Monday, March 7, 2016

Archie Kerr's famous note to Reggie Herbert (reprise)

Sir Archibald Clerk Kerr, British Ambassasor to Russia during WWII

The following note was written during the Second World War by the British Ambassador to Moscow, Sir Archibald Clerk Kerr, to Lord Pembroke of the Foreign Office. It was released under the Freedom of Information Act on 25 February 2000.

This is a truly excellent example of the masterful use of proper syntax in letter writing, and explains how Britain was able to colonize half the world and extend her cultural, economic and political influence across the centuries without having to miss more than an occasional tea break. This is also another damn good reason why every civilized nation must replace its Official Secrets Act with a Freedom of Information Act...



Lord Pembroke
The Foreign Office
6th April 1943

My Dear Reggie,

In these dark days man tends to look for little shafts of light that spill from Heaven. My days are probably darker than yours, and I need, my God I do, all the light I can get. But I am a decent fellow, and I do not want to be mean and selfish about what little brightness is shed upon me from time to time. So I propose to share with you a tiny flash that has illuminated my sombre life and tell you that God has given me a new Turkish colleague whose card tells me that he is called Mustapha Kunt.

We all feel like that, Reggie, now and then, especially when Spring is upon us, but few of us would care to put it on our cards. It takes a Turk to do that.

Sir Archibald Clerk Kerr,
H.M. Ambassador

[First posted 14 July 2009. Kindly brought to my attention by Pat Goh... and for sure, Archie, I know exactly how you feel!]


Pat said...

Ahhh, I see you did some homework before the post! You are such a good boy. Hehehe.

Starmandala said...

My contention has always been, evil though the British aristocracy undoubtedly is (all aristocracies are tainted on this planet, I'm afraid)... at least it has legitimate claims to being clever and classy, unlike quite a few other aristocracies I have closely observed ;-)

Anonymous said...

Great teachers do it with class!xxx

Anonymous said...

Netanyahu's paranoia extends to 'self-hating Jews' Emanuel and Axelrod

Barak Ravid – Haaretz July 9, 2009

Netanyahu appears to be suffering from confusion and paranoia. He is convinced that the media are after him, that his aides are leaking information against him and that the American administration wants him out of office. Two months after his visit to Washington, he is still finding it difficult to communication normally with the White House. To appreciate the depth of his paranoia, it is enough to hear how he refers to Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, Obama's senior aides: as "self-hating Jews."

"He thought that his speech at Bar-Ilan would become mandatory reading at schools in the United States, and when he realized that Obama gave no such order, he went back to being frustrated," one of his associates said.

At a recent meeting with with Netanyahu, ostensibly about the understandings with the U.S. on the settlements, former prime minister Ehud Olmert was shocked to see the prime minister focusing mainly on the media. "Is this what he called me in for?" a source close to Olmert quoted him as saying.

Behind closed doors, Netanyahu's coalition partners - including Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman - have also expressed shock at his behavior. One senior minister told an aide that he is finding it very difficult to work with the premier. "He drives us mad," the minister said. "Every minute things change, and I am constantly busy doing maintenance on Netanyahu.”

also from