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Charge of Improper



The Prime Minister (Mr. Baldwin) has ordered'the dismissal from the Civil Service "of Sir Christopher Bullock, who is Permanent Secretary to the Air Min

Jstry and a member of the Air Council.

This decision follows an official re- port which described conversations be- tween Sir Christopher Bullock and emi- nent officials of Imperial Airways, Ltd.,

in which Sir Christopher Bullock had i suggested means by which he might attain the post of . chairman of the

board of that organisation. I

Sir Christopher Bullock's salary was £ 3000 j a year. !

The report states that there was no ques-

tion of corruption, but Sir Christopher Bul- j lock's conduct was at variance with the spirit I

of the Civil Service code, which precludes a Civil servant from Interlacing public negotia- tions with the advancement of his personal


The report describes conversations which began on May 14, 1934. when Sir Chrlstophet Bullock suggested to Lord Londonderry, who was then Minister for Air, that the inaugura- tion of negotltaions for an Empire air mail scheme might be an opportune moment to confer a high honour on Sir Eric Geddes. Lord Londonderry asked what honour would be acceptable to Sir Eric Geddes, and Sir Christopher Bullock Interpreted this as authority to sound Sir Eric Geddes, with whom he arranged an interview.

Sir Erie Geddes indicated that a certain honour would be acceptable if it was con- ferred in recognition of his services in linking up the Empire by ah.

Sli Christopher Bullock then turned the conversation to his own career, a topic which, the leport considers, was never absent from his mind. He explained that he had got as far as possible in the Civil Service, and would like to Join the board of Imperial Airways, Ltd., with a view to succeeding Sir Eric Geddes as chairman. Sir Eric Gedde3 did not com- ment, but he was inwardly disturbed by Sii Christopher Bullock's ambitions, and, natu- rally, disliked the suggestion that he should


Sir Eric Geddes asked Sir Christopher Bul- lock on June 21, 1934, why his name had not been included in the King's Birthday honours. Sir Christopher Bullock replied that the honour would be conferred when the agree- ment was signed. Sir Eric Geddes heatedly replied that if it was to be a reward for negotiating the agreement it was out of the question, and would best be forgotten.


Sir Christopher Bullock again raised the question of the possibility of his becoming chairman of Imperial Airways, Ltd., and although the subject was distasteful to Sir Er'c Geddes, Sir Christopher Bullock obtained an interview on September 9, 1934, for the purpose of suggesting that he should join the board of Imperial Airways, Ltd., as a Govern- ment director and deputy chairman. Sir Eric Geddes replied that there was no vacancy as an ordinary director, and that he could not consider Sir Christopher Bullock as a Government director until he knew the mind of the Minister for Air.

Sir Christopher Bullock had lunch with the managing director of Imperial Airways, Ltd. (Mr. G. E. Woods Humphery), on June 11, 1936, to discuss points arising from the air mail agreement, and again raised the possi- bility of joining the board of Imperial Airways, Ltd. He asked Mr. Woods Humphery whether he hoped to succeed Sir Eric Geddes, as It would be more suitable for him to remain managing director and deputy chairman, with himself (Sir Christopher Bullock) as chair- man of the board.

In summing up, the committee considers that the special and intimate relations at all times existing between the Air Ministry and Imperial Airways, Ltd., made It improper for Sir Christopher Bullock to initiate conversa- tions with the company's representatives in furtherance of his desire to link his future with that of the company. The fact that a contract of the first importance was being negotiated afforded additional reasons for reticence and caution.


The impropriety of Sir Christopher Bullock's asking Sir Eric Geddes's advice In respect of his personal ambition was further accentuated as it was first raised during an Interview specially arranged for the purpose of discuss- ing the conferment of an honour on Sir Eric Geddes. Moreover, Sir Christopher Bullock's conversations with Mr. Woods Humphery, although not made with the ob- ject of seeking to influence Mr. Woods Hum- phery, in favour of his succession to the chairmanship, were, apart from considerations of taste, improper in themselves.

The report then stresses that Sir Christopher Bullock's conduct was at variance with the Civil Service code, and adds that his official position provided him with a vantage ground from which he was able to press upon Imperial Airways, Ltd., personal suggestions which were as unwelcome as they were em- barrassing.

Sir Christopher Bullock showed lack of that instinct and perception which should regulate the conduct of a Civil servant, although he did not realise the gravity, the true nature, or the possible consequences of what he was


The report emphasises that the discus- sions did not influence the negotiations for a projected Government contract with Imperial Airways. Ltd., and cites the opinion of ' the Secretary for Air (Lord Swinton) that Sir Christopher Bullock had been assiduous in securing what he considered to be the best terms, with the result that a very satisfactory agreement was reached. Representatives of Imperial Airways, Ltd., had behaved through- out with perfect propriety.

The Inquiry was conducted by the chair- man of the Board of Customs and Excise (Sir Evelyn Murray), the Second Secretary to the Treasury (Sir Richard Hopkins), and the Second Parliamentary Counsel to the Treasury (Mr. L. A. J. Granville Ram).

The report has been published as a White



Sir Christopher Bullock has Issued a state- ment, declaring that the board had shown consideration and impartiality, but, by rak- ing up the dead ashes of conversations had distorted the whole focus. His friends, in- cluding three members of the Cabinet, knew that he tentatively thought of the chairman- ship of imperial Airways, Ltd., and did not consider that there was anything improper

in it.

He says: "I believe the remuneration of the chairman of Imperial Airways is £2000 a year, which is substantially lower than mine, although 1 am uncertain about that, as I did not seek to carry the matter to a stage where such concrete factors would emerge."

The "Star" says that Sir Christopher Bullock has no plans for the future and loses a substantial pension through his dis-



"The Times," in a leading article, expresses regret that so fine a record should end under a cloud, also that the Public Service Is for the moment Involved in a certain loss of credit.

"There is no alternative about a postman or a clerk who violates the law," it adds, "and no lighter punishment would be tolerable for a Ministerial head. The Government must be congratulated on facing the situation with


The "Daily Telegraph" emphasises the pain fulness of the announcement, and points out that there is no question of corruption. It credits Mr. Baldwin with the sternest sense of duty in pronouncing such a severe sentence, and adds: "The code is more than the man."

[Sir Christopher Bullock achieved rapid advancement in the British Public Service, being only 40 years of age wr.n he was appointed permanent secretary o. the Air Ministry at a salary of £3000 a year. Born In Essex on November 10, 1891, he is the second son of the Rev. Llewellyn C. W. Bul- lock, and was educated at Rugby and Trinity College, Cambridge. He won a number of .scholarships and prizes, and graduated B.A.

in 1913, and M.A. in 1920. Meanwhile, in 1914, he took first place in the open competi- tive eAumlnation for the Home and Indian Civil Services. He selected the Indian Civil Service, and was appointed a probationer to the United Provinces in 1915. He served with the 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade in Prance in 1915, and subsequently transferred to the Royal Flyiiig Corps. He served as an observer and pilot in Prance and Egypt, being wounded and mentioned In despatches. He was appointed to the Air Staff at the Air Ministry in 1917. After the war he became principal private secretary to Mr. Winston Churchill, who was then Secietary of State for the Air. He served in the same capacity, under Sir Samuel Hoare and Lord Thomson, until 1929, when he was r.ppolnted assistant secretary to the Air Ministry. He was created K.C.B. in 19S2. having received the honours of O.B.E. in 1919. C.B.E. in 1926, and CB. In 1929.]

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