1941 H.N.'s tour of England and Scotland lunches with de Gaulle 'we shall win in the end' Wendell Willkie H.N. in trouble with Churchill the Axis invade the Balkans H.N. invited to lead the National Labour Party discussions with the Free French British troops in Greece Duff Cooper's treatment of journalists meeting with Maisky suicide of Virginia Woolf H.N. to V.S-W. on their marriage Germany attacks in Libya and Greece the battles of Greece and Crete Chamber of the House of Commons destroyed H.N. lunches with Churchill the Rudolf Hess incident sinking of the 'Bismarck' Hitler attacks Russia British propaganda in the United States H.N. is dismissed from the Ministry of Information and made a Governor of the B.B.C. his sense of failure Stephen Spender on democracy H.N. patrols the River Thames with A. P. Herbert Dylan Thomas John G. Winant an evening in Cambridge Lease-Lend Harold Macmillan on Beaverbrook new British offensive in Libya Bevan on intellectuals in war Pearl Harbour H.N. talks with de Gaulle loss of the 'Prince of Wales' 'it has been a sad and horrible year'
Having beaten the German fighters and survived the German bombers, Britain hung on in the hope that somehow or other, at some time or other, the German economy would collapse and America or Russia would enter the war on our side. We had no allies outside the Commonwealth except Greece. Vichy France was almost a declared enemy, and de Gaulle had few gains to show in the French territories overseas except in Equatorial Africa. The threat of invasion was still a very real one to the British, for it was not then known that in the previous October Hitler had told his Army that they could release formations from the Channel coast for employment on other fronts', and that since then his mind had been preoccupied with `13arbarossa', the invasion of Russia which was timed to start on 15th May. We were fighting a defensive battle in the Atlantic against German surface and underwater raiders, and an offensive battle on land against the Italians in north-east Africa. The latter was highly successful. Wavell's desert troops captured Bardia on 5th January, Tobruk on the 22nd and Benghazi on 6th February, and pressed on to El Agheila on the border of Tripolitania, having advanced 5oo miles in two months and wiped out ten Italian divisions for the loss of 438 British soldiers killed. Simultaneously the Sudan was cleared of Italian troops, Italian Somaliland overrun, British Somaliland regained and Eritrea invaded. In Abyssinia a patriot uprising was stimulated and fed by British officers and arms. These successes released troops for use elsewhere. The greatest danger was in the Balkans. Rumania had become a German satellite and Hitler massed an Army on her border with Bulgaria, which he expected to collapse with equal ease. She did so on 28th February, and the Germans now stood within striking distance of Salonika. Britain reacted strongly. Since the outbreak of the Graeco-Italian war, we had given Greece the support of a few R.A.F. squadrons. Now we offered her troops. Eden flew out to Cairo and Athens in mid-February to discuss the details. Our purpose was not merely to honour our pre-war pledge of aid to Greece, but to persuade Yugoslavia and Turkey that if only the three countries would act in combination with Britain, the German occupation of the southern Balkans and the Turkish Straits could be successfully resisted. The maneuver would also have its effect on Russia, who regarded German domination of south-east Europe with misgivings as great as our own. A further advantage was that an advance southwards by the Yugo-slays into Albania would trap the Italian Army facing Greece. The issue turned on the attitude of the Yugoslav and Turkish Governments. Would the former be frightened, like Bulgaria, into signing the Axis Pact? Would the latter prefer neutrality to a defensive war? During the first two months of 1941 Harold Nicolson learned little of these higher strategic objectives. The general design was concealed by the surrounding darkness. The Ministry of Information, which to outsiders sounded like a central control panel, was in fact the interpreter more than the transmitter of news. He was particularly busy with questions of civilian morale, now that the provincial cities were bearing the brunt of the German air attacks, and withBritish relations with neutral and defeated countries. In early January he continued his tour of the Ministry's centres outside London. It was in his own constituency of Leicester that he received from his secretary the news that his rooms in the Temple had been badly shaken by a bomb.
Elvira Niggeman to H.N.2nd January, 1941 Ministry of Information.
I am sorry to tell you that there was either a land-mine or a heavy bomb on the Temple last night, and the windows and window-frames of No. 4 have gone, and some of the paneling is completely destroyed. I will get some stuff to patch over the windows, because you couldn't sit there at all as it is.
I walked up to St Paul's, where things are still smoldering, and then back along Holborn and Guildford Street to the Ministry, and all along there were little groups of people talking quietly but quite determinedly about revenge. There is no doubt that the feeling is growing that similar treatment of the Germans is the only thing they will understand. I also went to a News film and saw the film of London's fire, and when the commentator spoke about doing the same to Germany, there was decided applause in a subdued waysince West End audiences do not shout like suburban ones. When I stood on the steps of St Paul's on Monday, while the fires were still raging, at one moment I caught that subdued muttering, in the way they do the crowds in Oedipus Rex, only it didn't grow louder, and I have never seen a crowd so determined and grave and thoughtful.
I have lived at fever pitch, which the intense cold does not cool. We are fighting devils, and I don't see why we shouldn't fight like devils in order to let them see what it is like. They always get out of everything.
H.N. to V.S-VV.7th January, 1941Queen's Hotel, Leeds
We had a ghastly drive here, or rather the country through which we drove [from Manchester] is hell. Great rolling moors under a grey sky, not unhedged or unvintaged enough to be magnificent, but like soiled grey counterpanes. Then in between and all along the valleys dark mills belching smoke. God how I wish man had never invented the machine! I sympathise with the Nottingham frame-breakers. They saw the light.
I dined with Billy Harlech, the Regional Commissioner. He had been spending the day with the Queen visiting Sheffield. He says that when the car stops, the Queen nips out into the snow and goes straight into the middle of the crowd and starts talking to them. For a moment or two they just gaze and gape in astonishment. But then they all start talking at once. 'Hi ! Your Majesty ! Look here!' She has that quality of making everybody feel that they and they alone are being spoken to. It is, I think, because she has very large eyes which she opens very wide and turns straight upon one. Billy Harlech says that these visits do incalculable good.
DIARY11th January 1941
Go by train to Glasgow. They are all alive and vivid, and I feel that the M. of I. can leave Scotland to look after itself. The clean sense of the Scottish makes me feel sick at heart with the muddy timidity of the English. Even Alan Hodge, who comes from Liverpool, catches the atmosphere. 'Are Scottish people really nicer and more alive than English people, or is it only a first impression?' He is very bright in the head, that boy.
As we have nothing to do in the afternoon, we motor out to Loch Lomond. We have a lovely day and it is very beautiful. Then I start writing my report for Duff and take the night train down from Glasgow.
V.S-W. TO H.N.11th January, 1941 Sissinghurst
I like Jack Macnamara, and do ask him to lunch next Sunday. But warn him that he may not get much to eat. We are in real difficulties down here. I don't think I have eaten meat more than twice this week, and we have depended almost entirely on eggs and vegetables. It is not only that the meat ration is reduced, but there simply isn't any meat to be had. The arrival of a leg of mutton causes a commotion in the village; everybody talks about it and wonders how it will be divided. One cannot even get cheese. I suppose it will improve, and after all, as Lord Woolton remarked, 'Which would you rather have, meat or Bardia? 'a brilliant phrase which put everybody back in a good temper. One or two days I have honestly been hungry; not very, but hungry enough to notice.
DIARY20th January, 1941
I lunch with General de Gaulle at the Savoy. Attlee and Dalton are there. De Gaulle looks less unattractive with his hat off, since it shows his young hair and the tired and not wholly benevolent look in his eyes. He has the taut manner of a man who is becoming stout and is conscious that only the exercise of continuous muscle-power can keep his figure in shape. I do not like him. He accuses my Ministry of being Tetainiste'.`Mail non', I say, 'Monsieur le General.' `Enfin, Petainisant.' Wous travaillons', I said, 'pour la France entiere.' 'La France entiere', he shouted, 'c'est la France Libre. C'est moil' Well, well. I admit he has made a great Boulangiste gesture. But the spectre of General Boulanger passes across my mind. He begins to abuse Petain, saying that once again he has sold himself to Laval, saying that Weygand showed cowardice when bombed at the front. Osusky says that French opinion imagines that de Gaulle and Petain are at heart as one. `C'est une erreur', he says sharply. I am not encouraged.
To change the subject I say that I have received a letter from occupied France which I was surprised had passed the censor. De Gaulle says that he had received a long letter of the most Gaulliste nature, the writer of which had written on the top, 'I am sure the censor will stop this'. Underneath in violet ink was written, la censure approuve totalement We discuss Darlan. He says that Darlan loves his ships as a race-horse owner loves his horses. It does not matter to him whether he races at Longchamps or on Epsom Downs. What matters is that it should be a great race and that he should win it. 'Mils it manque d'estomac.' Had he been a strong man, he would either have fought his fleet with us against the Italians or fought with the Germans against us. As it was, he was preserving his race-horses and they would become old, old, old.
I turn on Roosevelt's inaugural address from Washington. I am still young enough to be amazed at hearing a voice from Washington as if it were in my own room. It is a good speech. He recalls the great blows which America has struck for liberty. He reminds them that Washington created the American idea, that Lincoln saved it from disintegration, and that now they must save it from a menace from outside. 'We do not retreat,' he concludes. 'We are not content to stand still.' I enjoyed that part very much indeed.
We discuss the infinite complexity of arranging the reception of Halifax, who should arrive tomorrow at Baltimore in the King George V.1 How I wish I were with him, except that I could simply not bear to leave London or England in these days. One's patriotism, which has been a vague family feeling, is now a flame in the night. I may have felt arrogant about the British Empire in past years; today I feel quite humbly proud of the British people.
DIARY22nd January, 1941
Winston refuses to make a statement on war aims. The reason given in Cabinet is that precise aims would be compromising, whereas vague principles would disappoint. Thus all those days of work have led to nothing. Winston replies to the debate on man-power. He is in terrific form. Authoritative, reasonable, conciliatory and amusing. In the course of his speech he uses the phrase, primus inter pares. The Labour people cry out, 'Translate !' Winston, without a moment's hesitation, goes on, 'Certainly I shall translate'then he pauses and turns to his rightTor the benefit of any Old Etonians who may be present.'
Back and work hard. James Pope-Hennessy comes to dine at Boulestin. I love his sharp and gentle mind.
DIARY23rd January, 1941
We have taken Tobruk. I go down to Cambridge. I go to see Sir Will Spens, Master of Corpus and Regional Commissioner. He feels that it would be dangerous to be complacent about the public morale. He feels that the people lack imagination and are not aware of the terrific ordeals which lie ahead. He admits that they have shown some sense of proportion about the Libyan victories, but he is not sure that they realise how gigantic the German knock-out blow will be when it comes.
I go round to Trinity, and there to my surprise !find Gerry Wellesley and Anthony Powel1. I sit next to the Vice-Master. The lights in hall are shaded but the portraits are still lit up and the undergraduates in their grey flannel bags are still there. Afterwards we adjourn for port and coffee to the Combination Room. I sit next to George Trevelyan, the Master. I look round upon the mahogany and silver, upon the Madeira and the port, upon the old butler with his stately efficiency. `It is much the same', I say to him. 'Civilisation', he replies, 'is always recognisable.' I then walk back with Gerry to the hotel. It is a joy for me to be with this dear old friend again.
DIARY26th January, 1941 Sissinghurst
Sibyl comes to stay. As usual she is full of gossip. She minds so much the complete destruction of London social life. Poor Sibyl, in the evenings she goes back to her house which is so cold since all the windows have been broken. And then at 9 she creeps round to her shelter under the Institute for the Blind and goes to sleep on her palliasse. But all this leaves her perfectly serene. We who have withstood the siege of London will emerge as Lucknow veterans and have annual dinners.
We have not yet taken Derna but we have invaded Italian Somaliland. In every direction the Italians must feel that their Empire is crashing round their heads. Eritrea has been badly pierced, and we are within striking distance of Massawa. But all this is mere chicken-feed. We know that the Great Attack is impending. We know that in a week or two, in a day or two, we may be exposed to the most terrible ordeal that we have ever endured. The Germans have refrained from attacking us much during the last ten days since they do not wish to waste aeroplanes and petrol on bad weather. But when the climate improves they may descend upon us with force such as they have never employed before. Most of our towns will be destroyed.
I sit here in my familiar brown room with my books and pictures round me, and once again the thought comes to me that I may never see them again. They may well land their parachute and airborne troops behind Sissinghurst and the battle may take place over our bodies. Well, if they try, let them try. We shall win in the end.
DIARY 31st January, 1941
Lunch with Sibyl [Colefax]. I discuss with Hugh Dalton whether our children will tell their children that we members of Churchill's Government 'were giants in those days'. We are not so sure that anyone will ever say that Kingsley Wood was a giant. Winston, of course, will emerge as a terrific figure, and perhaps Portal.
DIARY 1st February, 1941
Wendell Willkie is over here. He is astonished by our attitude. For instance, he was driving through Trafalgar Square yesterday when the sirens sounded. He thought it was merely a midday trial. But when told that it was a real raid (as many as 25 aeroplanes came over), he was startled at the fact that the traffic continued as usual and above all that people continued to feed the pigeons under Nelson's column. I must say, the indifference of the London public to daylight raids has to be seen to be believed. While those dear old ladies were feeding their pigeons, A.A. guns were booming overhead.
DIARY 4th February, 1941
I go to the Dorchester where Rebecca West is giving a dinner for Wendell Willkie. The others are Lady Rhondda, Sibyl [Colefax], Kingsley Martin, Wilson Harris, Julian Huxley, L. B. Namier, Lord Horder, Priestley and others. I sit next to Willkie. He is not tired but he is evidently bored. He turns his charm on but drums with his fingers. We go up to his room and then he settles down to be interviewed. He has had a busy day. He has flown to Dublin to see De Valera and is flying tonight to America. He says that his two major impressions are:
(I) Cohesion in the country. He is amazed that Big Business are as determined on victory as anybody. They know that it means their ruin, but even Montagu Norman had said to him, 'Ruin? Go to hell. We must win.'
(2) Leadership. He quite saw that in normal times Winston might be a 'lousy' Prime Minister, but that today not only was he superb in himself, but the Labour people all recognised his superiority. I could see that what had struck him most was the patriotism of the capitalists.
We asked him about his interview with De Valera. He was very frank. De Valera had produced a map showing how the English still threatened his country by their monstrous occupation of Northern Ireland. Willkie had said that all this did not matter now, but what about the bases? Ireland was definitely proving a disadvantage to the cause of freedom, and American opinion would not be with her. Dev was startled by this and tried to dodge and edge away by accusing the British Government of stupidity. Wilkie said, 'But we all know about that. That doesn't count anyway. You want Britain to win?' De Valera assented to this. 'And yet you are making it more difficult for her?' So in the end that fine and obstinate Spaniard was obliged to say that he was afraid that if he leased the bases, Dublin might be bombed. Wilkie (having been at Coventry and Birmingham) did not conceal his contempt. 'American opinion', he repeated, 'will not be with you.' Dev writhed. Lady Rhondda asks him whether we have made any mistakes with our propaganda. He replies, 'Not a foot or a toe placed wrong.' I am delighted by that. A very attractive man.
DIARY6th February, 1941
To the Civil Defence Committee. We begin by discussing the new invasion leaflet. Herbert Morrison says, 'These points should have been settled months ago; they should have been settled before the war.' For instance, nobody is quite clear whether the public should be asked to store food or not. I gather that they do not expect invasion before 25th February. The area east of Ashford will be evacuated. I tremble for my poor Vita.
In the House there is a supplementary estimate for the tidy little sum of sixteen thousand million pounds. We have to sit there all the time expecting our subject to come up. Finally Philip Noel-Baker opens the debate and concentrates on the German wireless. Every speaker pays a great tribute to the improvements effected since Duff took over and the debate is a howling success. This is a great encouragement to US.
The Germans are definitely infiltrating into Bulgaria, and the Turks are showing cold feet. The pressure on Vichy continues. The Germans are saying, Tetain may have to be removed from those evil counsellors who now surround him.' Darlan has gone back to Paris. The situation is rather disturbing.
H.N. TO V.S-W.11th February, 1941
Oh dear, I have got into trouble. Five months ago I gave a talk about war aims to a private meeting of the Fabian Society. I said nothing that I did not know was approved by the Cabinet at that date. There were no Press present. The Fabian Society did, however, publish the talk in their Year Book and eventually that reached America. My address was lifted by the New York Nation and reproduced as an article. That article reached England and that a long extract from it was published on 3rd February by the Manchester Guardian. It came to Winston's notice. He absolutely blew up, and sent a stinking note to Duff asking by what right I was writing about war aims when he himself had deprecated any mention of them. I wrote a minute explaining what had happened, and Duff will of course back me up. But the P.M. is too busy to go into the rights and wrongs of little things and will feel that I have spoken out of my turn.
I do have such bad luck about this sort of thing. The reason is that although a humble member of the Government, I have news-value abroad. I must say, I was rather shattered when I read the P.M.'s minute. I met him in the smoking-room today and I observed that he was not as genial as usual. I hope it does not mean that I shall lose my job.
You will wonder what this Balkan drive means and you may be interested to have my views on the subject.
In the first place, it is not in the least unexpected, and in fact our Minister in Bucharest was given authority to break off relations two months ago. Being a stout fellow he said he would prefer to stay on and act as a channel of communication as long as possible.
We have little doubt that the original Axis plan was for Italy to make a drive against Cairo from the west and Khartoum from the east. At the right moment Germany would drive through the Balkans. The almost complete collapse of the Italian strategy has altered the situation and the German failure with their dive-bombers at Malta has also made them think again. They are thus driven back upon using overwhelming land-power since they cannot prove effective against us either by air or sea. We must expect them to occupy Bulgaria within the next few weeks and possibly also to drive on to Salonika. It may be, however, that they will make a dash for Constantinople and the Dardanelles on the assumption that both Russia and Turkey are too frightened to take any action.
The universal feeling is that unless Germany can knock us out within the next three months she has lost the war. On the excellent principle that we must expect the worst, we are all saying and thinking that invasion of this country is inevitable. It seems absolutely impossible that they should succeed in this, although they will expose us to very great trials and their submarine activity may bring us very close to food-shortage.
On the other hand they are now forced to hold on to the whole of Europe which is seething with discontent and the morale of their troops is none too good. One has the impression of a very hard core which will be difficult to crack, and inside a state of putrid corruption. I had a long talk with Benes today, who is one of the best-informed people in Europe. He confirms absolutely the above view. He feels that Russia will, in the end, be obliged in her own interests to intervene on our side, and that if we can only withstand the appalling blitz which is coming to us, we shall have won the war.
DIARY 14th February, 1941
Dear London ! So vast and unexpectant, so ugly and so strong ! You have been bruised and battered and all your clothes are tattered and in disarray. Yet we, who never knew that we loved you (who regarded you, in fact, like some old family servant, ministering to our comforts and amenities, and yet slightly incongruous and absurd), have suddenly felt the twinge of some fibre of identity, respect and love. We know what is coming to you. And our eyes slip along your old untidy limbs, knowing that the leg may be gone tomorrow, and that tomorrow the arm may be severed. Yet through all this regret and dread pierces a slim clean note of pride. 'London can take it.' I believe that what will win us this war is the immense central dynamo of British pride. The Germans have only assertiveness to put against it. That is transitory. Our pride is permanent, obscure and dark. It has the nature of infinity.
But I wish all the same that I had not annoyed Winston. I feel in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes. And then I think about Vita, and the rest of the sonnet is completed.
H.N. To V.S-W.18th February, 1941 Ministry of Information
I had the dreaded meeting of the National Labour Party. Malcolm was in the chair. He told us exactly what had happened about his being sent off to Canada. He had said to Winston, 'But you are condemning me to exile. All the lights will be on in Ottawa and I shall yearn for the dark of London.' He refused to go. He said that he would much rather join up. Winston was evidently touched by this attitude and asked him not to decide till next day. After sleeping it over, 'I saw', said Malcolm, 'that if Winston asked me to go to Timbuctoo, I should have to accept.' All this sounds awful bunk when one writes it down afterwards, but if you had been there and heard Malcolm speak so simply and frankly, you would have known that the whole thing was true, and that it reflects great credit both on the P.M. and on Malcolm.
Then the leadership question came up. They wanted me to be leader. But I knew that they did not want it very much. So I said, `But it is absurd that a Party which began under the leadership of Ramsay MacDonald should end under the leadership of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Information. I have neither false pride nor false modesty. But you, as sensible people, will agree that such a solution would make both the Party and myself seem ridiculous.' They agreed, and thus we have left the leadership in suspense and only pray that there will be no Press publicity. How silly and out of proportion it all is !
V.S-W. TO H.N.18th February, 1941 Monk's House, Rodmell, Sussex
Virginia has gone to talk to the servants, and I sit alone in her friendly room with its incredible muddle of objects, so crowded that I am terrified of knocking something over. I've already broken a chair. Leonard has departed for the market, laden with baskets of apples and carrots. They are nice. Leonard has now got a cat, which means that the rooms are further crowded by tin dishes on the floor.
DIARY26th February, 1941
I walk back under the cold stars with some shells bursting around them.
I am rather fussed about this diary. It is not intimate enough to give a personal picture. The really important things that I know I cannot record And this gives a picture of someone on the edge of things who is so certain that he knows what is really happening that he does not dare say so. The day-to-day impressions of a greengrocer in Streatham would really be more interesting. I must try henceforward to be more intimate and more illuminating. It is half that I feel that if I survive, this diary will be for me a record from which I can fill in remembered details. And half that I fmd some relief in putting down on paper the momentary spurts and gushes of this cataract of history.
DIARY27th February, 1941
I attend the Anglo-French Parliamentary Association's lunch for de Gaulle and Muselier. I sit bang opposite to de Gaulle and have much talk with him. I dislike him less than I did at first. He has tired, ruminating but not unkindly eyes. He has curiously effeminate hands (not feminine hands, but effeminate, without arteries or muscle). He abuses the newspaper France, which he says is not 'avec moi'. He is off to Africa soon.
During March events led up to the almost simultaneous German attacks in the western desert and on Yugoslavia and Greece. The first was delivered by General Rommel on the British El Agheila position on 2nd April; the second from the central Balkans four days later.
The British strategy had been to hold the Tripolitanian frontier with light forces based on Benghazi as a far-flung screen for the movement of our troops to Greece, which began on 5th March; and to continue our political efforts to form a southern Balkan bloc composed of Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey. This strategy failed for three reasons. First, Wavell had miscalculated the speed at which Rommel (who had only begun to land his Afrika Korps at Tripoli at the end of February) could assemble a dangerous striking force at the end of his long lines of communication. When he attacked, the sparse British defences at El Agheila were quickly swept aside, and Benghazi itself was lost on 6th April. Secondly, the Turks politely opted for neutrality in spite of Eden's efforts in Ankara, declaring that they would fight hard if directly attacked, but that they were not looking for trouble. Thirdly, and most serious, the Yugoslav Government, urged by Prince Paul, adhered to the Axis Pact on 25th March. Two days later, a coup d' etat in Belgrade forced the Prince's abdication, but British jubilation was premature. The new Government, with young King Peter as its figurehead, showed increasing hesitation to join the Allies. Hitler, however, did not hesitate. Enraged by the Bel-. grade coup, he gave orders for an improvised invasion of Yugoslavia, timed to coincide with his planned attack on northern Greece. Belgrade was obliterated from the air on 6th-8th April, with the loss of 17,000 lives.
 Lord Harlech, the North-Eastern Regional Commissioner for Civil Defence. He had been Secretary-of-State for the Colonies, 1936-38, and later in 1941 was to become U.K. High Commissioner in South Africa.
 He was Assistant Private Secretary to the Minister of Information, 1941-45, and accompanied H.N. throughout this tour. In 1951 he became Joint Editor (with Peter Quennell) of History Today.
 Colonel John Macnamara, Conservative M.P. for Chelmsford since 1935. He was then in command of a battalion of the London Irish Rifles.
 During World War II, it was the site of a major Italian fortification, commanded by General Annibale Bergonzoli. On 21 June 1940, the town was bombarded by the 7th Cruiser Squadron of the Mediterranean Fleet. In this fleet was the cruiser HMAS Sydney. The town was taken during Operation Compass by Commonwealth forces comprised mainly of the Australian 6th Division in fighting over 3-5 January 1941.
 This letter may give the false impression that England was living on a siege-diet. In fact, shortages of the kind described were local and temporary.
 Czech Ambassador in Paris before the fall of France.
 Lord Halifax had been appointed Ambassador in Washington, and was succeeded as Foreign Secretary by Anthony Eden. Churchill, with a typically imaginative gesture, had sent Halifax to America in our newest battleship, King George V.
 The statement on war aims, which advocated a European Federation and increased Socialism at home, had been drafted by H.N. in collaboration with Halifax. His disappointment at its rejection was natural, since it was his greatest single contribution to British policy during his period at the Ministry of Information.
 The architect, and a serving soldier. He was to become the seventh Duke of Wellington in 1943.
 Chief of the Air Staff, 1940-45. It is curious in this connection that neither H.N.'s diaries nor letters make a single mention of Air Chief Marshal Dowding, C.-in-C. Fighter Command and chief architect of our victory in the Battle of Britain.
 Republican candidate in the recent American Presidential Election. Roosevelt had sent over his defeated rival with a special note of introduction to Churchill.
 Eire had declared her neutrality in this war, even though the British Government had not yet recognised her existence as a sovereign State. The Southern Irish ports were denied to Britain in conformity with this 'neutrality', and the range of our destroyer escorts was thereby reduced. At this very moment highly secret negotiations were in progress between the British and American Governments to organise joint ocean convoys in the Atlantic, and this measure partly offset the disadvantage of our exclusion from the Irish ports.
 Shortly afterwards, Duff Cooper received from Churchill a note saying, 'Please thank Mr Nicolson for his explanation.' H.N. drew comfort from the word `thank'.
 Chairman of the West Leicester Conservative Association.
 Edouard Benes, President of the Czechoslovak Republic, 1935-38. In July 1940, he was recognised by the Allied Governments in London as leader of his people in exile. In May 1945 he returned to his liberated country as President, and died in September 1948 after the Communist coup.
 It should be remembered that H.N., although supported by the Conservatives in West Leicester, sat in Parliament as a member of the National Labour Party. The Party had, however, almost ceased to function as an independent group since the outbreak of war.
 Malcolm MacDonald, the leader of National Labour, was Minister of Health in Churchill's Government. He now became U.K. High Commissioner in Canada and remained there till early in 1946.
 This was V.S-W.'s last meeting with Virginia Woolf, who killed herself a month later.
 He was not consistent about this. For example, the last line of the entry on 2nd March speaks of 'important events' to come, without specifying what. It was clearly Cabinet information about the sending of British troops to Greece. This news was not made public until a month later, but H.N. records the build-up in Greek ports by frequent references to it in his diary during March.
 In the previous month, Admiral Muselier, de Gaulle's Naval Commander, had been accused of betraying the plan to attack Dakar. Forged evidence was produced, and he was flung into jail. He was released when the forgery was exposed.