847. Harrod to Winston Churchill , 4 October 1938 [a]
[Continues at 855 ]
6, Beaumont Street, Oxford #
4 October 1938
Dear Mr. Churchill
May I for one hereby testify that I am absolutely convinced, in view of such contacts and experience as I have, that the majority of the country is on your side in the foreign policy issue.  I am in favour of a fairly quick election because I believe that there is a tendency to relapse into lethargic optimism until the next crisis when an appeal will be too late.
Of course an electoral pact is essential, and, I believe, quite possible. In one way strong labour representation must help us--in re-gaining Russia.
May I appeal to you for two things. One, a Midlothian campaign carried out throughout the country. Two, initiative with regard to the electoral pact. There is far too much squeamishness at present. If you would go to your Berchtesgaden and talk and talk at Attlee, I believe you could do the trick. If you would have the sense of taking charge of the situation, being the biggest man of the lot, you would find yourself in virtual charge. After all the basis is right, because you agree on the vital and essential and indeed only problem of the moment. I could contribute my tiny mite to this situation, if it were of any value, Attlee's secretary being an old personal friend of mine, who has some respect for me. (John Dugdale.)
I tried talking to the Prof,  with whom I usually pick these things over, this evening, but found him encased in such a massive iceberg of pessimism that conversation was impossible. He suggested that we did not wish much to win an election, since the legacy from Chamberlain made all lines equally hopeless. I am sure you will rise above this and be prepared to take the kicks which materialize.  I write very briefly having a sense of the pressure you are under.
Yours very sincerely
2. F. A. Lindemann.
3. In connection with this letter, Churchill wrote to Lindemann on 9 October 1938: "Harrod has written all this stuff to me, which seems very silly, but please talk to him about it in an amicable manner." (CcTLS copy, one page, unsigned, in Char 2/332/37). According to Gilbert, however, Churchill did not share Lindemann's pessimism: see M. Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill, Volume V, part 2: The Wilderness Years, 1929-35, London: Heinemann, 1981, p. 1198n.
It should be noted that Harrod's account, given a few years later in a speech as the Liberal candidate for Huddersfield, gives a different flavour to the story:
Harrod's chronology is certainly wrong: the Munich agreement was signed on 29 September, while the Manchester Guardian article ("The Opposition. An Electoral Pact Needed", 1938:23 , here as press item 30 ) was published on 6 December. A copy was sent to Churchill on 9 December (see letter 874 ).
- a. ALS, two pages on one leaf, in Char 2/332/14 (Churchill Archives Centre, courtesy of the Master and Fellows of Churchill College, Cambridge, and the Keeper and staff of Churchill Archives Centre). The letter is printed in M. Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill, Volume V, part 3: The Coming of War (1982), pp. 1197-98.
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