These are terrible times, indeed, with all the awful anxiety here – not for myself, but for my work and my responsibilities – we get the very worst war news. The big battle on the French front has begun [the first battles on the Somme] and we are being pushed steadily backwards – please God we are preparing a counter-blow somewhere else, but from our point of view in Persia the news comes at the very worst time. Famine relief too, has broken down, it is impossible to control the poor starving wretches, and officers giving out tickets are mobbed – and order cannot be kept so it has to stop. The strong fight for the tickets and resell them to others. A dull gloomy day with sleet and wind, and no aeroplane arrived.
I have issued a proclamation in the town in Persian warning the people that the agitation against the British is only got up by the politicians, that we do all we can to help the people, and our wheat purchases are not local so do not affect the famine.