Moyne papers on West India Royal Commission

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Papers of Walter Edward Guiness, Lord Moyne, relating to his chairmanship of the West India Royal Commission (WIRC), 1938-1939; comprising speech notes by Moyne for the first public session of WIRC; annotated notes for preparation of the WIRC report; copies of published Colonial Office reports including Report of the West India Sugar Commission, 1930, Report by Lord Moyne on Financial Mission to Kenya, 1932, Report of Enquiry on the Trinidad and Tobago disturbances, 1937, Report by G St J Orde Browne on Labour Conditions in the West Indies, 1939, WIRC Report on agriculture, fisheries and veterinary matters by F L Engledow, 1945; memoranda submitted to WIRC by interested parties in Trinidad and Tobago, on means of improving the social and economic conditions of the people, including the Port of Spain Ministerial Association, the Civil Service Association of Trinidad and Tobago, the Port of Spain Nurses and Midwives Association, the Railway Workers Trade Union, Captain C R Williams, Church Army, the Presbyterian Church in Trinidad, the Trinidad Labour Party, Port of Spain City Council, the British West Indies and British Guiana Teachers' Association, the Trinidad and Tobago Teachers' Union, Trinidad Federation Workers Trade Union, the Guianese and West Indies Labour Congress, the Chinese Commercial Association, Trinidad Chamber of Commerce, South Trinidad Cane Farmers Association, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago on agriculture, forestry and fisheries and social welfare, the Agricultural Society of Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad Asphalt Operating Company, the Coconut Growers Association, the Petroleum Association of Trinidad, memorandum by Arthur Calder-Marshall on Trinidad, impressions of the social situation in Trinidad by A E Jeffery, the Trinidad and Tobago Union of Shop Assistants and Clerks and the Trinidad Landowners' Association.

Administrative / Biographical History

Walter Edward Guinness was born in Dublin on 29 March 1880, the 3rd son of the 1st Earl of Iveagh. From Eton he volunteered for service in the South African war, where he was wounded and mentioned in despatches. In 1907 he was elected to Parliament as conservative member for Bury St Edmunds, which he continued to represent until 1931. During World War One Guinness again served with distinction in the Suffolk Yeomanry in Egypt, and at Gallipoli. In 1922 he was appointed Under Secretary for War, the first of several political appointments which culminated in his term of office as Minister of Agriculture, Nov 1925-Jun 1929.

After the Conservative defeat in 1929 he retired from office and was created Baron Moyne of Bury St Edmunds. He was now able to indulge his love of travel and exploration, and he was also frequently called upon to chair commissions of enquiry - the Financial Mission to Kenya, 1932, the Departmental Committee on Housing, 1933, the Royal Commission on the University of Durham, 1934 and the West India Royal Commisson, 1938-1939.

During World War Two he again took political office, becoming Secretary of State for the Colonies and Leader of the House of Lords in 1941. In August 1942 he was appointed Deputy Minister of State in Cairo, and in January 1944 Minister Resident in the Middle East. On 6 November 1944 he was assassinated in Cairo by members of the Stern gang.

The West India Royal Commission was a comprehensive investigation of the social and economic condition of all the British territories in the Caribbean. Led by Lord Moyne, the Commission held public hearings throughout the region, and recommended sweeping reforms in everything from employment practices and social welfare, to radical political change. The full findings of the commission were not published until 1945 but an immediate start was made upon the implementation of less controversial recommendations. The British government decided to make substantial increases in the amount of money available for colonial development of all kinds and set about creating a framework for change.

Arrangement

Chronological

Conditions Governing Access

Open although advance notice should be given. Access to individual items may be restricted under the Data Protection Act or the Freedom of Information Act.

Acquisition Information

The papers were presented to the ICS Library by the 2nd Lord Moyne in 1980.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued to file level (see link to repository catalogue).

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

A photocopying service is available, at the discretion of the Library Staff. Copies are supplied solely for research or private study. Requests to publish, or to quote from, original material should be submitted to the Information Resources Manager.