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Wood, Edward Frederick Lindley (1881–1959), 1st Earl of Halifax, politician and diplomat
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Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Congress will probably reject the plans for an interim Government, though it is doubtful what they will do about the constituent assembly. The date of his departure is likely to be deferred again. Lady Cripps has been recalled to England because her daughter is ill.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
June 24. 46

My dearly Beloved.

I have your letter of June 19 {1} before me as I write. It is indeed for both of us a trial of pa-tience. These people talk & deliberate with a sense of all eternity in front of them. Their promise of a decision are postponed from day to day & the chance of a satisfactory one ebbs & ebbs. It is now as certain as anything can be in this uncertain land tht Congress will reject the plans for an interim Governt. What they will do about the Constituent Assembly is at the moment of writing still in doubt. But my hopes are not very high. Some time I will tell you much about it. But people start coming to interview us at 7 AM, & the last doesnt leave much before midnight. And nothing whatever comes of it! And the heat is stifling.

In my last letter to EK I told her tht I expected to be leaving here on Thursday or Friday. But delays & delays & delays make this now unlikely. Nevertheless I still hope to get away within a few days from now. But it may be again a case of hope deferred.

Lady Cripps having been called out here to a sick husband is being recalled to a still more sick daughter. So her case is far far worse than ours. I am terribly sorry for her.

I am glad tht Doty continues to go from triumph to triumph. It is good tht life contains these days of exuberant satisfaction.

I kiss you my beloved. I love you & adore you.

Your very own
Boy.

You may care to see the enclosed from Lord Halifax to whom I wrote about his OM. Keep it among my letters to you.

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The abbreviation ‘tht’ for ‘that’ occurs a few times.

{1} PETH 8/85.

Carbon copy of a letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to the editor of The Spectator (Wilson Harris)

The circumstances under which Churchill became Prime Minister were not as L. S. Amery represents them in his review of Churchill’s book (The Gathering Storm).

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Transcript

11th. October, 1948.
To the Editor of “The Spectator”

Sir,—

The Churchillian Epic

In the interests of Historical accuracy I must express my dissent from the impression conveyed by the conculding† paragraph of Mr. Amery’s review of Mr. Churchill’s book {1}.

No doubt it is true that it was the decision of the three men on May 10, 1940 that made Mr. Churchill Prime Minister. But this decision was based on the political situation in the House of Commons.

It was generally recognised that in the national emergency there must be a Coalition Government. The Labour Party had refused to serve under Mr. Chamberlain. The question of serving under Lord Halifax never arose, but it is inconceivable that they would have agreed, first, because he was in the upper House and secondly, because he had been an active supporter of Mr. Chamberlain’s “appeasement” of Hitler. They were prepared to serve under Mr. Churchill. No other possible choice presented itself.

These facts may not have been positively known at the time by all the three men. But there was the strongest presumptive evidence that they were true.

Yours etc.,
[blank]

The Editor,
The Spectator,
99, Gower Street,
London, W.C.1.

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{1} The Second World War, Vol. 1: The Gathering Storm.

† Sic.

Letter from L. S. Amery to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

112 Eaton Square, S.W.1.—His own view of the circumstances under which Churchill became Prime Minister has been corroborated by Brendan Bracken.

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Transcript

112 Eaton Square, S.W.1.
12th October, 1948.

My dear Pethick,

I shall be interested to see your letter in The Spectator. Curiously enough I had information directly contrary to your conclusion only three days ago. Brendan Bracken told a friend of mine that on the evening of May 9th 1940 Attlee told him that he would be willing to serve under Halifax but not under Winston. Bracken vigorously argued about this and ended by shaking Attlee considerably. In any case the decision, if it had been subjected to a Parliamentary vote, would certainly have gone to Halifax as the overwhelming majority of the Conservatives would have preferred him, as a safer man. Don’t forget that up to the last Winston was widely distrusted on all sides.

Yours sincerely,
L S Amery

The Rt. Hon. Lord Pethick-Lawrence of Peaslake.

I fear the above is confidential so I cannot use it to reply to your letter!

Letter from Janet Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Pen Rose, Berkhamsted. - Calls Bessie a 'jolly wicked old thing' and says her letter made her laugh aloud. She was indeed 'movin' in the very 'ighest circles on Wednesday, velvet 'at and all' [at an event for the Evening Play Centres Fund]; says her attempt to curtsey to H.R.H. [Mary, Princess Royal] was a 'lamentable failure', as was her attempt to keep calling her 'Y.R.H'. The 'children's part of the show was really jolly', and as Bessie says these things have to be done 'to keep one's nose in front''; the 'City paid up like anything' after last year's show, when Janet 'only had a President of the B[oard] of E[ducation: Edward Wood]' but have not been so eager to contribute this time; they claim they fear 'the watchful eye of Mr Snowden [Chancellor of the Exchequer]' though 'all the knowing ones know' there is nothing to fear yet. Has had a 'Marconigram' from George; he is staying with President [Abbott Lawrence] Lovell at Harvard instead of at a club; '[j]olly for him to arrive in the middle of the oil [Teapot Dome] scandals!'; he is giving seven lectures and will earn 'quite a handsome sum', which will be useful with Mary at Somerville. She is 'radiantly happy there' and discovering 'all kinds of things, not [emphasised] all connected with Political Economy; she is working harder this term for her 'Pass Mods'; her first term was a 'mere whirl of delight'; they will then take a fortnight's holidays near Woody Bay in Devon. Humphry has a motor-bike, and sometimes takes 'rapturous rides on it on Sundays', but he does not ride it to school. Glad Julian is 'really happy at Bedale's'; hopes he will stop growing soon. Would love to lunch with Bessie in London at some point.

Letter from Sir Francis Low to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

‘The Times of India’, 4 Albemarle Street, London, W.1.—Defends his view of Jinnah’s rôle in the partition of India. Is convinced that Congress was largely responsible for alienating him.

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Transcript

The Times of India, London Branch:
4 Albemarle Street, London, W.1

Dear Lord Pethick Lawrence,

I was very interested to have your letter of October 13th. When I wrote to you I was thinking more of the narrower question of the splitting of the Punjab, referred to by Sir Henry Craik, than to the larger issue of the partition of India. Both form part of the same picture and it may be that in some respects Jinnah was only one factor in the circumstances which brought about partition. But he was a very important factor and his attitude, following the introduction of the new Constitution in 1937, was decisive. Every time the British Government faced the question of Indian political advancement, Jinnah demanded Pakistan and thus blocked agreement. You know more about what happened during the visit of the Cabinet Mission, but in Volume IV of the account of the Second World War entitled “The Hinge of Fate”, Churchill records that at the time of the Cripps Mission his Cabinet considered a plan to declare India a Dominion after the war. He was then faced with a note from Mr. Jinnah declaring that if any constitutional move was intended the Pakistan scheme must be accepted, a statement which was backed up by Sir Firoz Khan Noon, then a member of the Government of India. There is no doubt that Churchill was deeply impressed by these notes and sent them to President Roosevelt in justification of his attitude.

There may be something in what your Indian financier friend said to you after August 15, 1947, but my strong conviction—based on experience—is that the Congress was largely responsible for alienating Jinnah. They refused to take Jinnah and the Pakistan idea seriously. At the time of the famous Calcutta Unity Conference in the twenties, when Jinnah was still a Congressman at heart, they could have achieved an agreement with him on terms which would have preserved the unity of the country. From a logical point of view the Congress leaders, as I know, had justification for their attitude, but logic sometimes makes bad politics. I have no doubt British Governments in the past sometimes found Hindu-Moslem animosity very convenient, but on the need to preserve Indian unity there was always insistence, and I know that Viceroys like Halifax and Linlithgow were very strong on that point both in public and in private. I also know that many of my Indian friends took that same view as the Indian financier whom you quote, and one cannot say that it is entirely baseless. But I still feel that the main fault rested with the Congress mishandling of Jinnah, especially in the days when he was still a Congress supporter.

One or two people whom I met in the Club after your address, including Lord Hailey, agreed with me that you put up a very good case.

Yours sincerely,
Francis Low
(Sir Francis Low)

Letters to James Ramsay Montagu Butler

8 letters and 2 fragments of letters, from:

  • Ramsay Macdonald, 6 Mar. 1914
  • James Balfour, 8 Jan. 1920
  • Lord Haldane, 4 May 1924
  • E. Rutherford, 20 June 1925, accepting congratulations for his Order of Merit
  • Albert, the future George VI, 26 Apr. 1926, accepting congratulations on the birth of his daughter Elizabeth
  • Lord Cecil, 9 Sept. 1927
  • Stanley Baldwin, 30 May 1930
  • Lord Halifax, 8 Jan. 1941, will take a letter to Butler's brother, will be happy to see one of the family 'after working with Rab so long'
  • two fragments signed by Stanley Baldwin and Lord Grey

Butler, Sir James Ramsay Montagu (1889–1975), knight, historian