By John Darwin
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Additional resources for Britain, Egypt and the Middle East: Imperial policy in the aftermath of war 1918–1922
As Foreign Secretary, the conduct of policy towards Turkey and Persia were his special responsibilities; while in Mesopotamia he enjoyed an authority moderated by the need for close inter-departmental cooperation and eventually transferred altogether to the Colonial Office. The affairs of Egypt were also his direct concern since their supervision had been reserved to the Foreign Office even after the 'veiled protectorate' was unveiled in 1914. In 1918, Curzon appeared the most striking exemplar of proconsular attitudes in British politics, 'the most able, [and] the most eloquent, exponent of that sane imperialism to which this country is wedded as a necessity of its existence'.
9 Lloyd George, however, was alarmed by the scale of the War Office's plans, and displeased that so sensitive an issue should have been discussed by ministers before he had been consulted. 10 Although Churchill, with the forceful advocacy of his military advisers behind him, eventually extracted a grudging acquiescence to his plans from Lloyd George and the War Cabinet, the prospect of prolonged peacetime conscription was viewed with evident distaste by the Prime Minister, by Bonar Law as leader of the Conservative party, and by Austen Chamberlain, who had become Chancellor of the Exchequer early in January.
But it also owed much to the difficulties that grew out of the peculiar political foundations on which the authority of the ministers depended. The coalition over which Lloyd George presided after the election of 1918 had been acquiesced in by the leaders of the Conservative party to ensure a smooth transition to peace and reconstruction in a period when electoral uncertainties consequent upon the war had been compounded by the great extension of the franchise under the Representation of the People Act of 1918.
Britain, Egypt and the Middle East: Imperial policy in the aftermath of war 1918–1922 by John Darwin