Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)NCLAdd/132-134
TitleCorrespondence between Neville Chamberlain and George F. Pease
Extent4 items
DescriptionThese comprise two letters from Chamberlain, one written from Westbourne, Edgbaston, dated 26 October 1931 and the other from 11 Downing Street [London], dated 20 December 1930, together with envelope addressed to George F Pease, 441 Hagley Road, Birmingham, and one autograph draft of a letter from [Mr Pease] to Chamberlain at Westbourne [Birmingham], dated 18 December 1935.

The long letter of October 1931 was written by Chamberlain in reply to one from Pease dated 24 October (the original of which does not appear to have survived in the personal papers of Neville Chamberlain).

This letter was written in the aftermath of the financial crisis in August 1931 which destroyed the Labour government, the formation of the provisional all-party government, and the General Election on 27 October, when the National Government was returned with large Conservative gains.

Pease's letter appears to have been written following his attendance, as a constituent of Chamberlain's, at a public election meeting. He clearly requested Chamberlain's views and opinions on several current political and economic issues. Chamberlain's lengthy and important letter is the response to these questions, point by point.

He refuses to enter a discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of a tariff but answers on the subject of the National Disarmament Conference to be held in 1932. Chamberlain writes that the national Government's aim will be 'to endeavour to lead nations to rely for their security on the obligations they have undertaken, to renounce war as an instrument of policy, and to seek settlement of disputes by none but peaceful means' and point out that the country's 'reductions in the strength of our armed forces are without parallel elsewhere'.

Pease's second question related to the subject of the possible introduction of a general tariff if the Conservatives were 'returned with a large majority' in the new National Government. Chamberlain reassures Pease by writing that the Government is 'asking for a free hand to examine any measures that may appear to offer assistance in solving the problem of the redress of the adverse trade balance' and is 'not committed beforehand to a tariff.

Pease's third question was too hypothetical to answer: 'No member of the Government could possibly be asked to pledge himself to support anything that the Government may do' but Chamberlain believes that his 'colleagues are prepared to examine everything with an open mind' so that it should be possible to find agreement.

The draft of the letter sent by Pease in December 1935, together with Chamberlain's reply, relate to a newspaper cutting from 'The Northern Echo' about the Pease family of Darlington. Pease sent the cutting to Chamberlain because the article contained a reference to the Chamberlain family and it also made a comparison between the two families and their political influence on their respective native cities
Access StatusOpen


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