10 January 2008

Let's Play "Connect the Dots": "Vast semi-religious, quasi-political associations..." (4)

The Milner group, according to Quigley, controlled The Times of London from 1912 on, although "[e]ven before this last date, members of the innermost circle of the Milner Group were swarming about the great newspaper." Quigley suggests that The Times had been controlled by what he calls the Cecil Bloc, a network of power and influence built up around the Cecil family, since 1884, and which had a great deal of overlapping with the later Milner Group. Quigley then remarks:

"When it became clear in 1911 that [Times editor] Buckle must soon retire [Geoffrey] Dawson was brought into the office in a rather vague capacity and, a year later, was made editor. The appointment was suggested and urged by Buckle. Dawson held the position from 1912 to 1941, except for the three years 1919-1922. This interval is of some significance, for it revealed to the Milner Group that they could not continue to control The Times without ownership. The Cecil Bloc had controlled The Times from 1884 to 1912 without ownership, and the Milner Group had done the same in the period 1912-1919, but, in this last year, Dawson quarreled with Lord Northcliffe (who was chief proprietor from 1908-1922) and left the editor's chair. As soon as the Milner Group, through the Astors, acquired the chief proprietorship of the paper in 1922, Dawson was restored to his post and held it for the next twenty-two years. Undoubtedly the skillful stroke which acquired the ownership of The Times from the Harmsworth estate in 1922 was engineered by Brand. During the interval of three years during which Dawson was no editor, Northcliffe entrusted the position to one of The Times' famous foreign correspondents, H.W. Steed." [Quigley, p. 102]

Northcliffe would come to regret his choice of Steed as editor and worked ardently to have him replaced in 1922, as we shall in another installment. We will also see what the "skillful stroke" really was.

The "Brand" mentioned is Lord Robert H. Brand who was one of the pillars of the Milner Group from the 1920s through the 1940s, after having served under Milner in South Africa in a group that came to be known as Milner's Kindergarten. He was the economist of the Round Table Group, an international organization set up by Milner to promote the ideas of his group. He was active at the Paris Peace Conference following WWI. Lord Brand was a partner and managing director of Lazard Brothers and Company.

Dawson was, according again to Wikipedia, "also a life-long friend and dining companion of Edward Wood, later Lord Halifax" who was instrumental in Britain's appeasement policy towards Hitler. Dawson was also a member of Milner's Kindergarten in South Africa.

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