The Second Labour Government: Imperial Political Issues, 1929–31
Labour’s ideological preference for general disarmament set the tone for its approach on a common Commonwealth foreign policy and on imperial defence, just as, even in the face of the slump, it had hoped for a return to peaceful multilateral world trade. However, pressure from civil servants in London or in the dependent Empire could on occasions get the better of pragmatic leaders like Thomas or A. V. Alexander. MacDonald was influenced by such arguments when he felt that the Government, which did not have an absolute majority in Parliament, might otherwise not survive. Whatever inclinations towards asserting that the Commonwealth was one entity for purposes of foreign policy might have been felt by some leaders, this was counterbalanced by the fact that some of Labour’s cherished policy goals could only be achieved by not taking into account the divergent approaches of the Dominions.
KeywordsForeign Policy Civil Servant Labour Party High Commissioner Common Roll
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