Colonial Administration and Progress, 1938–39

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    IF a certain complacency noted by critics was not indeed entirely absent from Mr. Malcolm MacDonald's review of the year's activities in the debate in the House of Commons on June 7 on the estimates for Colonial and Middle Eastern Services, 1939, he no doubt derived justification from the substantial progress made. Further, the increased interest and understanding of Colonial problems on the part of the public warranted a certain optimism in forecasting increased activity on the part of the administrative authorities in applying the resources of scientific research to the solution of the varied problems which have arisen, especially in Africa, from the contact of backward peoples with the, to them, new standards of a more advanced civilization. Among the more notable features, indeed, of a statement which as a whole can in truth be described as gratifying, was Mr. MacDonald's announcement of the consideration being given, both by the local administrative authorities and the Colonial Office in London, to the recommendations of Lord Hailey's “African Survey” and of Lord Bledisloe's Rhodesia-Nyasaland Commission, and especially to the manner in which effect can be given to the mam proposal of the former for the development and co-ordination of research. In dealing with the varied range of problems with which research in Africa is now concerned, Mr. MacDonald was able to speak only in most general terms; but this was of less moment as the annual report was already available (“The Colonial Empire: Statement relating to the Period 1st April, 1938 to 31st March, 1939, to accompany the Estimates for Colonial and Middle Eastern Services, 1939”. H.M. Stationery Office. Pp. iv + 97. Is. 6d. net), in which the activities of administration are set out in detail under headings such as “Research”, “Social Progress”, “Development of Natural Resources” and the like.

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    Colonial Administration and Progress, 1938–39. Nature 143, 1014–1015 (1939) doi:10.1038/1431014c0

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