22 MAY 1941, Page 5

Sir Robert Vansittart's decision to leave the Foreign Office on

reaching the retiring age of 6o (which is often, and in war- time usually, extended) next month will surprise no one. Sir Robert has been strangely treated. He was for eight years the permanent head of the Foreign Office—but his appointment to the new post of Chief Diplomatic Adviser in 1938, to allow for the deserved promotion of Sir Alexander Cadogan, whom Mr. Eden had brought back from China to be Assistant Under- Secretary two years before, meant in fact that he ceased to be an effective diplomatic force. That was never intended nor fore- seen—because it was not foreseen that Mr. Chamberlain would take control of foreign affairs into his own hands and select the Government's Chief Industrial Adviser as his mentor in diplomacy. Sir Robert will now have leisure to give his considerable literary gifts scope. Black Record will no doubt remain his best-seller, but it will not be his last seller.