"a colleague from his lordship's Foreign Office days"

The Foreign Office in Winter
Creative Commons AttributionThe Foreign Office in Winter - Credit: Foreign & Commonwealth Office
The Foreign Office was formed in March 1782 under Prime Minister Charles Watson-Wentworth, second Marquis of Rockingham, with the purpose of furthering Britain's interests abroad.

The department (now the British & Commonwealth Foreign Office) is based in Whitehall, and it was here in 1925 that the seven Locarno Treaties were signed by Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and the United Kingdom in an attempt to secure peace in western Europe.