Britain and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Study in the Politics of Diplomacy, 1920-1924

By Stephen White | Go to book overview

6

The Curzon Note'

The position of the Coalition government steadily worsened throughout 1922. The Genoa Conference, Lloyd George's 'gambler's last throw', failed to improve his political fortunes; its effect, if anything, was the opposite. The negotiation of the Anglo-Irish settlement placed a further strain upon the government's Conservative supporters, especially following the murder of Field‐ Marshal Sir Henry Wilson in June 1922. The crisis in the Near East three months later gave the impression that Lloyd George's notorious partiality for the Greek cause might again have plunged the country into war had it not been for the presence of mind of the local military commander, General Harington, who had delayed presentation of the government's ultimatum until the situation had eased. Domestically the Coalition continued to lose seats at by-elections, and the sale of political honours was rumoured. The Conservatives, meeting at the Carlton Club on 19 October 1922, accordingly resolved to leave the Coalition; Lloyd George resigned, the King sent for Bonar Law, and Parliament was dissolved on 26 October. In the general election which took place the following month the Conservatives gained an overall majority of seventy-five seats. A new government was thereupon formed; it lacked many senior Conservatives, who had remained loyal to the Coalition, but the presence of Lord Curzon at the Foreign Office suggested an element of continuity in the field of foreign affairs at least.

The appearance of continuity was in fact deceptive: for it had been one of the principal charges against Lloyd George that his exercise of Prime Ministerial powers had verged upon the presidential, and in particular that he had arrogated to himself responsibilities in foreign affairs which belonged more properly to the Foreign Office. Lloyd George's taste for conference diplomacy was partly responsible; and a good deal of attention attached also to the role of the 'garden suburb', a personal staff originally billeted in huts in St James's Park which the Premier had

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Britain and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Study in the Politics of Diplomacy, 1920-1924
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Britain and the Bolshevik Revolution - A Study in the Politics of Diplomacy, 1920-1924 *
  • Contents *
  • Preface *
  • List of Abbreviations *
  • Part I - Negotiation *
  • I - The Trade Agreement *
  • 2 - Labour and Soviet Russia *
  • 3 - Conferences *
  • Part II - Imperial Confrontation *
  • 4 - Imperial Crisis and Soviet Russia *
  • 5 - Soviet Russia and Revolution *
  • 6 - The Curzon Note' *
  • Part III - Labour, Business and Recognition *
  • 7 - 'Entente Commerciale' *
  • 8 - Soviet Russia and Labourism *
  • Conclusion: - Class, Party and Foreign Policy *
  • Notes *
  • Select Bibliography *
  • Index *
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