chapter  II
18 Pages


One aim of this study is to trace the changes in the nature and purpose of British colonial development policy in the years after 1914. But in order to determine the extent to which policy was altered it is essential to describe as a contrast the kind of policy blessed by the Imperial government and operated by the Colonial Office in the period before the First World War. Moreover, another aim of this study is to explain changes in policy after 1914 by an examination of the policymaking process. Politicians and civil servants often feel constrained by precedent. As later chapters will show, reference back to pre-war policy was common. While not claiming that you cannot teach old dogs new tricks, it is at least probable that earlier experiences and practices affected later assumptions and behaviour. It needs to be remembered that in the period from August 1914 up to the introduction of the Colonial Development and Welfare Bill into the House of Commons in May 1940, there were twelve different Secretaries of State for the Colonies, but only Ormsby-Gore, born 1885, and MacDonald, born 1901, had not reached the age of thirty before the First World War. The same was true of all but four of the fourteen parliamentary under-secretaries, and all but one of the nine permanent and deputy under-secretaries.1 Accordingly this chapter seeks to describe and explain the character of British colonial development policy before 1914.