Item 01: Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett diary, 1915-1917 - Page 190

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[Page 190]

manner in which my connection with the army had come to an end. He showed me a letter from Ian Hmailton full of a conglomeration of most extraordinary lies which he had written in his defence for dismissing me from the aemy. I pointed out in detail its numerous errors and misstatements. Ethel Levy and West lunched with me afterbwhich I attended a meeting of the Newspaper Proprietors Association and gave them a full explanation of my reasons for acting as I did. I think I left them fairly I satisfied. We talked over the matter of the letter to the Prime Minister. It is extremely difficult to get to the bottom of the business or to find out whether the Prime Minister ever received it or not. Harry Lawson was deputed to wait on Asquith and find out exactly what had happened.

In the afternoon I saw Murdoch who gave me a full account of how he had been stopped at Marseilles and the letter taken off him by an officer backed by a large escort of gendarmes and Troops. He had no chance of getting rid of it but insisted upon a receipt. It appears the authorites had no idea at the time that it was a private letter addressed to the Prime Minister but thought it a communication addressed to Harry Lawson. Had they known it was to the Prime Minister they would probably have left it severely alone but having set out to accomplish a definite purpose they could not stop half way. Murdoch subsecquently saw the Prime Minister who told him I had a perfect right to communicate with him direct without the intervention of the Military Authorities. On hearing that the War Office had obtained possession of the letter he immediately sent it. At least that is his version of the mysterious affair. At 11pm I again saw

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