Sir Donald MacGillivray Collection

Scope and Content

Papers relating to Sir Donald MacGillivray's work in Palestine, including a minute on the Arab revolt c1938; appointment diaries 1938-1945 and passes and permits during his time in Palestine. There are letters written to and from MacGillivray, a collection of thanksgiving, memorial and parade programmes 1944-1948, land transfer regulations, staff lists and propaganda leaflets. Also included are reports and conversations on MacGillivray's work for the UN as Liaison Officer for the Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) relating to the United Kingdom's withdrawal and the future of Palestine.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Donald Charles MacGillivray(1906-1966) Knight, Colonial Administrator

Born 22 September 1906 in Edinburgh, Scotland, MacGillivray attended Sherbourne School and then Trinity College, Oxford where he studied politics, philosophy and economics. He entered the colonial administration service in 1928 and became administrative officer, Tanganyika Territory in 1929-1938. In 1936 he was awarded an MBE and in the same year married Louisa Mai Knox-Browne. MacGillivray became administrative officer in Palestine, 1938-1942, promoted to Deputy District Commissioner, Galilee, Palestine, 1942-1944 and later District Commissioner, Samaria, Palestine 1944-1946. From 1946-1947 MacGillivray was the Under Secretary to the Palestine Government and in 1947 became the Liaison Officer with the UN Special Committee on Palestine. In 1947 MacGillivray was appointed colonial secretary in Jamaica until 1952 and in 1949 was awarded a CMG. From 1952 he was appointed as Deputy High Commissioner, Federation of Malaya and then promoted in 1954 to High Commissioner. MacGillivray was awarded the GCMG in 1957 and retired the same year from the Colonial Administration service and moved to Kenya where he took the role of Chairman, Kenya Council State in 1958 and then Chairman, Makerere College, Council in Uganda until 1961. In 1960 he became Deputy Chairman on the Advisory Commission on Federation of the Rhodesia's and Nyasaland. In 1964 he became Director for the UN Special Fund for East African Livestock Develt Survey until 1966. MacGillivray died on 24 December 1966 in Nairobi, leaving his wife and one son.


1. Diaries

2. Arab Revolt Minute

3. Land Transfer Regulations

4. Propaganda Leaflets

5. Correspondence

6. Staff List

7. Passes and Permits

8. Reception, Parade and award ceremonies programmes

9. Thanksgiving and Memorial Order of Service Sheets

10. Withdrawal from Palestine

11. UN Committee Work

Access Information


For further information on how to use the Middle East Centre Archive, please see our Archon entry at

Acquisition Information

Received as a gift from Lady MacGillivray in December 1967

Archivist's Note

Fonds and file and item level description created by Kate Rose, Nov 2011. Biographical history based on entry from The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography on MacGillivray and Who's Who published by A & C Black.

Conditions Governing Use

No restrictions on copying or quotation other than statutory regulations and preservation concerns

Custodial History

In the possession of Sir Donald Charles MacGillivray

Related Material

In Middle East Centre Archive

Other papers relating to the end of the Palestine Mandate and United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) include:

  • GB165-0068 Crossman Collection: containing reports, papers relating to the problems of the Anglo-American Committee and UNSCOP 1946-1947.
  • GB165-0072 Cunningham Collection: containing papers concerning the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry, UNSCOP and the military situation in Palestine.
  • GB165- 0290 United Nations Special Committee on Palestine: containing report on UNSCOP conference 1947, detailing policies and movement origins.


Geographical Names