chapter  4
9 Pages

THE TRADE FACILITIES ACT 1924

There had been moments during the course of the 1922 discussions when the Colonial Office seemed likely to obtain more generous financial aid for underdeveloped dependencies. With the continuation of the depression the political support for colonial development schemes had widened. The Trade Policy Committee and Lloyd George’s cabinet had accepted the need for greater government commitments to ease the depression. Amery had pressed hard for favourable terms and the Prime Minister and some other colleagues were obviously sympathetic.35 Because of these political pressures the Treasury had been less able to resist proposals involving some government expenditure. The concessions made were not, however, very large and the subsequent change of government had provided the Treasury with the opportunity to restore their authority. Government economy still had priority over schemes to stimulate British exports. The reversal of the cabinet’s decision of 14 August was not serious insofar as the Colonial Office did not consider the proposed revised terms for Trade Facilities a sufficient stimulus to colonial development. The permanent staff in the Colonial Office together with more adventurous politicians like Amery consistently argued that only generous financial aid justified accelerating colonial development plans. Colonial Office determination to avoid over-burdened colonial revenues explains their sceptical reception of proposals to encourage colonial development in order to ease British unemployment. These considerations were central to the office’s subsequent examination of similar proposals.