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Durham e-Theses
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Sir Edward Grey, the parliamentary radicals and the struggle for control of foreign policy 1911-12

Scrase, G.M. (1993) Sir Edward Grey, the parliamentary radicals and the struggle for control of foreign policy 1911-12. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis examines the issue of parliamentary involvement in foreign affairs, and the implications that this had for British foreign policy, in the period 1911-12. The struggle for control of policy between Sir Edward Grey and the parliamentary Radicals is considered from two perspectives: with reference to the Radicals’ arguments for both review and reform of policy; and with reference to the strategic realities facing Grey which dictated policy in this period. The background to the events of 1911-12 is discussed giving particular attention to three areas - reappraising Britain's strategic position and policy vis a vis the states system in the light of recent historiographical debate; examining the fundamental principles of the Radicals and their previous agitation concerning Parliament and foreign policy; and summarising the key events of summer 1911.The parliamentary struggle is examined with reference both to parliamentary questions and debates, and to relevant private papers and diplomatic documents. The major issues of contention are considered: most notably the Agadir Crisis and Anglo- German schism, the Persian Question and Anglo-Russian collusion, the issue of excessive secrecy in diplomacy, the controversial 'balance of power' question and diplomatic bias, and the constitutional rights of Parliament respecting foreign policy. The struggle for control of both specific diplomatic initiatives and the principles which underwrote policy during this period focuses attention upon the confrontation between the moral imperative (the need to operate policy commensurate with principles of conscience) and the practical necessity (the need to subordinate conscience to considerations of grand strategy). Having assessed the respective parliamentary performance of the protagonists, and the success of their arguments, this study concludes that despite evidence of wilful abuse of Parliament, the diplomatic situation confronting Grey justified both his conduct and policies; that despite an unassailable moral position, the Radical failure to offer practical solutions to serious diplomatic crises and undermining of Grey's position despite this renders their position unsustainable; and that minimal parliamentary involvement was in the circumstances desirable.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1993
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Nov 2012 10:53

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