MACMILLAN, Harold. The Commonwealth Tour of the Prime Minister the Right Hon. Harold Macmillan, January-February 1958. Texts of his speeches, press conferences. [London, HMSO], Prepared by the Central Office of Information, .
4to. Original white cloth, lettered in gilt with dust-wrappers; pp. 30, , two maps in three colurs, and illustrations after photographs in the text; apart from a few minor marginal flaws to wrappers, a fine copy of a great rarity.
First edition, presentation copy, inscribed by the author on front fly-leaf. A very rare landmark in the history of the end of the British Empire. 'In 1958 Prime Minister Harold Macmillan spoke to the Royal Empire Society about his vision for the Commonwealth and highlighted themes of optimism, independence, and friendship. Over the space of twelve years, he said, ‘we have seen it change from the old Commonwealth of peoples of the same racial origin and traditions, into a different diverse, partnership’ (Macmillan, 1958, p54-5). He looked to counter negative attitudes that saw the end of empire in declinist terms. The Commonwealth, he declared, was a new concept, ‘a partnership of people varying among each other in almost every respect that it is possible to imagine: different origins, different in race, speaking countless different languages... [with] an immense diversity of religion’ (ibid. p52). Though his words still drew on older paternalist ideas and problematic assumptions about progress, this speech to the Royal Empire Society highlighted new narratives of the ‘modern’ independent Commonwealth which were coming to the fore through the 1950s' (Cambridge University Library, online).