Moscow Mustapha

posted Oct 18, 2011, 12:56 PM by Professor Katz   [ updated Oct 18, 2011, 1:03 PM ]
Many of you will remember Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, 1st Baron Inverchapel (1882-1951), an extraordinarily colourful British diplomat, who served as ambassador to Iraq (1935-8), China (1938-42), the Soviet Union (1942-6), and the United States (1946-8).  He was the subject of an interesting biography by Donald Gillies, Radical Diplomat: The Life of Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, Lord Inverchapel, 1882-1951 (London: I.B. Tauris, 1999)...and his photograph in the National Gallery makes him look like James Bond in retirement:

As an historian of England, I have often been asked by my friends in Istanbul if I heard of a letter sent from a British ambassador back home to the Foreign Office making ribald reference to a colleague from Turkey.  One is not in the habit of being smutty, so one is often evasive.  In the interest of scholarship, and with the goal of creating a discreet link to which I can refer, I reproduce here the letter in question, sent by Sir Archibald Clark Kerr to Lord Pembroke on 6 April 1943, from Moscow, at the height of the Second World War.  It was released by the Foreign Office in 1973 under the 30-year rule.