Student Papers: Snapshots of Statesmanship
Churchill’s Constitutionalism Through the Lens of South Africa, Ireland, and the Middle East
For the independence of the Transvaal Boers it was truly a most fortunate circumstance that the discovery of the gold-fields succeeded rather than preceded the restoration of Boer independence in 1881. Had Johannesburg, with its present population, its present possessions, and its present prospects, existed at the time of the Transvaal War, it never would have been suffered to pass away from the dominion of the British Government. I adhere to the opinion I expressed in a former letter that the restoration of Dutch independence was necessary if not essential to the peaceful government of the Cape Colony, but viewing the Transvaal as it is, and calculating what it might be if its possessors and rulers were English, one cannot but lament that so splendid a territory should have ceased to be British…
(Lord Randolph Churchill, Men, Mines, and Animals in South Africa, (1892) Chapter VI, page 81)
Introduction: “Words Spoken Abroad”
“They boast and vaunt themselves before the world, yet in their hearts there is unspoken fear,” Winston Churchill declared of Hitler’s Nazis in a broadcast to the United States in 1938. He had not yet been brought out of the cold and into the inner circle of government. “[T]hey are afraid of words and thoughts; words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home – all the more powerful because forbidden…They make frantic efforts to bar our thoughts and words; they are afraid of the workings of the human mind…how are they to quell the natural promptings of human nature[?]” he wondered.1 The words of the English-speaking Peoples had the capacity to render distant dictators petrified, Churchill maintained. What could possibly so powerful about the words of such a people? Its roots are found in the individual liberties and Constitutional traditions possessed by these champions of self-government.
To understand Churchill, one cannot overlook the influence of his father, Lord Randolph Churchill. Young Winston wrote a widely praised two-volume biography of his father’s life in 1906. He affirmed, “The greatest and most powerful influence in my early life was of course my father…I read industriously almost every word he had ever spoken…I took my policies almost unquestionably from him.”2 Taking up the banner of the paternal legacy bequeathed to him, many of his policies reflected Lord Randolph’s. Churchill credited his father for his firm stance of free trade. Imbibing the debates of Gladstone and Disraeli, Olympians in the pantheon of Parliament, during his sojourn in India, Churchill immersed himself in Irish Home Rule debate. Hence, his father’s most famous proclamation that “Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right” could not have failed to impress itself upon the young statesman and shape his views on the Irish question. It would have been with a paradigmatic shift of opinion, then, that Churchill arrived in Ulster to speak in favor of Irish Home Rule in 1912. Such irony was not lost on the prominent men of the country; “Sir Edward Carson, the leader of the Ulster Unionist Parliamentarians, denounced Churchill,” labeling him “‘the most provocative speaker in the whole party, going…to a place where the words of his own father are still ringing in the ear.’”3 With those words ringing in his ears, how then did this son of his father reconcile the Irish question in his mind? He began with South Africa.
Churchill understood the significance of the English legacy of constitutional self-government and individual liberty and this vision colored his dealings not only with Ireland, but with the territories of South Africa as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1906, and then with the Middle East as Colonial Secretary in 1921. The aim of his endeavors was to allow as much self-government and devolution as feasible for both regions, while accounting for their different political histories. He proved himself a generous, but prudent steward of this English-speaking inheritance.
The Transvaal: Land of Gold and Diamonds
In 1806, Britain acquired its South African colony, then the Cape of Good Hope, inhabited by the Dutch-descended Afrikaners (Boers) and native peoples jointly. In 1843 Britain annexed Natal, another Afrikaner republic. In the 1830s and 1840s, rather than foment rebellion, the Afrikaners moved themselves further inland to the Transvaal and Orange Free State.
Even at this period, the South African colonies were largely self-governed by British design.4 When Lord Randolph Churchill passed through the Transvaal in 1891, he lamented the loss of “so splendid a territory.”5 However, his incisive analysis of its Parliament proved decidedly less flattering. Its “combination of pomp and commonplace,” he found “somewhat amusing.” He did admire their customary hourly pause for smoking and conversation, but castigated the impotent second chamber, a “political infant” which “[t]he Boer Constitution-mongers having brought… into existence were exhausted, and neglected to supply… with powers, rights, or duties”—leading Lord Randolph to deliver his most devastating criticism, “[i]n its present form it is a mere debating society.”6 Saddened by the loss of the region’s natural resources, he was nevertheless unimpressed by its inability to self-govern. But with the discovery of gold and diamonds in 1867 and 1886, tempting natural resources, Joseph Chamberlain as Secretary of State for the Colonies had “g[i]ve[n] covert support” to an operation designed “to overthrow the republican regime of President Kruger” in the Transvaal.7 The failed attempt cracked gaping rifts in the relationship and though “Chamberlain wished to avoid war,” when the “[n]egotiations broke down” and an Afrikaner contingent attacked the British army, war was launched.8
Churchill served in the campaign as a war correspondent, even experiencing Boer prisons for himself firsthand after heroically attempting to thwart the Boer capture of an armored train. After writing a personal letter to Luis de Souza, the Boer Secretary of State, informing him of his pending departure, Churchill escaped the prison and with the help of sympathetic civilians made his way to freedom. By the time the war concluded with the Treaty of Vereeniging, Churchill had already entered Parliament as the member from Oldham and delivered his maiden speech to the Commons.
A Constitution for the Boers: Evenhandedness
Following the conclusion of the war, a Commission was dispatched to South Africa “to gain information and guidance.”9 Upon their return, the rights of constitutional self-government were “framed and embodied in Letters Patent of the 6th of December 1906.”10 Prior to the issue of the Letters Patent, Churchill announced to the House of Commons in 1906, “The case of Transvaal is urgent. It is the nerve-centre of South Africa.”11 He summarized the prior developments, including a constitution drafted by Heneage Legge, which “had ceased to breathe even before it was born.”12 Also on the scrap heap of discarded constitutions, the “Lyttelton Constitution was utterly unworkable” because “[i]t surrendered the machinery of power” and would have induced either the Boers or the Britons “to bring about a constitutional deadlock by obstruction.”13
To avoid another such shipwreck of a constitution, evenhandedness14 became the north star guiding the quest of His Majesty’s government as they charted the course of this newest sovereign corner of the empire. “We propose to extend to both races,” illuminated Churchill, “the fullest privileges and rights of British citizenship; and we intend to make no discrimination in the grant of that great boon.” Yet in following this north star, they never lost sight of their journey’s end, “permanent inclusion in the British Empire” for Transvaal. Conferring on Britons and Boers alike “the fullest privileges and rights of British citizenship” was no mere rhetorical gloss. Churchill firmly reiterated to the chamber “that all men are equal and that all discriminations between them are unhealthy and undemocratic” from whence flowed naturally “the principle of one vote, one value.”15
The practicalities which composed the Constitution likewise followed the principles guiding the overall endeavor. So as to preserve that evenhanded balance, the government elected “to follow the Cape practice and allow the members of the Transvaal Parliament to address that Assembly indifferently in Dutch or English.”16 On the thorny issue of creating electoral districts, Churchill promised that the “respective constituencies will not proceed upon hard mathematical lines, but” would accord with the “existing field cornetcies” so as to tamper “as little… as possible in the ideas of the rural population and in the existing boundaries.”17 However, the singular issue that sparked the greatest debate was that of a Second Chamber for Transvaal. Perhaps, because the tension between the Lords and the Commons had risen to such a pitch, the preexisting debate exacerbated the question of a Second Chamber. Churchill acknowledged wryly that “[w]e on this side of the House are not particularly enamoured of Second Chambers.” Nevertheless, he deferred to British and Commonwealth tradition, noting, “[b[ut we have to be governed by colonial practice; and there is no colony in the Empire that has not a Second Chamber.”18
The constitution provided for a Legislative Assembly of sixty-nine members and a Legislative Council with fifteen, initially appointed by the Governor with “power…given to the Legislature, in due course to substitute,” at their wish, “an elective for a nominated Council.”19 It resembled the American branches in many respects with its indirectly chosen Upper Chamber, directly elected Lower Chamber, its executive branch, and an independent Supreme Court, whose judges were to be “appointed by the Governor in Council.” As in the American and Parliamentarian tradition, the power of the purse rested with the body closest to the people – the “Council may either accept or reject any Money Bill passed by the Legislative Assembly, but may not alter” such a bill.20 In short, Transvaal had been given all the advantages of the English-speaking political, legal, and constitutional tradition, unlike the “loosely put together…clouds of perorations and pious platitudes” that Parliamentarians intended for India.21 Provisions also were made in the constitution “to safeguard British Indians in the Transvaal” and to protect Chinese immigrants from “employment or residence of a servile character.”22
Confident, therefore, of the “inestimable blessings” to ensue from this constitution, Churchill enjoined “the support of a Parliamentary majority” to transform this boon from “the gift of a Party” into “the gift of England.”23 Naturally, the question arose about the effect of the Constitution upon the Transvaal region. At the time, Churchill declined to “speculate or prophesy…It would be indecent and improper.” He joked, “I cannot even tell in this country at the next election how large the Liberal majority will be,” much less what an outcome involving two somewhat heterogeneous groups, the Briton and the Boer, would entail.24
Numerous sources in Britain, the Commonwealth, and the United States reviewed the document at the time and offered their own critical judgments, deigning to speculate and prophesy where even great statesmen hesitated to tread. The Spectator, writing from the empire’s heart in London, advocated that the Transvaal Constitution should be subjected to the democratic test, that is that the “will of the majority shall prevail.” The newspaper affirmed the decision to “confer the suffrage on all adult white males” and as to the nominated Second Chamber was “glad to note that the Constitution is to contain clauses for the protection of the natives from legislation.”25 Meanwhile, The Argus in Melbourne reported that “Mr. Churchill said that no party in the Transvaal was dejected by the Constitution; none was triumphant.” In line with his north star, “[t]he contending factions admitted that they had received even-handed treatment.”26 Tasmania’s Daily Telegraph offered a more critical reception: “There is an old saying to the effect that the man who never makes a mistake never makes anything worth having. Mr. Churchill has made many mistakes during the brief period of his occupation of the office of Under Secretary for the Colonies.” The Daily Telegraph counted the Transvaal Constitution among those mistakes, but the paper mitigated its criticism by highlighting Churchill’s youth and the blessing of a public willing “to take a lenient view” of his youthful blunders. Offering up some exemplars of this generous spirit, the Telegraph complimented the young statesman on his “fine speech” and his propensity to take “full advantage” of an opportune moment.27
Modern observers would say Boers and Britons were not all the races in South Africa, although the Afrikaners maintained that the native blacks were few when they first settled the country—that they arrived later, following tribal upheavals to the north. Nonetheless, Churchill’s aim in 1906 was to pacify the Afrikaners; granting equality to natives would have had the opposite effect. Nevertheless, seven years earlier, the imprisoned Churchill had espoused the rights of South African blacks with his Boer captors in Pretoria.
“Ulster will be right:” Irish Home Rule
Churchill’s experience with South Africa altered his opinion on the Irish question. Speaking in Ulster in 1912, Churchill was asked about his change of heart after having, like Lord Randolph before him, long advocated against Home Rule. In response, Churchill alluded to the Transvaal Constitution. He appeared to have been mulling the issue over in his mind for several years, contending, “‘then I have had South Africa to deal with. I have seen the advantages of freedom in that country’” 28 Whatever he had seen in the South African case, it had been key in the reformulation of his opinion on the Irish question. From that experience, he declared his intention that Ireland should be “treated with the same ‘spirit—though not, of course, by the same method.’”29 In Churchill’s estimation, perhaps Transvaal had been devolution, under another name, but achieving the same end. When the Parliament spoke of devolution in connection with the Irish question, the concept “envisaged the spreading of power throughout regional Parliaments.”30 The resolution put forth by Lord Redmond for Irish “‘control of all purely Irish affairs’” reflected a trend in Churchill’s thinking on the subject.31 He had long favored getting local concerns out of Parliament through a series of reforms, which would transfer greater power to local parliaments and councils.32
Indeed, Lord Redmond’s suggestion coupled with the Government caveat, “‘subject to the supreme authority of the Imperial Parliament,’” rather nicely sums up the South African situation. Great amounts of power had been devolved under that constitution to the legislature of Transvaal, granted under the prerogative of “Edward the Seventh, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland…Whereas by our Letters Patent…bearing date at Westminster…We did constitute the office of Governor…and did make provision for a Legislative Council…whereas We think fit that the people of Our said Colony should be represented.”33 The provision for a legislative body having been granted under that prerogative, the grant of power was devolved, rather than absolute: any law passed by the body “shall be presented for Our assent to the Governor” who utilizing his discretion would confer approval or not.34
The South African parallels to the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922, which Churchill as Secretary of State for the Colonies acted as a prime negotiator on, are striking. Ireland was to be largely self-governing and have Dominion Status as South Africa did, having its own parliament in the Britannic tradition. There was yet a recognition of the sovereignty of the King and his heirs by “virtue of the[ir] common citizenship” with other corners of the empire granted devolution. As the option would be presented to the Kurds in Iraq, Northern Ireland would be permitted to choose closer union with the Irish Free State or to dissociate themselves from it.35
Kings and Queen of the Desert: The Iraq Mandate
Contemplation of and practical experience with the thorny Irish question with its clashing factions prepared Churchill for the sectarian rivalries that would plague his next constitutional endeavor. As the war to end all wars halted with an armistice signed in a railcar and had its loose ends wrapped up with the Treaty of Versailles, His Majesty’s government found itself with three competing commitments in the Middle East.36 Having drawn the famous Sykes-Picot line determining the modern boundaries of the Middle East behind closed doors, Britain now found herself with a mandate for Iraq and Palestine, the promise of a Jewish homeland, and commitments to France in Syria.37
In February 1921, three monumental figures gathered at Cairo to weigh out in the balances the fate of the Middle East. Not granted that divine prophet to illuminate the handwriting on the wall, they puzzled through the situation together. Gertrude Bell, the elusive, mysterious “Queen of the Desert” and “Shaper of Nations,” as her biographer Georgina Howell loftily titles her, had been the first female graduate of Oxford to achieve a first in Modern History. Having succeeded in her studies, she traveled to visit her uncle, the British minister in Persia. The region captured her imagination, and her evolution into the desert queen began. She mastered Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and French and immersed herself in the tribal culture and politics of the region. During World War I, British intelligence recruited her for the Arab Bureau where she encountered T.E. Lawrence.38 The exploits of the “Uncrowned King of Arabia,” sensationalized by American journalist Thomas Lowell and his cameraman Harry Chase, had earned T.E. Lawrence his place among the desert elite.39 Lawrence’s guerilla movement had shattered the Ottoman Empire and given him an intimate knowledge of the leaders of the Arab Revolt, including Emir Feisal whose fate he would weigh in those balances at Cairo. The third figure, a “soldier, escaped war prisoner, historian, novelist, orator, journalist and politician,” as The New York Times eulogized upon his death, Churchill was no stranger to the complexities of tribal politics or self-government.40 Now the Secretary of State for the Colonies and a chief executor of the British mandate for Iraq, his skills of statesmanship were as crucial to the success of the venture as Bell and Lawrence’s regional knowledge.
As the Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire suggests, “[t]he term ‘mandate’ indicated a change of language and sentiment…Those who held mandates did so formally as trustees of the League of Nations and were bound to ‘promote to the utmost the material and moral well-being and social progress’ of the indigenous peoples.” Yet there remained frequent divergence from the de jure and de facto practice with such mandates.41 Finance would be a driving concern of Churchill’s throughout the Iraqi mandate process. Sifting through the numerous candidates to find the most capable proved no easy task. Writing to Sir Percy Cox, the High Commissioner for Mesopotamia and another leading light at the Cairo Conference, Churchill inquired, “‘Do you think Feisal is the right man and the best man? Failing him do you prefer Abdullah? Have you put Feisal forward because you consider taking a long view [that] he is the best man or as a desperate expedient in the hopes of reducing the garrisons quickly?’”42 While economy in disposing of the mandate concerned Churchill, he was yet unwilling to conduct a slapdash transfer of power merely to reduce the bottom line of the budget. He also urged Cox if “‘Feisal is really necessary…make sure he is chosen locally…do not let us slip into taking the wrong man against our better judgement.’”43 While not initially convinced of Feisal’s superiority of candidacy, Churchill eventually found himself won around to the “‘strong feeling [that]…Feisal is the best man.’”44
The Forty Thieves: Cairo Conference of 1921
Dramatically nicknamed The Forty Thieves by Churchill himself, the 1921 Conference at Cairo was to settle the question of Iraqi leadership, the future boundaries of the Middle East, and its relation to Britain.45 The dashing figure cut by Feisal, known in European circles as an Arab leader in T.E. Lawrence’s heroic band of guerillas who dashed the Ottoman Empire to bits, “was a romantic one” especially when “compared to the slogging match in France.”46 Feisal had been named Syria’s king in 1918, but fled upon the arrival of French troops in 1920.47 At the urging of Lawrence and Gertrude Bell, who “like Allenby and T.E. Lawrence, who wrote of [the] first meeting with him in rapturous prose,”48 this displaced sovereign was about to be handed another kingdom.
Bell reflected in a letter to Frank Balfour, a Lieutenant Colonel previously stationed in Middle East, afterward that she “came [to the conference] very reluctantly” but was “so very glad” that she did, exclaiming that they had “covered more work in a fortnight than has ever before been got through in a year.” She praised “Mr Churchill” as “admirable, most ready to meet everyone half way and masterly alike in guiding a big meeting and in conducting the small political committees into which we broke up”49 – thereby affirming his ability to craft an overall strategic vision and yet make sense of the swirling details involved in painting that grand strategy. To her great surprise, when she and Sir Percy Cox, High Commissioner for Mesopotamia, presented their “definite programme” they found that “it coincided exactly with that which the S. of S. had brought with him.”50 No doubt the Telegraph would have been proud to see the supposed errors of youth sloughed off so thoroughly that a woman considered one of the foremost experts on the Middle East would have produced a plan for peace identical to Churchill’s. Not only were the plans identical, but Bell congratulated herself that “[t]he general line adopted is, I am convinced, the only right one, the only line which gives real hope of success.”51
Churchill himself saw clear parallels to the South African case. In a two-hundred-plus page secret report on the Cairo Conference, Churchill references South Africa twice. Both times are of crucial importance to his understanding of the issues at stake in Iraq. Like the Middle East, the South African case featured several ethnic groups to be integrated and several regional powers to be united or kept separate after a consideration of the circumstances. Both of his allusions to South Africa occur in context of the Kurds. The councils hashing out the details of how to handle the Kurds and whether they should receive an independent Kurdistan were some of the more contentious and some of the most crucial from a modern perspective. In a note to the Joint Military and Political Committee, Churchill suggested:
[i]n principle, therefore, the arrangement for Kurdistan will be similar to that which prevails in South Africa, where the High Commissioner stands in one relation to the responsible Government of the Union and at the same time has a direct executive authority over Rhodesia and certain native territories. It is not intended to offend the Kurds by putting them under the Arabs either in principle or locally…52
Earlier in the conference, he had “pointed out that there was a close analogy between the functions of the GovernorGeneral of South Africa, in respect of the Union of South Africa and Rhodesia, and those now suggested for the High Commissioner in respect of Mesopotamia and Kurdistan. He felt that British policy was giving very great support to the Arab cause, and that it could not overlook the rights of the Kurdish minority” and postulated that through this Commission “Kurdistan and Iraq would be drawn closer together, and that they might form one State in the future.”53 From this, it can be concluded that he deemed the artificial amalgamation of the two regions into one entity imprudent at the time and in this history has proved him prescient. In the meantime however, Kurdistan would be administered under this High Commissioner and “probably through a local Council of Kurdish chiefs, managing their interior affairs” and receiving monetary and non-monetary support to protect “from unfriendly intruders and ope[n] the country for trade” as well as forge closer ties with the Empire.54 Immediately upon this remark, Churchill reiterated that the principle of governance would closely resemble that of South Africa55 —evenhandedness and self-government where possible.
The draft text of the treaty in 1922 itself details the structural arrangement of Feisal’s kingship and its relationship to Britain. The third article required the enactment of an “Organic Law” that would “ensure to all complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals” as well as prevent discrimination “on the ground of race, religion or language,” and secured the rights of such communities to “maintain [their] own schools.”56 In addition, to this implementation of organic law, Feisal was also bound “to be guided by the advice of His Britannic Majesty tendered through the High Commissioner” on fiscal, financial, and international issues so long as Iraq received any financial assistance from or had any financial obligation to Britain.57
The history of Iraq is undoubtedly a turbulent one, but the Commission did its best to place to the country on solid footing. Sir Percy Cox, expanding the executive power of the High Commissioner’s office when Feisal suffered from appendicitis, which incapacitated him for several weeks, temporarily seized control of the government shortly after the 1922 agreement. While critics disagree about his methods, most concede that without his intervention British interests and control would have been forfeited to one of the nationalist groups seeking to wrest power from Feisal. In 1930, Britain and Iraq signed a new Anglo-Iraqi Treaty and the Iraq became fully sovereign in 1932.58
In Defense of Winston Churchill: The Atlantic
With the sectarian fragmentation and conflict riddling the Middle East, Churchill has come almost as much under fire as the ridiculed Sykes-Picot Treaty as a responsible party. Acting as defense council in this dispute is a champion from an unlikely quarter: The Atlantic. “Winston Churchill may have drawn the border between Iraq and Jordan with a pen,” the magazine’s Nick Danforth concedes, but he also used that same pen to delineate the French-German border after the collapse of the Nazi empire. Instead, the magazine articulates, “[t]he fundamental problem was, and still is, that the world doesn’t have any authentic or natural borders, just waiting to be identified and transcribed onto a map.” Danforth explores the options open to Churchill and the Commission responsible. Conceivably, they could have divvied the region up into smaller sovereign parcels of land, an achievement which “would only have prefigured the conflicts dividing Iraq today.” If they “had instead endorsed the logic of pan-Arabism” and combined the whole of the region into one single state, the issue of Shiite, Christian, and Kurdish sects would have yet remained along with a “contentious” rivalry with Egypt and Saudi Arabia for regional leadership. Lastly, the British could have withdrawn and left the Iraqis and Kurds to determine their own fate, where such a fate would likely have resembled the Balkan massacres in the 1990s.59 Nor were Churchill’s borders as artificial as modern commentators claim; in actuality, they shared “key similarities with the local Ottoman boundaries” which predated the British presence in the Middle East. However, there is yet another sterner test awaiting Churchill’s efforts, one designed by his own methods.
“What Good’s a Constitution?”: Principles of Churchillian Constitutionalism
Churchill believed that no one could “think clearly or sensibly about this vast and burning topic” of Constitutions “without in the first instance making up his mind upon the fundamental issue.” He certainly made up his, scorning to “value the State above the citizen” and choosing instead to prioritize “the citizen above the State.” “I hold that governments are meant to be, and must remain, the servants of the citizens; that states…can only by justified by preserving the ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ in the homes and families of individuals,” he unequivocally insisted, quoting the American Declaration of Independence.60 So, let us put Churchill’s constitutional endeavors to his own test and see how he fares.
He lays it out himself: “I judge the civilization of any community by simple tests. What is the degree of freedom possessed by the citizen or subject? Can he think, speak and act freely under well-established, well-known laws? Can he criticize the executive government? Can he sue the State if it has infringed his rights?”61
Transvaal is to be weighed in the balances first. The degree of freedom possessed by the citizen is to be judged by their ability to think, speak, and act freely, the existence of well-established and well-known laws, the ability to criticize the executive government and to sue the State in an independent court of law. The scheme enacted by the Colonial Office equipped the Transvaal with an independent judiciary, enabling citizens that access to an independent court of law and providing for a straightforward rule of law system. The delicate care not to tip the balance of power too far toward Boer or Briton preserved the freedoms of speech, thought, and action without fear of reprisal. The direct responsiveness of the legislature to the people and the legislature’s check on the executive ensures a capacity for citizens to express their dissatisfaction with their government in a constructive manner. Weighed thusly in the balances, Transvaal is not found wanting.
Iraq awaits judgment next and its critics are vocal in their certainty that it will be found too light to tip the scales of justice in its favor. Because Britain received Iraq as a mandate rather than having cultivated a long colonial relationship with the region, the nature of the constitutional arrangement is different. However, the express provision for laws enshrining freedom of conscience, religion, and worship is fundamentally a proviso to ensure the freedom of the citizen, delineating the space between the state and the sphere of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The autonomy given to the Kurds is likewise aimed safeguarding their freedoms. Thus, the Iraqi mandate does not fail the most essential core of Churchill’s test, though it may be lacking in the constitutional graces of the English-speaking Dominions precisely because it never had participated in that tradition.
When and where possible, Churchill allowed as much devolution, self-government, and control of local affairs as he believed prudent. History has proved his cautions accurate and his decisions commendable in light of his circumstances and knowledge. A poetic and brilliant orator, he knew well the measure and power of words. As a statesman, he appreciated the impact those words that composed constitutions and their ability to act as a bulwark against tyranny and an anchor of representative self-government. As he intimated in his 1936 essay, “What Good’s a Constitution?,” the good of a Constitution is its ability to act as a shield for the common man.62 This is the legacy of the English-speaking peoples and Churchill was no miser in his liberal distribution of this rich legacy.
1 Winston Churchill, “The Lights are Going Out,” October 16, 9138, from Churchill, Into Battle (London: Cassell, 1941), pages 83-91, The Churchill Centre, http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/speeches/speeches-of-winston-churchill/524-the-defence-of-freedom-and-peace.
2 Ian Chambers, The Chamberlains, the Churchills, and Ireland 1874-1922 (New York: Cambria Press, 2006), 181.
3 Ibid., 193.
4 P.J. Marshall, ed., The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 40-41.
5 Randolph Churchill, Men, Mines, and Animals (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1892), 81.
6 R. Churchill, Men, Mines, and Animals, 83-86.
7 Marshall, Cambridge Illustrated History, 65-66.
8 Ibid., 66.
9 Sir Charles Prestwood Lucas, A Historical Geography of the British Dominions: Vol. 4 South Africa, Part II History to the Union of South Africa (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1915), 445.
10 Lucas, Historical Geography, 445.
11 Winston Churchill, “The Transvaal Constitution: House of Commons, July 31, 1906,” Liberalism and the Social Problem, Project Gutenberg, 18.
12 Churchill, Liberalism and the Social Problem, 19.
13 Ibid., 20.
14 Ibid., 21.
15 Ibid., 22-23; 25.
16 Ibid., 37.
17 Ibid., 28-29.
18 Ibid., 39.
19 Statutory Rules and Orders Other than those of a Local, Personal, or Temporary Character Issued in the Year 1906(His Majesty’s Stationery Office: London, 1906), 895-914.
21 Winston Churchill, “A General View: Free Trade Hall, Manchester, January 30, 1931,” from our readings “Churchill Constitutionalism 1920-1939,” 72.
22 Statutory Rules and Orders, 895-914.
23 Churchill, Liberalism and the Social Problem, 44.
24 Ibid., 38.
25 “The Transvaal Constitution,” The Spectator, London, August 4, 1906, The Spectator Archive.
26 “Transvaal Constitution- Mr. Churchill Satisfied,” The Argus, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, August, 8, 1906, Trove, The National Library of Australia.
27 “Transvaal Constitution,” Daily Telegraph, Launceston, Tasmania, August 3, 1906, Trove, The National Library of Australia.
28 Chambers, Chamberlains, Churchills and Ireland, 188.
29 Ibid., 188.
30 Ibid., 186.
32 Winston Churchill, “House of Lords Reform,” November 17, 1925.
33 “‘South Africa’ Handbooks No. 30: The 1905 Transvaal Constitution,” (London: South Africa), SUNDigital Collections, WJ Leyds Collection, 1-13.
35 “Documents on Irish Foreign Policy Series: excerpts from the Anglo-Irish Treaty. Anglo-Irish Treaty, 6 December 1921,” Documents on Irish Foreign Policy Series, taken from Documents on Irish Foreign Policy Volume I, 1919-1922, National Archives of Ireland, http://www.nationalarchives.ie/topics/anglo_irish/dfaexhib2.html.
36 Gerald de Gaury, Three Kings in Baghdad: The Tragedy of Iraq’s Monarchy (London: I.B. Tauris & Co., 2008), 16.
38 Georgina Howell, Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006); “Gertrude Bell: The uncrowned Queen of the Desert,” BBC News, January 30, 2014; Christopher Hitchens, “The Woman Who Made Iraq,” The Atlantic, June 1, 2007.
39 “Lawrence of Arabia, Lowell Thomas” PBS, http://www.pbs.org/lawrenceofarabia/players/thomas.html.
40 Anthony Lewis, “Churchill is Dead at 90; The World Mourns Him; State Funeral Saturday,” The New York Times, January 25, 1965.
41 Marshall, Cambridge Illustrated History, 84.
42 Christopher Catherwood, Churchill’s Folly: How Winston Churchill Created Modern Iraq (New York: Barnes & Noble, 2007), 96.
43 Ibid., 97.
45 James Terry, The Forty Thieves: Churchill, the Cairo Conference, and the Policy Debate over Strategies of colonial control in British Mandatory Iraq, 1918-1924 (Ann Arbor: ProQuest, 2008), 24.
46 De Gaury, Three Kings, 18.
48 Ibid., 40.
49 Gertrude Bell, “Letters 25/03/1921,” Gertrude Bell Archive, Newcastle University,http://www.gerty.ncl.ac.uk/letter_details.php?letter_id=464.
50 Bell, “Letters 25/03/1921.”
52 Winston Churchill, “Report of the Cairo Conference: Memorandum by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Secret C.P. 3123,” July 11, 1921, National Archives CAB/24/126, 69.
53 Churchill, “Cairo Conference,” 61.
54 Ibid., 69.
56 Winston Churchill, “The Iraq Treaty, Secret C.P. 3748,” March 1922, National Archives CAB/24/133, 2.
57 Churchill, “Treaty,” 2-3.
58 De Gaury, Three Kings, 65; Catherwood, Churchill’s Folly, 209-210.
59 Nick Danforth, “Stop Blaming Colonial Borders for the Middle East’s Problems,” The Atlantic, September 11, 2013.
60 Winston Churchill, “What Good’s a Constitution?”, first published in Collier’s, August 22, 1936; reprinted in The Collected Essays of Sir Winston Churchill, 4 vols. (London: Library of Imperial History, 1975), II 386.
61 Ibid., 388.
62 Ibid., 392.
Bell, Gertrude. “Letters 25/03/1921.” Gertrude Bell Archive. Newcastle University.http://www.gerty.ncl.ac.uk/letter_details.php?letter_id=464.
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