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Extra info for British Diplomacy and the Descent into Chaos: The Career of Jack Garnett, 1902–19

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Matters which preoccupied him have received greater attention: those which he alluded to in passing, such as the Povagé case in St Petersburg, in 1911, though interesting in their own right, have of necessity, been omitted. A further consideration is that, as was the case in pre-war Persia and in Sofia in 1915, the view from the legation was very different from that of the Foreign Office. Local developments and pressures, as well as detailed information yielded by local contacts, helped to shape the perceptions of those on the spot just as wider considerations did for policy makers in London.

The elegant Summer Palace, which housed the British Embassy staff and archives generally between May or June and November each year, was separated from the Bosphorus only by a narrow road. Every morning in the summer months, the secretaries processed in dressing gowns and ‘bathing drawers’, their servants bearing towels and chairs, and bathed in its waters. Garnett was thrilled to be there. Soon after his arrival, he told his father that he was having a ‘ripping time’ with his colleagues. 24 On the following morning, a note arrived from the Porte asking what measures existed to deal with attacks on the Summer Palace in the event of disturbances.

The assumption of the slightest responsibility was avoided and questions of even the paltriest kind were referred to Constantinople. 68 A more serious concern for the Porte was the outbreak in August 1904 of a major insurgency in the Yemen, led by the local tribal leader, the Imam Yahya. 69 Sanaa, Hajje and several garrisoned towns in the southeast of Yemen had already fallen to the rebels. O’Conor, and indeed the Porte, was concerned that the continuing drain upon the Turkish forces threatened to undermine its position in Macedonia and in Constantinople: ‘A Very Wonderful Place’ 29 Eastern Anatolia.

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