MACKAY, Ronald William Gordon, 1902-1960, politician

Scope and Content

Papers of Ronald William Gordon Mackay, c1928-1952, comprising the following. Material relating to European and international affairs c1928-1952 (sections 1-10); writings and collected papers concerning Europe c1940-1951 (sections 11-13); general reference material c1929-1951 (section 14); general political papers 1932-1946 (section 15).

Administrative / Biographical History

Ronald William Gordon Mackay, 1902-1960, was born in Australia and educated at Sydney Grammar School and Sydney University, where he obtained an LLB in 1926 and an MA with Hons in Education in 1927. In the late 1920's he lectured in Australia at St. Paul's College in New South Wales and at Sydney University in philosophy, history and economics. Throughout his career he lectured in many colleges and universities in the United States and Britain. From the 1930's to the 1950's he also broadcasted frequently on the National and Overseas Services of the B.B.C and in America and Britain. He was admitted as a solicitor in Sydney in 1926, and when he came to England in 1934, he was admitted as a solicitor there. He continued to practice as a corporation lawyer and legal adviser to a number of British, American and Australian companies. Indeed in 1950 he was serving as director of a public company in Britain and of several private companies. In 1935 he began his political career, standing first as a Labour candidate in Frome, Somerset. He remained a prospective candidate for that constituency until 1942 when he resigned from the Labour Party to fight a by-election in Llandaff and Barry as an Independent Socialist candidate in opposition to the peace policy of the Coalition Government. In 1943 he joined the Common Wealth Party and was Chairman of that party from 1943-1944. He rejoined the Labour Party in 1945 and was the Labour MP for Hull North-West from 1945 to 1950 and the Labour MP for the North Division of Reading from 1950 to 1951. During World War II, Mackay held appointments at the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Aircraft Production. After the war Mackay reportedly became known as an 'internationalist' who emphasised the dependence of Britain on the democracies of Europe on the one hand and the United States and the Commonwealth on the other; saw the solution of Britains post-war economic and political problems in European terms; and worked towards promoting good international relations between Britain and the world. He became involved in the European Union and British policy relating to Europe through participation in the activities of the European Parliamentary Union, European Movement, Federal Union and the Council of Europe. Mackay published a number of books including the following: Some Aspects of Primary and Secondary Education (New Century Press, 1928). Industrial Arbitration in Australia (New Century Press, 1930). Federal Europe: being the case for European federation, together with a draft constitution of a united states of Europe, with foreword by Norman Angell (1940) Peace aims and the new order : outlining the case for European federation together with a draft constitution of a united states of Europe, with foreword by Norman Angell (1941). Coupon or free?: being a study in electoral reform and representative government (1943). Britain in wonderland (1948). Western union in crisis : economic anarchy or political union : five papers supporting the proposition that the political solution provides the only key to our economic problems, etc (1949). Heads in the sand : a criticism of the official Labour Party attitude to European unity (1950). European unity : the Strasbourg plan for a European political authority with limited functions but real powers; with a foreword by Paul Henri Spaak (1951). Whither Britain? (1953). Towards a United States of Europe : an analysis of Britain's role in European union, with a preface by Paul-Henri Spaak (1961).


Arranged into the following sections: Operation 2, Bills and Conventions [c1928-1951] (section 1), European Parliamentary Union papers [1946-1950] (section 2), European Parliamentary Union and other European groups and committees [1946-1951] (section 3), Various European organisations, groups and committees [1946-1950] (section 4), Various European organisations, groups and committees [1947-1952] (section 5), European Movement, other European organisations and general papers on Europe [1948-1952] (section 6), European Union, economic and general papers [1949-1951] (section 7), Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe meetings in Strasbourg and related papers [1949-1952] (section 8), Council of Europe, Committee papers: Statute [1949-1951] (section 9), Council of Europe, Committee papers: Meetings [1950-1951] (section 10), Papers by Mackay on Europe [c1940-1951] (section 11), Collected papers and articles relating to Europe [1941-1951[ (section 12), European Union [1946-1949] (section 13), Numbered subject files [c1929-1951] (section 14), General political papers [1932-1946] (section 15).

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1961

Other Finding Aids

Printed handlist and online catalogue available.

Archivist's Note

Separated Material

Oxford University, Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts: MSS Curtis; Eng hist b 224, c 776-877. Correspondence between Mackay and LG Curtis 1948-1951. Warwick University, Modern Records Centre: MS 157. Letters from Mackay to Sir Victor Gollancz 1950-1959. Manchester University, John Rylands Library: Guardian archives. Letters from Mackay to the Manchester Guardian 1945-1950.

Conditions Governing Use


Related Material

GB 0097 Federal Trust: Correspondence and papers of the Federal Union (1938-), and Federal Trust for Education and Research (1945-), c1938-2001.

Corporate Names

Geographical Names