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Churchill, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer (1874-1965), knight, Prime Minister
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Letter from Venetia Stanley to Edwin Montagu

Alderley Park, Chelford, Cheshire.—Invites him to go with her party to the Grand National. Is sorry he won’t be in the same house as Winston for Easter.

(Dated Sunday.)



Alderley Park, Chelford, Cheshire

My dear Mr Montagu

It will be very nice if you will come to the Grand National with us {1}. We are not going to the smartest places but to the Grand Stand. I shall go from London on Friday. I dont know in the least how we get home.

I am sorry you wont be in the same house as Winston for Easter, but I daresay he wont come either.

Yrs very sincerely
Venetia Stanley


{1} In 1911 the Grand National took place on Friday, 24 March; in 1912 on Friday, 29 March.

Letter from Venetia Stanley to Edwin Montagu

Admiralty, Whitehall.—(11th.) Reproaches him for being ‘bloody’ to her, but (12th) urges him to come and see her before dinner.

(Dated Sunday. The postscript was written the following morning.)



Admiralty, Whitehall

How can you be so bloody, & why? Is it merely horror at the old generation when compared with the young. Even Raymond wondered what was the matter.

This is I suppose almost worthy of Margot.

Anyhow one mustnt quarrel, but you were bloody to me.


This was the vituperative Margot line I wrote you last night! I still repeat you were bloody, but do dine at Winstons & anyhow come & see me before dinner, anytime after 6.



Written in red pencil. The postscript is on a separate sheet.

Letter from Venetia Stanley to Edwin Montagu

The British Hospital, Hôtel Bellevue, Wimereux.—(24th.) Describes her journey to Wimereux, her impressions of the hospital, and her timetable of work. There is much discussion of the crisis, and she nearly quarrelled with a doctor who questioned Winston’s sense of decency.—(25th.) The railway and the ambulances are noisy. She has been to Boulogne to see Frances, and has tried to read ‘Joseph’. Is bored by the prospect in front of her, but will soon settle in. Urges him to pass on political gossip and war news.



The British Hospital, Hotel Bellevue, Wimereux
(Not my address | I gave you that didnt I?) {1}
Monday evening May 24th 1915

My darlingest not a vestige of a submarine disturbed our crossing and we arrived safely to find Sir Henry awaiting us on the platform. I couldnt telegraph as it takes hours. We came straight out here. The hospital is a rather squalid hotel in a street facing onto a small river, but one sees the sea not 300 yards away. I’ve not looked into the wards yet, but start tomorrow. Its much less arduous than the London breakfast at 7.30 instead of 6.30 and supper 8.15 instead of 9.30, so you see we are in clover. I’ve a reasonably nice room in which I’ve stowed myself and belongings with difficulty. After today I shant see much of the Normans, which I dont regret. They talk about the crisis a good deal, & I’m sorry to say I’ve nearly had a quarrel with a foul little doctor about whether Winston had any sense of decency or not. {2} I feel resigned and detached about the prospect of these next few weeks, but I miss you horribly. I’ll finish tomorrow. Goodnight, I hope you are dining somewhere and having fun. {3}

The noise is awful in this place, I hadnt realised that apparently the most vital railway from the whole world to the front passes within 20 yards of us, also ambulances drive up from time to time. I’m just going to have breakfast. Sir Heinrich has to pass all my letters so I shall feel a certain reluctance to write every day to you, but I daresay I shall become quite brazen about this. {4}

I’ve been into Boulogne and seen Frances, who has again been very anxious about Edward who has had a temp of 104, he’s better to-day.

My darling: Joseph is one of the most tedious writers I’ve ever come across. I tried him last night and found it anything but stimulating, or is it that all forms of religion, and the observances which accompany them & to which the religious attach so much importance, are bound to appear very foolish to someone like me. Still it doesnt matter as its not going to affect you or me afterwards.

I’ve just got your telegram {5} (11·30) thank you so much, I wonder when I shall get a letter from you. I’ll confess to you at once that I feel very much bored at the prospect in front of me, but then one always feels like that for the first few days, I shall soon become thoroughly happy in my new surroundings.

Write me every scrap of political gossip you can find, also any war news, as you know I never read the papers so I rely on you.

The doctors are mostly half casts† and very squalid looking.

This is worthy of your collection of letters at Cambridge its every bit as boring. What fun we had then. I wish I was back in England.

My love to you always



Partly written in pencil (see below).

{1} ‘Not … didnt I?’ is written below the printed address in pencil. The brackets have been supplied.

{2} The allusion is to Churchill’s handling of the Dardanelles campaign.

{3} The writing changes from ink to pencil here.

{4} A new sheet begins here. What follows was written slightly later.

{5} This does not survive.

† Sic.

Letter from Venetia Montagu to Edwin Montagu

24 Queen Anne’s Gate, S.W.—Has just recovered from a cold. Duff came to dinner on Friday, and he and Katharine last night. After lunch at Lower Berkeley Street she went with Olga to a concert organised by Bruce Ottley at the A.S.C. camp at Blackheath. Describes the concert and the entertainment in the mess afterwards.—(24 Dec.) Is going to Alderley on Friday. Has bought some presents for her dinner guests tonight. They are going to a party at Nancy’s afterwards.—(25 Dec.) Her party was a success; Hugo’s stunts were marvellous and Birrell was divine. After a little chemin-de-fer some of them went on to Nancy’s for more cards. Is dining with Diana and Duff, then going to the Baroness’s.—(26 Dec.) She had Christmas dinner with Duff and Diana in Diana’s bedroom, and discussed whether a dirty intellectual like McEvoy would be preferable as a lover to a clean ‘turnip-top’ like Lord Derby. Then she and Duffy went to 139 [Piccadilly, the Baroness’s home]. Freyburg says that Winston is becoming unpopular again on account of his rather dogmatic Cabinet memorandum; Haig is said to be furious. [27 Dec?] She gave a dinner-party today, and some other guests joined them later. Constance danced ‘in a state of almost complete nudity’, Hugo almost died doing a Spanish dance, Miss Lillie sang, and the men gambled. Diana has given her a cushion for Breccles, and the Aga a pendant worth about £150.—[28 Dec.?] Is dining with Adèle.

[Alderley.]—Lady Essex’s party was fun. Duff, who was in uniform for the first time, is looking out for a rich mistress but is not inclined to spare much time for one. Has arrived at Alderley. This afternoon the children performed ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ very well. Oliver is expected home on leave soon, Anthony in about three weeks. Lutyens says work has begun on the plumbing at Breccles, and she hopes to have the house furnished in time for an Easter party.—(31 Dec.) Describes her usual daily activities at Alderley. Is working on the curtain for Montagu’s bed. Oliver is expected on Wednesday. The past year has been fun, and she hopes that the next will bring ‘a great Indian success’. Asks when he is due back.—(3 Jan.) Oliver, who has arrived, has been awarded the DSO. ‘He’s been at Passchendael since Oct. which I believe is hell for the Artillery, so I expect he deserves it.’ Has bought a looking-glass.

[24 Queen Anne’s Gate, S.W.]—(4 Jan.) Has heard that Patrick has been killed. Wonders how many other young men will be killed, and reflects on the effect on Diana, who is away. Cardie, Rawle, Freyberg, and Goonie dined with her. Rawle is in love with Miss Bagnold. Goonie told her of the invention of ‘a form of explosive bullet’. Has received Montagu’s telegram from Bombay.—(5 Jan.) Has started working at the hospital again. She lunched with Dombie[?] and Heseltine. Sylvia’s baby, Juliet, is ill; fortunately, Anthony is expected home soon. Heseltine has offered to do jobs for her while Freeth is away, and she may get him to write to the ‘Coal Controller’, as she is short of coal. Food is also difficult to obtain. Is dining with Katharine.—(6 Jan.) Juliet is out of danger. She lunched today with Frances, then visited Phyllis, who is miserable about Patrick. Cardie, Goonie, and Lionel Cohen came to dinner. She has not had a letter from him for three weeks. Lloyd George seemed significant, and she wonders if there is hope of peace.—(8 Jan.) She lunched at Anne’s yesterday with Juliet, Adèle, and Goonie, and they went to the cinema. She dined with the Burns, and sat next to Reggie, who is more hopeful about peace after Lloyd George’s speech, though he thinks it was intended to cause problems for the Labour Party. Beatrice G. is over from Ireland, where she has put Alice [Lady Wimborne] into the shade by her entertainments. Afterwards she played bridge. Today she lunched with Anne, went to the South Kensington Museum, and dined with Duff, who left early for his duties as a picket officer.—(10 Jan.) Lutyens has sent the altered plans for Breccles. She encloses letters from Surtees on financing them. Diana, Claude Russell, Lord and Lady Islington, Gilbert Russell and his wife [Maud], and Goonie dined with her last night. Diana looked ill, and has taken to bed ill today. Hugo came afterwards, and they discussed his idea for decorating the gallery at Breccles. Today she lunched with Freyling, who leaves tomorrow. Has received Montagu’s letter, and is sad he that he does not expect to be back till April. Stuart has gone to France; ‘I never see Gladys thank God’.

Telegram from Edwin Montagu to Lord Reading

Is going on holiday. Kenya continues to be troublesome. Is eager to discuss the proposed statement of policy at the opening of the Legislative Assembly. The decision whether to prosecute those who spoke at the Karachi conference should be made promptly. The Government’s decision to substitute a treaty with King Feisul of Mesopotamia for a mandate may improve relations with Mohammedans. It is rumoured that Gandhi intends to proclaim an Indian republic. Some, including Churchill, are optimistic about Irish peace; others, including the Prime Minister, are not.

(Typed. Used for transmission.)

Copy of a letter from Edwin Montagu to Austen Chamberlain, also sent, mutatis mutandis, to Lord Curzon, H. A. L. Fisher, Winston Churchill, and Sir Laming Worthington-Evans

Summarises the contents of A3/22/2. He does not know why A3/21/2 did not reach Reading before he made his speech, as it was despatched with every arrangement for priority.

(Typed. Headed in error ‘Telegram from Secretary of State to Viceroy’.)

Copy of a telegram from Lord Reading to Edwin Montagu

(Official.) In the Legislative Assembly today Jamnadas Dwarkadas sought to move an adjournment in order to bring before the house the subject of tomorrow’s debate in the Commons on Joynson-Hicks’s motion, which he described as a vote of censure on the Secretary of State. He said that any attempt to pass such a vote on Montagu would be strongly opposed in India, where it is considered that Montagu has proved the greatest Secretary of State and has drawn England and India closer. He then drew attention to Churchill’s speech on Kenya and Montagu’s statement that he would support the view of the Government of India. Dwarkadas’s comments were supported by Sir D. P. Sarvadhicary and Dr Gour. The Home Member said that a communiqué should be sent to Montagu expressing the Assembly’s full confidence in him.

(Carbon copy.)

Letter from Sir George Schuster to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

179 City Road, E.C.1.—Raises the questions of the appointment of a new Viceroy and the future security of India. Suggests that Clark Kerr might make a capable Viceroy.



Private and Personal

179 City Road, E.C.1.
11th May, 1943.

Dear Pethick-Lawrence,

I promised that I would let you have a note about India. There are really two distinct points:

A. The appointment of the Viceroy.

B. The need to bring a new reality into the discussions about the future of India by facing up to what will be required for the war security of that country and for preventing her from being a fatally weak piece in the structure of world security which the United Nations must want to erect. Facing up to what this means is needed—
1st. In India itself.
2nd. In the United States and other countries and
3rd. In this country.

I had meant to prepare a note on B. during the week-end, but I had to be in my constituency and had no time to complete it. **I will let you have it shortly.

A. and B. are closely interconnected. The urgent need is for a statesman as the British representative in India. If we had a man like Cromer in Linlithgow’s place history would have been quite different.

On both matters Winston’s attention is required. It may be that the decision is about the Viceroy has already been taken. I sincerely hope not, if the selection has been from those mentioned in the Press.

We have no ideal man available; but I have a feeling that Clerk-Kerr might be much better than any of these that have been mentioned. He was a very great success in China and has the reputation of having done well in Russia. That could mean a lot in India.

George Schuster

The Rt. Hon.
F. W. Pethick-Lawrence, M.P.,
House of Commons.

Letter from Sir George Schuster to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

House of Commons.—Agrees that certain points need to be settled before an approach is made to the Prime Minister (see 3/221). Will try to write a note shortly and arrange a meeting with two brigadiers with Indian Army experience. Thanks Pethick-Lawrence for his contribution.

Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan

The Cottage, Silverdale, Carnforth - Expresses his and his wife's delight at being the dedicatees of Trevelyan's new collection ["The Death of Man"]. Hopes Julian's health improves when his tonsils are out. Is glad the "Moore business" [the obtaining of an allowance from the Civil List for him?] has gone well so far; was sorry not to have heard from Hewlett. Is anxious about the police and "hope[s] they mean business this time": feels that their success or failure will determine the nature of "the revolution". "[T]hat little swine Winston" ought to be "done in".

Letter from George Macaulay Trevelyan to R. C. Trevelyan

The Master's Lodge, Trinity College, Cambridge. - Thanks Bob for [his translation of Vergil's] "Eclogues and Georgics"; had already 'seen and admired the introductions' which Bob had read him, and is now 'browsing with great pleasure' through the translations; thinks Bob is 'certainly at the head of translators of the Classics now', and the 'general recognition' of the 'excellence' of all of Bob's work gives him great pleasure. Sends Bessie his 'dearest love'; he is especially grieved by two things in 'all this bitter scene - the Netherlands and Greece. The 'plight of Holland' is not particularly the fault of the British 'except for our share in the whole business', but he believes 'Greece has ben badly muddled by Churchill, whose obstinacy is sometimes a blessing but sometimes the reverse'. Feels that 'hope is better than prophecy' for the future, since 'even the best informed [prophets] seem usually to be wrong'. Very glad about Leith Hill Place: Bob will find [Ralph] Wedgwood a 'delightful neighbour'.

Letter from Edward Marsh to R. C. Trevelyan

5 Raymond Buildings, Grays Inn. - Supposes it is Bob who has sent him the "Bride of D[ionysus]", and thanks him if so; had already got it and read it yesterday. Hopes he will 'live to see the opera'; thinks Bob has given Donald [Tovey] 'splendid chances'. Likes it a lot as a play, especially the last act, especially Ariadne's dream. Does not 'always follow [Bob's] vers libres', but blames his 'own stupidity'. Saw Bob the other day at D[onald]'s concert, but was in the middle of a row so couldn't get to him. They might meet at one of the other concerts, but the dates are not good for him; thinks he will be 'away with Winston [Churchill] in the yacht for most of them'. Asks Bob if he will write his poem 'Proud mayst though be...' ["For a Fan"] in the book which Marsh has started a collection of autograph poems. Hopes they will meet soon for a talk; has 'got lots of new pictures' since Bob was last here.,

Letter from Venetia Stanley to Edwin Montagu

Grand Hôtel Couttet et du Parc, Chamonix.—She arrived at Chamonix with Oliver yesterday. When Oliver goes home, she will join her mother in Italy. Has learnt that Montagu will be returning on Easter Sunday. She dined at Downing Street while in London, and the Prime seemed pleased by his speech on the third reading (of the Home Rule Bill).



Grand Hôtel Couttet & du Parc, Chamonix
21st Jan 1913

I cant think how you can write from India (I am very glad you can as I love getting your letters) I simply cant write a line as soon as I’ve crossed the Channel, its rather a pity as its the one moment I long most passionately for letters. Oliver and I arrived here yesterday in a tearing blizzard which has gone on without stopping. In spite of this we have been out all day falling heavily in the snow and getting our eyes ears and mouth filled with it. Its great fun being away alone with Oliver, I wish it were for longer and that I was going home when he does on the 3rd, instead of that I am going to join Mother in Italy and stay away till the 1st of March. I dont suppose I shall miss anything much in the way of impersonal things (thrilling debates or such like because after the Franchise it will be dullish) but I like London in February and I like the people it contains always.

I was much amazed, and so was everyone at Alderley, by getting a telephone message late one Sunday evening {1} announcing your return on the 23rd of March. I dont know why it came like that, unless the post Officer at Manchester thought it affected my plans vitally and that to wait to hear till Monday would disorganize everything. The 23rd is Easter Sunday isnt it? Mother and I are thinking of going to Holland for Easter, I’ve always wanted to go.

I had a delicious dinner at Downing St when I was in London, Katharine the only other woman, and Bluey, Oc, Cys, Bongie Winston and 2 Headlams. I sat next to the P.M. who was most divine and in marvellously good spirits. I gather he had made even for him an exceptionally wonderful speech on the 3rd Reading {2} and I think was rather pleased by it. After he and I and Winston and Mr Masterton Smith played Auction, Winston is a gold man to play against, he always doubles and always loses.

This hôtel is full of French people its the fashion here for every one including the women to go about in knickerbockers which makes them look like principal boys in the Pantomimes.

I expect this is almost the last letter I shall write you, before you come home.

I am glad you liked the parodies, and Dostoïeffski


What did Mikky say to you when he wrote from Alderley?


{1} 12 January?

{2} Asquith spoke during the debate on the third reading of the Home Rule Bill on 15 January. His notes for the speech were made on the back of a letter from Venetia, which he returned to her when he wrote to her on the 20th (Lantern Slides, Nos. 9 and 9a).

Letter from Venetia Stanley to Edwin Montagu

In the train (from London to Alderley).—Is travelling with the Prime Minister, who is more cheerful now, but she does not think the party will be a success. Discusses Montagu’s behaviour and feelings towards her, and reflects on the prospects of their future together. Discusses arrangements for meeting.



April 30th 1915. In train {1}.

Darling I wish I felt the faintest inspiration, but this infernal train shakes so that I find it impossible to concentrate either my mind or my pen. Opposite me sits the P.M in a more cheerful frame of mind I think, but I’ve a feeling in my bones that this party isnt going to be a success, I feel I shall quarrel with Bongie, be odious to the P.M, & have to avoid Violets questions, if she bothers to ask them. Why were you so transparent? Diana & I settled last night that “if & when” we were ever engaged we would never, once it was announced, go out together, because one can so easily see how supremely ridiculous it makes people. I dont know what is the right attitude to adopt. What do you think? I saw Katharine this morning & she asked me if we’d had a good drive as she thought you were preparing to be rather crusty to me. So you were werent you, but we had great fun in spite of it. I think she was quite right to tell you that I was “queer”. I’m sure I am! & if we keep our minds fixed on that we shall be quite all right. But please darling dont be too ready at once to think that because I dont see you every day, & can contemplate going to Boulogne, that I dont any longer like you. I’ve told you over & over again that I’m no fun to be in love with, that my supply of emotion is a thin & meagre one, but such as it is, had in quantity & quality its yours.

And you mustnt always be examining it under a microscope or subjecting it to severe tests because it wont stand it!

We can have such fun together and are & I’m sure could be so really happy, & if that cant be made a good basis for marriage I dont know that I shall ever find a better. We’ve both I’m bound to say always put ourselves before the other in the most unprepossessing terms. You take every opportunity of telling me that nothing that I want will ever make you alter your mode of life, & I am always impressing on you the fact that I’m completely & cold bloodedly detached from all interest in my own life. It doesnt sound good on paper. And yet I’m simply longing for you to be here, & miss you horribly. Its again such a lovely day & we should have been so happy. I was an idiot not to make you come, & to risk you being cross with me because I talked too much to the P.M, & his thinking I was spending more time than I need with you.

Winston was much touched at yr letter, I’m glad you wrote. God how bored I feel, how glorious one’s life ought to be & how bloody it is. But I was happy yesterday thank you so much.

Lets have a Diana Raymond party on Friday {2}, arrange this with Diana, & I’ll dine with you Tuesday either alone or go to the Tree play {3}. But Friday we’ll have a buffy. I hope this isnt a horrible letter. I’m never sure.



Letter-head of 8 Little College Street, Westminster, the home of Francis and Barbara McLaren, where Venetia had been staying.

{1} Venetia and the Prime Minister were travelling from London to Alderley for the weekend. Cf. H. H. Asquith: Letters to Venetia Stanley, p. 562.

{2} 7 May.

{3} The Right to Kill, a melodrama adapted from the French by Gilbert Cannan and Frances Keyzer, produced by Sir Herbert Tree at His Majesty’s Theatre on 4 May. Tree also took one of the leading parts. There appears to have only been one performance.

Letter from Venetia Montagu to Edwin Montagu

In the train to Brighton.—(20th.) Her good habit of writing daily has broken down. Has received his telegram, and discusses the carpet offered to him. She dined on the day after she last wrote [11th] with Frances and Haldane, who is surprisingly ‘anti-Rufus [Lord Reading]’, cares little for Addison, and thinks Bongie ‘worse than useless’. On the Saturday [12th] she dined at Clemmie and Winston’s. Winston is eager for Montagu to return home, as he thinks he would be an ally in the Government. At the time he was worried about the threatened strike by the ASE [Amalgamated Society of Engineers]. On Sunday [13th] she played bridge at Adèle’s and dined with Duff, who had been staying with Diana Wyndham and Rosemary, with whom he is a little in love. Duff is angry with Bettine for making Eddie Grant [her husband] wait in vain for her in Paris for over two weeks. On Monday [14th] she dined at home with guests, then they went to a party at Adèle’s. Duff is no longer in love with Goonie. On Tuesday [15th] she dined with Arkers, then went to a party at Frankie de Tuyll’s. Diana has tonsillitis and has gone to Brighton. On Wednesday [16th] she dined at Cardie’s and lunched with Viola. On Thursday [17th] she dined at Lionel Earle’s, and Earle talked about his work at Windsor and in the Parks. On Friday [19th] she went to a party for Puffin at 20 Cavendish Square, and sat next to the ‘old boy’ [Asquith], who inquired kindly after Montagu. Yesterday [19th] she dined with K[atharine], and today [20th] she is going to Brighton to join Diana, Michael, Duff, Rosemary, and Diana Wyndham. She is worried the Duchess will spoil things. Olga is also on the train.

24 Queen Anne’s Gate, S.W.—(23rd.) At Brighton they all lunched at Sweetings and then went, without the Duchess, to the Aquarium. On Monday [21st] she lunched with Montagu’s mother, and ‘that foul woman’ Miss Lewis (Lily’s friend) was there. She dined at Cardie's, where it was suggested that William should go to Ireland as Ivor’s military secretary. Afterwards they went to a party at Olga’s, where Miss Barnes and Miss James sang, Hugo did stunts, and Duff ‘got off with an American pol & left the house very obviously bound for a crack’. Last night [2nd] she had a dinner-party at home, followed by stunts. Winston, who was there, seemed to enjoy himself. ‘I’m sure he yearns for fun, and Clemmie gives him none.’ Today [23rd] she went again to the VAD. Has received his telegram and replied with the measurements. Has ordered some plain carpets for the bedrooms. Is planning to furnish the hall before anything else. Oc’s leg has been amputated, and the PM has gone over to see him. This is probably the last leter she will write to India.—(24th.) Last night she dined at the de Forests', and she spent today at Taplow. Ettie is very unhappy about Patrick. Bluey has come back from America but is very ill with blood-poisoning. K has gone to visit him at Liverpool. Has bought a chest of drawers and given the housemaid notice.—(27th.) Has received his letter; he seems to have got off well with Lady Ronaldshay. Bluey has recovered slightly. Yesterday she bought some furniture, and Duffy and Diana came to dinner.

Letter from Venetia Montagu to Edwin Montagu

[24 Queen Anne’s Gate, S.W.]——Has lost the long letter she was writing to him. Last Saturday she went to Breccles. Discusses the progress of the work there, which is proving expensive. Last night she dined with Winston. Reggie says that Geddes is not coming back from Italy and that Dalziel is to take his place at the Admiralty. Reggie and Winston are on very good terms now. On Friday [8th] she went to a party at Cardie’s given by Bouch, who is home on leave, and on Thursday she gave a dinner-party and they had stunts. Afterwards Ralph [Peto] took some of them on to a party at Ruby’s. Discusses the air-raids, in response to his telegram about the bombs in Queen Anne’s Gate. Has just come back from a day with Dolly and Jimmy. K is dining with her tonight; Bluey is much better. Is eager for Montagu’s return. Is planning to go to Breccles for a holiday. She has been busier than usual this month at Charing Cross and Arlington Street as the sister has been ill. Discusses plans for furnishing the rooms [at Breccles]. Next week Bouch will probably give a farewell party, and the Jimmys may dine on Wednesday.

Letter from John Haynes Holmes to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

The Community Church, Park Avenue and Thirty-Fourth Street, New York City.—Congratulates him on his election victory over Winston Churchill.



The Community Church, Park Avenue and Thirty-Fourth Street, New York City
December 7th, 1923

Dear Mr. Pethick-Lawrence:

Hurrah! I am overjoyed at the great news this morning of your election to Parliament. And over Winston Churchill! What a smashing victory! That son of Marlborough must wish that he was back in the days of his great ancestor, when the laboring people had better manners.

Reports indicate that Baldwin and his cohorts got a defeat that they will not soon forget. I wonder what the future holds?

With congratulations and all best wishes, I remain

Very sincerely yours,
John Haynes Holmes

Mrs.† F. W. Pethick-Lawrence,
11 Old Square,
Lincoln’s Inn,
London, W.C.2, England


† Sic.

Letter from Sir George Schuster to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

179 City Road, E.C.1.—Since the deputation to Amery was ineffective, a deputation should be sent to the Prime Minister (Churchill). Sets out the points to be made, drawing particular attention to the question of the strategic position of India after the war.


179 City Road, E.C.1.
6th April, 1943.

Personal and strictly confidential

Dear Pethick-Lawrence

Reflecting on our deputation to Amery and the Indian debate in the House, I feel strongly that we in the House of Commons ought not to be content to leave matters where they are. It seemed to me that our deputation to Amery showed clearly that it is little use for us to talk to him. We really need to get right through to the Prime Minister. I therefore feel that we ought to ask the Prime Minister to receive a deputation about India.

I do not want to bother you with a long letter so I will put as briefly as possible the three points which I think we should make to him.

First: To impress on him the value of showing the Indian public—
that he is personally interesting himself in the Indian problem;
that he is determined to go ahead (in spite of his pre-war attitude); but that British action will be governed by certain clear principles which we consider to be right and that threats of political disturbance will not force us to abandon these.

Second: To impress on him our view as to the vital importance of getting the right man to India as Viceroy and not to allow this matter to drift on further.

Third: To raise with him the whole question of the strategic position of India in the post war world.

Whatever may be the political outcome one has to face the fact that India is not likely to attain great political stability in the early years of the new constitution. On the other hand India occupies a strategic position which represents one of the key points in the security structure of the world. It is a point which cannot be left open or as an invitation to new trouble-makers to step in. Presumably if, as contemplated in last year’s declaration, the British Government is to make a treaty with the new Indian Union, the provision of the necessary measures for the strategic security of the United Nations (naval bases, military garrisons, equipment for production of munitions, etc. etc.) will be one of the terms to be covered by the Treaty. I think we ought to ask whether these matters are receiving consideration (I have the case of the Irish ports very much in my mind) {1} and also particularly whether their significance is appreciated by the United States. United States opinion may criticise us for our handling of the Indian political situation because it is so easy to adopt high standards for other people’s problems; but, when it comes to strategic security, their interests will be identical with ours.

I will not develop this last point further. I am sure you will appreciate its significance. I touched upon it in my own speech in the India debate, but I did not want to say too much. It seems to me to have a vital bearing on the whole Indian Problem.

If you think there is any force in my line of argument perhaps we could have a few words about the matter in the House. I had already last week mentioned to Ammon my idea that some of us ought to try and see the Prime Minister. If you agree with this view it would then be a question of what sort of deputation should go, and this is also a matter on which I should like to have a few words with you.

Yours sincerely,
George Schuster

The Rt. Hon.
F. W. Pethick Lawrence, M.P.


{1} ‘I have … mind’ added in the margin. Brackets supplied.

Draft [?] letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Winston Churchill

The Shiffolds. - Is sending the Prime Minister a report of a speech given by his father at the Whitefriars Club dinner, about forty years ago, which he recently found amongst his papers. If Churchill has not seen it before, thinks he will be interested in what Sir George Trevelyan said about his father Randolph, for whom Trevelyan thinks his father 'had a real affection as well as admiration'. Sir George once told him how, just after Gladstone brought in his first Home-Rule Bill, he walked away from the House with Lord Randolph; they had to part ways at the bottom of St James's Street but stood there for some time while Lord Randolph gave him a forecast of what would happen. Robert supposes 'his prophecy did not include the Parnell divorce case', but Sir George said practically everything else came true. The Prime Minister knows Robert's brothers, but he expects he will not remember him, though they must have been at Harrow together for some years.

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