Towards the end of his career in Constantinople, Lowther knew very well that (in his wife's words) he was facing 'extinction'. In the Foreign Office he was certainly regarded as a failure; and that view was shared by Hardinge. A change in the Constantinople Embassy, he wrote to Parker (among others), was 'badly' needed. 'Had I remained at the Foreign Office, I am sure that I should have cut [Lowther's Embassy] short earlier. From what I hear the whole staff ought to be changed, as they are known to have an anti-Turkish bias, which they do not attempt to conceal.' Speculation was now rife as to the new Ambassador. Hardinge felt it might be Townley, the Minister in Tehran; Fitzmaurice would not have minded de Bunsen or Townley, but would have neither BaxIronside nor Sir Arthur Hardinge, the Minister in Lisbon; even Nicolson and Kitchener had been mentioned in Embassy circles. Mallet's appointment came, so Nicolson said, as a 'great surprise', but was nevertheless considered to be a 'very good one'. 1

Constantinople was Mallet's first important mission abroad after thirteen years in London. As such, it was a real test. His own feelings were mixed. As head of the Eastern Department since 1907, he had amassed a wealth of knowledge on the affairs of the area; but he had also hoped for a higher appointment within the Foreign Office. However, he seems to have become reconciled to not succeeding Nicolson (principally in view of Crowe's aspirations and Tyrrell's attitude), and was therefore not sorry to leave for Constantinople. But with unusual prescience he added: 'I do not look forward with

much confidence to being able to accomplish anything at Constantinople, and suppose that I shall be classed as a failure like every other Ambassador since Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. However, it will no doubt be very interesting.' Stale as he was of being Assistant UnderSecretary of State, he was perplexed as to the kind of policy Britain wished to follow towards the Porte:

I wish I were clearer as to the policy of H.M.G. in regard to Turkey [he wrote to Hardinge in August 1913]. To judge by the Prime Minister's speech when the Turks returned to Adrianople and by the leaders in the Times one would think that the reoccupation of that town was a grave British misfortune, but I confess I can't see why we should take the lead against the Turks. Both politically and commercially it is to our interests that the Turks should hold Adrianople and remain a fairly strong power. The longer we can postpone the break-up of Turkey, the better. I have strongly urged these views and your [Harding's] telegram about Mussulman feeling had a great effect, but there is no consistency in our policy ... We alone shall suffer for our foolish words. You can really exercise more influence than anyone in the formation of a policy towards Turkey. If the break-up of the Asiatic dominion of Turkey is something to be avoided, and I imagine that it would be a great misfortune for India to see Russia in the six Vilayets, Germany in Asia Minor and France in Syria, a consistent policy of maintaining and strengthening the Ottoman Empire (coupled with reforms) should be pursued and might be insisted on by India ... 2

Hardinge agreed, but Mallet was not provided with firm guidelines by the Foreign Office. As much was apparent from the very inception of his mission. Crowe recommended that the new Ambassador should proceed to Constantinople in a British cruiser.