Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Rufus Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading, the Marconi Scandal and the Balfour Declaration.
In 1911 the UK Prime Minister Herbert Asquith and the UK cabinet approved a plan for a chain of state-owned wireless stations throughout the British Empire.
Asquith asked the Postmaster General, Herbert Samuel, to find a company to undertake the work.
Samuel gave the contract to the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company. The chairman of Marconi was Godfrey Isaacs, a close friend of Samuel and the brother of Sir Rufus Isaacs, the Attorney General in Asquith's government.
Although the contract was not made public, shares in the company swiftly increased from around £2 to £9.
Hilaire Belloc published allegations of corruption in The Eye Witness, which was edited by Cecil Chesterton. It was suggested that Sir Rufus Isaacs had made £160,000 out of the deal. It was also claimed that Godfrey Isaacs, David Lloyd George and Herbert Samuel had profited by buying shares based on knowledge of the government contract.
In 1913 a parliamentary inquiry discovered that Godfrey Isaacs had purchased £10,000 worth of shares in Marconi. Rufus Isaacs purchased 10,000 £2 shares in Marconi and immediately resold 1,000 of these to David Lloyd George. Herbert Samuel bought 3,000 shares at £2,532.
Although the parliamentary inquiry revealed that David Lloyd George, Herbert Samuel, and Sir Rufus Isaacs had profited directly from the policies of the government, it was decided the men had not been guilty of corruption.
Godfrey Isaacs brought a successful action against Cecil Chesterton for criminal libel; Chesterton was fined £100.
In 1914 Rufus Isaacs became a Baron and in 1926 he became 1st Marquess of Reading, GCB, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, PC, QC. This is the highest rank in the Peerage reached by a Jew in British history. He remains the last non-royal to be created a marquess.
In 1913, Isaacs was made Lord Chief Justice, a position in which he served until 1921.
1917 was the year of the Balfour Declaration. This stated the position, agreed at a British Cabinet meeting, that the British government supported Zionist plans for a Jewish "national home" in Palestine. Prime Minster, David Lloyd George, was sympathetic to the Zionist cause. Before the war, Lloyd George had served as legal counsel to the Zionists.
Lloyd George was beholden to Rufus Isaacs, by whom he was implicated in insider trading in Marconi shares.
At the same time, America's President Wilson, who also took an interest in the Balfour Declaration, was trying to keep secret his relationship with Mary Allen Peck.
In 1918, Isaacs was appointed Ambassador to the United States, a position in which he served until 1919, while continuing at the same time as Lord Chief Justice.
In 1921, Isaacs became Viceroy of India. Isaacs authorized the imprisonment of Gandhi and allowed the hated salt tax.
Marconi scandal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rufus Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading - Wikipedia, the free ...
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Balfour Declaration of 1917 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Posted by Anon at 3:23 PM