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Chamberlain, Arthur Neville (1869–1940) Prime Minister
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Letter from 'Jack' [François Ceccaldi] to 'Flaminica' [Lady Frazer]

54 Cours Napoléon, Ajaccio, Corse - Discusses the situation, pointing out that the Corsicans are not showing much sense: they admire [Neville] Chamberlain but don't seem capable of imitating him, they could not stop people from stoning the Italian Consulate, fears they will channel their anger at some poor Italian who has nothing to do with the ideas of his leaders.

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).



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


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.,

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


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

† Sic.

Letter from J. M. Keynes to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

46 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury.—Thanks him for a copy of his speech and for Hansard. Is thinking of writing another article for The Times (about the re-armament loan). Points out that Pethick-Lawrence and the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Chamberlain) disagree only about what level of borrowing would be inflationary.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

93, High Street, Knaphill, Woking. - Is very sad and anxious: there has been a reversion to 'the state of things at Hedenham' before the Trevelyans made their 'most merciful and helpful interviention'. Had just written to Donald [Tovey] to invite him, Clara, and the chauffeur to stay with her in the case of 'anxiety about the Hospital buildings [due to the war]'; he would then be able to stay in touch with Dr de Souza at Harley Street; she got her housekeeper to ring the hospital and was told he and Lady Tovey had gone back to Hedenham on the 24th. Has just had a letter from her and Donald's solicitor in Edinburgh; gathers that Lady Tovey has been 'very impudent.. paid all the bills, and wound everything up at the Hospital'. Worries about the damp at Hedenham and Donald's medical care; the local doctore [Dr Corbett] came to see her and was 'obviously incompetent and untruthful'. It is cruel: Donald's hands were recovering to the point that she and Mary Grierson both hoped he might be able to make some recordings of his playing; he has been 'induced to ask the university for a term's leave of absence' which means he will spend months at Hedenham. Thinks he 'would not be sane now' had it not been for the Trevelyans' intervention; also blesses Dr Bluth. The prospect of another great European war is 'the blackest cloud'. Says 'we are not really a European power'; always made her shiver when 'that kind man Mr Chamberlain... talked of Europe as if it was a schoolroom and he its governess'; keeps reading Donald's essays and remembers that her mother used to say 'Beethoven did not beg for peace, he ordered it' (quotes the German), but they cannot do that