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Letter written in 1938 commenting on the work of the British empire
(Catalogue ref: CO 852/188/5)
Source 7a

2nd November 1938.


My dear Malcolm MacDonald,

I know how fearfully busy you are with Palestine and Pirow, but there is just one point to which I wish you would give your attention immediately. Everybody tells me that the Colonial exhibit at Glasgow Exhibition was lamentable, being a purely commercial display. It is vital that the equivalent exhibit at the New York World Fair next year should in the main be an exhibit of the humanitarian and social services aspect of our Colonial Empire. It is all the more vital in view of the fact that the Colonial question may well be uppermost by then, that there is a constant prejudice in the American mind against British "Imperialism" and that this exhibition affords a marvellous opportunity of bringing home to the Americans that Britain is doing in Africa the kind of work on which they pride themselves on having done in the Philippines, etc., e.g. education, health, hospitals, self-government - all the things, in fact, which they will take for granted that Hitler won't do.

I understand there is a Committee dealing with this whose Chairman in Sir Harry Lindsay. The exhibit as planned so far, so I am informed, is going to be a purely commercial exhibit with no reference to the aspect of Colonial administration to which I have referred. I know that you have not time to look

Source 7b

into this matter yourself, but could you not give instructions that before any final decisions are reached Lord Hailey should be consulted by or added to the Committee? The African Survey appears next Tuesday. He is full of the subject from the right point of view and if, under your authority, the Committee is instructed to consult him, it may still be possible to make the Colonial Exhibit at New York a really valuable piece of propaganda for the British Empire at a very critical moment.

Lord Hailey will be back from Geneva towards the end of next week.

Yours sincerely,
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