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Correspondence about conscription resignations, 1915-12 - 1916-01

Reference Code: GBR/0014/MCKN 5/9

Scope and Contents

Correspondence on McKenna's threat to resign over the Military Service Act, with correspondents including: Margot Asquith [later Lady Oxford and Asquith], reporting Herbert Asquith [Prime Minister, later 1st Lord Oxford and Asquith]'s view that Field Marshal 1st Lord Kitchener [Secretary of State for War] had bungled the matter and asking McKenna not to desert Asquith (2); Maurice Hankey [Secretary of the Committee of Imperial Defence] begging McKenna not to resign; John Whitehouse [Parliamentary Private Secretary to McKenna] on opposition to conscription, urging McKenna to resign (2); Lewis Harcourt [Secretary of State for the Colonies] on being unable to resign at that point; Edwin Montagu [Financial Secretary to the Treasury] asking McKenna to stay (2); Sir Robert Perks, urging McKenna to stay with Asquith; Leonard Hobhouse on the independent viewpoint of the Manchester Guardian in its criticism of Asquith; William Llewelyn Williams, urging McKenna to stand firm; Sir George Reid [High Commissioner for Australia] refusing to believe that McKenna would abandon the Government; Sir Norval Helme asking McKenna not to desert his post; Henry Massingham [editor of the Nation], advising him to stand firm for the sake of Liberalism; Sir Daniel Stevenson; Walter Runciman [President of the Board of Trade] on his uneasiness at being associated with the Government, the worthlessness of the War Office's undertakings in protecting the country's financial strength and the impossibility of agreeing to fund seventy divisions; Francis Hirst [editor of the Economist] urging McKenna to stand firm; the Aga Khan advising him to remain in the Cabinet for the good of the Empire.

Also includes McKenna's draft letter of resignation.


  • 1915-12 - 1916-01

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.


1 file(s)

Language of Materials


Finding aid date

2005-09-28 12:20:55.640000+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087

The UK Archival Thesaurus has been integrated with our catalogue, thanks to Kings College London and the AIM25 project for their support with this.