- This letter was sent to Mr Malcolm MacDonald in the Dominions Office
in November 1938. It was a private letter between government officials.
- The Dominions Office was the government department in charge of British
relations with the self-ruling states like Canada and Australia. These
self-ruling states were called Dominions.
- At the time the letter was written the Empire Marketing Board was
busy organising material like the posters in sources 2-6 of this case
study. As well as posters and publications, the Marketing Board also
went to international trade exhibitions.
- At these exhibitions they put together collections of photographs,
posters, objects etc that presented a positive view of life in the British
empire. At the same time, the exhibitions were designed to get tourists
to visit parts of the empire and buy goods from the empire.
- The British were keen to get American tourists and trade, as they
were generally well-off. However, many Americans did not approve of
the British empire. This letter shows that exhibitions were seen as
one possible way to change American opinions.
- This was seen to be especially important because in late 1938
it looked as though Britain might soon be at war with Hitler’s
Germany. Britain wanted American support very badly and was keen to
counter any unfavourable ideas that the Americans had about Britain.