Cabinet Secretaries' notebooks (CAB 195/17): Commonwealth tour
Gratitude to colleagues, esp. L.P.S., for holding fort during my absence.
Govt. did v. well in Parly. debates. Econ. debate : Bank rate enquiry.
Political situation now. Diff. period ahead - mainly psychological : as during war, when things were going wrong. Both in foreign & domestic affairs. Foreign : 12 yrs. post war : compares with 1930 : generation resentg. not being in war & suffering sense of frustration : little prospect for the young - mounting armaments etc., : religion not there to sustain them - not so much faith or courage as there was. Hence clutching at straws : banning H. bomb., summit mtg etc., We must not discourage these people. In F.A. debate shall try to strike discordant note of unity in the country by speaking of these larger issues.
Domestic : I never supposed our economic measures wd. be other than unpopular. We must persevere : win wage battle, keep things steady - and watch for moment when some fruits of this policy can be brought forth - diff. timing.
Seek new note of confidence and buoyancy.
Must try to get more time to think. Punch-drunk with red boxes. More delegation to Junior Ministers and to Cab. Cttees. We must get a second wind.
Sure it was right for me to make the tour. Helped to avoid damage to £.
Statistics of tour.
Began with Asia. In India Nehru set himself to make it a success. Public demonstrations were striking - and unique. Leaders taking more balanced view of past & of Br. connection. Gt. hope of holding these people. 5 yr. plan must be made to succeed.
Australasia. Old Doms. needed interpretn. of new : I attempted to do this : we can get them interested in this new theme. Depth of loyalty : determination to stay British (migration) - and B. capital for developmt.
Tory Party : party of Empire, puzzled about Commonwealth. Can we create new mystique so that Tories can spk. with conviction of new Commonwealth.
Gt. appreciation of P.M.'s contn. to Comm. and to Govt. Diff. decn. - proved correct by events. Success of tour reflected in U.K. Press.
Service to Comm. due from U.K.
Every report from Doms. stresses significance of visit. Conveyed to India our sympathy with their long-term objectives. U.K. is responsible for liberal India influencing Asia to-day.
More publicity for prepns. for Comm. Economic Conference
Prs. mtgs. on this with selected journalists.
Taken from C.C. 17(58) - Meeting held on 18 February 1958