"Hell Of A Good Fellow"

By Londonist_ben Last edited 134 months ago
"Hell Of A Good Fellow"

The National Archives show that back in 1967 there was a "grave security breach" when a diplomat, Mr Murray MacLehose, left the details of correspondence between Prime Minister Wilson and US President Johnson concerning the Vietnam war in a bank on Regent Street. It probably went a bit like this -

Johnson - Are you sure you don't want to come and fight for the free world in Vietnam?

Wilson: No, really, we're ok. We've only recently won the world cup and it'd be a shame to put a downer on things.

Johnson: It's really fun out there. Warm.

Wilson: Really?

Johnson: It is warm.

Wilson: Fun?

Johnson: Not really.

Wilson: I think we're going to pass on this one, Lyndon. Listen, Ski Sunday's on so I'd better dash.

Johnson: Suit yourself.

At that time another man, a squadron leader in the Ministry of Defence, was facing a court martial for another security breach involving documents left in an unlocked drawer. Security breaches could mean the difference between keeping the Cold War cold and nuclear apocalypse. So surely MacLehose was punished?

Nah. His boss the foreign secretary George Brown told the PM that MacLehose was "a hell of a good fellow" and he got away with it, later becoming governor of Hong Kong and a life peer.

We're happy about this. It's good that "good fellows" are treated well by the state. We should all endeavour to be a "hell of a good fellow", shouldn't we? Then one day we might all be made Lords, like that "hell of a good fellow", Jeffrey Archer.

Last Updated 01 November 2007