23 FEBRUARY 1940, Page 6

I find London members of Chatham House increasingly restive at

the organisation's migration to Oxford, increasingly sceptical of the value of the work it is understood to be doing there, increasingly annoyed at the wholesale transportation of its library to a city where it is only by an effort of geo- graphical ingenuity that you can be more than a hundred yards away from a library of one kind or another at any given moment, and increasingly concerned that at a time when instruction of the public on foreign affairs is of capital importance most of the chief authorities on international law, or international affairs generally, or particular countries, should be forbidden to write a line for publication and con- fined to pouring their wisdom into those mysterious press surveys with annotations which go to Government depart- ments, where by all accounts, the officials for whom they are designated are usually much too busy to read them. There may be some exaggeration, though there is certainly considerable truth, in all this. But the harm that is being done to Chatham House, whose independence of the Government has always been its life-blood, in being labelled as an appanage of the Foreign Office and assisted by a Government grant is serious, and the longer the affiliation continues the more difficult will the semi-official label be to detach.