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Carbon copy of a letter from F. W. Pethick-Lawrence to Margery Fry

Asks for her help in securing a position for Yella Hertzka as the head of a training colony to equip German refugees for agricultural work overseas.



10th. May. 1939.

Dear Miss Fry,

I am very sorry you are not able to be with us on June 6th, but of course I realize how extremely busy you are.

I feel I must apologise to you for what I am going to do. I want to appeal for your consideration on a very special case and if possible I want you to give your help, although I know that you are already overwhelmed with all kinds of problems.

Mrs. Yella Hertzka of Vienna (an agricultural expert) is a refugee in England. She has been a leading spirit in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom since 1918 and is a very gifted and effective person. Her main qualification is that of a creative garden and farm architect. She has been the head of a horticultural college in Vienna for twenty or thirty years, has travelled largely and understands soil and climate and how to bring virgin soil under cultivation, as well as how to arouse the enthusiasm of ignorant and hopeless people. In addition to this technical knowledge, she has a very brillliant† temperament and is a born leader.

All this information is leading up to this one point. Frau Hertzka is exactly the right person to put in charge of a German Refugee Training Colony which is to equip men for pioneer agricultural work in distant lands, and it seems to those who know her a tragic waste of her of special qualifications not to use her in this capacity. I know that the chief farm colonies are run by the Friends Society and that is one reason why I am writing to you as a friend. I know that they are very short of money; I know that they are under a sort of obligation to employ British gardeners and so forth, but if you could meet Frau Hertzka, I think that you would recognise that she would be a unique asset to any farm training scheme. She does not want any more than just enough to live on; she is passionately content with the country and with the work on the land, but she does want freedom to organize so that she may carry out, so far as funds will allow, her creative ideas. It is very difficult for a refugee to insist with any emphasis upon her special qualifications. A person like Frau Hertzka must have an advocate, and this advocate must be a friend and a person of influence[;] that is why I venture to write to you about this matter because you are the only person I can think of who could get anything done.

Yours sincerely,


† Sic.

Carbon copy of a letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Hugh Gaitskell

Refers to the abatement of the controversy over public ownership, and commends the ‘New Testament’ (a statement of the Labour Party’s aims). He has urged the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Heathcoat Amory) to make a concession to indigent old people holding gilt-edged stock who want to take out annuities.

(Carbon copy of a typed original.)

Letter from Hugh Gaitskell to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

House of Commons.—Will advise Harold Wilson and Douglas Jay of Pethick-Lawrence’s proposed concession to certain holders of gilt-edged stock. The new declaration of aims, the ‘New Testament’, will, he thinks, be of real value in the long run.

Carbon copy of a letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Indira Gandhi

11 Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London, W.C.2.—Has returned to England, and Helen is on the way to America to see her children. Thanks her and her father (Nehru) for their hospitality. His interview with Miss Naidu at Calcutta was brief, as she was recovering from influenza. Has sent a letter of thanks for Miss Rao (see 2/112).

Letter from R. C. Ghose to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Imperial Hotel, 121 Queen’s Gate, S.W.7.—Thanks the Pethick-Lawrences for their hospitality at the House of Lords (cf. 1/336) and asks about the other guests. Wishes to obtain tickets to see the House of Commons. Proposes to arrange a reception for the Pethick-Lawrences at Calcutta during their forthcoming visit to India.

Letter from R. C. Ghose to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Fraser Hotel, 104/5 Queen’s Gate, S.W.7.—Thanks him for helping him and his wife get tickets for the House of Commons (see 1/338). Hopes to see Pethick-Lawrence in India, as well as Sir Patrick Spens, who is going there next winter.

Letter from R. C. Ghose to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Fraser Hotel, 104 Queen’s Gate, S.W.7.—Asks for details of the Pethick-Lawrences’ forthcoming visit to India, as he would like to meet them there. He has written to Sir Patrick Spens, who is going to India in November. Offers to arrange a reception for the delegates of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association if they go to Calcutta.

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