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Colonial Policy

    Naturevolume 150page686 (1942) | Download Citation



    VISCOUNT CRANBORNE, until recently Secretary of State for the Colonies, replied on behalf of the Government in a debate in the House of Lords on December 3 on Colonial affairs. The keynote of his speech was the diversity of the Colonial territories. He remarked that ever since the fall of Malaya there has been a stream of criticism against the administration of the Colonies. That disaster was due, according to some, to the fact that the local peoples had not been sufficiently associated with the government of their country. This explanation, however, cannot apply to Siam, an independent State, or to the excellent administrative system of the Dutch East Indies or of the Philippines. British policy gave Malaya a long period of internal peace, justice and prosperity. The proposal for a Colonial charter presupposes a uniformity which is unattainable and probably undesirable in the British Empire. The Empire consists of a diversity of countries and peoples in all stages of development, and its administration is characterized by great variety and flexibility. There is no cut and dried pattern; local systems have been adapted and adopted, and there has been gradual evolution in each territory of a form of government which seems best suited to promote the moral and material welfare of the people, with the ultimate aim of self-government.

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