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Embassy At War, 1939–44

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Chapter Summary

For the duration of the war, the embassy was able to console itself with the thought that it would be spared the end-of-year chore of producing an annual report. The military atmosphere of the embassy was also thickened by the great increase since late 1937 in the number of British instructors to the Turkish armed forces. Tension between the diplomats in the embassy and the high-octane officers of Special Operations Executive (SOE) was inevitable. Ad hoc diplomacy was particularly marked in Anglo-Turkish relations because of Churchill's special interest in Turkey and his growing impatience with Knatchbull-Hugessen, whom he thought too gentle with the Turks: to the prime minister they were men with a "guilty conscience", and to Sir Alexander Cadogan, the permanent under-secretary at the Foreign Office, simply "villains". The 'Cicero' affair certainly revealed a regime of lax security in the embassy.

Keywords: Anglo-Turkish relations; British embassy; Cicero; Special Operations Executive (SOE); Turkish military



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