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XI: MINISTER OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES: 1948–1950

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 May 2019

Extract

My appointment to the Colonial Office, as the very first Minister of State, was a far better reward for me than the honours that had been showered on the Viceroy and many others after Indian independence. I was thankful to Attlee, not only for giving me another post in his Government, though outside the Cabinet, but particularly because it gave me a chance of doing something constructive about my concern for the inhabitants of the many dependencies whose lands we had taken in ‘the scramble for Colonies’ – the words are those of Lord Derby, Colonial Secretary in 1884.

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Copyright © Royal Historical Society 2019 

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References

485 Edward Stanley, 15th earl of Derby (1826–1893), Conservative peer and minister; secretary of state for the colonies, 1858–1959 and 1882–1885; remarked ‘there is something absurd in the scramble for colonies’ in a letter to the Foreign Secretary, Lord Granville, in December 1884.

486 My maiden speech in 1932 had been on the colonies.

487 I owe an immense debt to Marjorie Nicholson and Rita Hinden, particularly the latter, for their invaluable ‘briefs’ on colonial problems for my speeches in the House of Lords. Successively Secretaries of the Fabian Colonial Bureau and anti-colonialism campaigners and writers.

488 Tom Mboya (1930–1969), Kenyan activist and trade unionist; minister in Kenya's post-independence government; minister of justice, 1963–1969; assassinated 1969.

489 Lee Kuan Yew (1923–2015), secretary general of People's Action Party, 1954–1992; prime minister of Singapore, 1959–1990.

490 Kwame Nkrumah (1909–1972), Ghanaian and Pan-African activist; first prime minister of Ghana, 1957–1960; first president of Ghana, 1960–1966.

491 Arthur Creech Jones (1891–1964), Labour MP, minister and trade unionist; secretary of state for the colonies, 1946–1950.

492 David Rees-Williams (1903–1976), later 1st Baron Ogmore; Labour MP, peer and minister; under-secretary of state for the colonies, 1947–1950.

493 Harold Macmillan (1894–1986), later 1st earl of Stockton, Conservative MP and minister; prime minister, 1957–1963.

494 Refers, especially, to a speech Macmillan made in Cape Town to the South African parliament on 3 February 1960, in which he said a wind of change was blowing through Africa and that decolonization in the continent was a reality.

495 We wanted colonial governments to promote social welfare and economic growth, instead of leaving the fate of their inhabitants to the vagaries of private enterprise.

496 Sir Ralph Furse (1887–1973), civil servant; director of recruitment, colonial service, 1931–1948.

497 For the first time a home government recognised responsibility for its colonies in the 1945 Colonial Development and Welfare Act. The neglect revealed by the Moyne Commission's Report on the West Indies in 1939 was a real eye opener and shocked public opinion. The Commission toured the British Caribbean in 1938–1939. Its report was not published till 1945 and outlined in detail the poor conditions and welfare provisions in the region.

498 John Strachey (1901–1963), Labour MP and minister; minister of food, 1946–1950.

499 George Garro-Jones (1894–1960), later 1st Baron Trefgarne, Labour MP and peer; founding chairman of the Colonial Development Corporation, 1947–1950.

500 Made in November 1917 by the foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, to aid the establishment of a ‘national home for the Jewish people’ in Palestine.

501 That came into existence in May 1948.

502 Sir Thomas Lloyd (1896–1968), permanent under-secretary of state for the colonies, 1947–1956.

503 The de facto British official in charge of the territory from 1948.

504 Dato Onn Jaafar (1895–1962), Malay political leader; chief minister of the state of Johore, 1947–1950; first leader of the United Malays National Organisation.

505 Malcolm MacDonald was a really delightful and civilised man who might have enjoyed an academic life more than politics. Malcolm MacDonald (1901–1981), Labour and National Labour MP, minister, diplomat and colonial administrator; secretary of state for the colonies, 1935 and 1938–1940; commissioner general for the United Kingdom in South East Asia, 1948–1955, and governor of Kenya, 1963.

506 The absence of contact between British Colonial officials and the local population has never been better illustrated than by the total surprise at the communist rising in Malaya in 1949. The gap between officials and ordinary people was sadly common.

507 Sir Edward Gent (1895–1948), colonial service; governor of the Malayan Union, 1946–1948, and high commissioner of the Federation of Malaya, 1948.

508 Sir Ralph Hone (1896–1992), civil and colonial service; deputy commissioner general for the United Kingdom in South East Asia, 1948–1949 and governor of North Borneo, 1949–1954.

509 Stormont Mancroft, 2nd Baron Mancroft (1914–1987), Conservative peer and junior minister.

510 Sir Franklin Gimson (1890–1976), colonial service; governor of Singapore, 1946–1952.

511 Charles Vyner Brooke (1874–1963). Rajah of Sarawak, 1917–1946; the last of the Brooke family to be the ruling ‘White Rajah’ of Sarawak.

512 Sir Charles Arden-Clarke (1898–1962), colonial service; governor of Sarawak, 1946–1949; governor of the Gold Coast, 1949–1957; and governor general of Ghana, 1957.

513 Today called Kota Kinabalu.

514 Sir Edward ‘Peter’ Twining (1899–1967), later Lord Twining, colonial service; governor of North Borneo, 1946–1949, and governor of Tanganyika, 1949–1958.

515 Oliver Baldwin (1899–1958), later 2nd Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, Labour MP and colonial administrator; governor of the Leeward Islands, 1948–1950, recalled in 1950.

516 Cheddi Jagan (1918–1997), chief minister of British Guiana, 1953 and 1961–1964; president of Guyana, 1992–1997.

517 Forbes Burnham (1923–1985), prime minister of Guyana, 1966–1980, and president of Guyana, 1980–1985.

518 Sir Charles Woolley (1893–1981), colonial service; governor of British Guiana, 1947–1953.

519 Sir John Huggins (1891–1971), colonial service; governor of Jamaica, 1943–1951.

520 Sir Alexander Bustamante (1884–1977), chief minister of Jamaica, 1953–1955 and prime minister of Jamaica, 1962–1967.

521 Norman Manley (1893–1969), chief minister of Jamaica, 1955–1962.

522 Sir Ronald Garvey (1903–1991), colonial service; governor of British Honduras, 1949–1952.

523 Princess Alice was chancellor of the University of the West Indies (previously University College of the West Indies), 1950–1971.

524 Oliver Stanley (1896–1950), Conservative MP and minister; secretary of state for the colonies, 1942–1945.

525 One of the pleasantest by-products of my colonial tours was meeting and making friends. I remember particularly Charles Arden-Clarke, who preceded me in Ghana and ‘briefed’ me superbly at home before I went out. Another was Hubert Rance and his delightful wife, Noel. He came home with amoebic dysentery, which he never entirely threw off. I shall always remember him with gratitude for his kindness to me in Burma.

526 A general election was held in February 1950, but Attlee's Labour government remained in office despite a large fall in its majority. As a result of the October 1951 general election, a Conservative administration was formed with Winston Churchill as prime minister.

527 Alan Lennox-Boyd (1904–1983), later 1st Viscount Boyd of Merton, Conservative MP and minister; secretary of state for the colonies, 1954–1959.