The World Parliament Association Papers

Scope and Content

The collection comprises the official files of the Parliamentary Association for World Government and of the World Association of Parliamentarians for World Government maintained by Gilbert McAllister as an officer of both. They include minutes of meetings, reports, correspondence, accounts and balance-sheets, photographs, and a small quantity of printed pieces: papers which show both organizations in the process of administering their private business and pursuing their public programmes.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Parliamentary Group for World Government was founded in 1945 by Henry Usborne MP. The Group sought to introduce the ideas of federalist thinkers into the practical business of national politics. To support the Group, principally by financing permanent secretarial help, the Parliamentary Association for World Government was formed in 1950 (in 1963 'Parliamentary' was dropped from the title). Further financial assistance was secured by the establishment of the One World Trust. The Parliamentary Group worked to advance the idea of federal administration in Britain by persuading official opinion within government circles and by influencing public opinion by propaganda.

In 1951 it organized the first London Conference on World Government, and from a resolution of this meeting sprang the World Association of Parliamentarians for World Government (which received its constitution and first officers from the second London Conference on World Government in 1952 and in 1958 adopted a revised constitution and changed its title to 'World Parliament Association'). The World Association proposed to pursue the aims of the Parliamentary Group and to act as an agency for centralizing and coordinating the activities of various national federalist groups within Europe and beyond. It arranged a series of international conferences; it formulated and issued statements of policy on world government, disarmament, the revision of the United Nations charter and on related subjects; it published, with the help of the Parliamentary Association, a regular official journal, World. During the 1950s and early 1960s it was active in pursuing its own programme, in establishing an international membership, and in maintaining relations with other organizations of similar purpose.

During this period a number of prominent public men and women lent support to the Parliamentary Association and the World Association. Among the most influential and active in Britain were Earl Attlee, Lord Beveridge, Lord Boyd Orr, Lord Silkin, Sir James Pitman MP, J. Reeves MP, Henry Usborne MP and, most continuously and most strenuously, the Rt. Hon. Clement Davies MP and Gilbert McAllister. Outside Britain the World Association received support from many members or former members of national parliaments.

Gilbert McAllister (1906-64), with whom this collection originated, graduated from the University of Glasgow, worked first as a journalist on Scottish newspapers, then as editor of Town and Country Planning (1936-42) and Merchant Navy Journal (1943-46). He served in the 1945-51 Parliament as Labour MP for the Rutherglen Division of Lanarkshire. Subsequent posts included managing editor of Future (1953-55) and general administrator of the National Music Council of Great Britain from 1959, as well as service as Hon. Director of the World Parliament Association and as Secretary-general and Chairman of the Executive of the Association for World Government.

Access Information

Items in the collection may be consulted for the purpose of private study and personal research, within the controlled environment and restrictions of The Keep's Reading Rooms.

Acquisition Information

Given in April 1977 by Mrs Catherine McAllister.


Prepared by John Farrant, September 2002.

Other Finding Aids

An online catalogue is available on The Keep's website.

Conditions Governing Use

COPIES FOR PRIVATE STUDY: Subject to copyright, conditions imposed by owners and protecting the documents, digital copies can be made.

PUBLICATION: A reader wishing to publish material in the collection should contact the Head of Special Collections, in writing. The reader is responsible for obtaining permission to publish from the copyright owner.