Prelude and Fugue



At Geneva, where no two delegations shared the same angle of vision, each experienced a different Conference. For all of them, however, there were three distinct preoccupations: the formal proceedings; the wheeling and dealing behind the scenes; the protection of one’s back. If these assumed particular intensity for Eden, it was because he was more widely involved. He entered the arena not just as the leader of a delegation, but as the representative of a Great Power and as one of the two chairmen. When he talked to Molotov or Chou en Lai, he had to bear in mind the views of those delegates who could not, or who would not, follow his example; his conversations with Bidault or Bedell Smith were constrained by the sense of a commitment to negotiated settlement they did not entirely share. And, if other delegates might sometimes envy his popularity, his back was exposed to more various arrows: from his allies, from the Old Commonwealth and from the New, from his rivals in the Conservative Party and his opponents in the Labour Party, from all the newspapers to which he was so sensitive, even from the subdued, the deferential, the barely implied criticism of his own subordinates.


Plenary Session French Version Conservative Party Negotiate Settlement Commonwealth Country 
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© Sir James Cable 2000

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