The Historiography of the British Empire-Commonwealth: Trends, Interpretations and Resources

By Robin W. Winks | Go to book overview

GREAT BRITAIN AND INTER
NATIONAL TRUSTEESHIP:
THE MANDATE SYSTEM

William Roger Louis

IN 1919THE PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE created the mandate system. The purpose of this innovation in colonial rule was to supervise the administration of the former German colonies in Africa and the Pacific and in Turkish territories in the Middle East. According to Article 22 of the League of Nations Covenant, these areas were not to be regarded as colonial possessions but as "a sacred trust of civilization." The works about Great Britain and the mandate system deal both with the origins and the application of this idea. Virtually without exception those writers who have analyzed the proceedings of the Permanent Mandate Commission and the administration of the mandated territories have had to rely upon published sources of memoirs and official documents. And it will not be until 1989 (if the British government maintains the present fifty-year restriction) that all of the British records through 1939 will be open to public inspection. Those scholars concerned with the establishment of the mandate system have been more fortunate. In 1942 the United States State Department began publishing the American documents concerning the Peace Conference.1 This collection answered many questions that previously had puzzled scholars; but it contained few revelations: practically since the time of the conference itself various writers have had access to collections of private papers which reveal the main lines of the colonial settlement of 1919. The scholarly interpretations of the meaning of a "mandate" have been shaped by these disclosures as well as by the spirit of the times after the two World Wars.

The first important commentary on the founding of the mandate

____________________
1
Papers relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States: The Paris Peace Conference,1919 ( 13 vols.; Washington, 1942-47).

-296-

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The Historiography of the British Empire-Commonwealth: Trends, Interpretations and Resources
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Contributors ix
  • Introduction 3
  • The American Continental Colonies in the Empire 23
  • The Empire Since 1783 46
  • Canada 69
  • Australia 137
  • New Zealand 174
  • The British Territories in the Pacific 197
  • South Africa 212
  • British Central Africa 237
  • British East Africa 248
  • British West Africa 261
  • Egypt and the Sudan 279
  • Great Britain and Inter­national Trusteeship: the Mandate System 296
  • Gibraltar, Malta, and Cyprus 312
  • Ireland's Commonwealth Years, 1922-1949 326
  • The British West Indies 344
  • India 357
  • Pakistan 396
  • Ceylon 421
  • Burma 448
  • Malaysia 460
  • Commonwealth Literature: Developments and Prospects 493
  • Appendix: An American Report 523
  • Index 529
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