926. Harrod to R. G. Hawtrey , 29 August 1939 [a]

Christ Church, Oxford [b]

29 August 1939

Dear Hawtrey

This is just a line to remind you of my existence in case you are directly or indirectly concerned with replenishing staff in the Treasury or any other department in which financial knowledge and understanding might be useful. [1]

In the course of the last year I have filled up two forms offering my services in any capacity, which were circulated by the university authorities. I have not had any notification of being wanted.

I am now in my fortieth year, so it is possible that my proper place is manning a gun. I had a brief career in the artillery [c] training, but not at the front, at the end of the last war.

But I do not wish to act precipitately in the military line, if in fact my truly best service would be on the brain front--a matter which it is difficult to judge about oneself.

It may be that the authorities have already a scheme for pigeon-holing us--you probably know if they have. I have heard nothing.

I am in Ireland at present, [2] but shall proceed at once to Oxford when the emergency arises.

I apologize for bothering you with a personal matter.

Yours sincerely

Roy Harrod

  1. 1. Hawtrey replied on 4 September 1939, that he agreed that Harrod ought to be on the brain front, and that he had mentioned Harrod's name in several quarters in the hope that they may find an appropriate job for him (HP VI-338).

    Harrod also asked Keynes, in case he was approached in connection with personnel, to "be very noble and remember the existence of the still job-less Roy" (Harrod to Keynes, 4 September 1939, in JMK UA/14/2/280). Keynes suggested to be patient, and added: "The right place for you in my opinion is the Treasury, and failing that the Department of Economic Warfare. I may be writing to the Treasury and if so I will mention your name to get you put on a special list which they are preparing. On the other hand the Economic Warfare Department will probably have a much bigger demand for new men" (Keynes to Harrod, 7 September 1939, in HP II-95, Cc in JMK UA/14/281-82). Harrod agreed that he had better to be patient, and pointed out that he "should certainly fancy the Treasury more than the Econ. Warfare" (Harrod to Keynes, 9 September 1939, in JMK UA/14/283). Meanwhile Keynes wrote to Richard Hopkins suggesting to insert Harrod's name in the special list they were preparing at the Treasury; Harrod himself transcribed (in his postwar handwriting) the passages regarding himself:

    • There is one other man [viz. other than Kahn] I think it would be worth for Whale to put on your special list, namely Roy Harrod, of Christ Church, Oxford. His qualities are not quite the same as Kahn's, but he is another of the people I should pick out as of absolutely the right temperament & qualification for the Treasury. Harrod is an exceptionally good and rapid worker on paper and can get through quite a vast amount of things very quietly and efficiently. When the time comes that you want to stiffen up with people in the '30s of the right sort of experience and the kind of efficiency which would have got them in very near the top of the Class I Examination, Kahn & Harrod would be my pick. (in HP(NC). A carbon copy of Keynes's letter to Hopkins, dated 7 September 1939, of which Harrod's is a fairly accurate transcription, is in JMK UA/14/2/309-10).

    Beveridge also promised to mention Harrod's name to Horace Wilson, who was in charge with the personnel (Harrod to his wife, 5 September 1939, in HPBL Add. 72778/36-37), while Henderson referred that Phillips at the Treasury mentioned Harrod's name "as a person they would like to rope in" (Harrod to Wilhelmine Harrod, 4 September 1939, in HPBL Add. 72778/34).

    2. See source note b to this letter.

    1. a. ALS, two pages on one leaf, in HTRY file 10/49 (Churchill Archives Centre, courtesy of the Master and Fellows of Churchill College, Cambridge, and the Keeper and staff of Churchill Archives Centre). Photocopy in HP (NC).

      b. Written on paper headed from Glenharm Castle, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, but emended by hand in "Christ Church, Oxford".

      c. Ms: «artillery, training».


Welcome page

top of page

Return to index of this section

Go to previous page

Go to next page