Biography of the Leading Personalities of the British Imperial Political Elite Establishment, Presiding Over the Decolonisation Policy of the British Empire, and its Wider Implications

Biography of the Leading Personalities of the British Imperial Political Elite Establishment, Presiding Over the Decolonisation Policy of the British Empire, and its Wider Implications

Bevin enjoyed the exercise of power and the responsibility that went with the office. Bevin also commanded the respect and trust of his Cabinet colleagues such as Morrison, Stafford Cripps, Hugh Dalton and of course Attlee. Bevin was not only in charge of the Foreign Office, but was co-ordinator of overseas affairs, generally. He was strongly in favour of the British Empire on the basis that the Empire would raise the standard of living in the colonies and thus in the post-war period was one of the main architects in holding the imperial ties together. He reconciled socialism and the anti-colonisation doctrine of his political conviction in order to maintain British power and interests by establishing the Colombo Plan and by bringing India into the modern Commonwealth, which was one of Labour’s and Bevin’s triumphs. At the same time, as he was vigorously anti-communist, he was also the main contributor to the build up of the Western alliance. Bevin achieved a remarkable rapport with the Leaders in Western Europe, the Commonwealth, the Third World, and the North Atlantic alliance.

Jones, Arthur Creech. Secretary of State for Colonies, 1946-50

By the time Attlee came in to power in 1945, Jones was fifty-four and had a long record of devotion to Colonial causes. Over many years he had developed extensive contacts with people in the Colonies. He had been associated with the numerous liberal-minded organizations in Britain concerned with Colonial affairs, including the Friends of Africa, the Anti-Slavery Society, and the Fabian Colonial Bureau, of which he had been chairman since its inception in 1940. For ten years as a back-bencher, he had been the principle voice of the House of Commons on the Colonies. As a co-opted unofficial adviser on education he had also had several years’ experience of the Colonial Office. The specialist knowledge of Colonial affairs which he brought to the Office was greater than that of any previous or subsequent minister. In 1946 when he became the Colonial Secretary he had already been concentrating on the general problems of the Empire, mainly the organisational task of the transition to peace with the view to the post-war shortages of money and materials. Creech Jones had always detested the idea of political and racial domination by the settlers over natives in Africa. After the War, as the Colonial Minister, he was able to closely observe the situation and political developments in the Colonies, and seek solutions for any unrest in the Colonies. He believed that the post-war political and economic developments such as demands in the Colonies for political and economic independence should be treated as seriously as possible, and not to underestimate them. He also believed that trusteeship must be transformed into a positive principle of equal co-operation, and he had been by now deeply committed to the idea of the ultimate cause of the Colonies – independence. Therefore, during his time as Colonial Secretary, two important territories received their independence. In February 1948 Ceylon, land regarded as the most “mature” of the Colonial Office’s charges, followed in the path of the Indian sub-continent, and a few months later mandated Palestine became independent Israel. For many years to come the Colonial Office’s annual report bore the broad statement of policy, drafted by Jones, which was guiding the Colonial territories to independence within the Commonwealth, as a standard and cardinal purpose of British Colonial policy.

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