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Sir Edward Grey

Sir Edward Grey

Edward Grey, the son of Lieutenant-Colonel George Henry Grey, and grand-nephew of Earl Grey, was born in 1862. Educated at Winchester and Balliol College, Oxford, he was a strong supporter of the Liberal Party.

In the 1885 General Election Grey was elected to represent Bereick-on-Tweed. Following the 1892 General Election William Gladstone appointed Grey as Secretary for Foreign Affairs.

After the defeat of the Liberal Party in the 1895 General Election, Grey sat on the opposition benches until recalled to the post as Secretary of Foreign Affairs in the government formed by Henry Cambell-Bannerman in 1905.

Grey became concerned by the arms spending of Germany. In 1906 he argued: "The economic rivalry and all that do not give much offence to our people, and they admire (Germany's) steady industry and genius for organization. But they do resent mischief making. They suspect the Emperor of aggressive plans of Weltpolitik, and they see that Germany is forcing the pace in armaments in order to dominate Europe and is thereby laying a horrible burden of wasteful expenditure upon all the other powers."

On 31st August 1907 Grey signed the Triple Entente and united three old enemies. In contrast to the Triple Alliance, the terms of the Entente did not require each country to go to war on behalf of the others, but stated that they had a "moral obligation" to support each other. As Keith Robbins pointed out, the agreement upset some politicians: "It went against the grain for some Liberals that their government should conclude a treaty with a government which had suppressed the parliamentary Duma in Russia. In the Lords, Curzon denounced a treaty which was nothing less than an act of imperial abdication. He was referring particularly to the division of spheres of influence in Persia. Grey himself claimed that a frequent source of friction and possible cause of war had been removed. His critics suggested that he too readily accepted Russian assurances. Taken as a whole, however, the Russian agreement was a further recognition that in the twentieth century the British empire was not in a position to take on simultaneously all powers that might be thought to challenge its pre-eminence. Some feared Germany more, some feared Russia more. Either way, Grey supposed that in his first years of office he had steered a course which retained for Britain freedom of decision while removing a prospect of total isolation."

Kaiser Wilhelm II gave an interview to the Daily Telegraph in October 1908: "Germany is a young and growing empire. She has a world-wide commerce which is rapidly expanding and to which the legitimate ambition of patriotic Germans refuses to assign any bounds. Germany must have a powerful fleet to protect that commerce and her manifold interests in even the most distant seas. She expects those interests to go on growing, and she must be able to champion them manfully in any quarter of the globe. Her horizons stretch far away. She must be prepared for any eventualities in the Far East. Who can foresee what may take place in the Pacific in the days to come, days not so distant as some believe, but days at any rate, for which all European powers with Far Eastern interests ought steadily to prepare?"

Grey replied to these comments in the same newspaper: "The German Emperor is ageing me; he is like a battleship with steam up and screws going, but with no rudder, and he will run into something some day and cause a catastrophe. He has the strongest army in the world and the Germans don't like being laughed at and are looking for somebody on whom to vent their temper and use their strength. After a big war a nation doesn't want another for a generation or more. Now it is 38 years since Germany had her last war, and she is very strong and very restless, like a person whose boots are too small for him. I don't think there will be war at present, but it will be difficult to keep the peace of Europe for another five years."

Grey made the defence of France against Germany aggression the central feature of British foreign policy through a number of private pledges but reduced their deterrent value by not making them public at the time. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28th July, 1914, brought the crisis to a head. The following month George Buchanan, the British ambassador to Russia, wrote to Grey about the discussions he had following the assassination: "As they both continued to press me to declare our complete solidarity with them, I said that I thought you might be prepared to represent strongly at Vienna and Berlin danger to European peace of an Austrian attack on Serbia. You might perhaps point out that it would in all probability force Russia to intervene, that this would bring Germany and France into the field, and that if war became general, it would be difficult for England to remain neutral. Minister for Foreign Affairs said that he hoped that we would in any case express strong reprobation of Austria's action. If war did break out, we would sooner or later be dragged into it, but if we did not make common cause with France and Russia from the outset we should have rendered war more likely."

Grey replied to Buchanan on the 25th July: "I said to the German Ambassador that, as long as there was only a dispute between Austria and Serbia alone, I did not feel entitled to intervene; but that, directly it was a matter between Austria and Russia, it became a question of the peace of Europe, which concerned us all. I had furthermore spoken on the assumption that Russia would mobilize, whereas the assumption of the German Government had hitherto been, officially, that Serbia would receive no support; and what I had said must influence the German Government to take the matter seriously. In effect, I was asking that if Russia mobilized against Austria, the German Government, who had been supporting the Austrian demand on Serbia, should ask Austria to consider some modification of her demands, under the threat of Russian mobilization."

Grey wrote to on Theobold von Bethmann Hollweg on 30th July, 1914: "His Majesty's Government cannot for one moment entertain the Chancellor's proposal that they should bind themselves to neutrality on such terms. What he asks us in effect is to engage and stand by while French colonies are taken and France is beaten, so long as Germany does not take French territory as distinct from the colonies. From the material point of view the proposal is unacceptable, for France, without further territory in Europe being taken from her, could be so crushed as to lose her position as a Great Power, and become subordinate to German policy. Altogether apart from that, it would be a disgrace to us to make this bargain with Germany at the expense of France, a disgrace from which the good name of this country would never recover. The Chancellor also in effect asks us to bargain away whatever obligation or interest we have as regards the neutrality of Belgium. We could not entertain that bargain either."

Grey later wrote in his autobiography, Twenty-five Years (1925) "That, if war came, the interest of Britain required that we should not stand aside, while France fought alone in the West, but must support her. I knew it to be very doubtful whether the Cabinet, Parliament, and the country would take this view on the outbreak of war, and through the whole of this week I had in view the probable contingency that we should not decide at the critical moment to support France. In that event I should have to resign; but the decision of the country could not be forced, and the contingency might not arise, and meanwhile I must go on."

Raymond Gram Swing, a journalist working for the Chicago Daily News, was asked by Theobold von Bethmann Hollweg to go to London to pass a message to Sir Edward Grey, the British foreign secretary. Bethmann-Hollweg warned him: "I must caution you... not a word of this in the newspapers. If it is published, I shall have to say I never said it." Swing wrote about his meeting in his autobiography, Good Evening (1964): "I had little firsthand knowledge of the British at that time. I knew how the Germans regarded them, Sir Edward Grey in particular. He was considered the arch-conspirator, the passionless builder of Germany's ring of enemies, and especially dangerous because of his ability to speak hypocritically about moral virtues - while acting in farsighted national interest. The Sir Edward Grey I met was a revelation. He had the personal appearance of a shaggy ascetic. He was tall, erect, slender, with thin but untidy hair. His clothes were not well pressed. At the time, I knew nothing about Sir Edward Grey, the naturalist, of the breed of Englishmen he represented -sensitive, shy, and complex - or that he was one of the best-educated men in the world. I delivered my message from Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg and ended with the instructions I had received to return to him and repeat what Sir Edward had to say in reply. Sir Edward's face turned crimson when I spoke the word "indemnity." I thought of Baroness von Schroeder's explanation of it and almost blurted it out. But Sir Edward gave me no time to blurt out anything. He ignored what I said about no annexations in Belgium and Belgian independence. He struck at the word "indemnity" with a kind of high moral fury, and launched into one of the finest speeches I had heard. Did not Herr von Bethmann-Holhweg know what must come from the war? It must be a world of international law where treaties were observed, where men welcomed conferences and did not scheme for war. I was to tell Herr von Bethmann-Holhveg that his suggestion of an indemnity was an insult and that Great Britain was fighting for a new basis for foreign relations, a new international morality."

On the outbreak of the First World War Grey believed that he had no alternative but to fulfill Britain's "obligations to honour" by joining France in its war with Germany. Grey's secret diplomacy was strongly criticised by the Labour Party and some members of his own party, including Charles Trevelyan, Secretary of the Board of Education, for these private promises made to the French government. Trevelyan resigned from the government over this issue and joined with E.D. Morel, George Cadbury, Ramsay MacDonald, Arthur Ponsonby, Arnold Rowntree and other critics of the Grey's foreign policy to form the Union of Democratic Control (UDC).

Grey was also deeply shocked by how his policies had failed to prevent war and prophesied that: "The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them in our lifetime." Grey's Balkan diplomacy was blamed for turning Turkey and Bulgaria against Britain and was excluded by Herbert Asquith from his Inner war cabinet.

Grey, the longest serving Secretary of Foreign Affairs in British history, was removed from office by David Lloyd George in December, 1916. He was granted the title Viscount Grey of Fallodon and became leader of the House of Lords. In retirement, Grey wrote his autobiography, Twenty Five Years (1925) and the best-selling, The Charm of Birds (1927).

Sir Edward Grey died on 7th September 1933.

The economic rivalry and all that do not give much offence to our people, and they admire (Germany's) steady industry and genius for organization. They suspect the Emperor of aggressive plans of Weltpolitik, and they see that Germany is forcing the pace in armaments in order to dominate Europe and is thereby laying a horrible burden of wasteful expenditure upon all the other powers.

Germany is a young and growing empire. Who can foresee what may take place in the Pacific in the days to come, days not so distant as some believe, but days at any rate, for which all European powers with Far Eastern interests ought steadily to prepare?

Look at the accomplished rise of Japan; think of the possible national awakening of China; and then judge of the vast problems of the Pacific. Only those powers that have great navies will be listened to with respect when the future of the Pacific comes to be solved; and if for that reason only, Germany must have a powerful fleet. It may even be that England herself will be glad that Germany has a fleet when they speak together on the same side in the great debates of the future.

The German Emperor is ageing me; he is like a battleship with steam up and screws going, but with no rudder, and he will run into something some day and cause a catastrophe. I don't think there will be war at present, but it will be difficult to keep the peace of Europe for another five years.

As they both continued to press me to declare our complete solidarity with them, I said that I thought you might be prepared to represent strongly at Vienna and Berlin danger to European peace of an Austrian attack on Serbia. If war did break out, we would sooner or later be dragged into it, but if we did not make common cause with France and Russia from the outset we should have rendered war more likely.

I am afraid that the real difficulty to be overcome will be found in the question of mobilization. Austria is already mobilizing. This, if the war does come, is a serious menace to Russia, who cannot be expected to delay her own mobilization which, as it is, can only become effective in something like double the time required by Austria and Germany. If Russia mobilizes, we have been warned that Germany will do the same, and as German mobilization is directed almost entirely against France, the latter cannot possibly delay her own mobilization even for the fraction of a day. This however means that within 24 hours His Majesty's Government will be faced with the question whether, in a quarrel so imposed by Austria on an unwilling France, Great Britain will stand idly aside, or take sides.

1. A conviction that a great European war under modem conditions would be a catastrophe for which previous wars afforded no precedent. In old days nations could collect only portions of their men and resources at a time and dribble them out by degrees. Under modern conditions whole nations could be mobilized at once and their whole life-blood and resources poured out in a torrent. Instead of a few hundreds of thousands of men meeting each other in war, millions would now meet, and modern weapons would multiply manifold the power of destruction. The financial strain and the expenditure of wealth would be incredible. I thought this must be obvious to everyone else, as it seemed obvious to me ; and that, if once it became apparent that we were on the edge, all the Great Powers would call a halt and recoil from the abyss.

2. That Germany was so immensely strong and Austria so dependent upon German strength that the word and will of Germany would at the critical moment be decisive with Austria. It was therefore to Germany that we must address ourselves.

3. That, if war came, the interest of Britain required that we should not stand aside, while France fought alone in the West, but must support her. In that event I should have to resign; but the decision of the country could not be forced, and the contingency might not arise, and meanwhile I must go on.

I said to the German Ambassador that, as long as there was only a dispute between Austria and Serbia alone, I did not feel entitled to intervene; but that, directly it was a matter between Austria and Russia, it became a question of the peace of Europe, which concerned us all. In effect, I was asking that if Russia mobilized against Austria, the German Government, who had been supporting the Austrian demand on Serbia, should ask Austria to consider some modification of her demands, under the threat of Russian mobilization. This was not an easy thing for Germany to do, even though we should join at the same time in asking Russia to suspend action. I was afraid, too, that Germany would reply that mobilization with her was a question of hours, whereas with Russia it was a question of days; and that, as a matter of fact, I had asked that, if Russia mobilized against Austria, Germany, instead of mobilizing against Russia, should suspend mobilization and join with us in intervention with Austria, thereby throwing away the advantage of time, for, if the diplomatic intervention failed, Russia would meanwhile have gained time for her mobilization. It was true that I had not said anything directly as to whether we would take any part or not if there was a European conflict, and I could not say so; but there was absolutely nothing for Russia to complain of in the suggestion that I had made to the German Government and I was only afraid that there might be difficulty in its acceptance by the German Government. I had made it on my own responsibility, and I had no doubt it was the best proposal to make in the interests of peace.

His Majesty's Government cannot for one moment entertain the Chancellor's proposal that they should bind themselves to neutrality on such terms. We could not entertain that bargain either.

I was asked to call upon the Chancellor tonight. His Excellency had just returned from Potsdam. He said that, should Austria be attacked by Russia, a European conflagration might, he feared, become inevitable, owing to Germany's obligations as Austria's Ally, in spite of his continued efforts to maintain peace. He then proceeded to make the following strong bid for British neutrality. He said that it was clear, so far as he was able to judge the main principle which governed British policy, that Great Britain would never stand by and allow France to be crushed in any conflict there might be. That, however, was not the object at which Germany aimed. Provided that neutrality of Great Britain were certain, every assurance would be given to the British Government that the Imperial Government aimed at no territorial acquisition at the expense of France, should they prove victorious in any war that might ensue.

His Excellency ended by saying that ever since he had been Chancellor the object of his policy had been, as you were aware, to bring about an understanding with England; he trusted that these assurances might form the basis of that understanding which he so much desired. He had in mind a general neutrality agreement between England and Germany, though it was of course at the present moment too early to discuss details, and an assurance of British neutrality in the conflict which present crisis might possibly produce would enable him to look forward to realization of his desire.

His Majesty's Government cannot for a moment entertain the Chancellor's proposal that they should bind themselves to neutrality on such terms.

What he asks us, in effect, is to engage to stand by while French colonies are taken and France is beaten so long as Germany does not take French territory as distinct from the colonies.

From the material point of view such a proposal is unacceptable, for France, without further territory in Europe being taken from her, could be so crushed as to lose her position as a Great Power, and become subordinate to German policy.

Altogether apart from that, it would be a disgrace for us to make this bargain with Germany at the expense of France - a disgrace from which the good name of this country would never recover.

The Chancellor also, in effect, asks us to bargain away whatever obligation or interest we have as regards the neutrality of Belgium. We could not entertain that bargain either.

Having said so much, it is unnecessary to examine whether the prospect of a future general neutrality agreement between England and Germany offered positive advantages sufficient to compensate us for tying our hands now. We must preserve our full freedom to act as circumstances may seem to us to require in any such unfavourable and regrettable development of the present crisis as the Chancellor contemplates.

I really felt angry with von Bethmann-Hollweg and von Jagow. They had given us to understand that they had not seen the terms of the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia before it was sent; they had been critical of it when they saw it. Von Jagow had said that, as a diplomatic document, it left something to be desired, and contained some demands that Serbia could not comply with. By their own admission they had allowed their weaker Ally to handle a situation on which the peace of Europe might depend, without asking beforehand what she was going to say and without apparently lifting a finger to moderate her, when she had delivered an ultimatum of the terms of which they did not entirely approve. Now they vetoed the only certain means of peaceful settlement without, as far as I knew, even referring it to Austria at all. The complacency with which they had let Austria launch the ultimatum on Serbia was deplorable, and to me unaccountable; the blocking of a Conference was still worse.

Among the acquaintances I made at this time was Baroness von Schroeder, wife of a Junker nobleman of wealth and station. She was known as "the American Baroness," though she was a native of Canada. She was tall, had sloping shoulders, an upturned nose, wide-apart bright blue eves, a retreating chin, and a flair for politics. She was a socialite supporting the moderate von Bethmann-Hollweg against army extremists. She gave dinners to which the Chancellor and his friends were pleased to come. She repeatedly told me that von Bethmann was a moderate, opposed to any annexations after the war. I said that if that were true, he should tell me and let me repeat it to Sir Edward Grey, for the British certainly had a different view of him. And that was precisely what she brought to pass.

I was received by the Chancellor in the somber palace where his office was situated. I was invited to sit in the ample chair at the side of his huge desk, and there I was told, without any preliminary conversation, just what I was to repeat to Sir Edward Grey. Germany would not annex any Belgian territory after the war and would guarantee Belgium's independence. But he added a fateful phrase. I also was to tell Sir Edward that Germany would want an indemnity for having been forced into the war.

Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg may have noted my disappointment at hearing this. "Can I trust you?" he asked. "Not a word of this must be published in the newspapers. You understand that?" "Of course," I said. "And you are able to deliver the message to Sir Edward Grey in person, for it must go to no one else in London." I said I was confident the London office of my newspaper could assure this. "Then come back and tell me what he says." The Chancellor, a tall figure of a man, with gaunt cheeks above his short beard, rose from his desk. "I must caution you again," he said, "not a word of this in the newspapers. If it is published, I shall have to say I never said it." I repeated that I understood, and he held out his hand gravely.

My mind raced with dissociated ideas. I realized that I was in the office of Bismarck and von Bulow, where the modern German empire had been blueprinted, and that here the issue of the European war and the European peace was to be shaped. I was astonished to be there, and that I should be there undertaking to bear a message to London. I also was disconcerted by the sentence about an indemnity. I knew it made the mission to Sir Edward Grey futile.

I so confessed to Baroness von Schroeder, to whom I at once reported. "Don't be so stupid," she said. "The Chancellor was simply protecting himself. He has to do that. If the army hears he has been talking peace with Sir Edward Grey, he can point to the demand for an indemnity. After all, he has to take precautions. This is a risky step for him. Sir Edward need only say that an indemnity is out of the question, but that he is interested in the proposal about Belgium. He will be smart enough to see why the indemnity has to be mentioned."

This reassured me. That night I was on the train for Holland and a day later walked into the London office of the Chicago Daily News. Edward Price Bell, who was in charge, was astonished, but when I told him why I had come, he lifted the telephone and it was at once arranged that I should be received by Sir Edward Grey late that afternoon. It was faster work than would have been possible in Berlin.

I had little firsthand knowledge of the British at that time. At the time, I knew nothing about Sir Edward Grey, the naturalist, of the breed of Englishmen he represented -sensitive, shy, and complex - or that he was one of the best-educated men in the world.

I delivered my message from Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg and ended with the instructions I had received to return to him and repeat what Sir Edward had to say in reply. I was to tell Herr von Bethmann-Holhveg that his suggestion of an indemnity was an insult and that Great Britain was fighting for a new basis for foreign relations, a new international morality.

Whether I might have saved something from this interview and the efforts behind it is a question I still am not able to answer. If I had been ten years older, I should have asked Sir Edward to let me tell him a little about the political situation in Berlin, and in doing so would have explained that the mention of an indemnity had undoubtedly been a kind of escape clause for the Chancellor, in the event that the army learned that he was talking about peace with the British Foreign Secretary, through an American intermediary. I should have impressed upon Sir Edward that the message in which the Chancellor was interested was the pledge of no annexations and the guarantee of Belgian independence after the war. I should have pointed out that Sir Edward had it in his power to encourage quietly the moderates in the German guvornrnent, but that a blank refusal even to give one word on the promise about Belgium might weaken, not strengthen, the very influences he must wish to see reinforced. I said none of these of these things and should have said all of them. But I am not sure that if I had it would have made any difference. Sir Edward's whole case for going to war rested on the German violation of the guaranteed neutrality of Belgium. A promise not to violate it further or again would not have impressed him. Sir Edward, in his memoirs, wrote that early in the war an American correspondent had come from the German Chancellor with a message that Germany would expect an indemnity for having been forced into the war, and did not even mention the promise against annexation and the guarantee of Belgian independence. That was all he remembered from my visit. If I had carried out my mission with more sophistication, perhaps he would have remembered the real purpose of it.

When I returned to Berlin, I was again received by Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg and repeated to him what Sir Edward Grey had said. He listened without comment, then thanked me for my report. He could not have been surprised. His government had made a public promise of no annexations with no effect on the British. I do not believe it dawned on him that everything Sir Edward had said was stirred by the sinister word "indemnity," which he himself had used. And I am sure that Baroness von Schroeder was able to solace him at the next dinner he attended at her house on the ground that my visit had demonstrated that he alone was a man of peace.

Even then (after the letter sent to Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg on 30th July 1914) Sir Edward Grey did not abandon his role as peacemaker. In the same carefully-guarded letter he held out a promise that if the peace of Europe could be preserved, and the present crisis passed, he would do his utmost to promote some new scheme - hitherto too Utopian to form the subject of definite proposals - by which Germany could be assured that no aggressive policy would be pursued against her or her allies by the Triple Entente, severally or collectively. The Foreign Secretary went further than this on the following day, when he promised the German Ambassador that if Germany would only put forward some reasonable proposal for settling the existing differences, he would not only support it both at St. Petersburg and Paris, but go the length of saying that if Russia and France declined to accept it, Great Britain would have nothing more to do with the consequences.

The issue for us is that, if Germany wins, she will dominate France; the independence of Belgium, Holland, Denmark, and perhaps of Norway and Sweden, will be a mere shadow; their separate existence as nations will be fiction; all their harbours will be at Germany's disposal; she will dominate the whole of Western Europe, and this will make our position quite impossible. We could not exist as a first class State under such circumstances.

There is something more which I think any far-seeing English statesman must have long desired, and that is that we should not remain permanently isolated on the continent of Europe, and I think that the moment that aspiration was formed it must have appeared evident to everybody that the natural alliance is between ourselves and the great German Empire.

I cannot conceive any point which can arise in the immediate future which would bring ourselves and the Germans into antagonism of interests. On the contrary, I can see many things which must be a cause of anxiety to the statesmen of Europe, but in which our interests are clearly the same as the interests of Germany and in which that understanding of which I have spoken in the case of America might, if extended to Germany, do more, perhaps, than any combination of arms in order to preserve the peace of the world.

If the union between England and America is a powerful factor in the cause of peace, a new Triple Alliance between the Teutonic race and the two branches of the Anglo-Saxon race will be a still more potent influence in the future of the world. I have used the word 'alliance', but again I desire to make it clear that to me it seems to matter little whether you have an alliance which is committed to paper, or whether you have an understanding in the minds of the statesmen of the respective countries. An understanding is perhaps better than an alliance, which may stereotype arrangements which cannot be regarded as permanent in view of the changing circumstances from day to day.

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Sir Edward Grey (Viscount Grey of Falloden), 1862-1933

Sir Edward Grey, third Baronet and first Viscount Grey of Falloden, was the longest serving Foreign Secretary of the twentieth century, guiding Britain’s foreign policy in 1905-16. In the 1920s, he was a prominent voice on foreign affairs, and a strong supporter of Asquithian Liberalism. Grey’s importance to British politics as Foreign Secretary lay in his maintenance of good relations with France and Russia at a time when Europe was extremely unstable. In later years, his support for the League of Nations left an important intellectual legacy for Liberal internationalists.

Grey was born in London on 25 April 1862, the eldest child of Colonel George Grey and Harriet Grey (ne Pearson). His father was an equerry to the Prince of Wales, his grandfather, Sir George Grey, was Home Secretary under Russell and Palmerston, and his great-grandfather was a brother of Charles Grey, the Prime Minister responsible for the Great Reform Act. Grey was educated at Winchester and Balliol College, Oxford, where he took a third in jurisprudence in 1884, despite being sent down earlier in the year for idleness. Succeeding to his grandfather’s baronetcy in 1882, Grey first stood for Parliament in 1885, when he was elected as Liberal MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed. He was created a Knight of the Garter in 1912, and held Berwick until his elevation to the Lords as Viscount Grey of Falloden in July 1916.

As a backbencher, Grey supported Irish Home Rule, and developed an interest in land reform. Having acquired a reputation for good judgment, he became Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign Office in August 1892, serving under two foreign secretaries: Lord Rosebery to March 1894, and then the Earl of Kimberley until June 1895. Since both of these foreign secretaries were in the House of Lords, Grey was responsible for speaking on foreign affairs in the Commons. In opposition from 1895 to 1905, he was associated with Liberal Imperialists such as Rosebery, Haldane, and Asquith. As a member of this group, Grey was an enthusiast for Britain’s effort in the Boer War (1899-1902), which meant that he was not a strong supporter of Campbell-Bannerman’s leadership of the Liberals. However, concerned to secure balance within the party, Campbell-Bannerman appointed Grey as Foreign Secretary in December 1905.

Grey held this office until December 1916, during which time he dealt with crucial episodes in European diplomacy. Despite criticisms from Radicals who opposed alliances, Grey used the diplomatic system to secure British interests. In 1911, he renewed the 1902 Anglo-Japanese alliance, and one of his major achievements was the negotiation of the Anglo-Russian Entente of August 1907. This resolved differences between Britain and Russia in areas bordering India, which strengthened the British position, and lessened tensions between the two countries. Grey was a strong supporter of continuity in foreign policy, and he built upon the Anglo-French Entente of 1904, negotiated by his Conservative predecessor Lord Lansdowne. Thus Grey backed French diplomacy in the Moroccan crises of 1905-06 and 1911, and allowed the British and French military to hold conversations. Radicals were uneasy over such secret diplomacy, believing it involved covert pledges that Britain would intervene in a European war in which France was involved. This was untrue, and Grey was open-minded over the possibility of agreements with Germany but other than the Baghdad Railway Agreement (1913), no treaty was possible, and his outrage over German violation of Belgian neutrality in August 1914 meant that he was a major influence on the Cabinet’s decision to enter the Great War.

After war broke out, diplomacy played a reduced role, and Grey had no significant influence on the direction of the war. When the government was reconstructed under Lloyd George in December 1916, he lost office. During the latter part of the war, he became a strong supporter of a league of nations, to which all countries would submit their disputes, and which would have the power to make awards and impose sanctions on aggressors. When the League was founded in 1919, Grey became President of the League of Nations Union, a high-profile organisation which supported the League’s cause in Britain.

The rest of Grey’s career after leaving the Foreign Office has been neglected by historians, but he remained a significant figure in Liberal politics, and his views on foreign affairs were valued by all parties.

This meant that he was made a temporary ambassador to the USA in September 1919, when he led an unsuccessful special mission to encourage President Wilson and the Senate to reach a compromise allowing America to enter the League. Some attempted to persuade Grey to re-enter politics in 1920-21, especially Asquith and the moderate Conservative, Robert Cecil, who believed Grey could lead a new centre party. Grey’s failing eyesight meant that he was not attracted to the suggestion but in 1923-24, he was persuaded to lead the Liberal Party in the House of Lords.

He was also President (1927-33) of the Liberal Council, an Asquithian faction within the Liberal Party, formed in response to Lloyd George becoming party leader in 1926. The Council aimed to persuade Liberals that true Liberalism remained alive in the party despite Lloyd George’s leadership. Outside politics, Grey was Chancellor of Oxford University from 1928 until his death in 1933. This role at Oxford, like his publication of a book, The Charm of Birds (1927), reflected his desire to explore life outside politics in the 1920s.

Grey died on 7 September 1933 at his house, Falloden, in Northumberland. He had married Dorothy Widdrington in 1885, but she died in 1906. Grey married again in 1922, to Pamela, the daughter of Percy Wyndham, and widow of the 1st Lord Glenconner. However, Pamela died in 1928, and there were no children from either marriage.

Grey wrote two volumes of memoirs: Twenty-Five Years, 1892-1916 (1925). His other publications include: Fly Fishing (1899) The League of Nations (1918) The Charm of Birds (1927). There are two biographies: G. M. Trevelyan, Grey of Falloden (1937) and Keith Robbins, Sir Edward Grey: A Biography of Lord Grey of Falloden (1971). A study of his time as Foreign Secretary is: F. H. Hinsley (ed.), British Foreign Policy under Sir Edward Grey (1977).

Dr. Richard Grayson is the former director of the Centre for Reform think-tank and former Director of Policy for the Liberal Democrats. He is the author of Austen Chamberlain and the Commitment to Europe: British Foreign Policy, 1924-29 (1997) and Liberals, International Relations and Appeasement (2001).


Sir Edward Grey: a fitting tribute

For almost 80 years the distinguished profile of Sir Edward Grey has looked on as the great and the good have made their way in and out of the ‘Ambassador’s Entrance’ of the Foreign Office. But how did this memorial to Britain’s longest continuously serving Foreign Secretary come to be there?

Grey was in office from 1905 to 1916 and is chiefly remembered for being Foreign Secretary when Britain entered the First World War in 1914. Created Viscount Grey of Fallodon in 1916, he died on 7 September 1933. Soon after his death a committee was formed to devise a fitting tribute to keep alive his memory as a statesman and public figure.

Their initial plan, for a memorial in the precincts of either Westminster Abbey or the Palace of Westminster, was dashed by a new rule which barred such memorials until ten years after a person’s death. So the committee proposed a bust of Grey, in Italian stone within an architectural surround of Portland stone, to sit in the Downing Street Garden wall facing the Foreign Office.

But the First Commissioner of Works, the minister responsible for overseeing the erection of public memorials in London, disliked the scheme. As an alternative he proposed a medallion, featuring Grey’s profile, along with a suitable inscription, to be placed on the Downing Street wall of the Foreign Office. Meanwhile the Foreign Office preferred to see a bust of Grey placed in a ‘suitable niche’ on the Grand Staircase.

When the issue came before the Cabinet in July 1935 they favoured the Foreign Office option.

However the committee thought that the memorial had to be accessible to the public, given the fact that it was being paid for by public subscription, and instead pushed for the medallion in the Foreign Office wall. There was some confusion as to whether this option had already been rejected by the Cabinet. (In fact they had remained silent on the point.)

The First Commissioner wrote to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, to recommend the proposal. Eden strongly opposed the medallion which he thought would be unsatisfactory from an aesthetic point of view. He pressed again for a bust on the Grand Staircase, opposite statues of other former Foreign Secretaries, where it would be seen by the majority of visitors to the Foreign Office and where Grey would be ‘in good company’.

When the First Commissioner met the committee in February 1936 he had before him a letter from the Prime Minister agreeing to the scheme and a letter from the Foreign Secretary strongly opposing it. The First Commissioner deferred to the Prime Minister. Eden, who thought it absurd that the Foreign Office had no power to control memorials ‘about its walls’ called it ‘a wretched business’.

In July 1936 Sir Edwin Lutyens submitted a scheme consisting of a portrait panel set into the masonry at the side of the Foreign Office doorway at the end of Downing Street with an inscription cut into the stone base below. The plans were sent to the Royal Fine Art Commission to see if their comments might provide an opportunity to cancel the offer of the site but they replied positively. Eden subsequently dropped his objections.

On Tuesday 27 April 1937 the memorial was unveiled by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin in front of a distinguished company of friends and admirers of Lord Grey. Over 1,000 people had subscribed to the fund, raising over £4,000 for the memorial and other commemorative projects.

Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin waits to unveil the memorial in 1937
(The Times / News Syndication)

The plaque consisted of a classical portrait of Grey, in relief, surrounded by a circular inscription: ‘Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, MCMV—MCMXVI’. Carved in the wall below the plaque, after Grey’s name and dates, was the following tribute: ‘By uprightness of character, wisdom in council and firmness in action, he won the confidence of his countrymen, and helped to carry them through many and great dangers’.

Despite the differences of opinion the choice of memorial has stood the test of time. The plaque’s location, next to the door used for eleven years by Grey to enter the Foreign Office, proved appropriate, even though Downing Street is now closed to the public.

But decades of weathering eventually took their toll. Until recently it was in a poor state of repair, with parts of the inscription hardly legible. In 2014, the year of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office restored the memorial to its former glory. It now forms an intrinsic part of the fabric of the building.

The memorial today: Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond speaking at the unveiling of the restored Sir Edward Grey memorial


Sir Edward Grey was first mentioned in Hellboy: Wake the Devil and since then has had a number of relatively minor appearances in various Hellboy comics, sometimes appearing as a cloaked figure wearing a mask. Grey was featured prominently in the first issue of Abe Sapien: The Drowning, first published in February of 2008.

Later that same year, the Witchfinder series made its debut with the short story Murderous Intent in MySpace Dark Horse Presents #16. This short story was designed to introduce Sir Edward Grey in advance of the miniseries In the Service of Angels. Both stories were written by Mike Mignola with Ben Stenbeck on art.

The second miniseries, Lost and Gone Forever, came out in 2011, this time with John Arcudi handling writing duties and John Severin on art. This was Severin's last complete comic before he died.

The third miniseries, The Mysteries of Unland, was published in 2014. This story is unique among the Witchfinder titles in that it does not give Mike Mignola a writing credit. The Mysteries of Unland was written by Kim Newman and Maura McHugh with Tyler Crook on art duties. The final pages of this story tie into a flashback sequence in Abe Sapien: The Shadow Over Suwanee, also drawn by Crook.

Beware the Ape, a short story set in between Lost and Gone Forever and The Mysteries of Unland, came in May 2014 in Dark Horse Presents #36. This was written by Mike Mignola with art by Ben Stenbeck. Though only a short story, it ties in with the larger mythology of a recurring Cthulhu-like statues (seen in Lobster Johnson: Tony Masso's Finest Hour and several Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. stories).

In 2016, Chris Roberson became the ongoing series writer for Witchfinder beginning with City of the Dead (with Ben Stenbeck on art duties). Mike Mignola was so impressed with Roberson's work on the title, he was invited to write several other titles as well.

A full list of Witchfinder stories can be found here: List of Witchfinder stories


GREY, Thomas I (by 1508-59), of Enville, Staffs.

b. by 1508, 1st s. of Sir Edward Grey of Enville by 1st w. Joyce, da. of John Horde of Bridgnorth, Salop bro. of William Grey I. m. by 1540, Anne, da. of Sir Ralph Verney of Pendley in Tring, Herts., wid. of Sir William Cave, at least 4s. inc. John † 5da. suc. fa. 13 Feb. 1529.1

Offices Held

Biography

The Greys of Enville were descended from the youngest son of Reynold, 3rd Lord Grey of Ruthin. Although Thomas Grey attained his majority before his father died, an enfeoffment compelled him to wait until he was 29 before he could enter into his inheritance in Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and elsewhere: moreover, his father died heavily in debt and only bequeathed him £50 towards the redemption of a chain.2

The wide dispersal of Grey’s patrimony makes it next to impossible to distinguish him from all his namesakes, but among these the friend of Erasmus, the yeoman of the King’s chamber (who was dead by 1547), the usher of the Queen’s chamber (who lived at Castle Donington and Langley, Leicestershire, and died between 1562 and 1565) and the student admitted to Gray’s Inn in 1543 were all demonstrably different people. Of Grey himself there is little trace. Nominated but not pricked sheriff of Staffordshire in 1535, he never achieved any local office and his only known incursion into public affairs was his Membership of the second Marian Parliament. This he presumably owed to his connexions, especially perhaps to his link with the Giffards: in 1551 he was one of the feoffees to a use for Sir John Giffard and his son (Sir) Thomas Giffard. Although probably a Catholic, he did not forbear to acquire former chantry property in the parishes of Enville and Kinver. Through his marriage he was related to the brothers Edmund Verney and Francis Verney, who were to be implicated in the Dudley conspiracy in July 1557 he and one William Conyers were bound with Francis Verney in a recognizance for £200 on Verney’s pardon and release.3

By his will of 22 Dec. 1559 Grey divided his property into three parts one was to pass immediately to his heir, another to remain with his wife for her life, and the third to be held by his executors, his kinsmen Francis Kynaston and Bassett Fielding, until the conditions of the will had been performed. The executors were empowered to sell whatever was necessary, the chantry in Enville being specified for disposal. Grey died nine days later and was buried in accordance with his wishes in Enville church, where a monument was erected over his grave. An inquisition taken at Wolverhampton on 4 Mar. 1560 found that many of his lands in the shire had been leased to Rowland Shakerley, a London mercer, and that his son and heir John was 19 years old.4


Who's Who - Sir Edward Grey

Sir Edward Grey, Viscount Grey of Fallodon (1862-1933), was born in 1862.

Educated at Winchester and Balliol College, Oxford, Grey was elected to Parliament as a Liberal member in 1892, representing the seat of Berwick-on-Tweed. Grey served twice as Foreign Secretary, firstly from 1892-95 in Gladstone's final administration, and then from 1905-16 in Henry Campbell-Bannerman and Herbert Henry Asquith's governments.

Sometimes criticised for a certain opacity in his administration of British foreign policy, Grey saw the defence of France against German aggression as a key policy component, consequently entering into an agreement with France and Russia, each guaranteeing to come to the aid of the others in the event of war. Unfortunately much of Grey's diplomacy was conducted behind closed doors, and was not made sufficiently public as to act as a deterrent to German policy.

It is argued that had Grey clearly stated in late July 1914 that Britain either would - or would not - support France in the event of war, war itself could have been avoided. In short, if Britain had declared early support for France it is suggested that Germany would have convinced Austria-Hungary to settle with Serbia rather than declare war. Similarly, if Britain had made clear that she would remain neutral in the event of war, France (and possibly Russia) would have attempted to seek a resolution.

In any event, once Germany declared war against France on 3 August and invaded neutral Belgium the following day, Britain entered the war against Germany, Grey citing an 'obligation of honour' to France and Belgium - the latter through a 19 th century treaty guaranteeing Belgian neutrality.

The nature of Grey's diplomacy led to dispute within his own party, and within the opposition Labour Party. Charles Trevelyan, the Liberal Secretary of the Board of Education, resigned from the government in protest over Grey's handling of the matter.

Grey himself was shocked by the turn of events, issuing his famous warning, "The lamps are going out all over Europe we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime." His Balkan policy was blamed for antagonising Turkey and Bulgaria, and for complicating relations with Greece and Roumania, leading to his exclusion from Prime Minister Asquith's Inner War Cabinet in November 1915.

With Lloyd George's ascent to power as Prime Minister in December 1916, Grey was replaced by Balfour as Foreign Secretary. Ennobled earlier that year in July as Viscount Grey of Fallodon, he subsequently became Leader of the House of Lords.

Having published his Memoirs in 1925, Sir Edward Grey died on 7 September 1933.

Saturday, 22 August, 2009 Michael Duffy

The first zeppelin raid on London was on 31 May 1915. Earlier raids in January 1915 had avoided London. The London raid resulted in 28 deaths and 60 injuries.

- Did you know?


Missile Gap

Throughout the 1950s, the United States became convinced that the Soviet Union had better missile capability that, if launched, could not be defended against. This theory, known as the Missile Gap, was eventually disproved by the CIA but not before causing grave concern to U.S. officials.

Many politicians used the Missile Gap as a talking point in the 1960 presidential election. Yet, in fact, U.S. missile power was superior to that of the Soviet Union at the time. Over the next three decades, however, both countries grew their arsenals to well over 10,000 warheads. 


Memorandum of Sir Edward Grey

(Confidential )
Colonel House told me that President Wilson was ready, on hearing from France and England that the moment was opportune, to propose that a Conference should be summoned to put an end to the war. Should the Allies accept this proposal, and should Germany refuse it, the United States would probably enter the war against Germany. Colonel House expressed the opinion that, if such a Conference met, it would secure peace on terms not unfavourable to the Allies and, if it failed to secure peace, the United States would [probably] leave the Conference as a belligerent on the side of the Allies, if Germany was unreasonable.

Colonel House expressed an opinion decidedly favourable to the restoration of Belgium, the transfer of Alsace and Lorraine to France, and the acquisition by Russia of an outlet to the sea, though he thought that the loss of territory incurred by Germany in one place would have to be compensated to her by concessions to her in other places outside Europe. If the Allies delayed accepting the offer of President Wilson, and if, later on, the course of the war was so unfavourable to them that the intervention of the United States would not be effective, the United States would probably disinterest themselves in Europe and look to their own protection in their own way.

I said that I felt the statement, coming from the President of the United States, to be a matter of such importance that I must inform the Prime Minister and my colleagues but that I could say nothing until it had received their consideration. The British Government could, under no circumstances accept or make any proposal except in consultation and agreement with the Allies….


Who's Who - Colonel House

Edward Mandell House (1858-1938), self-styled "Colonel" House (colonel in nickname only) served as President Woodrow Wilson's closest confidant during the four years of the First World War.

A politician from a prominent Texan family, House established a reputation as a notable behind-the-scenes Democrat political operator in Texas during the 1890s.

An ambitious man, House sought to exert influence at the national level, an aim he achieved with his alliance with Wilson, whom he first met in November 1911 and whom he backed in the following year's presidential election.

Initially one of numerous advisors, House's increasingly close relationship with Wilson boosted his influence until he was widely acknowledged as the president's closest confidant. At home, House was instrumental in bringing onside moderate political journalists such as Walter Lippmann.

Remarkably self-confident in his ability to understand and shape international affairs, House initially focussed his enthusiasm and drive on Latin America before turning his attention to the war in Europe from August 1914 onwards.

A prominent early advocate of the president's policy of 'limited preparedness', House made his first visit to Europe in January 1915, where he remained until June as Wilson's intermediary.

Not especially reliable in his reports to Wilson - he was prone to exaggerate his own influence in addition to that of the U.S. - House quickly came to understand that the Allies weren't particularly keen on U.S. mediation in settling the war.

Thereafter embracing the Allied cause, House courted potential personal and political disaster during his second visit to Europe in January-March 1916. There, he met and agreed with the British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey in February 1916 what amounted to an ultimatum to Germany: submit to American mediation on pain of U.S. military intervention.

Such an approach went far beyond anything that Wilson himself would have considered. However, House was spared from a likely breach with Wilson when the British government itself disavowed the agreement (commonly known as the House-Grey Memorandum).

House was similarly unable to negotiate meaningful positive responses from the belligerent nations in response to Wilson's peace note of December 1916.

Responsible with Wilson and Lippmann for drafting the former's Fourteen Points, House worked with America's European allies in the policy's modification to ensure its agreement in European parliaments.

Despite House's abundant self-belief in his diplomatic abilities, he was to be found wanting in these at the Paris Peace Conference following the armistice. He was inclined to side with the European Allies when placed under pressure, rather more so than Wilson who proved less open to compromise.

Similarly, House - perhaps rather more realistic in this respect than his president - urged co-operation and compromise with Wilson's Republican political opponents in delivering ratification of the Versailles treaty in Congress.

The Republicans, led by Wilson's nemesis Henry Cabot Lodge, would only agree to ratify America's part in the Wilson-designed League of Nations if specific provisions were included limiting U.S. obligations within the organisation. Wilson refused to compromise the bill consequently failed in Congress.

Wilson and Lodge separated in June 1919 (for reasons unknown). House subsequently attempted (and failed) to carve a similar role as intimate advisor to Franklin Roosevelt in 1932.

Edward Mandell House, who published four volumes of The Intimate Papers of Colonel House between 1926-28, died on 28 March 1938 at the age of 79.

Saturday, 22 August, 2009 Michael Duffy

An Armlet was a cloth band worn around the arm to identify a particular duty or function.

- Did you know?


An enlightened man for the darkest times

Everyone has heard of Sir Edward Grey because of one quotation. On 3 August 1914, he explained to the House of Commons, as Foreign Secretary, why Britain was now obliged to go to war with Germany. His speech, with its heavy heart and its clear argument, was greatly admired. Then he returned to the Foreign Office, and worked till dusk. He looked up from his desk and saw the man lighting the gas lamps in St James’s Park below. ''The lamps are going out all over Europe,’’ Grey said to his companion, ''We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.’’

It is fitting that Grey is remembered for these words, because they are expressive of his character and his predicament. Although a stay-at-home (he went abroad only once during his 11 years as Foreign Secretary), he believed in European civilisation, and sought to preserve it. He was also constitutionally pessimistic: the events of the Great War and its aftermath justified his pessimism.

It is typical of Grey to have looked out of the window. He was a great – almost a fanatical – lover of nature, especially of birds. He longed to be away to his beloved fishing cottage in Hampshire or his family estate in Fallodon, Northumberland. No Cabinet minister (unless it be Sir Alec Douglas-Home) has ever studied the flora and fauna of St James’s Park so closely and been so sustained by them in the uncongenial difficulties of politics.

While a minister, Grey got acquainted with the man who looked after the waterfowl in the park and lived in the little cottage ornée which still stands there. One morning, the man took Grey to see a dabchick’s nest. Her eggs had just hatched. The mother, being suspicious, ''presented her body’’ to her chicks and, wrote Grey, ''each bird got on to the back of the old one and was there covered by her folded wings. When all the young were mounted, the parent swam away with her whole family, compact, concealed and safe.’’

Michael Waterhouse has written an admiring biography of the statesman-ornithologist. On the whole, admiration is a better start for biography than dislike, and Waterhouse paints a picture which puts the reader on Grey’s side. He conveys the sadness, loss and isolation amid the advantages of Victorian high birth. Grey lost his father when he was 12. He loved his wife, Dorothy, and she loved him, but she seems to have refused him all sexual relations.

He may, suggests Waterhouse, have fathered illegitimate children (one of whose lines is now German), and have had a long affair with Pamela Tennant whom, after Dorothy’s death (she was thrown from a dog-cart), he married. Pamela, too, predeceased him, as did a brother killed by a lion, and another brother killed by a buffalo. Both his adored houses burnt down. By the end of the war, the great watcher of nature was going blind.

And from 1885, when he entered the Commons, until he resigned as Foreign Secretary in 1916, Grey gave the best years of his life to an activity he did not really enjoy – politics. Not only did he dislike London, writing of ''the aggressive stiffness of its buildings’’, but he almost perpetually longed to be away from the public business to which he devoted himself. ''Where’s Grey?’’ shouted MPs when, in the spring of 1914, there was no senior member of the Liberal government in the Chamber for an important Irish debate. ''Gone fishing’’ was the chorus of reply. It was true.

Waterhouse makes an excellent, if sometimes, over-emphatic case for Grey’s achievements as a statesman. He shows how he established a unique, global reputation for trustworthiness and how he was steady in his moderate policy of building alliances to resist Germany.

Most interestingly, he demonstrates how Grey was the first important British politician to build a ''special relationship’’ with the United States. This was to prove invaluable in all the diplomacy with America about trade, the German blockade and shipping, which governed the wartime years. His tact, contrasted with Germany’s arrogance, was immensely important in bringing America in on the Allied side. There is a charming account of how Grey took President Theodore Roosevelt (by now out of office) on a long walk through the New Forest at this time of year to hear the birds. Roosevelt noticed that only one song – that of the golden-crested wren – was common to both countries.

Literary, intelligent, principled, handsome, reformist, enlightened and direct, Grey was a high representative of his culture. He was what the world meant by an English gentleman. He had strong abilities and a sense of duty. There is almost no one like him in modern politics, and that is a bad thing. Grey is the classic example of the politician with a ''hinterland’’.

Michael Waterhouse, who is clearly at home in the same territory, explains very well exactly how Grey caught his salmon, organised his ''duck dinner’’ by which he fed his birds each night at Fallodon, or listened intently to the stone curlew. He lets Grey, who wrote beautifully about such things, speak in these pages. Yet one ends up having some sympathy with the great villain of this book, David Lloyd George, who said that Grey mistook ''correctitude for rectitude’’ and did not rise to the challenge of war.

For all Grey’s appealing qualities, there is something strange about a public man who so fiercely preferred rural remoteness to his actual job. It is as if his disposition was too nervous ever to engage completely with his great task. His type was honourable, but it did not resist failure enough and so, at last, and in a huge catastrophe, it failed.


Watch the video: Καίτη Γκρέι - Τραγούδια Επιτυχίες. Kaiti Gkrey - Greatest Hits (December 2021).