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Foreign News: Burdened Men

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The news from London sounded strangely like the news from Washington: thoughtful Britons were worried about the mountain of work and responsibility lying on one man—Winston Churchill.

Last week the London Observer observed : “The Prime Minister has no time to meet and know his many ministers. He leaves them free to busy themselves with the spadework; and immense labors have gone into the survey and collation of reconstruction problems. But these industrious ministers have no power to make policy; their committees can only draft and recommend; and the Cabinet seldom meets. Yes or no must be said. It must be said, nominally at any rate, by Mr. Churchill, who has his friends by him. There is the Lord Privy Seal [Beaverbrook]. There is the Minister of Information [Brendan Bracken], a faithful and able lieutenant. But they are not policymakers.

“. . . Historians may head two chapters in our recent history with the same title: The Rule of Three. One will tell of the secret conferences with President Roosevelt and Marshal Stalin where, as well as the war decisions that must inevitably be made in secret, vital decisions about the future of Europe have been made. The other will tell of the over-burdened great man’s own fireside circle. . . .”

Eden & Twin. London correspondents have been hearing for weeks that Mr. Churchill’s Foreign Secretary and House of Commons Leader, Anthony Eden, has too much to do. Last week some of the correspondents reported that Eden may give up one job or the other.

If, surprisingly, he surrenders the all-important Foreign Ministry, gossips’ candidates for his successor are Permanent Foreign Under Secretary Sir Alexander Cadogan (rhymes with muggin’) and Robert Arthur James Cecil, Viscount Cran-borne, Dominions Secretary and Leader of the House of Lords. Stooped, willowy, witty Lord Cranborne and Eden were known as the “Foreign Office Twins” when they worked together in the governments of Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain. Their views were so close together that when Eden quit as Foreign Secretary in 1938 in protest against appeasement, Lord Cranborne, his Under Secretary, followed with outspoken approval. Nothing since has ruptured their teamwork. The sensitive hands of Lord Cranborne would pay out the Eden line with few hitches or tangles.

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