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Edward Grey

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Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon, (25 April 1862 – 7 September 1933), better known as Sir Edward Grey (prior to his elevation to the peerage he was the 3rd Baronet Grey of Fallodon), was a British Liberal statesman and the main force behind British foreign policy in the era of the First World War. An adherent of the “New Liberalism”, he served as foreign secretary from 1905 to 1916, the longest continuous tenure of any holder in that office. He renewed the 1902 alliance with Japan in 1911. The centrepiece of his policy was the defence of France against German aggression, while avoiding a binding alliance with Paris. He supported France in the Moroccan crises of 1905 in 1911. Another major achievement was the Anglo-Russian entente of 1907. He resolved an outstanding conflict with Germany over the Baghdad railway in 1913, but successfully convinced the cabinet that Britain had an obligation and was honour-bound to defend France, and prevent Germany from controlling Western Europe in August 1914. Once the war began, there was little role for his diplomacy; he lost office in December 1916. He was a leading British supporter of the League of Nations. He is remembered for his “the lamps are going out” remark on 3 August 1914 on the outbreak of the First World War. He signed the Sykes-Picot Agreement on 16 May 1916. Ennobled in 1916, he was Ambassador to the United States between 1919 and 1920 and Leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Lords between 1923 and 1924.