Trusteeship, Indirect Rule and Colonial Development

  • Max Beloff


The most obvious fact about British policy in relation to those territories for which the Colonial Office was responsible was that it could hardly be said to exist. The territories themselves — crown colonies, protectorates, mandates, and lesser islands and enclaves — were so varied in size and population and in the level of economic, social and cultural development to which they had attained, that no system that could be designed for some of them would not be wholly unsuitable for others. In this the dependencies reflected the very varied circumstances of their original acquisition and the different degrees of importance attached to them from an economic or strategic perspective. In contrast to the Indian Empire, they were not thought of in terms of future self-government, at however distant a date, nor (except temporarily in regard to the German colonial claims) was the idea of parting with any of them seriously entertained. They were territories subject to the sovereignty of the British Crown in Parliament and had to be governed in some fashion according to the constitutional precedents and available administrative machinery.


Labour Party High Commissioner White Settlement Colonial Policy Close Union 
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Copyright information

© Max Beloff 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Max Beloff
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OxfordUK

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