British Passport Signed By Ambassador Sir Horace Rumbold

British Passport Signed By Ambassador Sir Horace Rumbold

Sir Horace George Montagu Rumbold, 9th Baronet, GCB, GCMG, KCVO, PC (5 February 1869 – 24 May 1941) was a British diplomat. A well-traveled diplomat, learning Arabic, Japanese and German, he is best remembered for his role as British Ambassador to Berlin from 1928 to 1933, where he warned of the ambitions of Hitler and Nazi Germany.

Rumbold was an attache at The Hague (1889–1890) and then served in Cairo, Tehran, Vienna, and Munich between 1900 and 1913. He was then moved to Tokyo (1909–1913) and to Berlin (1913–1914). In 1916 he was appointed ambassador to Berne, Switzerland. After the First World War he was appointed ambassador to Poland in 1919. The following year he became the High Commissioner to Constantinople, during which he signed the Lausanne Treaty on behalf of the British Empire. He was then ambassador to Madrid from 1924 to 1928.

Rumbold then went on to his last job, when he was appointed ambassador to Berlin in 1928. During this time Rumbold was in favor of appeasing the Brüning Government in the hope that this would stave off German nationalist parties, like Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party. However, once Hitler came to power in 1933 he was deeply unsettled by the Nazi regime and produced a succession of despatches which were critical of the Nazis. On 26 April 1933 Rumbold sent to the Foreign Office his valedictory despatch, in which he gave an unvarnished view of Hitler, the Nazis and their ambitions:

“[Hitler] starts with the assumption that man is a fighting animal; therefore the nation is a fighting unit, being a community of fighters…A country or race which ceases to fight is doomed…Pacifism is the deadliest sin…Intelligence is of secondary importance…Will and determination are of the higher worth. Only brute force can ensure survival of the race. The new Reich must gather within its fold all the scattered German elements in Europe…What Germany needs is an increase in territory…[to Hitler] the idea that there is something reprehensible in chauvinism is entirely mistaken…the climax of education is military service [for youths] educated to the maximum of aggressiveness…It is the duty of the government to implant in the people feeling of manly courage and passionate hatred…Intellectualism is undesirable…It is objectionable to preach international understanding…[he] has spoken with derision of such delusive documents as peace-pacts and such delusive ideas as the spirit of Locarno.”

Rumbold concluded by giving stark warnings for the future of international relations:

    “…it would be misleading to base any hopes on a return to sanity…[the German government is encouraging an attitude of mind]…which can only end in one way…I have the impression that the persons directing the policy of the Hitler government are not normal.”

Sir John Simon, the Foreign Secretary, found Rumbold’s descriptions “definitely disquieting”. Ralph Wigram, an official in the Foreign Office, gave Winston Churchill a copy of this despatch in mid-March 1936. After Rumbold’s death, Lord Vansittart said of him; “little escaped him, and his warnings [about Nazi Germany] were clearer than anything that we got later”.

Rumbold was made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) in 1907, a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1917, sworn of the Privy Council in 1920 and appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) in 1922.

Rumbold retired due to his age in June 1933 and died in May 1941, aged 72. He was succeeded in the baronetcy by his son, Anthony, who also became a distinguished diplomat.

The Passport

British Embassy in Berne, Switzerland, hand signed by H.B.M. Horace Rumbold and issued to Sheikh Osman Muhammed (Egyptian Nationality) proceeding to Cairo (via Italy) with the knowledge and consent of His Britannic Majesty’s Government.

Actually not a passport per se also due to it’s form and content but however he must have been of importance or well connected to get such a very interesting “passport document” issued and signed by one of Britain’s finest diplomat.

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