London, South Kensington
28 November 2011
CHURCHILL, Winston S. Autograph letter signed to 'My dear First Lord' [Sir Eric Geddes], 33 Eccleston Square, 26 September 1917, 3½ pages, 8vo.
THE VITAL IMPORTANCE OF FRANKNESS BETWEEN MINISTERS IN TIME OF WAR. Having returned to Government as Minister of Munitions (on 18 July), Churchill chides the First Lord of the Admiralty: 'A Minister must give his true opinion in counsel or conversation with confidential colleagues & is bound in all circumstances to do his best for the country'; he trusts Geddes will have no hesitation in criticising 'in a spirit of loyalty' any shortcomings he perceives in the Ministry of Munitions; such frankness between colleagues is all the more essential because of the limits on parliamentary scrutiny in time of war, whilst the press and the constituences are ill-informed; he emphasises that the 'utmost freedom of discussion & criticism' which he proposes is not incompatible with the 'comradeship & goodwill' necessary for relations between colleagues. The letter ends by urging close collaboration between their two departments, so as to avoid potential friction where their spheres overlap in questions of labour and materials.
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