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“Brains Trusts’’ for the Colonies

“Brains Trusts’’ for the Colonics WENTY “ brains trusts” are at the service of the British Colonial ter- ritories. On them serve nearly three hundred of Britain’s leading experts on social, medical, educational and political matters, who give the Colonies the benefit of their special knowledge and wide experience. These “brains trusts” are the Colonial. Office Advisory Committees. They cover most of the important subjects with which the Colonial Office deals, and their members, who give their services without payment, are chosen so as to be able to advise on as many aspects as possible of the pro- blems placed before them. Thus they include not only specialists—scientists, economists, and so on—but also expe- rienced Colonial administrators, industrialists, Trade Union officials, and members of other Government departments. Committees usually have power to co-opt particular spe- cialists as required. Meetings of the Advisory Commit- tees are presided over either by the Minister of State for the Colonies or by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State. The Colonial Office’s per- manent advisers are members of their appropriate committees. It was in 1909 that the first impor- tant Advisory Committee was set up. - Dealing at first with the problems of medicine in tropical Africa, it has now extended its scope to take in medicine and sanitation questions in the whole of the Colonial Empire. A_ special committee is studying plans for ésta- blishing a Tropical Diseases Hospital. Among the most urgent questions to be tackled in the Colonies at present are soil erosion and loss of fertility of land, due to years of shifting cultiva- tion and over-grazing. The preva- lence of such plagues as cattle disease, too, combined with a general ignorance of the elements of animal husbandry, cause the death of thousands of head of cattle every year, and herds are of the poorest quality. These and simi- lar problems are the field of the Colo- nial Advisory Council of Agriculture, Animal Health, and Forestry, which also ensures that all points in these spheres requiring research are brought before the special Research Committee, of which Sir John Fryer, the Secretary of the Agricultural Research Commit- tee, is Chairman, and Sir Edward Salisbury, Director of the Royal Bo- tanic Gardens at Kew, is Vice- Chairman. Other Advisory Committees deal with such matters as Education, La- bour, Co-operation, Survey, and Soci- al Welfare both in the Colonics and of Colonial peoples in Great Britain. Many of these problems have become much more pressing lately as a result of schemes to accelerate Colonial development, : The framing of plans for economic and social development in the Colonies was the task of the Colonial Economic and Development Council, set up in 1946 under the chairmanship of Lord Portal. One of its members was the distinguished West Indian economist, Dr. W. A. Lewis. Another West Indian who sits on the Medical Committee and the Com- mittee for the Welfare of Colonial Peoples in the United Kingdom, Dr. ο. B. Clarke. His fellow-cricketer, Leary Constantine, has. been invited to become a member of the Advisory Committee on Social Welfare in the Colonies. A former Nigerian news- paper editor, Mr. S. L. Akintola, is attending the meetings of this Commit- tee during his stay in England on a course of instruction. Technical officers on leave from the Colonies frequently report in person to the Committees, in order to give them first-hand up-to-date information about the problems of their territories. With a similar end in view, Committee members also visit the Colonies from time to time, and the number of these visits is to be increased in future. Matters for discussion by the Advi- sory Committees arise in the main from Colonial Government reports and from points raiscd by the Colonial Office and by individual Committee members. After discussion, committees’ recommendations are forwarded to the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Special aspects are often dealt with by sub-committees. Some of these are regional, others deal with particular questions. For example, the Colonial Labour Advisory Committee has a sub-committee on Social Security, and the Advisory Committee on Education in the Colonies set up a special sub- committee to discuss the employment in the United Kingdom of teachers returning from the Colonies. Scientific research in the Colonial Empire offers the widest of ficlds, and is the subject of several committees. The broad lines of research policy are laid down by the Colonial Research Committee, of which Lord Hailey is chairman, and specialist bodies deal with colonial products, medical re- search, agriculture, animal health, and forestry, social science, economic CYPRUS REVIEW research, and insecticides. These committees differ from the majority in having as chairman one of tho specialist members. The complete list of Colonial Office Advisory Committees is : Colonial Economic and Develop- ment Council, Advisory Committee on Educa- tion in the Colonies, Colonial Advisory Medical Committee, Colonial Social Welfare Advisory Committee, Colonial Advisory Committee of Agriculture, Animal Health, and Forestry, Colonial Survey and Geophysical Committee, Colonial Fisheries Advisory Committee, Colonial Labour Advisory Committee, Tsetse Fly and Trypanosomiasis Committee, Advisory Committee on the Wel- fare of Colonial Peoples in the United Kingdom, Tropical Diseases Hospital Committee, Interdepartmental Committce Locust Control, Colonial Research Committee, Colonial Products Research Council, Colonial Medical Research Committee, Colonial Agricultural Research — Committee (covering also Ani- mal Health and Forestry), Colonial Social Research Council, Colonial Economic Research Committee, Colonial Insecticides Committee, Advisory Committee on Co- operation.