The following is an excerpt from a speech by Noam Chomsky:

The United States took over from— inherited from Britain, the modalities of control over the region as well. These modalities had changed during and after WWI, when Britain no longer had the force to rule the Empire directly by occupation, and therefore had to turn to airpower and high technology— advanced technology. So, it was explained pretty frankly. The distinguished statesman Lloyd George was commenting on Britain's success in undermining a disarmament conference— which would have barred the use of airpower against civilians. He pointed out that it was a success because, as he put it: “We have to reserve the right to bomb the niggers.” Which kind of sums up world affairs rather nicely.

David Lloyd George was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and led a Wartime Coalition Government between 1916 and 1922 and was the Leader of the Liberal Party from 1926 to 1931. He was voted the third greatest British prime minister of the 20th century in a poll of 139 academics organised by MORI, and in 2002 he was named among the 100 Greatest Britons following a UK-wide vote.

Did such a person make such a statement? If he did, what was the exact quote and the context in which it was made?

  • Removed a few comments here as they were quickly degenerating into discussion.
    – Sklivvz
    Nov 21, 2012 at 23:45
  • 5
    On a personal level: the OP is allowed to be skeptical of this valid claim.
    – Sklivvz
    Nov 21, 2012 at 23:46
  • @Sklivvz - But the OP demonstrated in the comments that there was nothing valid of his skepticism.
    – Chad
    Nov 22, 2012 at 3:33
  • @Chad, I told you before; much of epistemology has arisen either in defense of, or in opposition to, various forms of skepticism and I guess you are not on the same side where others are. But it is skepticism, too! Nov 22, 2012 at 20:12
  • 4
    @Chad The OP's intent doesn't matter at all. If it's a valid question, it's a valid question. Nov 23, 2012 at 20:05

1 Answer 1


David Lloyd George died in 1945.

In 1971 his secretary and second wife Frances published Lloyd George: A Diary saying for 9 March 1934 (page 259):

At Geneva other countries would have agreed not to use aeroplanes for bombing purposes, but we insisted on reserving the right, as D[avid] puts it, to bomb niggers! Whereupon the whole thing fell through, & we add 5 millions to our air armaments expenditure.

By this stage Lloyd George was in opposition, so it is unclear whether the comments are made with approval or not, and indeed whether the specific word is his own or something he was putting into the mouth of the Government.

Many years earlier in 1920, Winston Churchill, Secretary of State for War and Air under Lloyd George, had ordered the RAF to Iraq to help quell a local revolt, where they dropped 97 tons of bombs and fired 183,861 rounds so this kind of approach was not novel.

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