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What is the exact meaning of "sooner" in the following passage? Does it mean premature?

The text is excerpt of a political telegram:

I stated to Beeley that I had not consulted him sooner as it had been my impression that as a result of conversations between us over the past year I felt that his Government was aware of the fact.

Thanks very much.

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In this use, sooner means earlier, or before now, rendering:

... I had not consulted him before now, as ...

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