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Edward F. Halifax

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Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax, (16 April 1881 – 23 December 1959), styled The 1st Baron Irwin from 1925 until 1934 and The 3rd Viscount Halifax from 1934 until 1944, was a senior British Conservative politician of the 1930s. He held several senior ministerial posts during this time, most notably those of Viceroy of India from 1925 to 1931 and of Foreign Secretary between 1938 and 1940. He was one of the architects of the policy of appeasement of Adolf Hitler in 1936–38, working closely with Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. However, after the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in March 1939 he was one of those who pushed for a new policy of attempting to deter further German aggression by promising to go to war to defend Poland.
On Chamberlain’s resignation early in May 1940, Halifax effectively declined the position of Prime Minister as he felt that Churchill would be a more suitable war leader (his membership of the House of Lords was given as the official reason). A few weeks later, with the Allies facing apparently catastrophic defeat and British forces falling back to Dunkirk, Halifax favoured approaching Italy to see if acceptable peace terms could be negotiated. He was overruled by Churchill after a series of stormy meetings of the War Cabinet. From 1941 to 1946, he served as British Ambassador in Washington.