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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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‘Something of a Profit and Loss Account’

‘Something of a Profit and Loss Account’

Macmillan’s Audit of Empire and Aftermath, 1957–60

(p.68) 6 ‘Something of a Profit and Loss Account’
Winding up the British Empire in the Pacific Islands

W. David McIntyre

Oxford University Press

Macmillan’s post-Suez ‘audit of empire’ in which officials considered which colonies were ready for independence and whether Britain would gain or lose by their departure. Three reports eventuated. The Colonial Office’s country-by-country survey put the Pacific near the end. None of the islands was regarded as politically developed enough for self-government, other than Tonga. A financial and economic country-by-country survey was deemed too difficult and that financial considerations should not determine political advance. A summary report by the Cabinet Secretary suggestedno significant demands for political advance from the Pacific Islands in the next ten years. Cyprus was the next test case, and after Cyprus became an independent republic in 1960, it became the Commonwealth’s first small state in 1961. New Zealand’s grant of independence to the UN trust territory of Western Samoa in 1962 created the first independent Pacific state.

Keywords:   Harold Macmillan, audit of empire, Cyprus, Western Samoa, Commonwealth

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