The policies and position of the British Council from the outbreak of war to 1950
This thesis is the first detailed study of the British Council and British cultural diplomacy between 1939 and 1950. It attempt's to tell the story of the British Council in that period, of its organisation and relations with Government Departments and of its work overseas. These activities have been placed in the wider context of British foreign policy. The thesis is based mainly on unpublished and largely untapped primary sources, in particular the archives of the British Council and those Foreign Office Departments that dealt with its work. As this is a pioneering work, much background description has been necessary and a chronological framework has been chosen to simplify explanation. The thesis is divided into two parts,the war and the post-war period, and each chapter deals with a specific subject and extends over the timespan of the section it is in. Both parts begin with an analysis of, the Council's development at home and its interaction with Government Departments. (Chapters One and Eight) The first section includes a chapter on the work of the Council's technical divisions which were mostly absorbed by the Central Office of Information after the war. (Chapter Two) The remaining chapters deal with the British Council's work overseas: Chapter Three, with-its work in Europe and the European neutrals after the outbreak of war; Chapter Four, with the Council's activities in its largest area of operation during the war, the Middle East; Chapter Five, with the start of its work in the Commonwealth and Empire; Chapter Six, with operations in Latin America; Chapter Seven, with the reasons for the lack of Council activities in the United States and the Soviet Union and its unusual work in China. Organisational problems have created some anomalies; for example, the Council's work in Turkey is described in Chapter Three and its work in Aden, Cyprus, Palestine and Malta in Chapter Five and not in the Chapter on the Middle East, Chapter Four. In the second part, Chapter Nine in concerned with the Council's return to Europe and its enforced retreat from eastern Europe. Chapter Ten looks at its developing role in the Commonwealth and Empire and Chapter Eleven covers the changes in its work in the Middle East, Latin America, the United States, the Soviet Union and China. Appendices provide additional explanation in the form of organisational charts details of annual expenditure and a list of important British Council figures. The main body of source material used in this thesis was taken from the British Council's own voluminous records, which were deposited recently at the Public Record Office in London, and from the files of the Foreign Office Library Department and Cultural Relations Department. Additional material was found in the papers of the Cabinet Office, the Prime Minister's Office and other Government Departments. Private papers have also been studied and this thesis owes much to the Kindness and cooperation of the Council's former staff in supplying invaluable information.