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Winding up the British Empire in the Pacific Islands$
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W. David McIntyre

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198702436

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702436.001.0001

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‘A Dramatic and Liberal Gesture’

‘A Dramatic and Liberal Gesture’

Attlee’s Secret Smaller Territories Enquiry, 1949–51

Chapter:
(p.48) (p.49) 4 ‘A Dramatic and Liberal Gesture’
Source:
Winding up the British Empire in the Pacific Islands
Author(s):

W. David McIntyre

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702436.003.0005

The work of the Smaller Territories Enquiry between 1949 and 1951 was set up after a request from Gibraltar for a legislative council. Although the colonial policy goal of working towards independence within the Commonwealth had been announced during the Second World War, no terminal status had been set out for nearly thirty smaller territories. The committee set up by Attlee included Oxford historians Vincent Harlow and Margery Perham, who accepted that there were colonies too small, remote, and poor to aspire to sovereign independence. The committee suggested an alternative status of island or city states that would combine executive and legislative functions in a single state council. These proposals were never published nor adopted by ministers, and when circulated between Colonial Office officials, they were largely denounced with various degrees of harshness.

Keywords:   colonial policy, smaller territories, legislative council, island or city state, state council

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