Friday, 2 May 2014


Churchill with a simple message for immigrants.

by David Hamilton

Those who call for common sense in immigration are following an honourable tradition of conserving our homogeneity going back at least as far as Queen Elizabeth I who expelled "the Blackamors" in 1602.

In this fine British tradition, Sir Winston Churchill attempted to introduce a Bill to control immigration in 1955. He also wanted the Conservative Party to adopt the slogan "Keep England White." [1]

The multi-racial idealists ignored warning signs of what mass immigration would lead to when there was already plenty of evidence. The race battles of 1919 in Glasgow in January, in South Shields in January and February, in London in April, and in Liverpool, Cardiff, Barry and Newport in June were not the first.

There had been racial battles in the 1870s and in 1911 in Cardiff with the Chinese community. In 1919 there were five deaths and serious injuries, whole areas cordoned off by the police and hundreds taken into protective custody. The Times reported the Cardiff battle:
"Racial riots of a grave character occurred at Cardiff during the early hours of yesterday morning. The trouble seems to have broken out simultaneously in several adjacent parts of the city about midnight. A young man named Harold Smart walked up to a constable and complained that a coloured man had cut his throat"
The constable took him to hospital but he died on arrival. This culminated in crowds of whites and blacks facing and baiting each other. Six Arabs were charged for a variety of offences, including firing a revolver. It appears the riot grew out of white men objecting to coloured men consorting with white women.

One-Worlder Lord Milner wrote a Memorandum of June 23rd "On the Repatriation of Coloured Men."
"I have every reason to fear, that when we get these men back to their own colonies they might be tempted to revenge themselves on the white minorities there…"
When the Empire Windrush brought immigrants here in 1948 there were race battles: Liverpool again, between 31 July and 2 August, in Deptford on the 18th July; and Birmingham between the 6th and 8th of August 1949 involving immigrants from seafaring backgrounds but the idealists ignored them. The Times reported the Liverpool battle as about 50 persons...
"mostly coloured appeared in court after...a gang of negros stoned several white men who were walking peacefully. They were armed with bottles, swords, daggers, iron bars, coshes and axes. The white men hopelessly outnumbered ran away. A Negro club appeared to have been the headquarters of the coloured men, and police officers were stoned and had bottles thrown at them from club windows as they tried to disperse the crowd." [2]
Despite the risks involved they continued with the policy of free entry for immigrants. They kept no records of the numbers entering, apparently because the immigrants were, as Commonwealth citizens, British subjects, nor did they give practical support, leaving it to local councils and voluntary organizations. Throughout the 1950s many delegations from local councils of areas affected were sent to 10 Downing Street to ask for practical help and funds. On the 21st of November 1952 the Town Clerk of Brixton asked for the regulation of immigration.

Churchill first discussed immigration in Cabinet on 25th November 1952 when he asked if the Post Office employed large numbers of "coloured workers." "If so, there was some risk social problems would be created." They were from India, Nigeria, the Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Mauritius, West Indies, Ceylon, British Guiana and Malaya.

The postmaster General was asked to report on it. He explained: "...the Post Offices' main unions raised no objections to their employment at basic grades." He added, "If it is felt that coloured workers should not be allowed to obtain employment in this country, I should have thought the proper course would be to deny them entry to the country."

Churchill asked his staff to find out about problems in Lambeth, Brixton and Cardiff. B.G.Smallman, Private Secretary to the Colonial Secretary produced a paper The Coloured Population of the UK. This estimated the numbers to be 40-50,000, which included about 6,000 students. [3]

The invasion that Churchill wasn't able to defeat.
Historian Andrew Roberts wrote that The Commonwealth Relations Office worried that with restrictions "there might well be a chance of the governments of India and Pakistan introducing retaliatory restrictions against the entry or residence of members of the British business community." Commonwealth Secretary Earl Home, worried that they should not give the impression that Commonwealth citizens from India, Pakistan and Ceylon would be less favourably treated than those from the Dominions otherwise there could be retaliation.

Roberts mentions the stupidity and trivial motives of those around Churchill:
  • A Minister closely involved in the decision-making process: "In fact…we were just stalling and hoping for the best." 
  • One of Churchill's Private Secretaries: "At that time it seemed a very good idea to get bus conductors and stuff."
  • A Junior Minister: "It was becoming hard to find somebody to carry your bags at the station." [4]
On the 27th of June 1953, Sir Winston suffered a stroke that left him paralysed down the left side. After that, he told Butler, "I feel like an aeroplane at the end of its flight, in the dusk, with the petrol running out, in search of a safe landing." [5] Interviewed by Roberts, his Foreign Affairs Personal Secretary Anthony Montague-Brown recalled that he was "simply too tired to deal with the immigration problem. He could concentrate on a few big issues at a time - like the Russians - and the rest of the time he could only give a steer and not see it through." [6]

In November 1952 His Private Secretary, Sir John Colville noted, "He is getting tired and visibly ageing. He finds it hard to compose a speech and ideas no longer flow." [7]

The Cabinet set up an Inter Departmental Committee to look into preventing an increase in the number of immigrants. It reported its findings in December 1953. This Inter Departmental Committee comprised representatives of the Ministry of Labour and National Service, the National Assistance Board, the Colonial Office, and Chief Constables from areas where immigrants were settling.

The Home Secretary was to ask the Inter Departmental Committee, which was chaired by the Home Office, to look into preventing an increase in the number coming for employment. There is a note to R.J.Guppy of the Home Office in The Prime Ministers papers notifying him that Churchill had seen the report in that day's Daily Telegraph "about what is termed an influx of West Indians. He is considering bringing the matter before the Cabinet and would like to have a report from the Home Secretary about it." [8]

In January 1954 the Home Secretary, Maxwell Fyfe, reported on the findings of the "Working Party on the Social and Economic Problems Arising from the Growing Influx into the United Kingdom of Coloured Workers." He stated "the unskilled workers who form the majority are difficult to place because on the whole they are physically unsuited to heavy manual work…" [9]

Enoch Powell
For those familiar with the debate over the veracity of Enoch Powell's claim in his Rivers Of Blood speech that an elderly white lady was being driven from her home, of the several news cuttings in the Prime Ministers papers is one from The News Chronicle of 7th December 1954, where a 62 year-old white woman living alone in a house full of coloured men asked for an injunction to stop her coloured landlord abusing or molesting her. Judge Wilfred Clothier in giving judgement said that she was "hounded by these coloured men. This is another case of black people entering half a house and never resting until they have turned the white people out. I hope there will be a remedy found quickly. One could be to turn back to Jamaica anyone found guilty of this practice. Another would be a prohibition by law to stop any black people buying a house containing white tenants." Conrad Fairclough wanted Matilda McLaren out of where she had lived for 40 years, yet he only came here in 1948.
"In Paddington hundreds of houses have been rented or bought by coloured people since the war. Statements are being taken from 2,000 residents who protested to the borough council against 'the ever-increasing practice of selling to coloured people houses in which there are already white tenants.' Mr.George O'Connell, a member of the council said to me that a committee formed in the borough would sift through evidence provided by the residents. He hoped shortly to discuss the problem with Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, Home Secretary....We are not so much concerned about the effect on values of neighbouring properties as on the white tenants who are forced out by them." 
Churchill's Private Secretary Montague-Brown in a memo to a civil servant called Johnston, dated 2nd of November, 1954, referred to on an article in the Daily Telegraph of 19th October in which the Jamaican Minister of Labour said he would not attempt to stop mass immigration, and said that the P.M. thought this should be brought up in Cabinet.

An important point in these discussion was that Commonwealth citizens had the right of entry to the UK and the same rights as British citizens when here. The British Nationality Act of 1948 did not give them those rights but simply codified them. This point is made in the Cabinet Secretaries Notebooks, released to the public in August 2007. These are handwritten notes of Cabinet Meetings. They record that on 3rd February 1954, under the item "Coloured Workers," the following rough notes refer to the views expressed by Churchill:
"Problems which will arise if many coloured people settle here. Are we to saddle ourselves with colour problems in the UK? Attracted by Welfare State. Public opinion in UK won't tolerate it once it gets beyond certain limits."

Contrary to this report, Nottinghill '58 was not Britain's first race riot.

Florence Horsbrugh, Minister of Education and MP for Manchester Moss Side, added: "Already becoming serious in Manchester." David Maxwell Fyfe, the Home Secretary, gave a figure of 40,000 compared to 7,000 before the Second World War and raised the possibility of control. The notes referring to his views are as follows:
"There is a case on merits for exclude. riff-raff. But politically it wd. be represented & discussed on basis of colour limitation. That wd. offend the floating vote viz., the old Liberals. We shd. be reversing age-long tradition that. British Subjects have right of entry to mother-country of Empire. We should. offend Liberals, also sentimentalists. The colonial. populations are resented in Liverpool, Paddington & other areas by those who come into contact with them. But those who don't are apt to take a more Liberal view."
Churchill's response was then recorded:
"Question is whether it is politically wise to allow public feeling to develop a little more before taking action," adding that it would be 'fatal' to let the situation develop too far. Would like also to study possibility of 'quota' - no. not to be exceeded." [11]
David Maxwell Fyfe was also one of the
prosecutors at the Nuremburg Trials
In March 1954 Maxwell Fyfe told the Cabinet, "that large numbers of coloured people are living on National Assistance" and that "coloured landlords by their conduct are making life difficult for white people living in the same building or area…the result is that white people leave and the accommodation is then converted to furnished lettings for coloured people, with serious overcrowding and exploitation."

In a Cabinet memorandum of 8th March, Maxwell-Fyfe feared "serious difficulties involved in contemplating action which would undoubtedly land the Government in some political controversy."

In Cabinet in October 1954, Churchill warned Maxwell Fyfe, "that the problems arising from the immigration of coloured people required urgent and serious consideration." Maxwell Fyfe emphasised that there was no legal power to prevent these people entering no matter how much the number may increase.

In Harold Macmillan's diary for January 20th 1955, another discussion is referred to:
"More discussion about the West Indian immigrants. A Bill is being drafted - but it's not an easy problem. P.M. thinks 'Keep England White' a good slogan!"
This is substantiated by the Cabinet Notebooks for 20th January 1955:
"Coloured Immigrants. P.M. Need for decision before long.
Anthony Eden. Before Commonwealth P.M. mtg.
Henry Hopkinson. Osborne M.P. is thinking of introducg. Bill under 10 min. rule.
Gwilym Lloyd George. Depn.y’day from B’ham. No objn. to them as workers. But qua housing. Figures are impressive.
Viscount Swinton. Might consider Cttee. on social aspects, alone.
Anthony Eden. Might be useful – to re-inforce action we decide to take.
P.M. Not in favour. Better to introduce Bill. May find we cd. get it thro’. At least we shd. have shown our view.
Marquess of Salisbury. Urgent.
Henry Hopkinson. Movement is starting now in favour of immign. from Barbados.
Exit Henry Hopkinson." [12]
Just before he gave up the Premiership in 1955 Mr. Churchill told the Spectator owner and editor Ian Gilmour that immigration "is the most important subject facing this country, but I cannot get any of my ministers to take any notice." [13]

From this we can conclude that if Sir Winston had been well at the time, we would not now be suffering the depredations of multiculturalism to the degree we are today.


Cabinet Secretaries' Notebooks covering this period (CAB 195/13) were released at the beginning of February 2008. The papers of British Prime Ministers are classified under PREM. PREM 11/824 covers Churchill’s premiership. It has Information requested by the Prime Minister on immigration of coloured workers to the UK and their employment in the Civil Service; deportation of British subjects; powers of Colonial Governments; employment of Jamaicans in the UK 1952-1955

[1] Peter Hennessy, Having It So Good - Britain in the Fifties, Allen Lane, 2006, p.224. Hennessy's reference is: Peter Catterall (ed.), The Macmillan Diaries: The Cabinet Years, 1950-1957, Macmillan, 2003, p.382.

[2] Racial Violence in Britain in the Nineteenth Century Panikos Paranyi (ed.) Leicester University, 1996. The discussions on immigration are classified as our "racism" as usual by Marxist academics. See also British Immigration Policy Since 1939: The Making of Multi-Racial Britain, By Ian R. G. Spencer, Routledge. 1997

[3] These are held at the National Archive: CC100(52)8 (cabinet Conclusions on 25/11/1952, CAB 128/25); The Post Master General’s report and the Chancellor being asked to restrict entry to the Civil Service is in CC106(52), 8/12/1952, CAB 128

[4] Eminent Churchillians, Andrew Roberts, London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1994,

[5] R.A.Butler, The Art of the Possible, London, Hamish Hamilton, 1971, p.173.

[6] ibid Eminent Churchillians.

[7] The Fringes of Power, Sir John Colville, London. Stoughton Ltd., 1985, p.654

[8] Daily Telegraph 29/1/54 "Cities Concerned at Influx of West Indians."

[9] Report of the Working Party on Coloured People Seeking Employment in the United Kingdom. 17th December 1953 (CAB124/1191)

[10] Cabinet Secretaries Notebooks. The eleventh Notebook (CAB 195/11) (released August 2007) covers the period 3.12.52 - 26.2.54.


[12] Cabinet Secretaries Notebooks. The eleventh Notebook (CAB 195/11) (released August 2007) covers the period 3.12.52 - 26.2.54.


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