The Influence of the British Secretariat Tradition on Twentieth-Century International Peace-Keeping

  • Robert S. Jordan
Part of the St Antony's book series


The evolution of one of the most effective means of achieving some measure of multinational co-ordination and possible amelioration of international political rivalries took place as a consequence of the great colonial — or imperial — expansion of Great Britain into the non-European world. One result of this expansion was the Boer War in South Africa. In the wake of the generally poor performance of Britain in this war, and because of the growing awareness in London that the Empire needed more systematic overseeing, a means of co-ordinating Britain’s military affairs was introduced, called the secretariat method. In fact, stretching even from the Seven Years’ War, as Peter Nailor points out, a new concept of imperial security was slowly evolving: ‘The particular aspect of Imperial defense that pervades and illuminates the British experience is the cooperation (or lack of it) between the Imperial power and its self-governing possessions.’1 More to the point of this chapter, Nailor observes:

… British Imperial defense is the story of a relationship that in some respects is more like that of an alliance than of central and dominant authority imposing and executing a series of objectives: a relationship in which persuasion and example — and indecision — have as much place as economic and political uncertainty or agreed strategic perspectives.2


Prime Minister Security Council North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Grand Strategy Privy Council 
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Copyright information

© John B. Hattendorf and Robert S. Jordan 1989

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  • Robert S. Jordan

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