Ultimatum to the German Government
Draft of ultimatum to be sent to German Government
British Library Add. MS 56401, f.161
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The papers of Oliver Harvey, First Lord Harvey of Tasburgh (1893-1968), Principal Private Secretary to Lord Halifax, the British Foreign Secretary at the time of the outbreak of the Second World War, contain this draft of an ultimatum to be sent by the British Government to the Germans following their invasion of Poland in September 1939.
Lord Harvey of Tasburgh, from whose papers this document comes, had entered the Diplomatic Service in 1919. In 1936, he was appointed Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, and became a fervent supporter of Eden's opposition to appeasement. His diaries, also in the British Library, contain very strong criticism of Neville Chamberlain's attempts to reach an accommodation with Hitler. Eden resigned in 1938, and Harvey remained as secretary to Eden's successor, Lord Halifax, but could not feel the same enthusiasm for Halifax's policies and continued unofficially to advise Eden.
In December 1939, Harvey became the British ambassador in Paris, and directed the dramatic evacuation of the embassy during the invasion of France. Eden had been reappointed as Foreign Secretary in December 1940, and recalled Harvey to his old post in June 1941. After the war, Harvey was again Ambassador in Paris from 1948 to his retirement in 1954.