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Collection Level Description: Interviews with Malcolm John MacDonald

Reference: MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 533
Title: Interviews with Malcolm John MacDonald
Dates of Creation: 1970-1974
Extent: 8 files
Name of Creator: Malcolm John MacDonald

Language of Material: English



Administrative/Biographical History

Malcolm John MacDonald (1901-1981), politician, diplomat and writer, became a member of the London County Council, 1927-1930, and Labour MP for Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire, 1929-1935 and for Ross and Cromarty, 1936-1945. In 1931, as one of a small group of National Labour Party MPs, he was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Dominions Office. Between 1935 and 1940, he was a cabinet minister, holding one or both of the offices of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs and Secretary of State for the Colonies. In 1940 he was appointed Minister of Health, and in 1941 Britain's High Commissioner to Canada. In 1946 he took the post of Governor-General of the Malayan Union and Singapore; later that year, British Borneo was added to his remit. He was appointed U.K. Commissioner General for South East Asia from 1948, then High Commissioner in India, 1955-1960. He was called out of semi-retirement to serve as co-chairman and leader of the British delegation at the international conference on Laos in Geneva, 1961-1962. In 1963, he was given the post of Britain's last Governor and Commander-in-Chief in Kenya. He remained as Governor-General, 1963-1964, and returned after the country's independence as High Commissioner, 1964-1965. From 1967 to 1969, he was employed as a special representative of the British government in Africa.

After his formal retirement, he became president of the Royal Commonmwealth Society from 1971, the Great Britain-China Centre from 1972, the Federation of Commonwealth Chambers of Commerce from 1971, of V.S.O. from 1975, of the Carribean Youth Development Trust from 1977, and of the Britain-Burma Society from 1980. Awarded the Order of Merit in 1969, he was Rhodes trustee, 1948-1957, Chancellor of the University of Malaya, 1949-1961, visitor for the University College of Kenya, [1963-1964], and a senior research fellow at the University of Sussex, [1971-1973]. In December 1946 he married Audrey Marjorie Rowley (a Canadian war widow with two children from her first marriage), with whom he had a daughter.

Scope and Content

Tapes and transcripts of interviews conducted by Dame Margery Perham, Sir Kenneth Bradley, Ivan Lloyd Phillips and Curtis Nordman, 1970-1974, relating to service as Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs and for the Colonies, 1935-1940, and later in Kenya and Malaya.

Administrative Information

Access Conditions

Bodleian reader's ticket required: http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/services/admissions/.

Reproduction Restrictions

No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.

Further Information

Finding Aids

Listed as no. 594 in Manuscript Collections in Rhodes House Library Oxford, Accessions 1978-1994 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1996).

Related Units of Description

Typed copies of Colonial Office circulars on the treatment accorded to consular officers and diplomatic missions in colonial dependencies, 1939, and a revised procedure on the reporting of colonial legislation, 1939 (ref. MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 289). The papers of Malcolm John MacDonald are held in the archives of Durham University. An extensive collection of photographs by and relating to MacDonald is held at the library of the Royal Commonwealth Society, housed at Cambridge University Library.

Access Points

MacDonald | Malcolm John | 1901-1981 | politician, diplomat and writer

Great Britain. Secretary of State for the Dominions

Great Britain. Secretary of State for the Colonies

Kenya | History | 1895-1963

Malaysia | History | 20th century

Great Britain | Colonies | Administration


Transformation from XML to HTML by Lawrence Mielniczuk
27 June 2011