the food- growing policy adopted in 1917, and from the latter came the Ministry of Health set up in 1919. In 1917 he went with Lloyd George to a meeting of the Allied War Council in Rome and from there on a mission to Russia. He went to France after the German victories in March 1918, and was the principal influence in the appointment of Foch as Supreme Commander in the west. In April he became Secretary of State for War, and, after the election of December 1918, became Colonial Secretary. He was one of the signers of the Treaty of Versailles. Of Milner's role at this time, John Buchan wrote in his memoirs: "In the Great War from 1916 to 1918, he was the executant of the War Cabinet who separated the sense from the nonsense in the deliberations of that body, and was responsible for its chief practical achievements. To him were largely due the fruitful things which emerged from the struggle, the new status of the Dominions, and the notable advances in British social policy." In all of these actions Milner remained as unobtrusive as possible. Throughout this period Milner's opinion of Lloyd George was on the highest level. Writing twenty years later in The Commonwealth of God, Lionel Curtis recorded two occasions in which Milner praised Lloyd George in the highest terms. On one of these he called him a greater war leader than Chatham.

At this period it was not always possible to distinguish between the Cecil Bloc and the Milner Group, but it is notable that the members of the former who were later clearly members of the latter were generally in the fields in which Milner was most interested. In general, Milner and his Group dominated Lloyd George during the period from 1917 to 1921. As Prime Minister, Lloyd George had three members of the Group as his secretaries (P. H. Kerr, 1916-1922; W. G. S. Adams, 1916-1919; E. W. M. Grigg, 1921- 1922) and Waldorf Astor as his parliamentary secretary (1917-1918). The chief decisions were made by the War Cabinet and Imperial War Cabinet, whose membership merged and fluctuated but in 1917-1918 consisted of Lloyd George, Milner, Curzon, and Smuts — that is, two members of the Milner Group, one of the Cecil Bloc, with the Prime Minister himself. The secretary to these groups was Maurice Hankey (later a member of the Milner Group), and the editor of the published reports of the War Cabinet was W. G. S. Adams. Amery was assistant secretary, while Meston was a member of the Imperial War Cabinet in 1917. Frederick Liddell (Fellow of All Souls) was made First Parliamentary Counsel in 1917 and held the position for eleven years, following this post with a fifteen-year period of service as counsel to the Speaker (1928-1943). (2)

Within the various government departments a somewhat similar situation prevailed. The Foreign Office in its topmost ranks was held by the Cecil Bloc, with Balfour as Secretary of State (1916-1919), followed by Curzon (1919-1924). When Balfour went to the United States on a mission in 1917, he took along Ian Malcolm (brother-in-law of Dougal Malcolm). Malcolm was later Balfour's private secretary at the Peace Conference in 1919. In Washington, Balfour had as deputy chairman to the mission R. H. Brand. In London, as we have seen, Robert Cecil was Parliamentary Under Secretary and later Assistant Secretary. In the Political Intelligence Department, Alfred Zimmern was the chief figure. G. W. Prothero was director of the Historical Section and was, like Cecil and Zimmern, chiefly concerned with the future peace settlement. He was succeeded by J. W. Headlam-Morley, who held the post of historical adviser from 1920 to his death in 1928. All of these persons were members of the Cecil Bloc or Milner Group.

In the India Office we need mention only a few names, as this subject will receive a closer scrutiny later. Austen Chamberlain was Secretary of State in 1915-1917 and gave the original impetus toward the famous act of 1919. Sir Frederick Duke (a member of the Round Table Group, whom we shall mention later) was chief adviser to Chamberlain's successor, E. S. Montagu, and became Permanent Under Secretary in 1920. Sir Malcolm Seton (also a member of the Round Table Group from 1913 onward) was Assistant Under Secretary (1919-1924) and later Deputy Under Secretary.

In blockade and shipping, Robert Cecil was Minister of Blockade (1916-1918), while Reginald Sothern Holland organized the attack on German trade in the earlier period (1914). M. L. Gwyer was legal adviser to the Ministry of Shipping during the war and to the Ministry of Health after the war (1917-1926), while J. Arthur Salter (later a contributor to The Round Table and a Fellow of All Souls for almost twenty years) was director of ship requisitioning in 1917 and later secretary to the Allied Maritime Transport Council and chairman of the Allied Maritime Transport Executive (1918). After the war he was a member of the Supreme Economic Council and general secretary to the Reparations Commission (1919-1922).

A. H. D. R. Steel-Maitland was head of the War Trade Department in 1917-1919, while Lord Wolmer (son of Lord Selborne and grandson of Lord Salisbury) was assistant director in 1916-1918. Henry Birchenough was a member or chairman of several committees dealing with related matters. R. S. Rait was a member of the department from its creation in 1915 to the end of the war; H. W. C. Davis was a member in 1915 and a member of the newly created War Trade Advisory Committee thereafter. Harold Butler was secretary to the Foreign Trade Department of the Foreign Office (1916-1917). H. D. Henderson (who has been a Fellow of All Souls since 1934) was secretary of the Cotton Control Board (1917-1919).

The Board of Agriculture was dominated by members of the Cecil Bloc and Milner Group. Lord Selborne was President of the board in 1915-1916, and Prothero (Lord Ernie) in 1916-1919. Milner and Selborne were chairmen of the two important committees of the board in 1915 and 1916. These sought to establish as a war measure (and ultimately as a postwar measure also) government-guaranteed prices for agricultural products at so high a level that domestic production of adequate supplies would be insured. This had been advocated by Milner for many years but was not obtained on a permanent basis until after 1930, although used on a temporary basis in 1917-1919. The membership of these committees was largely made up of members of the Cecil Bloc. The second Viscount Goschen (son of Milner's old friend and grandfather-in-law of Milner's step-grandson) was Parliamentary Secretary to the Board; Lord Astor was chairman of a dependent committee on milk supplies; Sothern Holland was controller of the Cultivation Department within the Food Production Department of the board (1918); Mrs. Alfred Lyttelton was deputy director of the Women's Branch; Lady Alicia Cecil was assistant director of horticulture in the Food Production Department; and Edward Strutt (brother- in-law of Balfour), who had been a member of both the Milner and Selborne Committees, was technical adviser to Prothero during his term as President and was the draftsman of the Corn Production Act of 1917. He later acted as one of Milner's assistants in the effort to establish a tariff in 1923. His sketch in the Dictionary of National Biography was written by his nephew (and Balfour's nephew) Lord Rayleigh.  

In the Colonial Office, Milner was Secretary of State in 1918-1921; George Fiddes (of the Milner Kindergarten) was Permanent Under Secretary in 1916-1921; Steel-Maitland was Parliamentary Under Secretary in 1915-1917; while Amery was in the same position in 1919-1921.

In intelligence and public information, we find John Buchan as head of the Information Department of the War Office, with John Dove and B. H. Sumner (the present Warden of All Souls) in military intelligence. H. W. C. Davis was general editor of the Oxford Pamphlets justifying Britain's role in the war, while Algernon Cecil (nephew of Lord Salisbury) was in the intelligence division of the Admiralty and later in the historical section of the Foreign Office. J. W. Headlam-Morley was adviser on all historical matters at Wellington House (the propaganda department) in 1915-1918 and assistant director of political intelligence in the Department of Information in 1917-1918, ultimately being shifted to similar work in the Foreign Office in 1918.

In the War Office, Milner was Secretary of State in 1918, while Amery was assistant to the Secretary from 1917 until Milner took him to the Colonial Office a year or so later.

This enumeration, by no means complete, indicates the all-pervasive influence of this small clique in the later years of the war. This influence was not devoted exclusively to winning the war, and, as time went on, it was directed increasingly toward the postwar settlement. As a result, both groups tended more and more to concentrate in the Foreign Office. There G. W. Prothero, an old member of the Cecil Bloc, was put in charge of the preparations for the future peace conference. Depending chiefly on his own branch of the Foreign Office (the Historical Section), but also using men and materials from the War Trade Intelligence Department and the Intelligence Section of the Admiralty, he prepared a large number of reports on questions that might arise at the Peace Conference (1917- 1919). In 1920, 155 volumes of these reports were published under the title Peace Handbooks. A glance at any complete list of these will show that a very large number of the "experts" who wrote them were from the Cecil Bloc and Milner Group. About the same time, Phillimore and Zimmern prepared drafts for the organization of the future League of Nations. Most of the group went en masse to the Peace Conference at Paris as expert advisers, and anyone familiar with the history of the Peace Conference cannot fail to recognize names which we have mentioned frequently. At about this time, Lloyd George began to get out of hand as far as the Milner Group was concerned, and doubtless also as far as the Cecil Bloc was concerned. Some of this was caused by the weakness of Balfour, titular head of the latter group, but much more was caused by the fact that the Group could not control Lloyd George either in his electoral campaign in December 1918 or in his negotiations in the Council of Four from March to June 1919. Lloyd George was perfectly willing to use the abilities of the Milner Group in administration, but, when it came to an appeal to the electorate, as in the "khaki election," he had no respect for the Group's judgment or advice. Lloyd George realized that the electorate was hysterical with hatred of Germany, and was willing to appeal to that feeling if he could ride into office again on its impetus. The Milner Croup, on the other hand, was eager to get rid of the Kaiser, the Prussian officers' corps, and even the Junker landlords, but, once Germany was defeated, their feeling of animosity against her (which had waxed strong since before 1896) vanished. By 1919 they began to think in terms of balance of power and of the need to reconstruct Germany against the dangers of "bolshevism" on one hand and of "French militarism" on the other, and they felt that if Germany were made democratic and treated in a friendly fashion she could be incorporated into the British world system as well as the Cape Boers had been. The intellectual climate of the Milner Group early in 1919 has been described by a man who was, at this time, close to the Group, Harold Nicolson, in his volume Peacemaking, 1919.

This point of view was never thoroughly thought out by the Group. It was apparently based on the belief that if Germany were treated in a conciliatory fashion she could be won from her aggressive attitudes and become a civilized member of the British world system. This may have been possible, but, if so, the plan was very badly executed, because the aggressive elements in Germany were not eliminated and the conciliatory elements were not encouraged in a concrete fashion. This failure, however, was partly caused by the pressure of public opinion, by the refusal of the French to accept this concept as an adequate goal of foreign policy, and by the failure to analyze the methods of the policy in a sound and adequate fashion. The first step toward this policy was made by Milner himself as early as October 1918, when he issued a warning not to denounce "the whole German nation as monsters of iniquity" or to carry out a policy of punishment and reprisal against them." The outburst of public indignation at this sentiment was so great that "the whole band of men who had learned under him in South Africa to appreciate his patriotism united to testify to him their affectionate respect." This quotation from one of the band, Basil Williams, refers to a testimonial given by the Group to their leader in 1918.

Another evidence of this feeling will be found in a volume of Alfred Zimmern's, published in 1922 under the title Europe in Convalescence and devoted to regretting Britain's postwar policies and especially the election of 1918. Strangely enough, Zimmern, although most articulate in this volume, was basically more anti-German than the other members of the Group and did not share their rather naive belief that the Germans could be redeemed merely by the victors tossing away the advantages of victory. Zimmern had a greater degree of sympathy for the French idea that the Germans should give more concrete examples of a reformed spirit before they were allowed to run freely in civilized society.(3) Halifax, on the other hand, was considerably more influenced by popular feeling in 1918 and years later. He shared the public hysteria against Germany in 1918 to a degree which he later wished to forget, just as in 1937 he shared the appeasement policy toward Germany to a degree he would now doubtless want to forget. Both of these men, however were not of the inner circle of the Milner Group. The sentiments of that inner circle, men like Kerr, Brand, and Dawson, can be found in the speeches of the first, The Times editorials of the last, and the articles of The Round Table. They can also be seen in the letters of John Dove. The latter, writing to Brand, 4 October 1923, stated: "It seems to me that the most disastrous affect 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 themselves baffled.... I doubt if we shall again have as good a chance of getting a peaceful democracy set up in Germany."  
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Re: The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Clivede

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Part 1 of 2

Chapter 9: Creation of the Commonwealth

The evolution of the British Empire into the Commonwealth of Nations is to a very great extent a result of the activities of the Milner Group. To be sure, the ultimate goal of the Group was quite different from the present system, since they wanted a federation of the Empire, but this was a long-run goal, and en route they accepted the present system as a temporary way station. However, the strength of colonial and Dominion feeling, which made the ideal of federation admittedly remote at all times, has succeeded in making this way-station a permanent terminal and thus had eliminated, apparently forever, the hope for federation. With the exception of a few diehards (of whom Milner and Curtis were the leaders), the Group has accepted the solution of imperial cooperation and "parallelism" as an alternative to federation. This was definitely stated in The Round Table of December 1920. In that issue the Group adopted the path of cooperation as its future policy and added: "Its [The Round Tables] promoters in this country feel bound to state that all the experience of the war and of the peace has not shaken in the least the fundamental conviction with which they commenced the publication of this Review.... The Round Table has never expressed an opinion as to the form which this constitutional organization would take, nor as to the time when it should be undertaken. But it has never disguised its conviction that a cooperate system would eventually break down." In September 1935, in a review of its first twenty-five years, the journal stated: "Since the war, therefore, though it has never abandoned its view that the only final basis for freedom and enduring peace is the organic union of nations in a commonwealth embracing the whole world or, in the first instance, a lesser part of it, The Round Table has been a consistent supporter ... of the principles upon which the British Empire now rests, as set forth in the Balfour Memorandum of 1926.... It has felt that only by trying the cooperation method to the utmost and realizing its limitations in practice would nations within or without the British Empire be brought to face the necessity for organic union."

There apparently exists within the Milner Group a myth to the effect that they invented the expression "Commonwealth of Nations," that it was derived from Zimmern's book The Greek Commonwealth (published in 1911) and first appeared in public in the title of Curtis's book in 1916. This is not quite accurate, for the older imperialists of the Cecil Bloc had used the term "commonwealth" in reference to the British Empire on various occasions as early as 1884. In that year, in a speech at Adelaide, Australia, Lord Rosebery referred to the possibility of New Zealand seceding from the Empire and added: "God forbid. There is no need for any nation, however great, leaving the Empire, because the Empire is a Commonwealth of Nations."

If the Milner Group did not invent the term, they gave it a very definite and special meaning, based on Zimmern's book, and they popularized the use of the expression. According to Zimmern, the expression "commonwealth" referred to a community based on freedom and the rule of law, in distinction to a government based on authority or even arbitrary tyranny. The distinction was worked out in Zimmern's book in the contrast between Athens, as described in Pericles's funeral oration, and Sparta (or the actual conduct of the Athenian empire). As applied to the modern world, the contrast was between the British government, as described by Dicey, and the despotisms of Philip II, Wilhelm II, and Nicholas II. In this sense of the word, commonwealth was not originally an alternative to federation, as it later became, since it referred to the moral qualities of government, and these could exist within either a federated or a nonfederated Empire.

The expression "British Commonwealth of Nations" was, then, not invented by the Group but was given a very special meaning and was propagated in this sense until it finally became common usage. The first step in this direction was taken on 15 May 1917, when General Smuts, at a banquet in his honor in the Houses of Parliament, used the expression. This banquet was apparently arranged by the Milner Group, and Lord Milner sat at Smuts's right hand during the speech. The speech itself was printed and given the widest publicity, being disseminated throughout Great Britain, the Commonwealth, the United States, and the rest of the world. In retrospect, some persons have believed that Smuts was rejecting the meaning of the expression as used by the Milner Group, because he did reject the project for imperial federation in this speech. This, however, is a mistake, for, as we have said, the expression "commonwealth" at that time had a meaning which could include either federation or cooperation among the members of the British imperial system. The antithesis in meaning between federation and commonwealth is a later development which took place outside the Group. To this day, men like Curtis, Amery, and Grigg still use the term "commonwealth" as applied to a federated Empire, and they always define the word "commonwealth" as "a government of liberty under the law" and not as an arrangement of independent but cooperating states.

The development of the British Empire into the Commonwealth of Nations and the role which the Milner Group played in this development cannot be understood by anyone who feels that federation and commonwealth were mutually exclusive ideas.

In fact, there were not two ideas, but three, and they were not regarded by the Group as substitutes for each other but as supplements to each other. These three ideas were: (1) the creation of a common ideology and world outlook among the peoples of the United Kingdom, the Empire, and the United States; (2) the creation of instruments and practices of cooperation among these various communities in order that they might pursue parallel policies; and (3) the creation of a federation on an imperial, Anglo-American, or world basis. The Milner Group regarded these as supplementary to one another and worked vigorously for all of them, without believing that they were mutually exclusive alternatives. They always realized, even the most fanatical of them, that federation, even of the Empire only, was very remote. They always, in this connection, used such expressions as "not in our lifetime" or "not in the present century." They always insisted that the basic unity of any system must rest on common ideology, and they worked in this direction through the Rhodes Scholarships, the Round Table Groups, and the Institutes of International Affairs, even when they were most ardently seeking to create organized constitutional relationships. And in these constitutional relationships they worked equally energetically and simultaneously for imperial federation and for such instruments of cooperation as conferences of Prime Ministers of Dominions. The idea, which seems to have gained currency, that the Round Table Group was solely committed to federation and that the failure of this project marked the defeat and eclipse of the Group is erroneous. On the contrary, by the 1930s, the Round Table Group was working so strongly for a common ideology and for institutions of cooperation that many believers in federation regarded them as defeatist. For this reason, some believers in federation organized a new movement called the "World Commonwealth Movement." Evidence of this movement is an article by Lord Davies in The Nineteenth Century and After for January 1935, called "Round Table or World Commonwealth?" This new movement was critical of the foreign policy rather than the imperial policy of the Round Table Group, especially its policy of appeasement toward Germany and of weakening the League of Nations, and its belief that Britain could find security in isolation from the Continent and a balance-of-power policy supported by the United Kingdom, the Dominions, and the United States.

The effort of the Round Table Group to create a common ideology to unite the supporters of the British way of life appears in every aspect of their work. It was derived from Rhodes and Milner and found its most perfect manifestation in the Rhodes Scholarships. As a result of these and of the Milner Group's control of so much of Oxford, Oxford tended to become an international university. Here the Milner Group had to tread a narrow path between the necessity of training non-English (including Americans and Indians) in the English way of life and the possibility of submerging that way of life completely (at Oxford, at least) by admitting too many non-English to its cloistered halls. On the whole, this path was followed with considerable success, as will be realized by anyone who has had any experience with Rhodes Scholars. To be sure, the visitors from across the seas picked up the social customs of the English somewhat more readily than they did the English ideas of playing the game or the English ideas of politics, but, on the whole, the experiment of Rhodes, Milner, and Lothian cannot be called a failure. It was surely a greater success in the United States than it was in the Dominions or in India, for in the last, at least, the English idea of liberty was assimilated much more completely than the idea of loyalty to England.

The efforts of the Milner Group to encourage federation of the Empire have already been indicated. They failed and, indeed, were bound to fail, as most members of the Group soon realized. As early as 1903, John Buchan and Joseph Chamberlain had given up the attempt. By 1917, even Curtis had accepted the idea that federation was a very remote possibility, although in his case, at least, it remained as the beckoning will-o-the-wisp by which all lesser goals were measured and found vaguely dissatisfying. (1)

The third string to the bow — imperial cooperation — remained. It became in time the chief concern of the Group. The story of these efforts is a familiar one, and no attempt will be made here to repeat it. We are concerned only with the role played by the Milner Group in these efforts. In general this role was very large, if not decisive.

The proposals for imperial cooperation had as their basic principle the assumption that communities which had a common ideology could pursue parallel courses toward the same goal merely by consultation among their leaders. For a long time, the Milner Group did not see that the greater the degree of success obtained by this method, the more remote was the possibility that federation could ever be attained. It is very likely that the Group was misled in this by the fact that they were for many years extremely fortunate in keeping members of the Group in positions of power and influence in the Dominions. As long as men like Smuts, Botha (who did what Smuts wanted), Duncan, Feetham, or Long were in influential positions in South Africa; as long as men like Eggleston, Bavin, or Dudley Braham were influential in Australia; as long as men like Glazebrook, Massey, Joseph Flavelle, or Percy Corbett were influential in Canada — in a nutshell, as long as members of the Milner Group were influential throughout the Dominions, the technique of the parallel policy of cooperation would be the easiest way to reach a common goal. Unfortunately, this was not a method that could be expected to continue forever, and when the Milner Group grew older and weaker, it could not be expected that their newer recruits in England (like Hodson, Coupland, Actor, Woodward, Elton, and others) could continue to work on a parallel policy with the newer arrivals to power in the Dominions. When that unhappy day arrived, the Milner Group should have had institutionalized modes of procedure firmly established. They did not, not because they did not want them, but because their members in the Dominions could not have remained in influential positions if they had insisted on creating institutionalized links with Britain when the people of the Dominions obviously did not want such links.

The use of Colonial or Imperial Conferences as a method for establishing closer contact with the various parts of the Empire was originally established by the Cecil Bloc and taken over by the Milner Group. The first four such Conferences (in 1887, 1897, 1902, and 1907) were largely dominated by the former group, although they were not technically in power during the last one. The decisive changes made in the Colonial Conference system at the Conference of 1907 were worked out by a secret group, which consulted on the plans for eighteen months and presented them to the Royal Colonial Institute in April 1905. These plans were embodied in a dispatch from the Colonial Secretary, Alfred Lyttelton, and carried out at the Conference of 1907. As a result, it was established that the name of the meeting was to be changed to Imperial Conference; it was to be called into session every four years; it was to consist of Prime Ministers of the self-governing parts of the Empire; the Colonial Secretary was to be eliminated from the picture; and a new Dominion Department, under Sir Charles Lucas, was to be set up in the Colonial Office. As the future Lord Lothian wrote in The Round Table in 1911, the final result was to destroy the hopes for federation by recognizing the separate existence of the Dominions. (2)

At the Conference of 1907, at the suggestion of Haldane, there was created a Committee of Imperial Defence, and a plan was adopted to organize Dominion defense forces on similar patterns, so that they could be integrated in an emergency. The second of these proposals, which led to a complete reorganization of the armies of New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa in 1909-1912, with very beneficial results in the crisis of 1914-1918, is not of immediate concern to us. The Committee of Imperial Defence and its secretarial staff were creations of Lord Esher, who had been chairman of a special committee to reform the War Office in 1903 and was permanent member of the Committee of Imperial Defence from 1905 to his death. As a result of his influence, the secretariat of this committee became a branch of the Milner Group and later became the secretariat of the Cabinet itself, when that body first obtained a secretariat in 1917.

From this secretarial staff the Milner Group obtained three recruits in the period after 1918. These were Maurice Hankey, Ernest Swinton, and W. G. A. Ormsby-Gore (now Lord Harlech). Hankey was assistant secretary of the Committee of Imperial Defence from 1908 to 1912 and was secretary from 1912 to 1938. Swinton was assistant secretary from 1917 to 1925. Both became members of the Milner Group, Hankey close to the inner circle, Swinton in one of the less central rings. Ormsby-Gore was an assistant secretary in 1917-1918 at the same time that he was private secretary to Lord Milner. All three of these men are of sufficient importance to justify a closer examination of their careers.

Maurice Pascal Alers Hankey (Sir Maurice after 1916, Baron Hankey since 1939), whose family was related by marriage to the Wyndhams, was born in 1877 and joined the Royal Marines when he graduated from Rugby in 1895. He retired from that service in 1918 as a lieutenant colonel and was raised to colonel on the retired list in 1929. He was attached for duty with the Naval Intelligence Department in 1902 and by this route reached the staff of the Committee of Imperial Defence six years later. In 1917, when it was decided to give the Cabinet a secretariat for the first time, and to create the Imperial War Cabinet by adding overseas representatives to the British War Cabinet (a change in which Milner played the chief role), the secretariat of the Committee of Imperial Defence became also the secretariat of the other two bodies. At the same time, as we have seen, the Prime Minister was given a secretariat consisting of two members of the Milner Group (Kerr and Adams). In this way Hankey became secretary and Swinton assistant secretary to the Cabinet, the former holding that post, along with the parallel post in the Committee of Imperial Defence, until 1938. It was undoubtedly through Hankey and the Milner Group that Swinton became Chichele Professor of Military History and a Fellow of All Souls in 1925. As for Hankey himself, he became one of the more significant figures in the Milner Group, close to the inner circle and one of the most important (although relatively little-known) figures in British history of recent times. He was clerk of the Privy Council in 1923-1938; he was secretary to the British delegation at the Peace Conference of 1919, at the Washington Conference of 1921, at the Genoa Conference of 1922, and at the London Reparations Conference of 1924. He was secretary general of the Hague Conference of 1929-1930, of the London Naval Conference of 1930, and of the Lausanne Conference of 1932. He was secretary general of the British Imperial Conferences of 1921, 1923, 1926, 1930, and 1937. He retired in 1938, but became a member of the Permanent Mandates Commission (succeeding Lord Hailey) in 1939. He was British government director of the Suez Canal Company in 1938-1939, Minister without Portfolio in 1939-1940, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1940-1941, Paymaster General in 1941-1942, chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee and of the Engineering Advisory Committee in 1942-1943. At the present time he is a director of the Suez Canal Company (since 1945), chairman of the Technical Personnel Committee (since 1941), chairman of the Interdepartmental Committee on Further Education and Training and of the Committee on Higher Appointments in the Civil Service (since 1944), and chairman of the Colonial Products Research Committee (since 1942). Hankey, in 1903, married Adeline de Smidt, daughter of a well-known South African political figure. His oldest son, Robert, is now a First Secretary in the diplomatic service, while his daughter, Ursula, has been married since 1929 to John A. Benn, chairman of the board of Benn Brothers, publishers.

Hankey was Lord Esher's chief protege in the Milner Group and in British public life. They were in constant communication with one another, and Esher gave Hankey a constant stream of advice about his conduct in his various official positions. The following scattered examples can be gleaned from the published Journals and Letters of Reginald, Viscount Esher. On 18 February 1919, Esher wrote Hankey, advising him not to accept the position as Secretary General of the League of Nations. On 7 December 1919, he gave him detailed advice on how to conduct himself as secretary to the Conference of Dominion Prime Ministers, telling him to work for "a League of Empire" based on cooperation and not on any "rigid constitutional plan," to try to get an Imperial General Staff, and to use the Defence Committee as such a staff in the meantime. In 1929, when Ramsay MacDonald tried to exclude Hankey from a secret Cabinet meeting, Esher went so far in support of his protege as to write a letter of admonition to the Prime Minister. This letter, dated 21 July 1929, said: "What is this I see quoted from a London paper that you are excluding your Secretary from Cabinet meetings? It probably is untrue, for you are the last person in the world to take a retrograde step toward 'secrecy' whether in diplomacy or government. The evolution of our Cabinet system from 'Cabal' has been slow but sure. When the Secretary to the Cabinet became an established factor in conducting business, almost the last traces of Mumbo Jumbo, cherished from the days when Bolingbroke was a danger to public peace, disappeared."

Hankey was succeeded as secretary of the Cabinet in 1938 by Edward E. Bridges, who has been close to the Milner Group since he became a Fellow of All Souls in 1920. Bridges, son of the late Poet Laureate Robert Bridges, had the advantages of a good education at Eton and Magdalen. He was a Treasury civil servant from 1919, was knighted in 1939, and since 1945 has combined with his Cabinet position the exalted post of Permanent Secretary of the Treasury and head of His Majesty's Civil Service.

The Imperial Conference of 1911 has little concern with our story, although Asquith's opening speech could have been written in the office of The Round Table. Indeed, it is quoted with approval by Lionel Curtis in his The Problem of the Commonwealth, published five years later. Asquith pointed out that the Empire rested on three foundations: (a) the reign of law, in Dicey's sense, (b) local autonomy, and (c) trusteeship of the interests and fortunes of fellow subjects who have not yet attained "to the full stature of self-government." He then pointed out the two principles of centralization and disintegration which had applied to the Empire in the early Victorian period, and declared: "Neither of these theories commands the faintest support today, either at home or in any part of our self-governing Empire.... Whether in this United Kingdom or in any one of the great communities which you represent, we each of us are, and we each of us intend to remain, master in our own household. This is, here at home and throughout the Dominions, the lifeblood of our polity." Thus spoke Asquith, and even the ultra-federalist Curtis approved. He also approved when Asquith squelched Sir John Ward's suggestion for the creation of an Imperial Council, although doubtless from quite a different motivation.

At the Conference of 1911, as is well known, the overseas members were for the first time initiated into the mysteries of high policy, because of the menace of Germany. Except for this, which paid high dividends in 1914, the Conference was largely wasted motion.

The Conference of 1915 was not held, because of the war, but as soon as Milner came into the government in December 1915, The Round Table's argument that the war should be used as a means for consolidating the Empire, rather than as an excuse for postponing consolidation, began to take effect. The Round Table during 1915 was agitating for an immediate Imperial Conference with Indian participation for the first time. As soon as Milner joined the Cabinet in December 1915, he sent out cables to the Dominions and to India, inviting them to come. It was Milner also who created the Imperial War Cabinet by adding Dominion members to the British War Cabinet. These developments were foretold and approved by The Round Table. In its June 1917 issue it said, in the course of a long article on "New Developments in the Constitution of the Empire":

"At a date which cannot be far distant an Imperial Conference will assemble, the purpose of which will be to consider what further steps can be taken to transform the Empire of a State in which the main responsibilities and burdens of its common affairs are sustained and controlled by the United Kingdom into a commonwealth of equal nations conducting its foreign policy and common affairs by some method of continuous consultation and concerted action.... The decision today is against any federated reconstruction after the war.... It is evident, however, that the institution through which the improved Imperial system will chiefly work will be the newly constituted Imperial Cabinet. The Imperial Cabinet will be different in some important respects from the Imperial Conference. It will meet annually instead of once in four years. It will be concerned more particularly with foreign policy, which the Imperial Conference has never yet discussed.... Its proceedings will consequently be secret.... It will also consist of the most important British Ministers sitting in conclave with the Overseas Ministers instead of the Secretary of State for the Colonies alone as has been usually the case hitherto."


As is well known, the Imperial War Cabinet met fourteen times in 1917, met again in 1918, and assembled at Paris in 1918-1919 as the British Empire delegation to the Peace Conference. Parallel with it, the Imperial War Conference met in London in 1917, under the Colonial Secretary, to discuss non-war problems. At the meetings of the former body it was decided to hold annual meetings in the future and to invite the Dominions to establish resident ministers in London to insure constant consultation. At a meeting in 1917 was drawn up the famous Imperial Resolution, which excluded federation as a solution of the imperial problem and recognized the complete equality of the Dominions and the United Kingdom under one King. These developments were not only acceptable to Milner but apparently were largely engineered by him. On 9 July 1919, he issued a formal statement containing the sentences, "The only possibility of a continuance of the British Empire is on a basis of absolute-out-and-out-equal partnership between the United Kingdom and the Dominions. I say that without any kind of reservation whatever."

When Milner died, in May 1925, The Times obituary had this to say about this portion of his life:

"With the special meeting of the War Cabinet attended by the Dominion Prime Ministers which, beginning on March 20, came to be distinguished as the Imperial War Cabinet . . . Milner was more closely concerned than any other British statesman. The conception of the Imperial War Cabinet and the actual proposal to bring the Dominion Premiers into the United Kingdom Cabinet were his. And when, thanks to Mr. Lloyd George's ready acceptance of the proposal, Milner's conception was realized, it proved to be not only a solution of the problem of Imperial Administrative unity in its then transient but most urgent phase, but a permanent and far-reaching advance in the constitutional evolution of the Empire. It met again in 1918, and was continued as the British Empire Delegation in the peace negotiations at Versailles in 1919. Thus, at the moment of its greatest need, the Empire was furnished by Milner with a common Executive. For the Imperial War Cabinet could and did, take executive action, and its decisions bound the Empire at large." (3)


It was also Milner who insisted on and made the arrangements for the Imperial Conference of 1921, acting in his capacity as Colonial Secretary, although he was forced, by reason of poor health, to resign before the conference assembled. It was in this period as Colonial Secretary that Milner, assisted by Amery, set up the plans for the new "dyarchic" constitution for Malta, gave Egypt its full freedom, set Curtis to work on the Irish problem, and gave Canada permission to establish its own legation in the United States — the latter post filled only in 1926, and then by the son-in-law of Milner's closest collaborator in the Rhodes Trust.

The Imperial Conferences of 1921 and 1923 were largely in the control of the Cecil Bloc, at least so far as the United Kingdom delegation was concerned. Three of the five members of this delegation in 1921 were from this Bloc (Balfour, Curzon, and Austen Chamberlain), the other two being Lloyd George and Winston Churchill. Of the members of the other five delegations, only Smuts, from South Africa, is of significance to us. On the secretarial staff for the United Kingdom delegation, we might point out the presence of Hankey and Grigg.

In the Imperial Conference of 1923 we find a similar situation. Three of the four delegates from the United Kingdom were of the Cecil Bloc (Lord Salisbury, Curzon, and the Duke of Devonshire), the other being Prime Minister Baldwin. Smuts again led the South African delegation. The secretarial staff was headed by Hankey, while the separate Indian secretarial group was led by L. F. Rushbrook Williams. The latter, whom we have already mentioned, had been associated with the Milner Group since he was elected a Fellow of All Souls in 1914, had done special work in preparation of the Government of India Act of 1919, and worked under Marris in applying that act after it became law. His later career carried him to various parts of the Milner Group's extensive system, as can be seen from the fact that he was a delegate to the Assembly of the League of Nations in 1925, Foreign Minister of Patiala State in 1925-1931, a member of the Indian Round Table Conference in 1920-1932, a significant figure in the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Ministry of Information in delegation. There is nothing to indicate that Mr. Latham (later Sir John) was a member of the Milner Group, but in later years his son, Richard, clearly was. Sir John had apparently made his first contact with the Milner Group in 1919, when he, a Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne, was a member of the staff of the Australian delegation to the Paris Peace Conference and, while there, became an assistant secretary to the British delegation. In 1922, at the age of forty- five, he began a twelve-year term as an Australian M. P. During that brief period he was Attorney General in 1925-1929, Minister of Industry in 1928-1929, Leader of the Opposition in 1929-1931, Deputy Leader of the Majority in 1931-1932, and Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney General, and Minister for Industry in 1932-1934. In addition, he was British secretary to the Allied Commission on Czechoslovak Affairs in 1919, first president of the League of Nations Union, Australian delegate to the League of Nations in 1926 and 1932, Australian representative to the World Disarmament Conference in 1932, Chancellor of the University of Melbourne in 1939-1941; Australian Minister of Japan in 1940-1941, and vice-president of the period 1932-1944, and is now a member of the editorial staff of The Times.

At these two conferences, various members of the Cecil Bloc and Milner Group were called in for consultation on matters within their competence. Of these persons, we might mention the names of H. A. L. Fisher, Sir Eyre Crowe, Sir Cecil Hurst, Robert Cecil, Leopold Amery, Samuel Hoare, and Sir Fabian Ware (of the Kindergarten).

The Imperial Conference of 1926 is generally recognized as one of the most important of the postwar period. The Cecil Bloc and Milner Group again had three out of five members of the United Kingdom delegation (Balfour, Austen Chamberlain, and Leopold Amery), with Baldwin and Churchill the other two. Hankey was, as usual, secretary of the conference. Of the other seven delegations, nothing is germane to our investigation except that Vincent Massey was an adviser to the Canadian, and John Greig Latham was a member of the Australian, Australian Red Cross in 1944. Since 1934, he has been Chief Justice of Australia. In this brilliant, if belated, career, Sir John came into contact with the Milner Group, and this undoubtedly assisted his son, Richard, in his more precocious career. Richard Latham was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford until 1933 and a Fellow of All Souls from 1935. He wrote the supplementary legal chapter in W. K. Hancock's Survey of British Commonwealth Affairs and was one of the chief advisers of K. C. Wheare in his famous book, The Statute of Westminister and Dominion Status (1938). Unfortunately, Richard Latham died a few years later while still in his middle thirties. It is clear from Professor Wheare's book that Sir John Latham, although a member of the opposition at the time, was one of the chief figures in Australia's acceptance of the Statute of Westminster.

The new status of the Dominions, as enunciated in the Report of the conference and later known as the "Balfour Declaration," was accepted by the Milner Group both in The Round Table and in The Times. In the latter, on 22 November 1926, readers were informed that the"Declaration" merely described the Empire as it was, with nothing really new except the removal of a few anachronisms. It concluded: "In all its various clauses there is hardly a statement or a definition which does not coincide with familiar practice."

The Imperial Conference of 1930 was conducted by a Labour government and had no members of the Cecil Bloc or Milner Group among its chief delegates. Sir Maurice Hankey, however, was secretary of the conference, and among its chief advisers were Maurice Gwyer and H. D. Henderson. Both of these were members of All Souls and probably close to the Milner Group.

The Imperial Conference of 1937 was held during the period in which the Milner Group was at the peak of its power. Of the eight members of the United Kingdom delegation, five were from the Milner Group (Lord Halifax, Sir John Simon, Malcolm MacDonald, W. G. A. Ormsby-Gore, and Sir Samuel Hoare). The others were Baldwin, Neville Chamberlain, and J. Ramsay MacDonald. In addition, the chief of the Indian delegation was the Marquess of Zetland of the Cecil Bloc. Sir Maurice Hankey was secretary of the conference, and among the advisers were Sir Donald Somervell (of All Souls and the Milner Group), Vincent Massey, Sir Fabian Ware, and the Marquess of Harrington.

In addition to the Imperial Conferences, where the influence of the Milner Group was probably more extensive than appears from the membership of the delegations, the Group was influential in the administration of the Commonwealth, especially in the two periods of its greatest power, from 1924 to 1929 and from 1935 to 1939. An indication of this can be seen in the fact that the office of Colonial Secretary was held by the Group for seven out of ten years from 1919 to 1929 and for five out of nine years from 1931 to 1940, while the office of Dominion Secretary was held by a member of the Group for eight out of the fourteen years from its creation in 1925 to the outbreak of the war in 1939 (although the Labour Party was in power for two of those years). The Colonial Secretaries to whom we have reference were:

Lord Milner, 1919-1921
Leopold Amery, 1924-1929
Malcolm MacDonald, 1935
W. G. A. Ormsby-Gore, 1936-1938
Malcolm MacDonald, 1938-1940


The Dominion Secretaries to whom we have reference were:

Leopold Amery, 1925-1929
Malcolm MacDonald, 1935-1938, 1938-1939


The lesser positions within the Colonial Office were not remote from the Milner Group. The Permanent Under Secretary was Sir George Fiddes of the Kindergarten in 1916-1921. In addition, James Masterton-Smith, who had been Balfour's private secretary previously, was Permanent Under Secretary in succession to Fiddes in 1921-1925, and John Maffey, who had been Lord Chelmsford's secretary while the latter was Viceroy in 1916-1921, was Permanent Under Secretary from 1933 to 1937. The position of Parliamentary Under Secretary, which had been held by Lord Selborne in 1895-1900 and by Sir Arthur Steel-Maitland in 1915-1917, was held by Amery in 1919-1921, by Edward Wood (Lord Halifax) in 1921-1922, by Ormsby-Gore in 1922-1924, 1924-1929, and by Lord Dufferin (brother of Lord Blackwood of the Kindergarten) from 1937 to 1940.

Most of these persons (probably all except Masterton-Smith, Maffey, and Lord Dufferin) were members of the Milner Group. The most important, of course, was Leopold Amery, whom we have already shown as Milner's chief political protege. We have not yet indicated that Malcolm MacDonald was a member of the Milner Group, and must be satisfied at this point with saying that he was a member, or at least an instrument, of the Group, from 1931 or 1932 onward, without ever becoming a member of the inner circle. The evidence indicating this relationship will be discussed later.

At this point we should say a few words about W. G. A. Ormsby-Gore (Lord Harlech since 1938), who was a member of the Cecil Bloc by marriage and of the Milner Group by adoption. A graduate of Eton in 1930, he went to New College as a contemporary of Philip Kerr and Reginald Coupland. He took his degree in 1908 and was made a Fellow of New College in 1936. A Conservative member of Parliament from 1910 until he went to the Upper House in 1938, he spent the early years of the First World War in military intelligence, chiefly in Egypt. In 1913 he married Lady Beatrice Cecil, daughter of the fourth Marquess of Salisbury, and four years later became Parliamentary Private Secretary to Lord Milner as well as assistant secretary to the War Cabinet (associated in the latter post with Hankey, Kerr, W. G. S. Adams, and Amery of the Milner Group). Ormsby-Gore went on a mission to Palestine in 1918 and was with the British delegation at the Paris Peace Conference as an expert on the Middle East. He was Under Secretary for the Colonies with the Duke of Devonshire in 1922-1924 and with Leopold Amery in 1924-1929, becoming Colonial Secretary in his own right in 1936-1938. In the interval he was Postmaster General in 1931 and First Commissioner of Works in 1931-1936. He was a member of the Permanent Mandates Commission (1921-1923) and of the Colonial Office Mission to the British West Indies (1921-1922), and was Chairman of the East African Parliamentary Commission in 1924. He was High Commissioner of South Africa and the three native protectorates in 1941-1944. He has been a director of the Midland Bank and of the Standard Bank of South Africa. He was also one of the founders of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, a member of Lord Lothian's committee on the African Survey, and a member of the council of the Institute.

The Milner Group also influenced Commonwealth affairs by publicity work of great quantity and good quality. This was done through the various periodicals controlled by the Group, such as The Round Table, The Times, International Affairs and others; by books published by the Royal Institute of International Affairs and individual members of the Group; by academic and university activities by men like Professor Coupland, Professor Zimmern, Professor Harlow, and others; by public and private discussion meetings sponsored by the Round Table Groups throughout the Commonwealth, by the Institute of International Affairs everywhere, by the Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR), by the Council on Foreign Relations, by the Williamstown Institute of Politics, by the Rhodes Scholarship group; and through the three unofficial conferences on British Commonwealth relations held by the Group since 1933. Some of these organizations and activities have already been mentioned. The last will be discussed here. The rest are to be described in Chapter 10.

The three unofficial conferences on British Commonwealth relations were held at Toronto in 1933, at Sydney in 1938, and at London in 1945. They were initiated and controlled by the Milner Group, acting through the various Institutes of International Affairs, in the hope that they would contribute to the closer union of the Commonwealth by inclining the opinion of prominent persons in the Dominions in that direction. The plan was originated by the British Empire members of the Institute of Pacific Relations at the Kyoto meeting in 1929. The members from Great Britain consisted of Lord Robert Cecil, Sir Herbert Samuel, Sir Donald Somervell, Sir John Power, P. J. Noel-Baker, G. M. Gathorne-Hardy, H. V. Hodson, H. W. Kerr, A. J. Toynbee, J. W. Wheeler-Bennett, and A. E. Zimmern. Of these, two were from the Cecil Bloc and five from the Milner Group. Discussion was continued at the Shanghai meeting of the Institute of Pacific Relations in 1931, and a committee under Robert Cecil drew up an agenda for the unofficial conference. This committee made the final arrangements at a meeting in Chatham House in July 1932 and published as a preliminary work a volume called Consultation and Cooperation in the British Commonwealth.

The conference was held at the University of Toronto, 11-21 September 1933, with forty-three delegates and thirty-three secretaries, the traveling expenses being covered by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation. The United Kingdom delegation consisted of the eleven names mentioned above plus R. C. M. Arnold as private secretary to Lord Cecil and J. P. Maclay (the famous shipbuilder) as private secretary to Sir Herbert Samuel. The Australian delegation of six included Professor A. H. Charteris, Professor Ernest Scott, A. Smithies (a Rhodes Scholar of 1929), Alfred Stirling (an Oxford B.A.), W. J. V. Windeyer, and Richard Latham (a Rhodes Scholar of 1933). The Canadian delegation consisted of N. W. Rowell, Sir Robert Borden, Louis Cote, John W. Dafoe, Sir Robert Falconer, Sir Joseph Flavelle, W. Sanford Evans, Vincent Massey, Rene L. Morin, J. S. Woodsworth, W. M. Birks, Charles J. Burchell, Brooke Claxton, Percy E. Corbett, W. P. M. Kennedy, J. J. MacDonnell (Rhodes Trustee for Canada), and E. J. Tarr. The secretary to the delegation was George Parkin Glazebrook (Balliol 1924). Most of these names are significant, but we need only point out that at least four of them, including the secretary were members of the Milner Group (Massey, Corbett, Flavelle, Glazebrook). The New Zealand delegation had three members, one of which was W. Downie Stewart, and the South African delegation had five members, including F. S. Malan and Professor Eric A. Walker. The secretariat to the whole conference was headed by I. S. Macadam of the Royal Institute of International Affairs. The secretary to the United Kingdom delegation was H. V. Hodson. Thus it would appear that the Milner Group had eight out of forty- three delegates, as well as the secretaries to the Canadian and United Kingdom delegations.

The conference was divided into four commissions, each of which had a chairman and a rapporteur. In addition, the first commission (on foreign policy) was subdivided into two subcommittees. The chairmen of the four commissions were Robert Cecil, Vincent Massey, F. S. Malan, and W. Downie Stewart. Thus the Milner Group had two out of four. The rapporteurs (including the two subcommittees) were A. L. Zimmern, H. V. Hodson, P. E. Corbett, E. A. Walker, P. J. Noel-Baker, D. B. Somervell, and A. H. Charteris. Thus the Milner Group had four out of seven and possibly more (as Walker may be a member of the Group).

The discussions at the conference were secret, the press was excluded, and in the published Proceedings, edited by A. J. Toynbee, all remarks were presented in indirect discourse and considerably curtailed, without identification of the speakers. The conference made a number of recommendations, including the following: (1) Dominion High Commissioners in London should be given diplomatic status with direct access to the Foreign Office; (2) junior members of Dominion Foreign Offices should receive a period of training in the Foreign Office in London; (3) diplomatic representatives should be exchanged between Dominions; (4) Commonwealth tribunals should be set up to settle legal disputes between Dominions; (5) collective security and the League of Nations should be supported; (6) cooperation with the United States was advocated.

The second unofficial conference on British Commonwealth relations was held near Sydney, Australia, 3-17 September 1938. The expenses were met by grants from the Carnegie Corporation and the Rhodes Trustees. The decision to hold the second conference was made by the British members at the Yosemite meeting of the Institute of Pacific Relations in 1936. A committee under Viscount Samuel met at Chatham House in June 1937 and drew up the arrangements and the agenda. The selection of delegates was left to the various Institutes of International Affairs. From the United Kingdom went Lord Lothian (chairman), Lionel Curtis, W. K. Hancock, Hugh A. Wyndham, A. L. Zimmern, Norman Bentwich, Ernest Bevin, V. A. Cazalet, A. M. Fraser, Sir John Burnett-Stuart, Miss Grace Hadow, Sir Howard Kelly, Sir Frederick Minter, Sir John Pratt, and James Walker. At least five out of fifteen, including the chairman, were of the Milner Group. From Australia came thirty-one members, including T. R. Bavin (chairman of the delegation), K. H. Bailey (a Rhodes Scholar), and A. H. Charteris. From Canada came fifteen, including E. J. Tarr (chairman of the delegation) and P. E. Corbett. From India came four Indians. From Ireland came five persons. From New Zealand came fourteen, with W. Downie Stewart as chairman. From South Africa came six, including P. Van der Byl (chairman) and G. R. Hofmeyr (an old associate of the Milner Kindergarten in the Transvaal).

Of ninety delegates, nine were members of the Milner Group and three others may have been. This is a small proportion, but the conduct of the conference was well controlled. The chairmen of the three most important delegations were of the Milner Group (Eggleston, Downie Stewart, and Lothian); the chairman of the conference itself (Bavin) was. The secretary of the conference was Macadam, the recorder was Hodson, and the secretary to the press committee was Lionel Vincent Massey (grandson of George Parkin). The Proceedings of the conference were edited by Hodson, with an Introduction by Bavin, and published by the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Again, no indication was given of who said what.
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The third unofficial conference on British Commonwealth relations was similar to the others, although the war emergency restricted its membership to persons who were already in London. As background material it prepared sixty-two books and papers, of which many are now published. Among these was World War; Its Cause and Cure by Lionel Curtis. The committee on arrangements and agenda, with Lord Astor as chairman, met in New York in January 1944. The delegations outside the United Kingdom were made up of persons doing war duty in London, with a liberal mixture of Dominion Rhodes Scholars. The chairmen of the various delegations included Professor K. H. Bailey from Australia, E. J. Tarr from Canada, Sir Sardar E. Singh from India, W. P. Morrell (whom we have already seen as a Beit Lecturer, a Rhodes Scholar, and a co- editor with the Reverend K. N. Bell of All Souls), Professor S. H. Frankel from South Africa, and Lord Hailey from the United Kingdom. There were also observers from Burma and Southern Rhodesia. Of the fifty-three delegates, sixteen were from the United Kingdom. Among these were Lord Hailey, Lionel Curtis, V. T. Harlow, Sir Frederick Whyte, A. G. B. Fisher, John Coatman, Miss Kathleen Courtney, Viscount Hinchingbrooke, A. Creech Jones, Sir Walter Layton, Sir Henry Price, Miss Heather Harvey, and others. Of the total of fifty-three members, no more than five or six were of the Milner Croup. The opening speech to the conference was made by Lord Robert Cecil, and the Proceedings were published in the usual form under the editorship of Robert Frost, research secretary of the Royal Institute of International Affairs and author of the imperial sections of The History of the Times.

In all the various activities of the Milner Group in respect to Commonwealth affairs, it is possible to discern a dualistic attitude. This attitude reveals a wholehearted public acceptance of the existing constitutional and political relationships of Great Britain and the Dominions, combined with an intense secret yearning for some form of closer union. The realization that closer union was not politically feasible in a democratic age in which the majority of persons, especially in the Dominions, rejected any effort to bind the various parts of the Empire together explains this dualism. The members of the Group, as The Round Table pointed out in 1919, were not convinced of the effectiveness or workability of any program of Dominion relations based solely on cooperation without any institutional basis, but publicly, and in the next breath, the Group wholeheartedly embraced all the developments that destroyed one by one the legal and institutional links which bound the Dominions to the mother country. In one special field after another — in defense, economic cooperation, raw materials conservation, war graves, intellectual cooperation, health measures, etc., etc. — the Group eagerly welcomed efforts to create new institutional links between the self-governing portions of the Commonwealth. But all the time the Group recognized that these innovations were unable to satisfy the yearning that burned in the Group's collective heart. Only as the Second World War began to enter its second, and more hopeful, half, did the Group begin once again to raise its voice with suggestions for some more permanent organization of the constitutional side of Commonwealth relations. All of these suggestions were offered in a timid and tentative fashion, more or less publicly labeled as trial balloons and usually prefaced by an engaging statement that the suggestion was the result of the personal and highly imperfect ideas of the speaker himself. "Thinking aloud," as Smuts called it, became epidemic among the members of the Group. These idle thoughts could be, thus, easily repudiated if they fell on infertile or inhospitable ground, and even the individual whence these suggestions emanated could hardly be held responsible for "thinking aloud." All of these suggestions followed a similar pattern: (1) a reflection on the great crisis which the Commonwealth survived in 1940-1942; (2) an indication that this crisis required some reorganization of the Commonwealth in order to avoid its repetition; (3) a passage of high praise for the existing structure of the Commonwealth and an emphatic statement that the independence and autonomy of its various members is close to the speaker's heart and that nothing he suggests must be taken as implying any desire to infringe in the slightest degree on that independence; and (4) the suggestion itself emerges. The logical incompatibility of the four sections of the pattern is never mentioned and if pointed out by some critic would undoubtedly be excused on the grounds that the English are practical rather than logical — an excuse behind which many English, even outside the Milner Group, frequently find refuge.

We shall give three examples of the Milner Group's suggestions for Commonwealth reform in the second half of the recent war. They emanated from General Smuts, Lord Halifax, and Sir Edward Grigg. All of them were convinced that the British Commonwealth would be drastically weaker in the postwar world and would require internal reorganization in order to take its place as a balancing force between the two great powers, the United States and the Soviet Union. Smuts, in an article in the American weekly magazine Life for 28 December 1942, and in a speech before the United Kingdom branch of the Empire Parliamentary Association in London on 25 November 1943, was deliberately vague but hoped to use the close link between the United Kingdom and the dependent colonies as a means of bringing the self-governing Dominions closer to the United Kingdom by combining the Dominions with the colonies in regional blocs. This plan had definite advantages, although it had been rejected as impractical by Lionel Curtis in 1916. If regional blocs could be formed by dividing the British Commonwealth into four or five geographic groupings, with a Dominion in each region closely associated with the colonies in the same region, and if this could be done without weakening the link between the United Kingdom and the colonies, it would serve to strengthen the link between the United Kingdom and the Dominions. This latter goal was frankly admitted by Smuts. He also suggested that a federated Western Europe be included in the United Kingdom regional bloc.

Sir Edward Grigg's suggestion, made in his book The British Commonwealth, appeared also in 1943. It was very similar to Smuts's, even to the use of the same verbal expressions. For example, both spoke of the necessity for ending the "dual Empire," of which one part was following a centralizing course and the other a decentralizing course. This expression was derived from Lord Milner (and was attributed to this source by Sir Edward) and referred to the difference between the dependent and the self-governing portions of the Commonwealth. Sir Edward advocated creation of five regional blocs, with Western Europe, associated by means of a military alliance with the United Kingdom, in one. Without any sacrifice of sovereignty by anyone, he visualized the creation of a regional council ("like a miniature Imperial Conference") and a joint parliamentary assembly in three of these regions. The members of the council would be representatives of legislatures and not of governments; the assembly would consist of select members from the existing national parliaments in proper ratio; and each region would have a permanent secretariat to carry out agreed decisions.
How this elaborate organization could be reconciled with the continuance of unrestricted national sovereignty was not indicated.

Lord Halifax's suggestion, made in a speech before the Toronto Board of Trade on 24 January 1944, was somewhat different, although he clearly had the same goal in view and the same mental picture of existing world conditions. He suggested that Britain could not maintain her position as a great power, in the sense in which the United States and Russia were great powers, on the basis of the strength of the United Kingdom alone. Accordingly, he advocated the creation of some method of coordination of foreign policy and measures of defense by which the Dominions could participate in both and a united front could be offered to other powers.

That these trial balloons of Smuts, Grigg, and Halifax were not their isolated personal reactions but were the results of a turmoil of thought within the Milner Group was evident from the simultaneous suggestions which appeared in The Times editorials during the first week in December 1943 and the issue of The Round Table for the same month. The Winnipeg Free Press, a paper which has frequently shown knowledge of the existence of the Milner Group, in editorials of 26 and 29 January 1944, pointed out this effusion of suggestions for a reconstruction of the Empire and said:

"Added to the record of earlier statements, the Halifax speech affords conclusive evidence that there is a powerful movement on foot in the United Kingdom for a Commonwealth which will speak with a single voice. And it will be noted that Lord Halifax believes that this change in the structure of the Commonwealth will be the first consideration of the next Imperial Conference.... Running through all these speeches and articles is the clear note of fear. The spokesmen are obsessed by the thought of power as being the only force that counts. The world is to be governed by Leviathans.... It is tragic that the sincere and powerful group of public men in England, represented by Lord Halifax and Field Marshal Smuts, should react to the problem of maintaining peace in this way."


These suggestions were met by an uproar of protests that reached unnecessary heights of denunciation, especially in Canada. They were rejected in South Africa, repulsed by Mackenzie King and others in Canada, called "isolationist" by the CCF party, censured unanimously by the Quebec Assembly, and repudiated by Prime Minister Churchill. Except in New Zealand and Australia, where fear of Japan was having a profound effect on public opinion, and in the United Kingdom, where the Milner Group's influence was so extensive, the suggestions received a cold reception. In South Africa only The Cape Times was favorable, and in Canada The Vancouver Province led a small band of supporters. As a result, the Milner Group once again rejected any movement toward closer union. It continued to toy with Grigg's idea of regional blocs within the Commonwealth, but here it found an almost insoluble problem. If a regional bloc were to be created in Africa, the natives of the African colonial areas would be exposed to the untender mercies of the South African Boers, and it would be necessary to repudiate the promises of native welfare which the Group had supported in the Kenya White Paper of 1923, its resistance to Boer influence in the three native protectorates in South Africa, the implications in favor of native welfare in The African Survey of 1938, and the frequent pronouncements of The Round Table on the paramount importance of protecting native rights. Such a repudiation was highly unlikely, and indeed was specifically rejected by Grigg himself in his book. (4)

The Milner Group itself had been one of the chief, if not the chief, forces in Britain intensifying the decentralizing influences in the self-governing portions of the Empire. This influence was most significant in regard to India, Palestine, Ireland, and Egypt, each of which was separated from Great Britain by a process in which the Milner Group was a principal agent. The first of these is so significant that it will be discussed in a separate chapter, but a few words should be said about the other three here.

The Milner Group had relatively little to do with the affairs of Palestine except in the early period (1915-1919), in the later period (the Peel Report of 1937), and in the fact that the British influence on the Permanent Mandates Commission was always exercised through a member of the Group.

The idea of establishing a mandate system for the territories taken from enemy powers as a result of the war undoubtedly arose from the Milner Group's inner circle. It was first suggested by George Louis Beer in a report submitted to the United States Government on 1 January 1918, and by Lionel Curtis in an article called "Windows of Freedom" in The Round Table for December 1918. Beer was a member of the Round Table Group from about 1912 and was, in fact, the first member who was not a British subject. That Beer was a member of the Group was revealed in the obituary published in The Round Table for September 1920. The Group's attention was first attracted to Beer by a series of Anglophile studies on the British Empire in the eighteenth century which he published in the period after 1893. A Germanophobe as well as an Anglophile, he intended by writing, if we are to believe The Round Table, "to counteract the falsehoods about British Colonial policy to be found in the manuals used in American primary schools." When the Round Table Group, about 1911, began to study the causes of the American Revolution, they wrote to Beer, and thus began a close and sympathetic relationship. He wrote the reports on the United States in The Round Table for many years, and his influence is clearly evident in Curtis's The Commonwealth of Nations. He gave a hint of the existence of the Milner Group in an article which he wrote for the Political Science Quarterly of June 1915 on Milner. He said: "He stands forth as the intellectual leader of the most progressive school of imperial thought throughout the Empire." Beer was one of the chief supporters of American intervention in the war against Germany in the period 1914-1917; he was the chief expert on colonial questions on Colonel House's "Inquiry," which was studying plans for the peace settlements; and he was the American expert on colonial questions at the Peace Conference in Paris. The Milner Group was able to have him named head of the Mandate Department of the League of Nations as soon as it was established. He was one of the originators of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London and its American branch, The Council on Foreign Relations. With Lord Eustace Percy, he drew up the plan for the History of the Peace Conference which was carried out by Harold Temperley.

Curtis's suggestion for a mandates system was published in The Round Table after discussions with Kerr and other members of the inner circle. It was read by Smuts before it was printed and was used by the latter as the basis for his memorandum published in December 1918 with the title The League of Nations: A Practical Suggestion. This embodied a constitution for the League of Nations in twenty-one articles. The first nine of these dealt with the question of mandates. The mandates article of the final Covenant of the League (Article 22) was drafted by Smuts and Kerr (according to Temperley) and was introduced by Smuts to the League Commission of the Peace Conference. The mandates themselves were granted under conditions drawn up by Lord Milner. Since it was felt that this should be done on an international basis, the Milner drafts were not accepted at once but were submitted to an international committee of five members meeting in London. On this committee Milner was chairman and sole British member and succeeded in having his drafts accepted. (5)

The execution of the terms of the mandates were under the supervision of a Permanent Mandates Commission of nine members (later ten). The British member of this commission was always of the Milner Group, as can be seen from the following list:

W. G. A. Ormsby-Gore, February 1921-July 1923
LordLugard, July 1923-July 1936
Lord Hailey, September 1936-March 1939
Lord Hankey, May 1939-September 1939 Lord Hailey, September 1939-


The origins and the supervision power of the mandates system were thus largely a result of the activities of the Milner Group. This applied to Palestine as well as the other mandates. Palestine, however, had a peculiar position among mandates because of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which states that Britain would regard with favor the establishment of a national home for the Jews in Palestine. This declaration, which is always known as the Balfour Declaration, should rather be called "the Milner Declaration," since Milner was the actual draftsman and was, apparently, its chief supporter in the War Cabinet. This fact was not made public until 21 July 1937. At that time Ormsby-Gore, speaking for the government in Commons, said, "The draft as originally put up by Lord Balfour was not the final draft approved by the War Cabinet. The particular draft assented to by the War Cabinet and afterwards by the Allied Governments and by the United States . . . and finally embodied in the Mandate, happens to have been drafted by Lord Milner. The actual final draft had to be issued in the name of the Foreign Secretary, but the actual draftsman was Lord Milner." Milner had referred to this fact in a typically indirect and modest fashion in the House of Lords on 27 June 1923, when he said, "I was a party to the Balfour Declaration." In the War Cabinet, at the time, he received strong support from General Smuts.

Once the mandate was set up, also in terms drafted by Milner, the Milner Group took little actual part in the administration of Palestine. None of the various high commissioners was a member of the Group, and none of the various commissions concerned with this problem possessed a member from the Group until the Peel Commission of 1936. Reginald Coupland was one of the six members of the Peel Commission and, according to unofficial information, was the chief author of its report. In spite of this lack of direct contact with the subject, the Milner Group exercised a certain amount of influence in regard to Palestine because of its general power in the councils of the Conservative Party and because Palestine was administered through the Colonial Office, where the Milner Group's influence was considerable.

The general attitude of the Milner Group was neither pro-Arab nor pro-Zionist, although tending, if at all, toward the latter rather than the former. The Group were never anti-Semitic, and not a shred of evidence in this direction has been found. In fact, they were very sympathetic to the Jews and to their legitimate aspirations to overcome their fate, but this feeling, it must be confessed, was rather general and remote, and they did not, in their personal lives, have much real contact with Jews or any real appreciation of the finer qualities of those people. Their feeling against anti-Semitism was, on the whole, remote and academic. On the other hand, as with most upper-class English, their feeling for the Arabs was somewhat more personal. Many members of the Group had been in Arab countries, found their personal relationships with the Arabs enjoyable, and were attracted to them. However, this attraction of the Arabs never inclined the Milner Group toward that pro-Arab romanticism that was to be found in people like W. S. Blunt or T. E. Lawrence. The reluctance of the Milner Group to push the Zionist cause in Palestine was based on more academic considerations, chiefly two in number: (1) the feeling that it would not be fair to allow the bustling minority of Zionists to come into Palestine and drive the Arabs either out or into an inferior economic and social position; and (2) the feeling that to do this would have the effect of alienating the Arabs from Western, and especially British, culture, and that this would be especially likely to occur if the Jews obtained control of the Mediterranean coast from Egypt to Syria. Strangely enough, there is little evidence that the Milner Group was activated by strategic or economic considerations at all. Thus the widely disseminated charges that Britain failed to support Zionism in Palestine because of anti-Semitism or strategic and economic considerations is not supported by any evidence found within the Milner Group. This may be true of other sections of British public opinion, and certainly is true of the British Labour Party, where the existence of anti-Semitism as an influence seems clearly established.

In Palestine, as in India and probably in Ireland, the policy of the Milner Group seems to have been motivated by good intentions which alienated the contending parties, encouraged extremism, and weakened British influence with both. In the long run, this policy was pro- Arab, just as in India it was pro-Moslem, and in both cases it served to encourage an uncompromising obstructionism which could have been avoided if Britain had merely applied the principles to which she stood committed.

The attitude of the Milner Group toward the Arabs and Jews can be seen from some quotations from members of the Group. At the Peace Conference of 1919, discussing the relative merits of the Jews and Arabs, Smuts said: "They haven't the Arabs' attractive manners. They do not warm the heart by graceful subjection. They make demands. They are a bitter, recalcitrant little people, and, like the Boers, impatient of leadership and ruinously quarrelsome among themselves. They see God in the shape of an Oriental potentate." A few years later, John Dove, in a letter to Brand, asked himself why there was so much pro-Arab feeling among the British, especially "the public school caste," and attributed it to the Arabs' good manners, derived from desert life, and their love for sports, especially riding and shooting, both close to the heart of the public-school boy. A little later, in another letter, also written from Palestine, Dove declared that the whole Arab world should be in one state and it must have Syria and Palestine for its front door, not be like South Africa, with Delagoa Bay in other hands. The Arab world, he explained, needs this western door because we are trying to westernize the Arabs, and without it they would be driven to the east and to India, which they hate. He concluded:

"If the Arab belongs to the Mediterranean, as T. E. Lawrence insists, we should do nothing to stop him getting back to it. Why our own nostrum for the ills of mankind everywhere is Western Civilization, and, if it is a sound one, what would be the good of forcing a people who want direct contact with us to slink in and out of their country by a back door which, like the Persian Gulf, opens only on the East? It would certainly check development, if it did not actually warp it. I suggest then that partition should not be permanent, but this does not mean that a stage of friendly tutelage is necessarily a bad thing for the Arabs. On the contrary, advanced peoples can give so much to stimulate backward ones if they do it with judgment and sympathy. Above all, it must not be the kind of help which kills individuality.... Personally, I don't see the slightest harm in Jews coming to Palestine under reasonable conditions. They are the Arabs' cousins as much as the Phoenicians, and if Zionism brings capital and labour which will enable industries to start, it will add to the strength of the larger unit which some day is going to include Palestine. But they must be content to be part of such a potential unit. They need have no fear of absorption, for they have everything to gain from an Arab Federation. It would mean a far larger field for their activities."


The attitude of the Milner Group toward the specific problem of Zionism was expressed in explicit terms by Lord Milner himself in a speech in the House of Lords on 27 June 1923. After expressing his wholehearted agreement with the policy of the British government as revealed in its actions and in its statements, like the Balfour Declaration and the White Paper of 1922 (Cmd. 1700), he added:

"I am not speaking of the policy which is advocated by the extreme Zionists, which is a totally different thing.... I believe that we have only to go on steadily with the policy of the Balfour Declaration as we have ourselves interpreted it in order to see great material progress in Palestine and a gradual subsistence of the present [Arab] agitation, the force of which it would be foolish to deny, but which I believe to be largely due to artificial stimulus and, to a very great extent, to be excited from without. The symptoms of any real and general dissatisfaction among the mass of the Arab population with the conditions under which they live, I think it would be very difficult to discover.... There is plenty of room in that country for a considerable immigrant population without injuring in any way the resident Arab population, and, indeed, in many ways it would tend to their extreme benefit.... There are about 700,000 people in Palestine, and there is room for several millions.... I am and always have been a strong supporter of the pro- Arab policy which was first advocated in this country in the course of the war. I believe in the independence of the Arab countries, which they owe to us and which they can only maintain with our help. I look forward to an Arab Federation.... I am convinced that the Arab will make a great mistake ... in claiming Palestine as a part of the Arab Federation in the same sense as are the other countries of the Near East which are mainly inhabited by Arabs."


He then went on to say that he felt that Palestine would require a permanent mandate and under that condition could become a National Home for the Jews, could take as many Jewish immigrants as the country could economically support, but "must never become a Jewish state."

This was the point of view of the Milner Group, and it remained the point of view of the British government until 1939. Like the Milner Group's point of view on other issues, it was essentially fair, compromising, and well-intentioned. It broke down in Palestine because of the obstructionism of the Arabs; the intention of the Zionists to have political control of their National Home, if they got one; the pressure on both Jews and Arabs from the world depression after 1929; and the need for a refuge from Hitler for European Jews after 1933. The Milner Group did not approve of the efforts of the Labour government in 1929-1931 to curtail Zionist rights in Palestine. They protested vigorously against the famous White Paper of 1930 (Cmd. 3692), which was regarded as anti- Zionist. Baldwin, Austen Chamberlain, and Leopold Amery protested against the document in a letter to The Times on 30 October 1930. Smuts sent a telegram of protest to the Prime Minister, and Sir John Simon declared it a violation of the mandate in a letter to The Times. Seven years later, the report of the Peel Commission said that the White Paper "betrayed a marked insensitiveness to Jewish feelings." As a result of this pressure, Ramsay MacDonald wrote a letter to Dr. Weizmann, interpreting the document in a more moderate fashion.

As might be expected, in view of the position of Reginald Coupland on the Peel Commission, the report of that Commission met with a most enthusiastic reception from the Milner Group. This report was a scholarly study of conditions in Palestine, of a type usually found in any document with which the Milner Group had direct contact. For the first time in any government document, the aspirations of Jews and Arabs in Palestine were declared to be irreconcilable and the existing mandate unworkable. Accordingly, the report recommended the partition of Palestine into a Jewish state, an Arab state, and a neutral enclave containing the Holy Places. This suggestion was accepted by the British government in a White Paper (Cmd. 5513) issued through Ormsby-Gore. He also defended it before the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations. In the House of Lords it was defended by Lord Lugard, but recently retired as the British member of the Permanent Mandates Commission. It was also supported by Lord Dufferin and Archbishop Lang. In the House of Commons the motion to approve the government's policy as outlined in the White Paper Cmd. 5513 was introduced by Ormsby-Gore. The first speech in support of the motion, which was passed without a division, was from Leopold Amery.

Amery's speech in support of this motion is extremely interesting and is actually an evolution, under the pressure of hard facts, from the point of view described by Lord Milner in 1923. Amery said: "However much we may regret it, we have lost the situation in Palestine, as we lost it in Ireland, through a lack of wholehearted faith in ourselves and through the constitutional inability of the individual Briton, and indeed of the country as a whole, not to see the other fellow's point of view and to be influenced by it, even to the detriment of any consistent policy." According to Amery, the idea of partition occurred to the Peel Commission only after it had left Palestine and the report was already written. Thus the commission was unable to hear any direct evidence on this question or make any examination of how partition should be carried out in detail. He said:

"Of the 396 pages of the Report almost the whole of the first 368 pages, including the whole of chapters 7 to 19, represent an earlier Report of an entirely different character. That earlier Report envisaged the continuation of the Mandate in its present form.... Throughout all these chapters to which I have referred, the whole text of the chapters deals with the assumption that the Mandate is continued, but here and there, at the end of some chapter, there is tacked on in a quite obviously added last paragraph, something to this effect: "All the rest of the chapter before is something that might have been considered if, as a matter of fact, we were not going to pursue an entirely different policy." These last paragraphs were obviously added by the Secretary, or whoever helped draft the Report, after the main great conclusion was reached at a very late stage."


Since the Milner Group supported partition in Palestine, as they had earlier in Ireland and as they did later in India, it is not too much to believe that Coupland added the additional paragraphs after the commission had returned to England and he had had an opportunity to discuss the matter with other members of the inner circle. In fact, Amery's remarks were probably based on knowledge rather than internal textual evidence and were aimed to get the motion accepted, with the understanding that it approved no more than the principle of partition, with the details to be examined by another commission later. This, in fact, is what was done.

Amery's speech is also interesting for its friendly reference to the Jews. He said that in the past the Arabs had obtained 100 percent of what they were promised, while the Jews had received "a raw deal," in spite of the fact that the Jews had a much greater need of the country and would make the best use of the land.

To carry out the policy of partition, the government appointed a new royal commission of four members in March 1938. Known as the Woodhead Commission, this body had no members of either the Milner Group or the Cecil Bloc on it, and its report (Cmd. 5854) rejected partition as impractical on the grounds that any acceptable method of partition into two states would give a Jewish state with an annual financial surplus and an Arab state with an annual financial deficit. This conclusion was accepted by the government in another White Paper (Cmd. 5893 of 1938). As an alternative, the government called a Round Table Conference of Jews and Arabs from Palestine along with representatives of the Arab states outside of Palestine. During all this, the Arabs had been growing increasingly violent; they refused to accept the Peel Report; they boycotted the Woodhead Commission; and they finally broke into open civil war. In such conditions, nothing was accomplished at the Round Table meetings at London in February-March 1939. The Arab delegation included leaders who had to be released from prison in order to come and who refused to sit in the same conference with the Jews. Compromise proposals presented by the government were rejected by both sides.

After the conference broke up, the government issued a new statement of policy (Cmd. 6019 of May 1939). It was a drastic reversal of previous statements and was obviously a turn in favor of the Arabs. It fixed Jewish immigration into Palestine at 75,000 for the whole of the next five years (including illegal immigration) and gave the Arabs a veto on any Jewish immigration after the five-year period was finished. As a matter of principle, it shifted the basis for Jewish immigration from the older criterion of the economic absorptive capacity of Palestine to the political absorptive capacity. This was really an invitation to the Arabs to intensify their agitation and constituted a vital blow at the Jews, since it was generally conceded that Jewish immigration increased the economic absorptive capacity for both Jews and Arabs.

The Milner Group were divided on this concrete policy. In general, they continued to believe that the proper solution to the Zionist problem could be found in a partitioned Palestine within a federation of Arab states. The Round Table offered this as its program in March 1939 and repeated it in June of the same year. But on the issue of an immediate and concrete policy, the Group was split. It is highly unlikely that this split originated with the issue of Zionism. It was, rather, a reflection of the more fundamental split within the Group, between those, like Amery and Salter, who abandoned the appeasement policy in March 1939 and those, like the Astors and Lothian, who continued to pursue it in a modified form.

The change in the policy of the government resulted in a full debate in the House of Commons. This debate, and the resulting division, revealed the split within the Milner Group. The policy of the White Paper was denounced by Amery as a betrayal of the Jews and of the mandate, as the final step in a scaling down of Jewish hopes that began in 1922, as a yielding of principle to Arab terrorists, as invalid without the approval of the League of Nations, and as unworkable because the Jews would and could resist it. The speeches for the government from Malcolm MacDonald and R. A. Butler were weak and vague. In the division, the government won approval of the White Paper by 268 to 179, with Major Astor, Nancy Astor, Hoare, Simon, Malcolm MacDonald, and Sir Donald Somervell in the majority and Amery, Noel-Baker, and Arthur Salter in the minority. On the same day, a similar motion in the House of Lords was approved without a division.

The government at once began to put the White Paper policy into effect, without waiting for the approval of the Permanent Mandates Commission. In July 1939 rumors began to circulate that this body had disapproved of the policy, and questions were asked in the House of Commons, but MacDonald evaded the issue, refused to give information which he possessed, and announced that the government would take the issue to the Council of the League. As the Council meeting was canceled by the outbreak of war, this could not be done, but within a week of the announcement the minutes of the Permanent Mandates Commission were released. They showed that the commission had, by unanimous vote, decided that the policy of the White Paper was contrary to the accepted interpretations of the mandate, and, by a vote of 4-3, that the White Paper was inconsistent with the mandate under any possible interpretation. In this last vote Hankey, at his first session of the commission, voted in the minority.

As a result of the release of this information, a considerable section of the House was disturbed by the government's high-handed actions and by the Colonial Secretary's evasive answers in July 1939. In March 1940, Noel-Baker introduced a motion of censure on this issue. The motion did not go to a division, but Amery once again objected to the new policy and to inviting representatives of the Arab states to the abortive Round Table Conference of 1939. He called the presence of agents of the Mufti at the Round Table "surrender."

By this time the Milner Group was badly shattered on other issues than Palestine. Within two months of this debate, it was reunited on the issue of all-out war against Germany, and Amery had resumed a seat in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for India. The Palestine issue declined in importance and did not revive to any extent until the Labour government of 1945 had taken office. From that time on the members of the Milner Group were united again on the issue, objecting to the Labour government's anti-Jewish policy and generally following the line Amery had laid down in 1939. In fact, it was Amery who did much of the talking in 1946-1949, but this is not strictly part of our story.

In Irish affairs, the Milner Group played a much more decisive role than in Palestine affairs, although only for the brief period from 1917 to 1925. Previous to 1917 and going back to 1887, Irish affairs had been one of the most immediate concerns of the Cecil Bloc. A nephew of Lord Salisbury was Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1887-1891, another nephew held the post in 1895-1900, and the private secretary and protege of the former held the post in 1900-1905. The Cecil Bloc had always been opposed to Home Rule for Ireland, and when, in 1912-1914, the Liberal government took steps to grant Home Rule, Sir Edward Carson took the lead in opposing these steps. Carson was a creation of the Cecil Bloc, a fact admitted by Balfour in 1929, when he told his niece, "I made Carson." Balfour found Carson a simple Dublin barrister in 1887, when he went to Ireland as Chief Secretary. He made Carson one of his chief prosecuting attorneys in 1887, an M.P. for Dublin University in 1892, and Solicitor General in his own government in 1900-1906. When the Home Rule Bill of 1914 was about to pass, Carson organized a private army, known as the Ulster Volunteers, armed them with guns smuggled in from Germany, and formed a plot to seize control of Belfast at a given signal from him. This signal, in the form of a code telegram, was written in 1914 and on its way to be dispatched by Carson when he received word from Asquith that war with Germany was inevitable. Accordingly, the revolt was canceled and the date on which the Home Rule Bill was to go into effect was postponed by special act of Parliament until six months after peace should be signed.

The information about the telegram of 1914 was revealed to Lionel Curtis by Carson in a personal conversation after war began. Curtis's attitude was quite different, and he thoroughly disapproved of Carson's plot. This difference is an indication of the difference in point of view in regard to Ireland between the Milner Group and the Cecil Bloc. The latter was willing to oppose Home Rule even to the point where it would condone illegal actions; the former, on the contrary, was in favor of Home Rule because it believed that Ireland would aid Britain's enemies in every crisis and leave the Commonwealth at the first opportunity unless it were given freedom to govern itself.

The Milner Group's attitude toward the Irish question was expressed by The Round Table in a retrospective article in the September 1935 issue in the following words:

"The root principle of The Round Table remained freedom — 'the government of men by themselves" — and it demanded that within the Empire this principle should be persistently pursued and expressed in institutions. For that reason it denounced the post- war attempt to repress the Irish demand for national self-government by ruthless violence after a century of union had failed to win Irish consent, as a policy in conflict with British institutions and inconsistent with the principle of the British Commonwealth; and it played its part in achieving the Irish Treaty and the Dominion settlement."


The part which the Group played in the Irish settlement was considerably more than this brief passage might indicate, but it could not take effect until the group in Britain advocating repression and the group in Ireland advocating separation from the crown had brought each other to some realization of the advantages of compromise.

These advantages were pointed out by the Group, especially by Lionel Curtis, who began a two-year term as editor of The Round Table immediately after his great triumph in the Government of India Act of 1919. In the March 1920 issue, for example, he discussed and approved a project, first announced by Lloyd George in December 1919, to separate northern and southern Ireland and give self-government to both as autonomous parts of Great Britain. This was really nothing but an application of the principle of devolution, whose attractiveness to the Milner Group has already been mentioned.

The Irish Settlement in the period 1920-1923 is very largely a Milner Group achievement. For most of this period Amery's brother-in-law, Hamar Greenwood (Viscount Greenwood since 1937), was Chief Secretary for Ireland. He was, indeed, the last person to hold this office before it was abolished at the end of 1922. Curtis was adviser on Irish affairs to the Colonial Office in 1921-1924, and Smuts and Feetham intervened in the affair at certain points.

A settlement of the Irish problem along lines similar to those advocated by The Round Table was enacted in the Government of Ireland Act of December 1920. Drafted by H. A. L. Fisher and piloted through Commons by him, it passed the critical second reading by a vote of 348-94. In the majority were Amery, Nancy Astor, Austen Chamberlain, H. A. L. Fisher, Hamar Greenwood, Samuel Hoare, G. R. Lane-Fox (brother-in-law of Lord Halifax), and E. F. L. Wood (Lord Halifax). In the minority were Lord Robert Cecil and Lord Wolmer (son of Lord Selborne). In the House of Lords the bill passed by 164-75. In the majority were Lords Curzon, Lytton, Onslow (brother-in-law of Lord Halifax), Goschen, Hampden (brother of Robert Brand), Hardinge, Milner, Desborough, Ernie, Meston, Monson, Phillimore, Riddell, and Wemyss. In the minority were Lords Linlithgow, Beauchamp (father-in-law of Samuel Hoare), Midleton, Bryce, Ampthill (brother-in-law of Samuel Hoare), and Leconfield (brother of Hugh Wyndham).

The act of 1920 never went into effect because the extremists on both sides were not yet satiated with blood. By June 1921 they were. The first movement in this direction, according to W. K. Hancock, "may be said to open as early as October 1920 when The Times published suggestions for a truce and negotiations between plenipotentiaries of both sides." The same authority lists ten voices as being raised in protest at British methods of repression. Three of these were of the Milner Group {The Times, The Round Table, and Sir John Simon). He quotes The Round Table as saying: "If the British Commonwealth can only be preserved by such means, it would become a negation of the principle for which it has stood." (6) Similar arguments were brought to bear on the Irish leaders by Jan Smuts.

Smuts left South Africa for England at the end of May 1921, to attend the Imperial Conference of that year, which was to open on a Monday. He arrived in England the preceding Saturday and went to Oxford to stay with friends of the Milner Group. In the evening he attended a Rhodes dinner, which means he saw more of the Group. The following day, he was called by the King to Windsor Castle and went immediately. The King told Smuts that he was going to make a speech at the opening of the new Ulster Parliament. He asked Smuts to write down suggestions for this speech. Smuts stayed the night at Windsor Castle, drafted a speech, and gave it to the King's private secretary. The sequel can best be told in Smuts's own words as recorded in the second volume of S. G. Millin's biography: "The next day Lloyd George invited me to attend a committee meeting of the Cabinet, to give my opinion of the King's speech. And what should this King's speech turn out to be but a typewritten copy of the draft I had myself written the night before. I found them working on it. Nothing was said about my being the author. They innocently consulted me and I innocently answered them. But imagine the interesting position. Well, they toned the thing down a bit, they made a few minor alterations, but in substance the speech the King delivered next week in Belfast was the one I prepared." (7) Needless to say, this speech was conciliatory.

Shortly afterward, Tom Casement, brother of Sir Roger Casement, who had been executed by the British in 1916, opened negotiations between Smuts and the Irish leaders in Dublin. Tom Casement was an old friend of Smuts, for he had been British Consul at Delagoa Bay in 1914 and served with Smuts in East Africa in 1916-1917. As a result, Smuts went to Ireland in June 1921 under an alias and was taken to the hiding place of the rebels. He tried to persuade them that they would be much better off with Dominion status within the British Commonwealth than as a republic, offering as an example the insecure position of the Transvaal before 1895 in contrast with its happy condition after 1909. He said in conclusion, "Make no mistake about it, you have more privilege, more power, more peace, more security in such a sisterhood of equal nations than in a small, nervous republic having all the time to rely on goodwill, and perhaps the assistance, of foreigners. What sort of independence do you call that? By comparison with real independence it is a shadow. You sell the fact for the name." Smuts felt that his argument was having an effect on Arthur Griffith and some others, but de Valera remained suspicious, and Erskine Childers was "positively hostile." Nevertheless, the Irish decided to open negotiations with London, and Smuts promised to arrange an armistice. The armistice went into effect on 11 July 1921, and three days later the conference began.

The Irish Conference of 1921 was held in two sessions: a week in July and a series of meetings from 1 1 October to 6 December 1921. The secretary to the conference was Lionel Curtis, who resigned his editorship of The Round Table for the purpose and remained as chief adviser on Irish affairs to the Colonial Office for the next three years. As a result of the conference, the Irish moderates negotiated the Articles of Agreement of 6 December 1921. De Valera had refused to form part of the Irish delegation at the second session of the conference, and refused to accept Dominion status, although Smuts begged him to do so in a letter published in The Times on 15 August.

As a result of the Articles of Agreement of December 1921 and the Irish Free State Act of March 1922, Southern Ireland became an independent Dominion within the British Commonwealth. Its boundary with Northern Ireland was to be settled by a Boundary Commission of three members representing the three interested parties. On this commission, Richard Feetham of the Milner Group was the British member and also chairman.

The subsequent revolt of de Valera and the Irish Republicans against the Free State government, and the ultimate victory of their ideas, is not part of our story. It was a development which the Milner Group were powerless to prevent. They continued to believe that the Irish, like others, could be bound to Britain by invisible ties if all visible ones were destroyed. This extraordinary belief, admirable as it was, had its basis in a profoundly Christian outlook and, like appeasement of Hitler, self-government for India, or the Statute of Westminister, had its ultimate roots in the Sermon on the Mount. Unfortunately, such Christian tactics were acutely dangerous in a non-Christian world, and in this respect the Irish were only moderately different from Hitler.

The Milner Group's reward for their concessions to Ireland was not to be obtained in this world. This became clear during the Second World War, when the inability of the British to use Irish naval bases against German submarines had fatal consequences for many gallant British seamen. These bases had been retained for Britain as a result of the agreement of 1922 but were surrendered to the Irish on 25 April 1938, just when Hitler's threat to Britain was becoming acute. The Round Table of June 1938 welcomed this surrender, saying: "The defence of the Irish coast, as John Redmond vainly urged in 1914, should be primarily a matter for Irishmen."

As the official links between Eire and Britain were slowly severed, the Croup made every effort to continue unofficial relationships such as those through the Irish Institute of International Affairs and the unofficial British Commonwealth relations conference, which had Irish members in 1938.

The relationships of Britain with Egypt were also affected by the activity of the Milner Group. The details need not detain us long. It is sufficient to state that the Egyptian Declaration of 1922 was the result of the personal negotiations of Lord Milner in Egypt in his capacity as Colonial Secretary. In this post his Permanent Under Secretary was Sir George Fiddes of the Kindergarten, his Parliamentary Under Secretary was Amery, and his chief adviser in Egypt was M. S. O. Walrond, also of the Kindergarten.

Without going into the very extensive influence which members of the Milner Group have had on other parts of the Commonwealth (especially tropical Africa), it must be clear that, however unsatisfactory Commonwealth relations may be to the Group now, they nevertheless were among the chief creators of the existing system. This will appear even more clearly when we examine their influence in the history of India.  
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