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Gareth Spends a Year in New York



On recommendation from Sir Bernard Pares, he was offered employment by Dr. Ivy Lee, public relations adviser to organizations such as the Rockefeller Institute, the Chrysler foundation and Standard Oil. The intention was research a book on the Soviet Union.  Soon after his arrival in Wall Street, New York in May 1931 he was invited to accompany Jack Heinz II to the Soviet Union. Fortified with food from the Heinz organization including tins of Baked Beans they made their visit in the summer of 1931 and at the end of their tour they visited Ukraine.  Gareth wrote comprehensive diaries of this visit and from them Jack Heinz was to publish a book anonymously entitled Experiences in Russia 1931: A Diary[iii]. Famine conditions were worse - far worse than the year before.  Many 'Kulaks' were being uprooted, many dying particularly en route to Siberia.


En route back to the USA Gareth had three days in London and called on Lloyd George who was recuperating from an operation.  Sylvester wrote this account in his book Life with Lloyd George[iv] but much to my surprise he never mentioned the presence of Gareth accompanying him on this visit. A.J. took him to Churt by car and Gareth recorded the occasion:


Finally after some fine Surrey scenery we entered the drive to Bron-y-De.  Sylvester said that Lloyd George had seen practically nobody and that half of his time was spent in refusing people who wanted to see the Chief - even close friends.


He gave me a wonderfully warm welcome and seemed really delighted to see me.  “Well Gareth,” he said, “You’ve been wandering over the face of the earth like another very potent figure.  I have a large number of questions to ask you.”  I told him that everywhere in America, Russia, Germany, France I heard people asking about him.  He said. “Well, I’ve turned the corner.” …  He looked bright, well and his eyes flashed as much as ever. “And now tell me about Germany.”  I described my visit to Germany.  “And how is Russia getting on?”  I told him that the Communists were much stronger, due mainly to the success of collectivisation and to the policy of Stalin.


Lloyd George: “That was a very courageous and statesmanlike speech.  I think that Stalin is a really great figure.”


I said that the misery of the peasants was great and that they hated the collective farms: “Of course they do.  They’ve got to work now no peasant likes to work.”  He did not seem to have much sympathy for the Russian peasants.


“And now what about America?”  How many unemployed there?”


I said there were probably 8 million fully unemployed and about 8 million part-time.


                   “Doesn’t that lead to blood shed?”  “Well Sir.  There have been serious riots in Kentucky and a number of people have been shot.”


 Miss Russell, the typist came in with the news she had received over the phone.  She read out that MacDonald made no decision about the General Election.  Lloyd George’s facial expression changed immediately and there was a look of tremendous impatience and anger.  “He’s a poor thing!” with absolute scorn.  “He’s betrayed his own party and now he’s going to betray ours.  “Then he snarled  “neurotic.”


Just then we heard a car arriving and in came the maid who announced Sir Herbert Samuel (Home Secretary), Sir Donald Maclean (Minister for Education) (Donald MacLean’s father) and Sir Archie Sinclair (Secretary for Scotland). The historic interview between Lloyd George and the Liberal Ministers in the National Government took place in the next room and then I could hear raised voices.  Lloyd George seemed to be putting vim into them.  They had been wavering.  Lloyd George was saying: “If there is an election the pound will go down, down, down.”  You could hear the word ‘tariff’ being repeated often. 


Lloyd George is as firm against tariff as ever.[v]


Gareth was spectator to Depression of in 1932 in the U.S.A. In two letters to David Lloyd George, Gareth wrote an account of the conditions in America and how the Depression was affecting the once wealthy country.  Lloyd George quoted the January letter in his book the Truth about Reparations and War Debts [vi] as one from a friend in the United States.  Gareth described the feeling in America as one of disillusionment.  He compared the dazzling part of Broadway likening Piccadilly to a Methodist chapel in the country.  There in the brightly-lit centre Gareth described how he had seen hundreds of poor fellows queuing for a handout of two sandwiches, a doughnut, cup of coffee and a cigarette.


Now unemployed himself in New York he returned to work for David Lloyd George. Unbeknown to many he assisted the former Prime Minister in writing his War Memoirs


[i] Diary with letters 1931-1950. Thomas Jones, Oxford University Press 1954. page 45

[ii] The Times Leader October 13th 1930 THE TWO RUSSIAS.

The Western Mail 7th - 11th April, 1931  COMMUNISTS’ FIVE-YEAR-PLAN.

[iii] The Author,  Experiences in Russia -1931: A diary, Alton Press, Pittsburg 1932. (written anonymously by Jack Heinz with a preface by Gareth Jones.

[iv] Life with Lloyd George by A.J.Sylvester, Macmillan Press 1975 page 39.

[v] The Gold Standard Crisis had occurred a few days previously in September 1931.

[vi] Lloyd George, David, Truth about Reparations and War Debts 1932, Doubleday, Doran (Garden city, N.Y) page 122.


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