...this was not a case ...


Senior Member
Persian - Shiraz
Dear All!
Can anyone help me about the following passage?
"In fact, ‘C’ (Sir Stewart Menzies) was adamant that everything possible should be done to save Rodriguez, recognizing that Schulze-Holthus had already surrendered ‘all the information in his possession’ and no longer posed any security threat. For their part, on Christmas Day 1944, the diplomats at the Foreign Office minuted their support in principle, stating that this was not a case in which they were being asked to start protracted negotiations with the Germans, thereby laying themselves open to falling into a trap and thus exposing their hand."
The text is about exchange of spies between England and Germany during World War II. Schulze-Holthus was a captured German spy in hands of the Britain. The meaning of the passage is clear but there is something ambiguous for me. The diplomats are seemingly opposed to this exchange because "...this was not a case in which they were being asked..." but before that sentence it is stated: "... minuted their support ...". I think these to parts are not in coordination with each other, and something is wrong, probably what I think about the whole meaning of this passage. Does it mean the diplomats agreed the exchange, although they were not satisfied with this deal?

The text is from this book:

Nazi Secret Warfare
in Occupied Persia (Iran)
The Failure of the German Intelligence
Services, 1939–45
Adrian O’Sullivan

Many thanks in advance.
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    They believed that the exchange of prisoners would be negotiated and accomplished quickly. So they supported it. If they thought it would take a long time and involve deep discussions with the Germans they would not have supported it. But they were not asked to undertake long complex negotiations.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I think you are misunderstanding what "minuted" means.

    The written record of a meeting or a discussion is called the "minutes" of that meeting. You can also use "minute" as a verb to mean "to create a record of a meeting or a discussion." The diplomats here have made a written record of their support, probably following a meeting at which this was discussed.


    Senior Member
    Persian - Shiraz
    I knew the meaning of "minute", but according to the passage, the diplomats one the one hand "minuted their support in principle' and on the other hand they say "...this was not a case... to start protracted negotiations". I think these two parts are somehow incompatible.
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