Conferencing the International


List of profiled attendees at the Round Table Conference. For a full list of delegates to each session, see the British Library's Round Table Conference records page.

Please enter a search term and click Search

Sir Samuel Hoare

Full nameRight Hon. Sir Samuel John Gurney Hoare, 1st Viscount Templewood of Chelsea cr 1944 (2nd Bt cr 1899), PC 1922, GCSI 1934, GBE 1927, CMG 1917, DCL (Oxford), LLD (Cambridge, Reading, Nottingham)
Born24 Feb 1880, London, United Kingdom
Died07 May 1959, London, United Kingdom

The eldest son of a baronet and MP for Norwich, Samuel Hoare was educated at Harrow School and studied Classics and History at New College, Oxford. He embarked upon a political career, gaining experience as Assistant Private Secretary to the Colonial Secretary Alfred Lyttelton in 1905 before being elected as Conservative MP for Chelsea in 1910. During WWI his gift for languages earned him assignments on intelligence missions in Russia and Italy, for which he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel. From 1922-24 and 1924-29 he was Secretary of State for Air, becoming Conservative Party Treasurer after their election defeat of 1929.

Hoare was a member of the Conservative delegation and acted as Secretary of State for the National Government, during the last two conference sessions.

For additional biographical information, see the official delegate Who's Who for the Second Session. See also Emery Kelen's caricature, from his portfolio of delegates at the Round Table Conference.


  • 27th August 1930: Hoare wrote to the Tory leader Stanley Baldwin sharing his thoughts about the forthcoming conference: “It seems to me that the delegates of the three parties ought at once to be placed in possession of the principal documents about the Conference. Otherwise, there is a grave risk of our being faced with some pre-arranged plan, the background of which we shall not have seen.” (British Library E240/80)
  • 10th September 1930: Hoare wrote to Benn asking for information on the Indian situation and information on the Prime Minister’s plans.

First Session

  • Baldwin chose not to join the Tory delegation to the RTC. Peel took his place though Hoare effectively led the Conservative members at the conference. He emphasised federation over dominion status. (Cross, 1977)
  • December 11th 1930: newspapers reported a dinner party by Sir Samuel and Lady Maud Hoare at Mrs Meyer Sassoon’s house, for 600 people, to meet members of the RTC delegation, with music provided by the RAF band. (Daily Telegraph)
  • August 1931: Hoare represented the Conervaties in inter-party talks that led to the creation of a new coalition or National Government which included the Tories. Hoare replaced Benn as Secretary of State for India and led the coordination of the last two sessions of the RTC.

Second Session

  • Hoare’s preference was to push on with provincial autonomy and consult Indian opinion on future federation. (Cross, 1977:148)
  • September 11th 1931, in Hoare’s telegram to Viceroy Willingdon he reported having met many delegates, none of whom seemed sure what Gandhi would do. British delegates planned to work to prevent a breakdown on purely British issues. The more he discussed with Indians the greater he found the tangle and the less agreement amongst them. “How I shall be able to manage these meetings, constant Cabinets, endless interviews and the imminence of another political crisis, I cannot at present see.” (British Library E240.1)
  • September 17th 1931: Hoare telegrammed Viceroy Willingdon, having been working night and day on the RTC, constant emergency cabinets, and grave problems at India Office; he wondered whether any human being could struggle through with it all. RTC had been dragging on most wearily, everyone making the same speeches as last year at twice the length and with nothing new in them, in his opinion. But differences on points of detail were growing. Gandhi had behaved well and politely. His speech didn’t make much of an impact in context of other crises unfolding; Malaviya’s was “a bitter speech and as much resented”. (British Library E240.1)
  • September 25th 1931: in a telegram to Viceroy Willingdon Hoare suggested the RTC was dull, as everyone was awaiting the outcome of the Minorities Committee. From talks with Muslims it seems unlikely to reach deal. 
    • “Gandhi has been playing a furtive and uncertain game, one day threatening to leave the Conference with an ultimatum and another appearing to be conciliatory. He has met a good many Members of Parliament of all parties and from what I am told, has made a very bad impression on many of them.” (British Library E240.1)
  • October 2nd 1931: Hoare wired to Willingdon that there was no chance of a communal settlement, but would aim to avert a rupture. Due to the crisis there was almost no point in discussing finance. Gandhi seemed anxious for a settlement, but would then hear of him making extreme statements.
    • “I am doing everything that I can to prevent his getting undue advertisement in the press. Already the papers are getting tired of him and I gather that his friends think that he is not sufficiently in the lime light. You may not be surprised to hear that the King is most anxious not to see him and I agree entirely with H.M’s view.” (British Library E240.1)
  • October 9th 1931: In a telegram to Viceroy Willingdon Hoare re[prted  members of the RTC seeming happy over the election result, Hoare explained that he would carry on his work. “Throughout the minorities discussions Gandhi thoroughly mystified everybody.” He seemed to have played his cards badly and made a gaffe when he attacked everyone in the committee.
    • “After only weeks of the conference I have given up on making prophesies of any kind. Not a day passes without one or other of the delegates telling me that something or other is going to happen, the exact opposite of which arrives on the following day.” (British Library E240.1)
  • November 6th 1931: Telegram to Viceroy Willingdon: the Buckingham Palace party had gone off alright; Gandhi had been unsure whether to go, the King was unsure whether to talk to him if he did. Hoare advised both to go and talk.
    • “Towards the end of it the King told him that civil disobedience was a hopeless and stupid policy. To which Gandhi politely replied that he must on no account be drawn into an argument with His Majesty. I am still seeing the old boy pretty often. Apparently he still likes talking to me and whatever may happen in the end, it is better at any rate to be on good personal relations with everyone.” (British Library E240.1)
  • November 25th 1931: the Manchester Guardian reported Hoare’s speech in the Federal Structure Committee, suggesting that suspicions that had arisen were ungrounded and that there was a risk of drifting “…into an atmosphere of melodramatic tragedy”. The government remained committed to an agreement with delegates.
  • December 3rd 1931: Hoare telegrammed Viceroy Willingdon. With the RTC over he did not know whether we should say with Campbell Bannerman “The Duma is dead, long live the Duma”. While it had looked black, it was not too bad in the end. The Cabinet had felt provincial autonomy would have been best start yet there had been no good ramming it down delegate’s throats. On Gandhi:
    • “He and I have got on very well together, I think for the reason that I have told him from start to finish that there was not a dog’s earthly [sic] of satisfying his demand and that there was an unbridgeable gulf between us. He appears to prefer this method of approach to the method of approach that implies there are no differences between Congress and British policy.” ( British Library E240.1)
  • May 12th 1932: Hoare wrote to MacDonald that Cabinet were strongly in support of two Bills (provincial autonomy then federation) and of not holding another conference in the autumn. (Cambridge University Library) 
    • “No doubt the Indians who will not be invited to come over will complain of our having sidetracked the Round Table Conference. But they will complained whatever we do and it seems to us much more important to show decision and the power of action.” (Cambridge University Library)
  • May 20th 1932: Hoare to MacDonald: Following protracted discussions with Lord Lothian, Hoare’s view shifted: 
    • “In a sentence it really comes down to this. If it is to be one Bill, we must hurry up the decision and avoid getting involved in the delays of a large Committee and a crowd of Indians in London. If it is to be two Bills, we need not be in so great a hurry about decisions in connection with the Federal Centre. Although as you know, I have hitherto been a two Bill man, I am impressed by what Lothian says as to the need of a comprehensive advance, and I am coming round to the former of these two alternatives.” (Cambridge University Library)
  • June 1932: Hoare convinced Viceroy Willingdon that the time had come for decisiveness, but Sapru vigorously defended the conference method

Third Session

  • 18th November 1932: telegram to Viceroy Willingdon on the third RTC session: Difficulties were anticipated regarding financial and commercial discrimination, and Muslim determination to get 30% of representation at the federal centre. It could be difficult to get the Princely States Ministers “up to scratch”. Meetings were friendly and the opening session passed with unanimity. But Sapru and Jayakar were not cooperating, briefing behind Hoare’s back:
    • “Apart from action of this kind being extremely irritating, it is so extraordinarily sill[y] from the point of view of Sapru and Jayakar themselves. It makes it impossible for me to talk confidentially to them as I know that every word that I say to them will be misrepresented in the Daily Herald and opposition [circles] the following day.” (British Library E240.2)
  • 15th December 1932: Hoare telegrammed Viceroy Willingdon informing him that, in spite of hostile rumours to the contrary, things had been going well. Hoare had patched up relations with Jayakar and Sapru:
    • “… I found that what was really at the back of their minds was the fear that the Princes would hold up Federation indefinitely and that if Provincial Autonomy was established in the meanwhile, they would never get either Federation or a change at the centre.”
    • “The Indians, if left to themselves, are all right, but the longer the Conference goes on the more restive they become under the shower of telegrams that reaches them every day from the partisans in India. If we have to adjourn for Christmas, the delay will give a great opening to this barrage of protesting wires. (British Library E240.2)
  • December 27th 1932: the Manchester Guardian reported on “Sir S Hoare’s Personal Triumph”, suggesting that Mr Gandhi’s insight into personality was right, having spotted Hoare as a “winner. Indeed, he greatly embarrassed his Indian colleagues by insisting on proclaiming his confidence in the Secretary of State’s goodwill and honesty just at the time they were set on denouncing him as an enemy.” During the conference Hoare was said to have convinced Indian delegates of his honesty and goodwill, succeeding in the mains tasks of the conference, being: 
    • To get British Indian and Princely delegates to agree on differences regarding Federal finance and legislatures.
    • To set a date upon which a Federal centre could form.
    • To define what safeguards were required.


  • 1932–58: President of the Lawn Tennis Association
  • The 1935 Government of India Bill was passed, but the part of the Bill concerning Federation could not be implemented before the outbreak of the Second World War indefinitely postponed its ratification by the Indian States.
  • 1935: Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
  • 1936–37: First Lord of the Admiralty
  • 1937–39: Secretary of State for Home Affairs
  • 1937–59: Chancellor of University of Reading
  • 1939–40: Lord Privy Seal
  • 1940: Secretary of State for Air
  • 1940–44: Ambassador to Spain on Special Mission
  • 1944: Accepted a peerage, becoming 1stViscount Templewood of Chelsea
  • 1945–57: President National Skating Association
  • 1947–59: Chairman of the council of the Howard League for Penal Reform
  • 1947–52: President of the Magistrates' Association
  • 1953–56: President of the Air League of the British Empire
  • 1950-59: Member of the political honours scrutiny committee; Chairman from 1954

Sources used

  • British Library: IOR/Mss.Eur/E240/1; E240/2; E240/80.
  • Cambridge University Library, Templewood Papers
  • J.A. Cross, Sir Samuel Hoare: A Political Biography (London: Jonathan Cape, 1977)
  • Manchester Guardian, “Fog and melodrama”, 26 November 1931, p. 8
  • Daily Telegraph, “Dinners”, 11 Dec 1930, p. 15
  • Manchester Guardian, “Sir S. Hoare’s Personal Triumph” (27 Dec 1932), p. 9

Selected publications

  • Samuel Hoare, India by Air (London: Longmans, Green and Co.; 1927)
  • Samuel Hoare, The Fourth Seal: The End of a Russian Chapter (London: William Heinemann; 1930):
  • Samuel Hoare, Speeches By The Right Honourable Sir Samuel Hoare, Bart., P.C., G.C.S.I., G.B.E., C.M.G., M.P., Secreatary of State for India, 1931-1935 (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode; 1935):
  • Viscount Templewood, Nine Troubled Years (London: Collins; 1954)
  • Viscount Templewood, Empire of the Air. The advent of the air age, 1922-1929 (London: Collins; 1957)


Secondary literature

Online resources

ImagesPhotograph of Sir Samuel Hoare, from the published biographical guide to delegates at the second session of the Round Table Conference, 1931

"The Right Hon. Sir Samuel Hoare, Bart., G.B.E., C.M.G., M.P.; Secretary of State for India 1931; 2nd Baronet, created 1899; P.C., 1922; G.B.E., created 1927; C.M.G., 1917; Yeomanry; Honorary Air Commodore; D.L., J.P.; M.P. (Conservative) Chelsea since 1910; Deputy High Commissioner of the League of Nations for care of Russian Refugees since 1921." From Indian Round Table Conference Second Session 1931: Biographical Notes and Photographs of the British and Indian Delegates (London: St. James's Palace). By permission of the British Library (shelfmark T 11187). Reproduced under Open Government Licence v3.0 (

Conferencing the International

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 84 68402