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From Enmity to Cooperation: The Second Baldwin Government and the Improvement of Anglo-American Relations, November 1928–June 1929

  • B. J. C. McKercher


One of the pervading interpretations of Anglo-American relations in the interwar period is that the advent of James Ramsay MacDonald's Labour government in June 1929 set in train the series of events that ended bitter relations between Britain and the United States, bitterness which had been caused by the naval question. There are several strands to this: first, that the American policy pursued by the Conservative second Baldwin government from November 1924 to June 1929, and especially after the failure of the Coolidge naval conference in the summer of 1927, was bankrupt; second, that MacDonald was more amenable to settling British differences with the Americans than were his Conservative predecessors and, that being so, softened the hardline towards the United States that had marked Conservative foreign and naval policy for more than two years; and, finally, that MacDonald's decision to travel to the United States on what proved to be a very successful visit in the autumn of 1929 to meet Herbert Hoover, the new president, to discuss outstanding issues personally, was a major diplomatic coup. Some of this received version is true. No one can doubt that MacDonald and his Labour ministry played a crucial role in helping to ameliorate the crisis that had been dogging good Anglo-American relations for more than two years before June 1929. The Labour Party constituted the government when the London naval conference of 1930 ended the period of Anglo-American naval rivalry. Moreover, for six months before that conference convened, Labour had conducted effective diplomacy in preparing for its deliberations.



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1 For instance, see Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, A Great Experiment (London, 1941), pp. 185–88, 200–01; Baker, P. Noel, The First World Disarmament Conference 1932–33 And Why It Failed (New York, 1979), pp. 2853; and Richardson, D., The Evolution of British Disarmament Policy in the 1920s (New York, 1989). The work of Professor David Carlton must be treated separately in this respect. Although a decided critic of the foreign and defense policy of the second Baldwin government, he does suggest in his MacDonald Versus Henderson: The Foreign Policy of the Second Labour Government (London, 1970), p. 104, that “it is by no means certain that Labour's victory at the polls was of decisive importance in bringing about an improvement in Anglo-American relations.” But this book and several of his articles—for instance, Great Britain and the Coolidge Naval Conference of 1927,” Political Science Quarterly 83 (1968): 573–98; and The Anglo-French Compromise on Arms Limitation, 1928,” Journal of British Studies 8 (1969): 141–62—reenforce the idea that a new approach by Labour was critical for ameliorating differences between Britain and the United States.

2 Cf. “[The Baldwin Cabinet] had been opposed to the Treaty of Mutual Assistance. They had insisted on destroying the Protocol. They had abolished the most effective international committee for disarmament that has ever existed….They allowed their technical advisers to hamper the Preparatory Commission [for the World Disarmament Conference] in every way” (Cecil, , Great Experiment, p. 188), and “As far as the second Baldwin administration is concerned, the government and its chief advisers failed to grasp either the intricacies or importance of disarmament, were less than wholehearted in their commitment to resolving the problem and adopted policies that offered little or no hope of achieving either a general arms limitation convention through the League or, in the case of the Geneva Naval Conference of 1927, a major three-power agreement. In essence, Britain's policy was one of procrastination verging on duplicity” (Richardson, , British Disarmament Policy, p. v).

3 Beloff, M., Imperial Sunset, Volume II: Dream of Commonwealth, 1921–42 (London, 1989), p. 145, offers an interesting twist in this by suggesting that a change in American policy, rather than anything the Baldwin government did, was decisive in giving MacDonald his diplomatic triumph: “The movement of American governmental opinion towards agreement paved the way for action by the MacDonald government, which took office on 5 June, along the lines laid down by its predecessor.”

4 See Dayer, R. A., “Anglo-American Monetary Policy and Rivalry in Europe and the Far East, 1919–1931,” in Anglo-American Relations in the 1920s: The Struggle for Supremacy, ed. McKercher, B. J. C. (London, 1990), pp. 162-65, 168–70; Middlemas, K. and Barnes, J., Baldwin: A Biography (London, 1969), pp. 136–48; and Silverman, D. P., Reconstructing Europe After the Great War (Cambridge, Mass., 1982), pp. 188–98.

5 See Coolidge's favorable views contained in Howard [British ambassador, Washington] telegram to Chamberlain [Foreign Secretary], 7 Nov. 1925, Documents on British Foreign Policy [hereafter cited as DBFP], Series 1A, (London, 1968), 2: 871–73; and Hoover's in Hoover memorandum, undated, but c. 20 Jan. 1933, in Hoover Presidential Papers Box 1013, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, West Branch, Iowa [hereafter cited as H.L.]. For examples of ill-feeling on both sides of the Atlantic, see British Library of Information, New York [hereafter cited as BLINY] despatch to Foreign Office, 31 July 1926, P.R.O., FO [Foreign Office Archives] 371/11197/4304/3895; and BLINY despatch to Foreign Office, 29 Oct. 1926, FO 371/11198/5913/3895.

6 See Howard despatch to Chamberlain, 24 Dec. 1926, with minutes, P.R.O., FO 371/12024/96/25; Howard telegram (506) to Foreign Office, 2 Dec. 1927, and Craigie [FO American Department] to Treasury, 6 Dec. 1927, both FO 371/12025/7000/25; Leith-Ross [Treasury] to Craigie, 8 Dec. 1927, FO 371/12025/7155/25; and Foreign Office telegram (514) to Howard, 14 Dec 1927, FO 371/12025/7155/25. Also see McKercher, B. J. C., Esme Howard, A Diplomatic Biography (Cambridge, 1989), pp. 297–99.

7 Hogan, M. J., Informal Entente: The Private Structure of Cooperation in Anglo-American Economic Diplomacy, 1918–1928 (Columbia, Mo., 1977).

8 This point about continued anti-American feelings by British parliamentarians after the settlement of the naval question was made to me by Dr. Robert Boyce, whom I would like to thank for his observation. On this question see his British Capitalism at the Crossroads 1919–1932. A Study in Politics, Economics, and International Relations (Cambridge, 1987), pp. 217–40.

9 On the Washington conference, see Buckley, T. H., The United States and the Washington Conference, 1921–1922 (Knoxville, Tenn., 1970); Ferris, J. R., “The Symbol and Substance of Seapower: Great Britain, the United States, and the One-Power Standard, 1919–1921,” in McKercher, , Anglo-American Relations, pp. 5580; Roskill, S. W., Naval Policy Between the Wars, Volume I: The Period of Anglo-American Antagonism, 1919–1929 (London, 1968), pp. 204–33, 300–30; and Van Meter, R. H. Jr., “The Washington Conference of 1921–1922: A New Look,” Pacific Historical Review 46 (1977): 603–24.

10 The rest of this paragraph is based on Ferris, J. R., Men, Money, and Diplomacy: The Evolution of British Strategic Policy, 1919–26 (Ithaca, N.Y., 1989); Jacobson, J., Locarno Diplomacy: Germany and the West, 1925–1929 (Princeton, 1972), pp. 367; Johnson, D., “Austen Chamberlain and the Locarno Agreements,” University of Birmingham Historical Journal 8 (1961): 6281; idem., “The Locarno Treaties,” in Troubled Neighbours: Franco-British Relations in the Twentieth Century, ed. N. Waites (London, 1971), pp. 100-24; and Orde, A., Great Britain and International Security 1920–1926 (London, 1978). For a different light on Locarno, see Kaiser, A., “Lord D'Abernon und die Entstehung der Locarno-Verträge,” Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte Heft 1 (1986): 85104.

11 Howard telegram (374) to FO, 14 Dec 1924, P.R.O., FO 371/9619/6948/435; and Howard despatch (13) to Chamberlain, 2 Jan. 1925, FO 371/10633/191/6.

12 Chamberlain to Howard, 18 and 31 March 1925, both Chamberlain MSS, FO 800/257.

13 This and the next sentence are based on Ellis, L. E., Frank B. Kellogg and American Foreign Relations, 1925–1929 (New Brunswick, N.J., 1961), pp. 157–62; McKercher, B. J. C., The Second Baldwin Government and the United States, 1924–1929: Attitudes and Diplomacy (Cambridge, 1984), pp. 5758; Richardson, , British Disarmament Policy, pp. 4548; Walters, F. P., A History of the League of Nations (London, 1960), pp. 363–76; and Wheeler-Bennett, J. W., Disarmament and Security Since Locarno, 1925–1931 (London, 1932), pp. 43102.

14 For example, Cmd. 2681, Report of the Council of the League of Nations on the First Session of the Preparatory Commission for the Disarmament Conference.

15 For diverse analyses of the Coolidge conference, see Carlton, “Coolidge Naval Disarmament Conference”; Dubay, R. W., “The Geneva Naval Conference of 1927: A Study of Battleship Diplomacy,” Southern Quarterly 8 (1970): 177–99; Ellis, , Kellogg, pp. 164–92; McKercher, , Second Baldwin Government, pp. 5576; Richardson, , British Disarmament Policy, pp. 119–39; Roskill, , Naval Policy, 1: 498516.

16 The contemporary views of British and American naval officers about these vessels parallels the sort of debate that occurred at Geneva. The Naval Review did not publish serving officers' names to allow them to be candid. Cf. Anonymous, A Plea for Light Cruisers,” Naval Review [hereafter cited as NR] 9 (1921): 248–51; idem., “Control' Cruisers,” NR 11 (1923): 687-91; idem., “Destroyers or Cruisers?,” NR 14 (1926): 301-05; idem., “Cruisers,” NR 15 (1927): 578–82; Howard, H. S., “Light Cruisers,” United States Naval Institute Proceedings [hereafter cited as USNIP] 52 (1926): 1733–46; O'Oyley, W. H., “Cruisers and Naval Warfare,” Brassey's Naval and Shipping Annual 1923 (London, 1923), pp. 111–21; Percival, F. G., “Cruiser Types,” USNIP 53 (1927): 278–88; and Webster, W., “The Cruiser,” USNIP 52 (1926): 607–20.

17 The General Board of the United States Navy concluded prior to the Washington conference that the rate of fire of six-inch guns exceeded that of eight inch guns; this meant that light cruisers' greater rate of fire might more than compensate for the longer range of eight-inch weapons. See the discussions of “Characteristics of Light Cruisers,” in the General Board Meeting of 10 Jan. 1921, in U.S. Navy General Board Hearings, Microfilm Edition Reel 16, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

18 On Britain not being opposed to informal naval equality with the United States—“It is not parity with America that is troubling us. We have not raised any objection to that”—see the speech of Sir William Bridgeman, first lord of the Admiralty, to the second plenary session of the Coolidge conference; a copy is in Cmd. 2964, Geneva Conference (Naval Armaments). Speeches at the Plenary Sessions by the Rt. Hon. W. C. Bridgeman, M.P., First Lord of the Admiralty (June–August 1927). On the statement about British cruiser requirements, see Cabinet Conclusion 44(27), and Appendices, P.R.O., CAB [Cabinet Archives] 23/53; and the speeches of 27 July 1927 by Chamberlain in the House of Commons, Parliamentary Debates (Commons), 5th ser., 209: 1246–49, and Lord Salisbury, the lord privy seal, in the House of Lords, Parl. Deb. (Lords), 68: 933-36.

19 This was a Foreign Office initiative, and in getting it accepted by the Cabinet, Chamberlain overcame the opposition of the navalists among his colleagues. See Vansittart [head, FO American Department] memorandum, 16 Nov. 1927, enclosing Craigie memorandum, 16 Nov. 1927; Thompson [FO American Department] memorandum, 17 Nov 1927; and Locker Lampson [parliamentary under-secretary, FO] memorandum, 21 Nov. 1927, all DBFP, IA, 4: 440–50; Chamberlain memorandum for the Cabinet, 14 Nov. 1927, ibid., p. 433; and Cabinet Conclusion, 57(27)7, P.R.O., CAB 23/55.

20 Howard to Chamberlain, 29 July and 1 Sept. 1927, and Chamberlain to Howard, 10 Aug. 1927, all Chamberlain MSS, FO 800/261.

21 The documents relating to Cecil's departure, including the several drafts of his letter of resignation, are in P.R.O., CAB 21/297. Before and after he resigned, Cecil outlined to a close friend his disenchantment with his Cabinet colleagues over a range of foreign and domestic policy issues, including extending the franchise for women, poor law reform, and more; see Cecil to Irwin [Viceroy of India], 27 Oct. and 4 Nov. 1926, 2 March, 7 June, and 29 Sept. 1927, all Cecil Papers, British Library, Add. MSS 51084. Thus, the failure of the Coolidge conference was not the only reason for his resignation.

22 Howard telegram (488) to FO, 21 Nov. 1927, P.R.O., FO 371/12035/6776/93. Also see McKercher, , Baldwin Government, pp. 8587.

23 The records of the CID belligerent rights sub-committee are in P.R.O., CAB 16/79 and CAB 16/80. On its work, see McKercher, , Baldwin Government, pp. 92–103, 171–94; and idem., “Belligerent Rights in 1927–1929: Foreign Policy Versus Naval Policy in the Second Baldwin Government,” Historical Journal 29 (1986): 963–74.

24 Office of the President, Address of President Coolidge at the observance of the 10th anniversary of the armistice, under the auspices of the American Legion (Washington, D.C., 1928).

25 Blair, J. L., “I do not choose to run for President in Nineteen Twenty-Eight,” Vermont History 30 (1962).

26 Hicks, J. D., Republican Ascendancy, 1921–1933 (New York, 1960), pp. 127–29; McCoy, D. R., Calvin Coolidge. The Quiet President (New York, 1967), pp. 311–13; Roskill, , Naval Policy, 1: 457–58; and Toynbee, A. J., et al., Survey of International Affairs, 1927 (London, 1929), p. 31. Cf. R. H. Campbell [FO Western Department] memorandum, 12 Feb 1927, DBFP, 1A, 3: 568–71.

27 The next two paragraphs are based on the following, all of which offer differing interpretations of the diplomatic agreement: Carlton, “Anglo-French Compromise”; McKercher, , Baldwin Government, pp. 142–57; Richardson, , British Disarmament Policy, pp. 155–87, passim; and Roskill, , Naval Policy, 1: 544–49.

28 See Kellogg to Chilton [counsellor, British Embassy, Washington], 2 Aug. 1928, Kellogg to Atherton [first secretary, American Embassy, London], 2 Aug. 1928, Coolidge telegram to Kellogg, 2 Aug. 1928, and Atherton telegram to Kellogg, 4 Aug. 1928, all United States Department of State, Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States 1928 [hereafter cited as FRUS], (Washington, D.C., 1942), 1: 266-67, 272–73.

29 The rest of this paragraph is based on McKercher, , Baldwin Government, pp. 150–58.

30 On British reaction to this, see Craigie memorandum on “Limitation of Naval Armament. Time-table of Impending political events in the United States,” 27 Nov. 1928, P.R.O., FO 371/12913/8248/39; and Howard telegram (366) to FO, 1 Dec. 1928, FO 371/12823/8232/133.

31 Cushendun memorandum, 14 Nov. 1928, enclosing Craigie memorandum, 12 Nov. 1928, DBFP, 1A, 5: 857–75. This memorandum was circulated to the Cabinet.

32 On the arbitration treaty proposals, see Cushendun note (BR 40) on “Renewal of Arbitration Treaties,” 19 Oct. 1928, “Revised draft arbitration agreement between the United States and Great Britain, submitted to His Majesty's Government by Mr. Kellogg in March 1928” (BR 41), 19 Oct. 1928, and Salisbury memorandum (BR 44) on “Arbitration Treaties,” 23 Oct. 1928, all P.R.O., CAB 16/79. Cf. McKercher, , Baldwin Government, pp. 128–40.

33 See the memoranda mentioned in note 31; also see Cushendun to Chamberlain, 22 Nov. 1928, and Salisbury to Chamberlain, 22 Nov. 1928, both Chamberlain MSS, P.R.O., FO 800/263; and Craigie minute, 26 Nov. 1928, with initials, FO 371/12812/8078/39.

34 See Churchill memorandum for the Cabinet, 19 Nov. 1928, DBFP, 1A, 5: 883–85. Also telling are the views of the strongly navalist and anti-American Sir Maurice Hankey, the secretary to both the Cabinet and the CID; see Hankey to Jones [Baldwin's private secretary], 2 and 11 Oct. 1928, in Tom Jones: Whitehall Diary, ed. Middlemas, K., 2 vols. (London, 1969), 2: 144–45, 146.

35 Jones diary, 1 Nov. 1928, Middlemas, , Whitehall Diary, 2: 155.

36 Jones diary, 6 Dec 1928, ibid., p. 161.

37 On Chamberlain's success, see McKercher, , Baldwin Government, pp. 176–94; and idem, “Foreign Policy Versus Naval Policy.” Those who have argued that Chamberlain lacked success, do so without any empirical evidence and suggest that his supposedly weakened physical condition after his convalescence marred his effectiveness; cf. Middlemas, and Barnes, , Baldwin, p. 375. Typically, Middlemas and Barnes are factually incorrect about when precisely Chamberlain fell ill.

38 See the minutes of the tenth to thirteenth meetings of the belligerent rights sub-committee, as well as the “First Report of the Sub-Committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence on Belligerent Rights,” 13 Feb. 1929, all P.R.O., CAB 16/79.

39 See the minutes of the twelfth to sixteenth meetings of the belligerent rights sub-committee, as well as the “Second Report of the Sub-Committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence on Belligerent Rights,” 6 March 1929, all ibid.

40 Cushendun made this plain to Chamberlain in November 1927 when the former, as Sir Ronald McNeill, prior to his elevation to the Lords, replaced Cecil as the minister responsible for disarmament; see McNeill to Chamberlain, 4 Nov. 1927, Chamberlain MSS, P.R.O., FO 800/261. His views had not changed as the final reports of the sub-committee were prepared; see Cushendun memorandum on “Belligerent Rights at Sea,” 15 Feb. 1929, CAB 16/79.

41 See the minutes of the fourth meeting of the belligerent rights sub-committee, 28 July 1928, P.R.O., CAB 16/79. Howard attended this meeting while on leave in Britain and knew of its decision; see McKercher, , Esme Howard, pp. 333–34.

42 See the relevant portion of his inaugural address in Myers, W. S., ed., The State Papers and Other Public Writings of Herbert Hoover, Volume 1: March 4, 1929 to October 1, 1931 (New York, 1934), pp. 810. Cf. Hoover, H., The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover: The Cabinet and the Presidency 1920–1933 (New York, 1952), pp. 340–41.

43 McKercher, , Baldwin Government, pp. 4446.

44 Hoover, H., The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover: Years of Adventure 1874–1920 (New York, 1951), pp. 152430; and idem, An American Epic: Famine in Forty-five Nations: The Battle on the Front Line, 1914–1923, 3 vols. (Chicago, 1961).

45 Thompson [Foreign Office American Department] minute, 29 Oct. 1928, P.R.O., FO 371/12812/7450/39.

46 Churchill denied this rumour. The material relating to this incident is in P.R.O., FO 371/12839/6071/6071.

47 For an example of unfavourable European reaction, see Dodds [British Legation, Stockholm] despatch to Cushendun, 23 Nov. 1928, P.R.O., FO 371/12812/8146/39; and Howard telegram (338) to FO, 17 Nov. 1928, FO 371/12812/7921/39. On Coolidge reversing himself, see his “Message to Congress,” 3 Dec. 1928, in FRUS, 1929, 1: v–xxx, and the assessment of this in Thompson, Lindsay, and Chamberlain minutes, all 5 Dec. 1928, all FO 371/12813/8387/39; and Office of the President, Address of President Coolidge…22 February 1929 (Washington, D.C., 1929).

48 Particularly, his statement: “Our foreign policy has one primary object, and that is peace. We have no hates; we wish no further possessions; we harbor no military threats,” Acceptance Speech by Secretary of Commerce Herbert C. Hoover. San Francisco, August 11, 1928,” in Schlesinger, A. M. Jr., et al., History of American Presidential Elections 1789–1968, 3 vols. (New York, 1971), 3: 2688.

49 Howard to Vansittart, 24 Jan. 1929, and Howard to Chamberlain 25 Jan. 1929, both Howard MSS, Cumbria County Record Office [hereafter cited as CCRO], DHW 9/61.

50 Howard to Chamberlain, 31 Jan. 1929, ibid.

51 Castle had played a major role in drafting the foreign relations portion of Hoover's acceptance speech for the Republican Party presidential nomination; see Castle to Hoover, 11 July 1928, enclosing “Foreign Relations,” H.L., Castle Papers File 192.

52 Houghton [U.S. ambassador, London] to Castle, 17 Dec. 1928, H.L., Castle Papers File 34.

53 On his annual leave in Britain in the summer of 1928, Howard learned privately from Baldwin of the prime minister's “wish to come to this country [the U. S.] for a visit after the General Election”; in Howard to Vansittart, 24 Jan. 1929, Howard MSS, CCRO, DHW 9/61.

54 Houghton to Castle, 17 Dec. 1928, H.L., Castle Papers File 34. On perceptions of Houghton's antagonism towards Britain, a reflection on his germanophile tendencies, see Chamberlain telegram (670) to Howard, 27 April 1925, P.R.O., FO 371/10639/2199/171.

55 Castle to Vansittart, 14 Feb. 1929, H.L., Castle Papers File 35. By this time, British and American diplomats were privately discussing the impending visit; see Maclean [American Embassy, Paris] to Hoover, 19 Feb. 1929, H.L., Hoover Presidential Papers 998.

56 Coolidge minute to Hoover, 4 March 1929, enclosing Coolidge to Wilbur [secretary of the navy], 20 Feb. 1929, and Wilbur to Coolidge, 21 Feb. 1929, all H.L., Hoover Presidential Papers 38.

57 Hoover to Adams [secretary of the navy], 30 March 1929, enclosing memorandum on “Construction of 15 cruisers and 1 airplane carrier authorized by the Act approved February 13, 1929,” 28 March 1929, and memorandum on “Re Placing [sic] certain naval vessels out of commission,” 28 March 1929, both ibid.

58 Hoover telegram (unnumbered) to Stimson [secretary of state-designate], 21 Feb. 1929, H.L., Hoover Presidential Papers 987.

59 Howard telegram (140) to FO, 13 March 1929, with Craigie minute, 14 March 1929, and Chamberlain initials, 15 March 1929, all P.R.O., FO 371/13548/1864/1864; and Craigie minute, 5 April 1929, FO 371/13548/2429/1864.

60 Howard despatch to Chamberlain, 20 Dec. 1928, with minutes, P.R.O., FO 371/13518/32/30; and Howard telegram (64) to FO, 25 Jan. 1929, with minutes, FO 371/13518/617/30.

61 For example, Howard telegram (91) to FO, 11 Feb. 1929, with Lindsay and Chamberlain minutes, P.R.O., FO 371/13541/1040/279.

62 Howard telegram (143) to FO, 17 March 1929, P.R.O., FO 371/13541/1932/279. Also see McKercher, , Esme Howard, pp. 339–40.

63 Wilson [U.S. observer, League of Nations] to Castle, 8 March 1929, H.L., Castle Papers File 109.

64 On the decision to go ahead with construction, see Roskill, , Naval Policy, 1: 558–9; and on American reaction, see Howard despatch to Chamberlain, 15 Feb. 1929, P.R.O., FO 371/13519/1433/30.

65 “Memorandum of a Conference,” 23 Feb. 1929, Hilary Jones Papers Container 5, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

66 There is also an indication that the Hoover Administration was looking to the impending Hague conference on economic issues, a conference where Britain and the United States would have to cooperate to hold off France and other powers. The continuing crisis over cruisers could create political difficulty for isolated American negotiators at the Hague. See Stimson to Hoover, 11 April 1929, with enclosure, H.L., Hoover Presidential Papers 1006.

67 Gibson to Castle, 26 April 1929, H.L., Castle Papers File 9.

68 Atherton telegrams (98 and 99) to Secretary of State, both 24 April 1929, H.L., Hoover Presidential Papers 998.

69 Atherton to Chamberlain, 5 April 1929, with minutes, P.R.O., FO 371/13548/2429/1864; and Howard despatch to Chamberlain, 12 April 1929, FO 371/13548/2802/1864.

70 For instance, Carlton, , MacDonald versus Henderson, pp. 100–18.

71 Beloff, , Imperial Sunset, 2: 140–45; and Carlton, , MacDonald versus Henderson, pp. 100–18. Richardson, British Disarmament Policy, passim, never considers why precisely, in strategic terms, the Royal Navy required a potent cruiser fleet.

72 This and the next two sentences are based on McKercher, , Baldwin Government, pp. 197–98.

73 On the resolution of the blockade claims issue, see McKercher, B. J. C., “A British View of American Foreign Policy: The Settlement of Blockade Claims, 1924–1927,” International History Review 3 (1981): 358–84. For the legal basis of the British blockade, see the facsimiles of the “Maritime Orders in Council” and the “Contraband Proclamations” issued between August 1914 and July 1917, in Bell, A. C., A History of the Blockade of Germany and of the countries associated with her in the great war (London, 1937 [but not released to the public until 1961 for security reasons]), pp. 711–44.

74 For example, see Craigie memoranda on the “Question of an Agreement with the United States in regard to Maritime Belligerent Rights,” the “Question of the conclusion of an Anglo-American Arbitration Treaty,” and “…the Naval Disarmament Question,” all MacDonald MSS, P.R.O. 30/69/1/267; and MacDonald to Howard, 17 June and 26 July 1929, and Howard to MacDonald, 12 July, 22 Aug., 23 Aug., and 30 Aug. 1929, all Howard MSS, CCRO, DHW 9/63. The continuity of advice from the senior levels of the Foreign Office, the Washington Embassy, and the private secretaries' rooms at Downing Street from the Baldwin to the MacDonald government is ignored by Baldwin government critics, indeed, it is deprecated without any empirical evidence. For instance, Carlton, , MacDonald versus Henderson (p. 22) claims that Howard played no role in the final settlement of the crisis in Anglo-American relations. This would shock MacDonald, who offered Howard a hereditary peerage on his retirement for his monumental work at Washington; see MacDonald to Howard, 29 April 1930, Howard MSS, CCRO, DHW 4/Personal/10; and McKercher, , Esme Howard, pp. 345–48.

75 See the set of four memoranda given to MacDonald by Hoover on his American trip, all undated, all H.L., Hoover Presidential Papers 998; and Craigie to Cotton [American assistant secretary of state], 7 Oct. 1929, enclosing Howard telegram to FO, 6 Oct. 1929, ibid.

From Enmity to Cooperation: The Second Baldwin Government and the Improvement of Anglo-American Relations, November 1928–June 1929

  • B. J. C. McKercher


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