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

In 1940, when Lord Lothian, the British Ambassador to the US died, Halifax gave up the Foreign Office to go to Washington and Eden became once again the Foreign Secretary. Churchill in fact had virtually designated his eventual successor. In June 1942 when Churchill was going to the United States, in a letter to the King, George VI, he made a formal advice that in the event of his death Eden should become the Prime Minister. Eden was a firm supporter of the Empire. In his speeches he always put the Empire/ Commonwealth first, and as far back as the 1930’s he was a determined opponent of appeasement, something that was compatible to his character and view during the Suez Crisis. He believed that Britain should not be restricted by the “special relationship” and British policy should be financed in the light of British interests and also get the USA’s support as much as possible. Ill health, however, when he was Prime Minister in 1955-57 contributed to the disastrous Suez Crisis.

Lloyd. Selwyn, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, 1957-60.

After finishing his studies at Cambridge University, Lloyd practiced law successfully on the North-Western Circuit. In the 1939-45 War, he had a distinguished record of service, ending up as Deputy Chief of Staff, Second Army, with the unusually high rank for a “non-regular” of Brigadier. Later on Selwyn Lloyd entered the House of Commons, at the relatively late age of forty. As a back-bencher, he caught the eye of Anthony Eden and also of R. A. Butler, who recruited him to work in the Conservative Research Department as his principal lieutenant in drafting the Conservative election manifesto of 1951. When Churchill formed his government in October, 1951, both Eden and Butler asked for Lloyd’s services at the Foreign Office and the Treasury respectively.

Lloyd came to the Foreign Office in December, 1955 as the first of a new generation to make its impact of British foreign policy. Unlike his immediate predecessors, he had entered politics after War, was a comparatively junior figure in the party’s hierarchy, and was little known to the general public. However, he had quite definite ideas on most aspects of British foreign and imperial policies, ideas derived from his close co-operation with Eden. Except perhaps in disarmament, his role as No. 2. had necessarily been more that of an executant than an originator, but there is no reason to doubt that he shared the general view of his two predecessors, and also the majority of the Cabinet that he was serving with. Meaning that they were less extreme and right-wing than those within the Conservative Parliamentary Party, who had opposed the British withdrawal from the Suez Canal base – the so-called “Suez Group”. Lloyd, together with Macmillan, succeeded in restoring both the British position in the Middle East and the “special relationship” with the USA, after the Suez Canal Crisis.

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