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The National Association of educational broadcasters in collaboration with the British Information Services presents window on the world a tape recorded series of talks by eminent British citizens. This week our speaker is the Earl of Listowel former Secretary of State for India. His subject the British Commonwealth. Here now is the Earl of Listowel. The three years of passed since my last broadcast in the window in the world series of talks in New York my present talk is being made from my home in central London. I come the family of nations is changed a lot in that time. The pace of progress of its peoples towards greater freedom and closer cooperation has quickened in the Caribbean. On the doorstep of the United States a new nation the British Caribbean Federation is taking shape. It is being built up from a free Federation of the widely separated island and mainland territories under British rule in that part of the globe. Like the states of the Union they do not feel
strong or will fit enough in isolation to hold their own with the other nations of the world. They are therefore following the example of the little commonwealth countries Canada Australia and you know South Africa and combining to form a federal state. Powerful and prosperous enough to have an equal voice with other countries in world affairs. We expect within two years that a federal government and parliament will be established and the British get it there and that it will in due course become of who member of the Commonwealth and an active partner with its neighbors on the American continent in international arrangements for security and peace. Even more if it has been the pace of political progress in Central Africa. In that part of Africa three contiguous territories Northern and Southern Rhodesia and I as a land have combined to form a new country the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. They have a common parliament which meets at Seoul's bridge in Southern Rhodesia. Africans as well as Europeans are represented and
and the civil service runs the Federal Service is in all three territories. This central African country is not yet completely self-governing and United Kingdom still has a responsibility to see fair play for the Africans in a land where they constitute all but a handful of the population. But the prime minister of the Federation attended the last conference of Commonwealth prime ministers and this implies that the Commonwealth has already recognised the equal status of the Federation and that it has become a full member of our family of Commonwealth nations in West Africa. Another important part of the globe the Gulf Coast is on the threshold of independence as a new African country. To many people the nature of our commonwealth is still completely baffling. How can you talk about a political unit of which fragments are scattered all over the world without a common boundary or a common system of government. Until 1947 I was at any rate a common allegiance allegiance to the British
Crown. But since then India has become a republic and Pakistan has declared its intention of following suit. That our republican movements elsewhere which may one day prevail. I agree and it is true instead of knowledge just ahead of the whole area of the globe. Included in the Commonwealth. But in this case capacity she no longer has any constitutional functions and has really become a symbol of the spiritual ties and practical interests that hold the Commonwealth together. That's a start from a description of what the Commonwealth is today which will show I think how it has changed since the war. And then see whether this will indicate how it can be distinguished from other associations of sovereign states. The Commonwealth now has a free association of eight nations United Kingdom Canada Australia New Zealand the Union of South Africa India Pakistan and so long and our overseas territories. Perhaps the Federation of Rhodesia and I as a land should be added as a knight nation. There it
is not it is not as yet as I have said for self-governing. It should be noted that there is no political barrier between the Free and Independent Commonwealth before apart from the United Kingdom was once dependent. The latter is moving continuously towards independence status enjoyed by the self-governing countries. That's the free sector will expand by other dependent sector shrinks. Apart from a handful of territories cities or strategic outposts too small or isolated to achieve more than the control of their own internal affairs. The whole depended area will one day be free. We have the only colonial power actively engaged in Dingle and in raising subject peoples to the same level of freedom as the rest. The date of independence for each dependent set is determined by its own capacity to stand alone and not by our desire for its freedom. The relations between the sovereign members of the Commonwealth and their dependencies has been well described as a
partnership in which the senior out of junior partners are already associated in many common ventures. I suppose the most remarkable recent venture this kind is the Colombo Plan. The biggest change in the free Commonwealth since the war has resulted from the independence of India Pakistan and Salon. This is followed on the predominance of this has resulted in the predominance of Russian culture and Asian population of a European culture and persons of European origin in the makeup of our commonwealth. A vast majority of the population of the Commonwealth is not located in Southern Asia. And these people are mainly influenced by traditional religions and by the culture they have inherited from that own past it is no longer true to speak of a British Commonwealth save in a purely historical sense. We're just as proud of the fact that we have become a commonwealth of many races but dominantly other than white. We can now act as a bridge of understanding and mutual tolerance
between the races and an active force in the Struggle for Racial Equality. But this diversity of race and history exemplified by Commonwealth people scattered over the five continents does not explain why they come together as members of a Commonwealth family. This unity of purpose this religion is to work together for a common cause is depends on the last resort on popular sentiment and general consent. We are not an empire like the empires of the past which could hold up possessions but there was unity of our commonwealth springs from public opinion. Sometimes a grudging all bad acquiescence sometimes deep loyalty and family is that it. The many and complex activities of partnership which characterize the Commonwealth relationship are an expression of the desire to be partners and in democratic societies require the sanction of majority opinion. The similarities of Outlook prompting approval of the Commonwealth no longer rest on identity of race language
or allegiance. But a common stock of ideas and values in a common pattern of the legislative executive and judicial branches of government have resulted from political dependence for a longer or shorter period of time on the United Kingdom. It is. The Princess has a history that account for this common pattern of thought and institutions. What some people call belief and practice in the democratic way of life. The values embodied not institutions and aimed at by each of us as individuals on expression of a past our present desire for freedom equality and coverage. It does not follow course from this explanation of that historical origin that these values derive exclusively from the genius of Britain. On the contrary they are part of our makeup as human beings and flow directly from our model consciousness. That is why they have been freely adopted and adapted by many millions of persons who do not shout our racial background background. The ad alleges police. This is the ideology that has produced the parliamentary
system of government spreading from Westminster to every part of the Commonwealth that are now elected legislatures in or self-governing countries and in almost every dependency. But parliament is not the only institution we have in common. The super primacy of North and independent judges protect the Commonwealth citizen from Arbitron present and from interference with his freedom by high handed governments his rights as a citizen to speak his mind and act according to his conscience are guaranteed by law. It is true of course that these features of a democratic society is shared by all countries in the Western tradition. But what is perhaps more peculiar to our commonwealth is the intermittent can be a complete complex system of consultation and mutual cooperation which characterizes relations between governments between sporting and professional organizations and between individuals of different countries. This is to me gives the members of the Commonwealth greater security more diplomatic bargaining
power better opportunities for trade and development than they would have if they were foreign countries. It isn't under written obligation of membership to consider the interests of other numbers before deciding policy or to adjust policy if possible or to avoid conflict and to give mutual support where joint action is desired. Why following different depends foreign and home policy is the common ground is carefully sought out. We collaborate with all who shot operators but we do not oppose the other parts of the world. What features in this description of the Commonwealth set it apart from other groups of states such as the United Nations and all the dented Treaty Organization or the Arab League which also work together for a common objective. The Commonwealth group differs in two respects from any other first lady exists in time as well as in space. Historically it is the earliest international organization of states in existence at the present day. It began as an empire but I'm like the
other empires we read about in history the progressive ranking of central authority has led to the rigor says he and instead of the separation of its units its parts have the historical continuity of dependence on the father by independence of the United Kingdom. In the second place it is a fun trip partnership. Its members cooperate because they want to cooperate not because they are obliged to do so by the terms of the treaty. There is no legal obligation to act in harmony. The only obligation accepted by members of the Commonwealth is a moral obligation to give and to take a fair share in the manifold activities of partnership. The discharge of this our obligation is. Created our unique network of contacts between individuals organizations and governments. It's not just a model of what relations between states should be. Maybe not catch a glimpse in this attempt to reconcile freedom and fellowship of the pattern of international relations throughout the world of tomorrow. If out of the suspicion that ever replaced by trust in wealth and friendship this will
certainly be the case. Just because the Commonwealth has the flexibility to change its character in adapting itself to modern conditions that it can make a peculiar and vital contribution to world security. And the last thing peace. This contribution no longer lies in the night of alms. The United States and the Soviet Union are both more powerful countries. Commonwealth doesn't seek to become another power block a third force whose numbers gang up to browbeat and impose their will on foreign neighbors. On the contrary it's value was a stabilizing influence lies in the fact that it is not exclusive and its worldwide interests enable it to join hands with other countries having similar interests in a common cause in every part of the globe. The variety of its composition gives us a capacity to lessen the friction between races and ideologies which set up international tension. It cuts across regional groups of and become the new states provides a bridge between him and the West keeps the border
job between the Soviet and American power blocs. Its essential value is not a matter of industrial capacity or military useful as easy as it may be to draw the inference among the rational community can exit the lesson in ignorance and distrust between white and colored peoples and between the adherents of the ideology is that separate east and west. The Commonwealth is uniquely qualified to apply intentions and long experience to the improvement of international relations. It has the will and the knowledge to abate the national rivalries the racial antagonisms the ideological strife that cause mankind to live under the shadow of destruction and to carry as a crippling button of modern armaments. You have been listening to the URL of my stall speaking on the British Commonwealth window on the world has been a tape recorded presentation of the National Association of
educational broadcasters in cooperation with the British Information Services. This is the end E.B. Radio Network.
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Window on the world
Earl of Listowel
Producing Organization
British Information Services
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
The Earl of Listowel talks about the British commonwealth.
Series Description
A series of short talks by well-known British personalities on the subjects usually associated with them.
Broadcast Date
Talk Show
Politics and Government
Radio programs--United States.
Media type
Producing Organization: British Information Services
Speaker: Listowel, William Francis Hare, Earl of, 1906-
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-30-37 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:00?
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Chicago: “Window on the world; Earl of Listowel,” 1954-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2023,
MLA: “Window on the world; Earl of Listowel.” 1954-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2023. <>.
APA: Window on the world; Earl of Listowel. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from