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Public and Political: General: Defence: Correspondence etc., 12 Jan 1936 - 27 Nov 1936

Reference Code: GBR/0014/CHAR 2/266A-B

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include: Basil Liddell Hart [Military Correspondent to the Times] on the troop system used in India; "Harold R" [1st Lord Rothermere, earlier Sir Harold Harmsworth] on subjects including 1st Lord Weir's position in defence [as Adviser to the Air Ministry], the likely stop to any battleship programme, pilot training, the likelihood of a quick German victory against Britain and France, German contempt for the British Government, and the Government's refusal to discuss the question of mandated German colonies (5); [John] Walton Newbold, on wartime oil production and supply; 2nd Lord Melchett [earlier Sir Henry Mond] on WSC's part in the recent defence debate; Eleanor Rathbone; Sir Herbert Creedy [Permanent Under-Secretary of State for War]; Lawrence Burgis, Cabinet Office; Desmond Morton on subjects including the effect of WSC's Budget speech on the City, WSC's ability to criticize the Minister of Defence Co-ordination, [Sir Thomas Inskip, later 1st Lord Caldecote], WSC's figures on German rearmament, the relative cheapness of German armaments, British naval artillery and armour, the changed attitude of the press to WSC, French readiness for war, the use of the Ministry of Supply, and with information about Vincent Benson (6); 2nd Lord Halsbury [earlier Lord Tiverton] on the French attitude to Britain's loss of power and prestige, French rearmament and the opportunity for a similar programme in Britain, particularly in the RAF (2); "Charley L" [7th Lord Londonderry, earlier Lord Castlereagh, former Secretary of State for Air] on preventing or postponing war with Germany, exaggerated figures on German rearmament, Londonderry's recent visit to Germany and the rise of Communism in France; Peter Thomas; Ramsay MacDonald on Britain's agreement with Japan to scrap a number of cruisers; Harold Laski; Sir Hugh Tudor on strengthening the Army and recruitment in Newfoundland [Canada] (2); Alfred Duff Cooper [later 1st Lord Norwich], Secretary of State for War, on WSC addressing the Imperial Defence College; Sir Austen Chamberlain on a secret defence committee and German propaganda on the Soviet Union as the main threat to Europe; Sir Arnold Wilson [Chairman, Home Office Committee on Structural Precautions against Air Attack] on the threat from armour-piercing bombs (3); Sir Leo Chiozza Money on the importance of storing food and essential materials in case of war; Vice-Admiral Sir Reginald Henderson on the effects of armour-piercing bombs; Sir Henry Thuillier [former Controller of Chemical Warfare, Ministry of Munitions] on the use of gas, the need to build up Britain's defences, and WSC's Presidency of the British section of the New Commonwealth Society; Hastings Lees-Smith; [Richard] Eric Long [Road Haulage Association] on the Association's anxiety about an internal transport system for essential supplies in wartime; William Hamilton; Edward Spears on being in WSC's Defence Group; "George L" [1st Lord Lloyd of Dolobran]; "Eddie" [6th Lord Winterton, earlier Lord Turnour]; Sir Henry Page Croft [later 1st Lord Croft] (3); "RSH" [Sir Robert Horne] (2); Lord Wolmer on subjects including the use of German unemployed in the armaments programme (3); "Scribe" [Sir Edward Grigg, later 1st Lord Altrincham] (2).Other subjects include: defence against gas; WSC's view on the likelihood of war, his attitude to Germany and the standing of Stanley Baldwin as Prime Minister; WSC's lack of sympathy with Abyssinia [later Ethiopia] after its conquest by Italy; the accuracy of WSC's figures on German rearmament; Britain's evacuation of Cairo, Egypt; short service pilot entry; the dispute over control of the Fleet Air Arm; responses to WSC's speeches; WSC's National Defence deputation to Baldwin, and meetings of his Defence Group.Also includes: press cutting from the Observer and typescript of a statement by Lord Melchett, Director of Imperial Chemical Industries Limited [ICI] on the failure to maintain essential rearmament industries; press cutting from the Sunday Dispatch on an anti-gas scheme; figures on France's military aircraft spending, 1935 - 6; memorandum by Peter Thomas on the co-ordination of supplies to the armed forces; copy of a speech by Colonel William Pilcher to members of the House of Commons on Britain's prestige in Italy and relative British, German and Italian air power and armies; memorandum by William Hamilton on developing a reserve of war materials in the United States; press cuttings on the neglected state of London's air defences; copies of correspondence by WSC to individuals listed above, and also to Ralph Wigram, [Edward Fitzroy], Speaker of the House of Commons, Marshal of the RAF 1st Lord Trenchard, John Moore-Brabazon [later 1st Lord Brabazon of Tara], Sir Roger Keyes, Marshal of the RAF Sir John Salmond and Stanley Baldwin; notes by Violet Pearman [Secretary to WSC].File B was found separately and added to CHAR 2/266 by Martin Gilbert.


  • Creation: 12 Jan 1936 - 27 Nov 1936

Conditions Governing Access

Open, (folio 93 opened as a 'sanitised' photocopy, original closed on advice of Cabinet Office).


2 file(s) (2 bound files and 1 folder (213 folios))

1 folder(s) (2 bound files and 1 folder (213 folios))

Language of Materials


External Documents

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

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