Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations

The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations was a British Cabinet minister responsible for dealing with the United Kingdom's relations with members of the Commonwealth of Nations (its former colonies). The minister's department was the Commonwealth Relations Office.

The position was created in 1947 out of the old position of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. In 1966, the position was merged with that of the Secretary of State for the Colonies to form that of Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs, which was in turn merged with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in 1968 to create the new position of Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Secretaries of State for Commonwealth Relations, 1947–1966

Portrait Name Term of office Political party Ministry
Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison Christopher Addison
The Viscount Addison
7 July
1947
7 October
1947
Labour Attlee
(I & II)
Philip Noel-Baker 1942 Philip Noel-Baker
MP for Derby
7 October
1947
28 February
1950
Labour
Patrick Gordon Walker Patrick Gordon Walker
MP for Smethwick
28 February
1950
26 October
1951
Labour
Ismay cropped General Hastings Ismay
The Lord Ismay
28 October
1951
12 March
1952
Churchill III
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil 1947 Robert Gascoyne-Cecil
The Marquess of Salisbury
12 March
1952
24 November
1952
Conservative
Lord Swinton Philip Cunliffe-Lister
The Viscount Swinton
24 November
1952
7 April
1955
Conservative
Alec Douglas-Home (c1963) Alec Douglas-Home
The Earl of Home
7 April
1955
27 July
1960
Conservative Eden
Macmillan
(I & II)
Duncan Sandys 1975 Duncan Sandys
MP for Streatham
27 July
1960
16 October
1964
Conservative
Douglas-Home
Arthur Bottomley MP Arthur Bottomley
MP for Middlesbrough East
18 October
1964
1 August
1966
Labour Wilson
(I & II)

References

History of United Kingdom government departments with responsibility for foreign affairs
Northern Department
1660–1782
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Foreign Office
1782–1968
Secretaries
Ministers
Undersecretaries
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
1968–present
Secretaries
Ministers
Undersecretaries
Southern Department
1660–1768
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Colonial Office
1768–1782
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Home Office
1782–1794
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
War Office
1794–1801
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
War and Colonial Office
1801–1854
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Colonial Office
1854–1925
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Colonial Office
1925–1966
Secretaries
Ministers
Undersecretaries
Commonwealth Office
1966–1968
Secretaries
Ministers
Undersecretaries
Southern Department
1768–1782
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Dominions Office
1925–1947
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Commonwealth Relations Office
1947–1966
Secretaries
Ministers
Undersecretaries
. India Office
1858–1937
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
India Office
and
Burma Office
1937–1947
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Angus Holden, 3rd Baron Holden

Angus William Eden Holden, 3rd Baron Holden and 4th Baronet Holden (1 August 1898 – 6 July 1951), was a British Liberal then Labour politician.

Holden was the son of Ernest Illingworth Holden, 2nd Baron Holden, and his first wife Ethel (née Cookson), and succeeded to the barony on the death of his father in 1937.

He stood as the Liberal candidate for Tottenham North at the 1929 general election.

He was a Speaker and Deputy Chairman in the House of Lords 1947 and served in the Labour administration of Clement Attlee as Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations from March to July 1950.

Lord Holden died in July 1951, aged 52. He never married; on his death the barony became extinct. He was succeeded in his baronetcy by his kinsman Sir Isaac Holden, 5th Baronet.

Arthur Bottomley

Arthur George Bottomley, Baron Bottomley, OBE, PC (7 February 1907 – 3 November 1995) was a British Labour politician, Member of Parliament and minister.

Conservative government, 1957–1964

The Conservative government of the United Kingdom that began in 1957 and ended in 1964 consisted of three ministries: the first Macmillan ministry, second Macmillan ministry, and then the Douglas-Home ministry. They were led by Harold Macmillan and Sir Alec Douglas-Home, who were appointed respectively by Queen Elizabeth II.

Desmond Crawley

Desmond John Chetwode Crawley, CMG CVO (2 June 1917 – 26 April 1993) was a British diplomat, who served as administrator under the Raj to Commonwealth diplomat, from the Asian sub-continent to West Africa, and, finally, from behind the Iron Curtain to the Vatican.He was educated at King's School, Ely and Queen's College, Oxford. He entered the Indian Civil Service in 1939 and served in the Madras Presidency. When India became independent in 1947 he entered the Commonwealth Relations Office in London. He served in Calcutta and Washington, and was Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations 1952-1953. Crawley was Deputy High Commissioner in Lahore, Pakistan, 1958–61; attended the Imperial Defence College in 1962; was British High Commissioner in Sierra Leone 1963–66 and Ambassador to Bulgaria 1966–70; and finally was Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Holy See from 1970–75.

He was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Gregory the Great in 1973.

Eden ministry

Following the resignation of Winston Churchill in April 1955, Anthony Eden, then-Foreign Secretary, took over as Leader of the Conservative Party, and thus became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Upon assuming office, Eden asked Queen Elizabeth II to dissolve parliament and called a general election for May 1955. After winning the general election with a majority of 60 seats in the House of Commons, Eden governed until his resignation on 10 January 1957.

Gold Coast (region)

The Gold Coast was the name for a region on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa that was rich in gold and also in petroleum, sweet crude oil and natural gas. It now forms the country of Ghana.

Hastings Ismay, 1st Baron Ismay

General Hastings Lionel Ismay, 1st Baron Ismay (21 June 1887 – 17 December 1965), nicknamed Pug, was a British Indian Army officer and diplomat, remembered primarily for his role as Winston Churchill's chief military assistant during the Second World War and his service as the first Secretary General of NATO from 1952 to 1957.

Ismay was born in Nainital, India, in 1887, and educated in the United Kingdom at the Charterhouse School and Royal Military College, Sandhurst. After Sandhurst, he joined the Indian Army as an officer of the 21st Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry. During the First World War, he served with the Camel Corps in British Somaliland, where he joined in the British fight against the "Mad Mullah", Mohammed Abdullah Hassan. In 1925, Ismay became an Assistant Secretary of the Committee of Imperial Defence (CID). After being promoted to the rank of colonel, he served as the military secretary for Lord Willingdon, the Viceroy of India, then returned to the CID as Deputy Secretary in 1936.

On 1 August 1938, shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, Ismay became the Committee's Secretary and began planning for the impending war. In May 1940, when Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, he selected Ismay as his chief military assistant and staff officer. In that capacity, Ismay served as the principal link between Churchill and the Chiefs of Staff Committee. Ismay also accompanied Churchill to many of the Allied war conferences. For Ismay's advice and aid, "Churchill owed more, and admitted that he owed more" to him "than to anybody else, military or civilian, in the whole of the war."After the end of the war, Ismay remained in the army for another year, and helped to reorganise the Ministry of Defence. He then retired from the military and served as Lord Mountbatten of Burma's Chief of Staff in India, helping to oversee its partition. From 1948 to 1951, he served as chairman of the council of the Festival of Britain, helping to organise and promote the event. Then, in 1951, when Churchill again became Prime Minister, he appointed Ismay Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. Ismay accepted the position, but resigned after only six months to become the first Secretary General of NATO in 1952. He served in this role until 1957, and helped establish and define the position. After retiring from NATO, Ismay wrote his memoirs, The Memoirs of General Lord Ismay, served on a variety of corporate boards, and co-chaired the Ismay–Jacob Committee, which reorganised the Ministry of Defence once again. He died on 17 December 1965, at his home Wormington Grange, Gloucestershire.

John Foster (British politician)

Brigadier Sir John Galway Foster (21 February 1903 – 1 February 1982) was a British Conservative Party politician, British Army officer and legal scholar. He served as Member of Parliament for the Northwich constituency in Cheshire from 1945 to February 1974, and was Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations from 1951 to 1954.

John Hope, 1st Baron Glendevon

John Adrian Louis Hope, 1st Baron Glendevon, PC (7 April 1912 – 18 January 1996), known as Lord John Hope from 1912 to 1964, was a Scottish Tory politician.

Hope was the younger son of Victor Alexander John Hope, 2nd Marquess of Linlithgow, and Doreen Maud Milner. His elder twin brother was Charles William Frederick Hope, 3rd Marquess of Linlithgow. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford and served in the Second World War in Norway and Italy with the Scots Guards, achieving the rank of temporary Major. He was twice mentioned in despatches.

In 1945 Hope was elected Member of Parliament for Midlothian and Peebles North, a seat he held until 1950, and then represented Edinburgh Pentlands from 1950 to 1964. Hope served in the Conservative administrations of Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan as Joint Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 1954 to 1956, as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations from 1956 to 1957 and as Joint Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland from 1957 to 1959. In 1959 he was appointed Minister of Works and invested a Privy Counsellor. Hope remained as head of the Ministry of Works until 1962. In 1964 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Glendevon, of Midhope in the County of Linlithgow.

Lord Glendevon married Elizabeth Paravicini (1915–1998), the former wife of Vincent Paravicini and the only child of the author W. Somerset Maugham, in 1948. They had two sons. Lord Glendevon died on 18 January 1996, aged 83, and was succeeded in the barony by his eldest son, Julian.

John Tilney

Sir John Dudley Robert Tarleton Tilney, (19 December 1907 – 26 April 1994) was the great grandson of the founder of RJ Tilney & Co.

John Tilney was educated at Eton College. He was persuaded by John Brocklebank, the co-head of RJ Tilney & Co to begin with the firm in October 1928 before he had finished his degree course at Magdalen College, Oxford. He became a member of the Stock Exchange in December 1932 and was admitted to the partnership in April 1933.

After the Second World War, John Tilney became increasingly involved in politics, becoming a British Conservative politician. He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Liverpool Wavertree from 1950 until his retirement at the February 1974 general election. He was Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations from 1962 to 1964.

Minister of State for Commonwealth Relations

The Minister of State for Commonwealth Relations was a ministerial post in the Government of the United Kingdom from 1947 until 1966. The holder was responsible for assisting the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations in dealing with British relationships with members of the Commonwealth of Nations (its former colonies).

After 1966 the post was merged with the Minister of State for the Colonies and became the Minister of State for Commonwealth Affairs.

Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs

The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs was a British Cabinet minister responsible for dealing with the United Kingdom's relations with members of the Commonwealth of Nations (its former colonies). The minister's department was the Commonwealth Office.

The position was created on 1 August 1966 by the merger of the old positions of Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and Secretary of State for the Colonies. In 1968 the position was merged with that of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to create the new position of Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

The position of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was a British cabinet-level position created in 1925 responsible for British relations with the Dominions — Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Newfoundland, and the Irish Free State — and the self-governing Crown colony of Southern Rhodesia. When initially created, the office was held in tandem with that of Secretary of State for the Colonies; this arrangement persisted until June 1930. On two subsequent occasions the offices were briefly held by the same person.

The Secretary was supported by an Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. In 1947, the name of the office was changed to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations.

Sir Richard Thompson, 1st Baronet

Sir Richard Hilton Marler Thompson, 1st Baronet (5 October 1912 – 15 July 1999) was a British Conservative politician.

Thompson was born in Chesterfield Derbyshire, the son of Richard South Thompson (1868 – 1952) and Kathleen Hilda nee Marler (d. 1916). He was educated at Malvern College and in India, Burma and Sri Lanka and worked in Calcutta and the Far East in business. In World War II, he served in the Royal Navy as an ordinary seaman and became a lieutenant-commander in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve. He was serving on HMS Hermione in 1942 when the ship was sunk whilst part of the Malta convoy. He became a director of two publishing companies and was a trustee of the British Museum.

Thompson was elected as Member of Parliament for Croydon West in 1950, defeating Labour MP David Rees-Williams, then for the new Croydon South seat in 1955. He joined the Whips' Office as a junior whip in 1952, then as Lord Commissioner of the Treasury in 1954 and Vice-Chamberlain of the Household in 1956. He was Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health 1957-59, Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations 1959-60 and Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works 1960-62.In 1963 he was created a Baronet, of Reculver in the County of Kent.Thompson lost his seat to Labour's David Winnick in 1966, but regained it in 1970. He retired at the February 1974 general election.

Thompson married Anne Christabel de Vere Annesley on 9 August 1939 in Blean Kent, the daughter of Philip de Vere Annesley (1879 – 1949) and Christabel Charlotte nee Tomson (1887 – 1955).

Sir Richard died on 15 July 1999 in Ashford Kent, Anne Christabel died in February 2003 in Kingston upon Thames.

Sir Richard was succeeded by his only son Nicholas Annesley Marler Thompson born 19 March 1947 at Bridge Kent, who inherited the baronetcy in 1999. Sir Nicholas is chairman of the executive committee of The Standing Council of the Baronetage. He married Venetia Catherine Heathcote (b. 22 April 1951) the daughter of John Horace Broke Heathcote (28 December 1910 – 30 May 2003) and Dorelle Geraldine née Rice (13 March 1913 – 11 May 2007) on 10 December 1982 at St Margaret's church Westminster. They have four children:

Simon William Thompson (b. 10 June 1985)

Charles Frederick Thompson (b. 25 November 1986)

David Jonathan Thompson (b. 20 April 1990)

Emma Louise Thompson (b. 24 July 1991)

Third Churchill ministry

Winston Churchill formed the third Churchill ministry in the United Kingdom after the 1951 general election. He was reappointed as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom by King George VI and oversaw the accession of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952 and her coronation.

Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs

The position of Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs in the United Kingdom was created in 1966 by the merger of the old positions of Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. The position dealt with British relations with members of the Commonwealth of Nations. In 1968 the position was merged with the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to create the new position of Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations was a junior ministerial post in the United Kingdom Government from 1947 until 1966. The holder was responsible for assisting the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations in dealing with British relationship with members of the Commonwealth of Nations (its former colonies). The position was created out of the old position of Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs.

After 1966 the post was merged with the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies and became the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs.

Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

The position of Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was a British ministerial position, subordinate to that of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, created in 1925 to deal with British relations with the Dominions – Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Newfoundland, and the Irish Free State.

In 1947 the office was replaced by the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations.

William Whitlock (politician)

William Charles Whitlock (Southampton, 20 June 1918 – 2 November 2001, Leicester), sometimes known as Bill Whitlock, was a British Labour Party politician.

Whitlock was educated at Itchen Grammar School and the University of Southampton. He volunteered for the British Army upon graduation, and soon joined the Hampshires. Part of the British Expeditionary Force, he was one of those evacuated on the last day at Dunkirk, escaping aboard a fishing trawler. At the end of 1940, he volunteered for the Airborne forces. Assigned to the British 1st Airborne Division, he landed near Nijmegen during Operation Market Garden and was one of the relatively few British airborne troops to escape death or capture during the operation. An excellent linguist, he remained in the Army for an extra year, acting as a German translator during the occupation.He was appointed as an area organiser of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers in 1946. In 1957, he became President of the Leicester City Labour Party.Whitlock was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Nottingham North in 1959. Throughout his career, he was a champion of improved conditions for office workers. A party whip from 1962, Whitlock was appointed Vice-Chamberlain of the Household in 1964, and retained the office until 1966. He was then briefly a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury before being appointed Comptroller of the Household. In 1967, he was again briefly a Commissioner of the Treasury before being appointed Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. At that office, he was responsible for African affairs, and he advocated the admission of Asians expelled from Uganda into Britain. At the merger of the Foreign Office and Commonwealth Relations in 1968, he became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Sent in 1969 to negotiate with the fledgling government of Anguilla, then seceding from Saint Kitts and Nevis, he was unceremoniously expelled from the country at gunpoint. The incident ended his ministerial career.In 1983, he unexpectedly lost his seat to the Conservative Party candidate Richard Ottaway as part of Labour's national landslide defeat that year. The margin of defeat of 362 votes (0.8%) was less than the 1,184 votes gained by the Communist candidate John Peck.

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