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William Beveridge in New Zealand: social security and world security.


In 1948 William Beveridge, one of the architects of Britain's postwar welfare state, visited New Zealand and Australia accompanied by his wife. Their experiences and some of Beveridge's speeches were recounted in Antipodes Notebook. Although nominally jointly-authored, and in any event an edited, sanitized, and rather cursory account of their trip, the volume was, according to Lady Beveridge's son, largely her work. (1) What is important for present purposes, though, is that in the book Beveridge mildly grumbled about the gap between what he had wanted to talk about and what New Zealanders and Australians had wanted to hear about. His preferred topic was world peace while his hosts sought information on Britain's economic position and the welfare states of Britain and the Pacific dominions. (2) The preoccupations of New Zealanders and Australians were reflected in reviews of Antipodes Notebook in the British press. The Times Literary Supplement observed that there could be "no more appropriate commentator on recent developments in New Zealand and Australia, with their reputation as sociological laboratories, than Lord Beveridge." The perception of New Zealand and Australia as social policy innovators was a recurring theme of Beveridge's trip, and one that has enjoyed a long historical pedigree. The Huddersfield Examiner, meanwhile, drew from the volume an impression of "countries which have created a civilisation out of nothing save the determination and enterprise of the folk who went out and settled them" and of societies which were "even more British than we are ourselves." (3)

The notion of a common heritage and purpose between Britain, New Zealand, and Australia was also a consistent theme during Beveridge's trip. It is further evidence of two recent trends in historical understandings of "Greater Britain": first, the idea that Britishness was something to be found not only in Britain itself but also in nations such as New Zealand; and second, that the dominions--and particularly those in the south Pacific--could be identified with the "homeland." (4) On the immediate postwar period it has also been shown that the dominions were willing partners in maintaining the link with United Kingdom and enhancing the status of the British commonwealth, and nowhere more so than in New Zealand. (5) More broadly, historians have begun to examine the "afterlife of empire" in terms of the reciprocity of influence between the chronologically coincident end of empire and the construction of the welfare state. Jordanna Bailkin, for example, suggests that "decolonization aided in the transformation of that other behemoth of post-1945 history: the welfare state." (6) However, as another historian of empire comments, the role of imperial welfare networks after 1945 is an area where "more work remains to be done." (7)

His audiences' wishes notwithstanding, Beveridge did promote his views on world affairs. The latter half of the 1940s was an era when international politics were of considerable concern as a result of the reconstruction and division of postwar Europe, the heating up of the Cold War and the falling of the iron curtain, the beginnings of decolonization in the British empire, and the creation of international bodies like the United Nations. Partly in response to such concerns, Britain's Labour government sought to bind the dominions--by this point identified as the core of the commonwealth--even closer to Britain itself through, for instance, migration policy and the 1948 British nationality act. There was also a revived demand for immigrants from Britain in countries like New Zealand and Australia. (8) Beveridge was fully aware of these global and commonwealth tensions and developments.

This article further considers these issues by focussing on the New Zealand leg of his trip, first by examining Beveridge's philosophy of welfare. On one level, the latter is well trodden historical territory. But what is stressed here is the way in which Beveridge used his public addresses to critique the New Zealand welfare system and to draw out historical parallels and divergences between Britain and that dominion. In so doing, he further articulated his vision of a free society, highlighting contemporary threats to it as well as the errors made or being made by the Labour governments in both countries. Second, we examine Beveridge's views of world affairs through, in particular, a major speech given in New Zealand. It is argued that for Beveridge, social security and world security were not separate, distinct issues. In both social welfare and international relations, freedom and responsibility had to be in proper balance. Gaining such a balance in social welfare guarded against, on the one hand, totalitarianism and, on the other, the anarchy of unrestrained capitalism. But this was of no use unless the threat of anarchy in international relations had been removed and totalitarianism confronted, and it was precisely balanced and free societies that were best placed to promote order and justice in international affairs. What further links our two main themes is Beveridge's view of New Zealanders as essentially "British," not just through ethnicity but also through common aims and attitudes and a shared history of working in complementary and reciprocal ways.

Neither of these issues nor the relationship between them is fully dealt with in the existing historiography. In an important volume of essays dealing with Beveridge, voluntarism, and the wider "British" world, Melanie Oppenheimer focuses in particular on the Australian leg of the Beveridges' antipodean trip. There, she notes, most of his broadcasts and lectures were on topics previously dealt with in New Zealand, notably social welfare, although his visit as a whole was somewhat overshadowed by internal and external political events. In another chapter, one of New Zealand's leading historians of welfare, Margaret Tennant, points out that Beveridge was welcomed to that country "as a distinguished visitor" and honoured as "the father of Britain's welfare state." In these terms, this was therefore the more successful leg of his antipodean visit. These two essays have been crucial in highlighting the Beveridges' trip and in so doing have enhanced the historiography of social welfare and, indeed, that of "Greater Britain." Their significance notwithstanding, though, each was concerned principally with Beveridge and voluntarism and although Oppenheimer alludes to the wider political context this is not her primary concern. (9) Specifically on New Zealand, Tennant's incisive if brief contribution does not utilize the Beveridge archives and in any event focuses on Beveridge's approach to voluntarism and how it related to what she describes as New Zealand's welfare "fabric." (10)

Beveridge's biographer, Jose Harris, only briefly mentions her subject's visit along with a passing reference to New Zealand's role as a "flagship of progressive welfare provision" by the early 1940s. Harris also points to the irony that just as Beveridge was becoming known as the father of the British welfare state, his main intellectual concern was increasingly world peace (although again this does not constitute a central concern of her work). A postwar visit to Germany had convinced him that "World Security Comes before Social Security." Harris suggests that Beveridge's concern for world peace arose "primarily from his fear of Russia" and what he perceived as its expansionist foreign policy. (11) But his hostility was also based on his vision of a free society; moreover, his concern for the reordering of world affairs was longstanding. The analysis which follows draws upon materials previously unused or underexploited in the historiography and presents Beveridge's ideas in a new and hitherto unexamined way. (12)


The initial reason for the Beveridges' visit resulted from an invitation, confirmed in late 1947, from the University of Otago for Beveridge to deliver what became the first series of the De Carle lectures. These were to be the university's contribution to the centennial of the province of Otago. Though the Beveridges were initially hosted by the university, responsibility for their visit was then taken over by the New Zealand government (although the university did much of the preparatory groundwork). (13) Beveridge was not, in fact, the University's first choice. A shortlist had been drawn up headed by the Scottish philosopher and Principal of the University of Glasgow, Sir Hector Hetherington, with Beveridge in second place. But Hetherington was unable to accept so Beveridge willingly took up the invitation. (14)

Notwithstanding his having been its second choice, the university was clearly pleased to welcome a guest of Beveridge's international reputation. A press release issued just before his and his wife's arrival noted that he had had "a distinguished career in three fields of activity, the academic, the public service, and in politics." During his stay in Dunedin he would give two lectures to university staff and students and two in the town hall to the general public. (15) The lectures on social welfare and world peace are discussed below (the other was on Britain's economic problems which of themselves were a large topic in the wake of the "annus horribilis" of 1947). The final itinerary involved the Beveridges' arriving in Wellington on 12 April where they were to stay with the United Kingdom high commissioner, Sir Patrick Duff. This was to be followed by ten days in Dunedin and then five days in Wellington, the latter to include a reception held by the Labour Prime Minister, Peter Fraser. Then came three days in Christchurch, a further short stay in Wellington, and five days in Auckland before departure for Australia on 10 May. Time was also allowed to visit relatives in Hamilton. (16) Typically, Beveridge subjected himself to a demanding schedule.

One important correspondent of Beveridge's prior to departure was New Zealand's finance minister and deputy Prime Minister, Walter Nash. The former declared himself "naturally ... most anxious to have the chance of a talk with you about many things, including social security and the doctors." (17) The context here was that one component of New Zealand's 1938 Social Security Act, in whose passage Nash had played an important role, was the socialization of healthcare. Although in many respects successful, it had nonetheless run into stiff opposition from the New Zealand branch of the British Medical Association (BMA). This legislation had also aroused considerable interest among the British labour movement and had influenced Britain's plans for its own reformed health service. (18) This situation was now repeating itself in that at the time of Beveridge's letter, the BMA was putting up fierce resistance to the proposed introduction by the British Labour government of the National Health Service in July that year. Nash responded that it would be a "great privilege" to meet with Beveridge and that he hoped to discuss with him "the question of New Zealand social security and to put you in touch with the Minister who at present is in charge of that portfolio." (19) Beveridge also received letters from British colleagues before he left. Labour party intellectual Margaret Cole wished him a pleasant time and hoped that he found "my friend Walter Nash in good health." In a similar vein, Labour's leader in the House of Lords, Christopher Addison, asked to be remembered to Fraser. (20) While on one level these were simply polite communications between members of Britain's political elite, on another they indicate the strong links between the British and New Zealand labour movements and thereby a shared political culture. (21)

Beveridge also received a number of requests from New Zealand prior to his departure. James Shelley, director of the New Zealand Broadcasting Service, for instance wrote in January 1948 asking Beveridge if he would consider giving a talk on national radio during his visit. Shelley suggested as a topic "an estimate of the place and importance of liberal thought and the liberal spirit in today's changing world." "Liberal," he stressed, was not to be here construed as having a party political sense but rather
   that liberalism of mind and outlook that transcends party and may
   be found in the best men of every political group. In particular,
   listeners would be grateful to hear discussed the problems of
   adjusting individual freedom--without impairing it--to fit the new
   concepts and enlarged practice of Government planning and
   administrative control. (22)

Beveridge agreed to do the broadcast although he was not yet sure what he would talk about. But he especially expressed an interest in the second part of Shelley's proposal, noting that he had recently been finishing off his book Voluntary Action. Such action was something which he saw "as a means of social advancement" and as "everything done by individuals to improve social conditions not through the machinery of the State." (23) More broadly, liberalism in a changing world was very much an urgent concern of Beveridge's during his trip.


In his memoirs, the former National party leader and Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Marshall, recalled the publication in pamphlet form of his maiden parliamentary address in 1947. Made while Labour was still in power, his speech had extolled the virtues of "economic liberty," something for which "social security" was no substitute, his country's recent advances in the latter field notwithstanding. Social security was nonetheless "an essential part of Liberal policy" and in support of his argument he cited, inter alia, Beveridge. The latter was "the father of the Beveridge plan, or what we would call social security here" and a liberal both intellectually and by political allegiance. Marshall had sent copies of his pamphlet to like-minded politicians and thinkers abroad. One "delightful and unintended consequence" came about during the Beveridges' visit when Marshall and his wife were "invited to lunch alone with them, and I sat beside, and metaphorically at the feet of, the father of the Welfare State and the high priest of modern liberalism." (24) Marshall was far from alone among New Zealanders in his admiration for, and interest in, Beveridge. By the same token, Beveridge was a student and critical supporter of the dominion's social welfare measures undertaken by the Labour governments from 1935 onwards.

Beveridge's career as a social reformer and public servant began to develop in the early years of the twentieth century. He would certainly have been aware of the reputation New Zealand had recently acquired as a "social laboratory" whose progressive legislative programme had an impact far beyond its own shores. (25) Beveridge was later director of the London School of Economics (LSE) where his predecessor was William Pember Reeves, a New Zealand government minister at the time of that country's social experimentation. (26) And, as suggested, by the 1940s Beveridge was particularly impressed by New Zealand's 1938 social security act which significantly expanded the state's role in areas such as unemployment, pensions, disability payments, and health care with the broad overarching aim of universal provision. (27)

The American political scientist Leslie Lipson, who had worked in the dominion during the war, argued in 1948 that the 1938 act was a "great" piece of legislation which "consolidated various piecemeal measures" and set out to "accomplish a full program of social security from birth to death." It was from this measure that "Lord Beveridge later incorporated certain features into his noteworthy plan for Britain." (28) And as a survey in the early 1950s remarked, the New Zealand Labour government's main achievement in the years immediately after its 1935 election was "the construction of an integrated social security system, the first of its kind in the Western world." "It was not," this piece continued, "the nature of the individual services that was unusual, but the comprehensive character of the whole." (29) Beveridge frequently invoked the metaphor of a race between the two leaders in social policy enactments, New Zealand and Britain, and the notion of comprehensiveness was central to his own proposals. This particular volume was indicative in its own right of the purportedly familial links within the British Commonwealth as it dealt with Australia, Canada, and Britain itself in addition to New Zealand. Its author claimed that all four countries were on a path to treat "benefits as rights instead of charity" and the differences between their respective systems were probably "passing ones ... on a road leading to roughly the same place." (30)

The Beveridge report of 1942 paid due attention to New Zealand. (31) Discussing old age pensions, it noted that the proposed British transitional arrangement "follows the precedent of New Zealand." And while there were differences between the two schemes, in broad terms "two communities of the British race" were planning "on the same lines to solve the same problem of passage from pensions based on need to pensions paid as of right to all citizens in virtue of contribution." (32) This was a point repeatedly made by Beveridge not only in writing but also in public speeches. Addressing a Liberal party meeting in March 1943, he told his audience that his pensions proposal was "identical in principle with the pension plan of New Zealand, the only other country in the world which aims at social security comparable to that of my plan." (33) And again talking about the need for transitional arrangements in pensions provision, Beveridge reiterated in his autobiography his employment of the "excellent precedent in New Zealand." (34) His use of the expression "two communities of the British race" is, furthermore, a clear example of the contemporary notion of "Greater Britain."

The report's publication provoked considerable interest in the dominion itself. One Wellington newspaper outlined Beveridge's proposals and his claim that they had "no resemblance to any insurance scheme in Russia, America, or Germany. The only thing the scheme resembled at all ... was the New Zealand plan." (35) A few months later, when there had been time to absorb the British proposals more fully, The Ellesmere Guardian remarked that the "now famous Beveridge report on social security is regarded by officials of the International Labour Office ... as a considerable advance over the social security legislation in New Zealand, which has generally been considered the most aggressive of its type." The more obvious differences between the two schemes, for instance the more favourable treatment of women by Beveridge, were then outlined. (36)

Differences aside, mutual interest remained high. Walter Nash claimed in a book published in the United States in 1943 that the dominions and the United Kingdom were committed to implementing the principles of the Atlantic Charter. These were the Allies' war aims which included, albeit in a rather ill-defined way, social security. Should anyone doubt this, Nash continued, they need look no further than the debates around the "Beveridge Scheme which lays the foundation for social security in Britain." (37) Visiting England in 1944 Nash called on Beveridge who, it was reported, was "particularly interested in New Zealand's social services, and said that the fact that New Zealand had the greatest expectation of life was due to the even 'spread' of incomes." (38) This last allusion was a common one among British social reformers, namely that dominions such as New Zealand were more egalitarian and enjoyed a better standard of living than Britain. (39)

And as the war in Europe was coming to an end, Auckland's mayor told an audience that his country's present government had introduced social security measures that had brought not only "an advance in national welfare, but also a tremendous responsibility, spreading far beyond New Zealand." Among those undoubtedly influenced was Beveridge, whose proposals, the mayor added, would "help millions from whom once sprang the people who have colonised, developed, and governed this country." Although the New Zealand system had its faults, its collapse would be both a national and an international concern. The scheme and its appropriate amendments should thus serve as a guide to other countries, and "particularly our own Empire." (40) Again the dominion's perceived place in the British imperial project is striking here. On his arrival, The Neiv Zealand Herald reported that in an early interview Beveridge had made the point that "Britain and New Zealand ... led the world in social security, although on slightly different lines." Similarly, he reiterated that the "New Zealand system was well known to him, but he wanted to study it in operation." (41) So even before his trip, New Zealand had taken an interest in Beveridge, just as Beveridge had for a long time taken an interest in New Zealand.


Although Beveridge clearly admired much of the dominion's welfare policy, he was far from uncritical during his visit. Given his own political beliefs, he was prepared, not surprisingly, to question measures put in place by any Labour government, whether in Britain or elsewhere. Indeed, the New Zealand correspondent of the imperially-minded journal The Round Table commented that Beveridge's trip had "allowed us in some respects to see ourselves as others see us." In a speech in Wellington, Beveridge had made the differences between the respective social security schemes "as clear as crystal." These were, first, the British scheme's greater emphasis on individual responsibility. By contrast, the New Zealand system was conducive to a "banana mentality" whereby individuals waited for state intervention rather than using their own initiative. The "banana mentality" metaphor alluded to the notion of someone sitting under a banana tree waiting for fruit to fall into his or her lap, so gaining something without any effort. Second, Beveridge deprecated the "fantastic sums being paid to doctors." Indeed, the journal's correspondent claimed, under certain circumstances medical care was worse under the 1938 scheme than under the preceding system. Third, Beveridge also criticized the spiralling cost of prescriptions under the New Zealand scheme and it was noted that the government had set up a committee to investigate this issue. (42)

These strictures were taken seriously. In a leading article on one of Beveridge's radio broadcasts under the heading "Avoiding 'Banana Mentality,"' The New Zealand Herald commented that Beveridge's critique of the New Zealand scheme "commands attention." New Zealand politicians were inclined to claim that "we have the finest provision for social security in the world" and certainly Beveridge had praised aspects of the scheme. But although "the basic principles of social security have won almost universal acceptance," a critical eye had to be kept on its functioning. There were "weaknesses in a system which we are a little too inclined to hold up as a model for an admiring world." The system was, in fact, in need of "considerable reshaping" in "pursuit of those liberal ideals which Lord Beveridge has so eloquently expounded." To have current employees "supporting an unduly high proportion of pensioners in endowed idleness would result in the growth of that 'banana mentality' which must ultimately prove a negation of real security." (43)

Beveridge's comments about the high cost of New Zealand's medical services gained support from a superficially rather surprising quarter. Dr. D.G. McMillan was a medical practitioner, a New Zealand Labour member of parliament, and a key player in the socialization of his country's health care system in the mid-1950s. In a letter to Beveridge, he praised what had been achieved, claiming that the 1938 act had conferred "immense benefit on the people of our country" and was "immeasurably superior both from the point of view of the citizen and of the doctor to what preceded it." But McMillan acknowledged that "our service is to a degree unnecessarily expensive" and pointed to over-visiting and over-prescribing as among the causes. Payment per visit in New Zealand was in contrast to the method of remuneration by capitation fees about to be implemented in Britain. He continued that were its "extravagances" to be removed, "it would be the best scheme in the world" while, in a jibe at his fellow practitioners, he noted that when it came to such extravagances, "no-one has opposed their removal more than the doctors." McMillan was skeptical about Beveridge's suggestion that a royal commission look into overspending on the grounds that were this to be staffed by New Zealanders, a combination of ignorance and political bias would mean that "its conclusions could be written down as soon as its personnel was announced and before any evidence was taken." (44)

The self-reflective and somewhat insecure mood in New Zealand captured by The Round Table, The New Zealand Herald, and McMillan's letter can be found in other commentaries on Beveridge's visit. One newspaper remarked in a leading article that the "dominant impression" of Beveridge's "lucid address on the economic crisis in Great Britain" was that although the domestic situation was less dire, nonetheless he had "drawn a picture of conditions in New Zealand today." In both countries, Labour governments were "struggling to combat inflation, to restrain (their) own adherents from making excessive demands, and to avert bankruptcy by restoring a balanced economy." Such parallels also highlighted the "absolute dependence of New Zealand's economy on that of the United Kingdom." (45) This dependency partly explains why New Zealanders were keen to hear Beveridge talk about Britain's economic state.


Beveridge expressed his views on welfare in two of his lectures in Dunedin. The first was entitled "Public Action for Social Advance" (or, in another version of the typescript, "Public Action for Social Advance: New Zealand and Britain Compared, with a Note on Australia") and the second "Voluntary Action for Social Advance." Both talks were delivered to staff and students at the University of Otago and constituted the second and third De Carle lectures. (46) Public action and voluntary action were to be seen as complementary and as such were central components of Beveridge's philosophy of welfare. In these two speeches he explicated this philosophy and the practical, immediate lessons to be drawn from it for both Britain and New Zealand. In the first lecture especially, Beveridge specifically used New Zealand both as a comparator and as a way of critiquing the dominion's welfare arrangements.

He started "Public Action" with a series of definitions. Such action involved "the use of the power of the State, the State as an instrument of political power." Voluntary action was therefore "action otherwise than action arising on the power of the state." Social advance "hardly needs explaining" but essentially involved improving the "material and spiritual conditions of life." Public action for social advance was "a subject which Britain, with you, leads the world and will go on leading the world in some directions whatever happens." (47) Here was an explicit instance of Beveridge's view that Britain and New Zealand vied for leadership in progressive social reform, historically, in the present, and in the future.

The two nations additionally had a commonality of background, purpose, and outcome. As Beveridge put it, both societies had reached a social security position that was "common to your country of Britons, and my country of Britons. And sometimes one country has been ahead and sometimes the other has been ahead." So, for example, New Zealand had taken the welfare lead in pensions in the last years of the nineteenth century while Britain had regained the initiative with national insurance in 1911. Next the dominion had surged to the fore with the 1938 Social Security Act which was then equalled by the British in 1946, again through national insurance. Beveridge remarked that "comparison of the approach of these two countries of British mentality to the same problem would be a most fascinating study." What particularly stands out here is the notion of a "British mentality" or, as he put it in another passage, the fact that "we are different brothers of the same family." Note was also made of individual political connections, the fluctuating fortunes of progressive politics in both countries, and the ability of New Zealand to enact radical change more quickly thanks to its unicameral parliament. So, for instance, Beveridge explicitly mentioned an individual encountered earlier, William Pember Reeves, and addressed his part in the New Zealand reforms of the 1890s as well as his role as Beveridge's predecessor at the LSE. (48) Beveridge therefore suggested that "Cross-fertilization of ideas between New Zealand and Britain has been incessant in the past. It should never cease in the future." (49) And a prime example here was indeed pensions. The British government of the 1900s had, when devising its own pensions plan, carefully noted developments in New Zealand and Denmark. (50)

Beveridge then turned more specifically to the similarities and differences between the current British and New Zealand schemes. The former were, first, comprehensiveness, which he summarized as "a scheme for all citizens" and not just, as in most countries, for those in employment. Second, only in Britain, New Zealand, and Ireland were social security payments paid at a flat rate rather than based on earnings. So in the British case the means test had been abolished and Beveridge further claimed that such flat-rate schemes were the most egalitarian. The antithesis of such an approach and the "strangest form of social security" was that of the Soviet Union. This was "as completely removed from equilibrium as anything you may imagine" and indeed from "Communism" itself. Third, both New Zealand and Britain had a system of family allowances, although Beveridge criticized the dominion's scheme--made universal in 1946 and a significant component of many family incomes--as too financially generous and unlike the British system payable from the first child onwards. (51) More generally, Beveridge thought the whole of New Zealand's provision was overgenerous. Fourth, both systems recognized that however comprehensive their social security provision, there would still be cases that were not covered. This was an allusion to, in the British case, the need for the "safety net" of national assistance. There were, Beveridge continued, a similar number of differences between the British and the New Zealand schemes; however, he dismissed these as relatively minor, arguing that the two had reached similar destinations, albeit by different routes. (52) This view was rather disingenuous for as we shall see some of his criticisms were fundamental, although again the notion of a shared destination stands out.

Later Beveridge described two other features that Britain and New Zealand had in common. The first of these concerned health care. Both countries sought to "remove any economic barrier between the sick man and the medical treatment needed to make him well." One important concession that had been made by the British medical profession was that the service should cover the entire population, although Beveridge acknowledged that issues remained to be resolved. These included "the attitude of our doctors and what seems to be the attitude of yours," an allusion to the New Zealand profession's ongoing resistance to the 1938 Social Security Act and, as we saw earlier, a topic Beveridge explicitly wished to discuss with Nash. Second, Beveridge suggested that "social security in Britain and in New Zealand alike" essentially involved a form of compulsory taxation. (53)

These criticisms were in part technical but also concerned what Beveridge saw as breaches in the underlying principles of social welfare, not least the dangers of the "banana mentality." Beveridge concluded by suggesting that that he had produced his report during a "revolutionary period" in world history. During such periods "patching," by which he meant ad hoc reform, was inappropriate. In turn this was part of his broader claim that what his proposals had done was to meld disparate pieces of social legislation into a coherent, unified whole. Social security, by which Beveridge by this point meant more than simply social insurance, must be part of a "general attack on social evils" these being, in his famous phraseology, "the giant evils of ignorance, disease, squalor, and idleness." But, and this was a crucial point, social security had to be achieved by "co-operation between the state and the individual." The state should not "stifle incentive or responsibility" and should allow for "each individual to provide more than the minimum for himself and his family." (54)

The limitations of state action were central to Beveridge's speech and he made it clear where he disagreed with Britain's Labour government in its implementation and adaptation of his original proposals. As to his own principles these included the idea that "any form of means test" was a "form of interference with liberty and freedom." Hence in the particular case of health care, the right of doctors to have private patients meant that "a rich man can use his riches to pay for something he can get for nothing." This was for Beveridge "one of the essential British liberties." Given his wider views, it is reasonable to assume that "British" here also applied to his audience. A further concern was the necessity for individuals to take responsibility for their own lives. In what was clearly a criticism of New Zealand's system, Beveridge took the case of old age pensions. Society was entitled to "insist that no man is in want" and that "a man will always have bread to eat at all times." It was therefore permissible to "take money from him and his fellow citizens to ensure it." But society was "not entitled to take money from a man to ensure that he has jam as well as bread in his old age. It is for him to decide whether he will have all his jam in youth and in his old age as well." Unnecessary and excessive state levies were thus "an interference with individual liberty and individual responsibility." Beveridge's liberalism is notably evident here. He also noted that back home the present administration had decided against interfering in "the fixing of personal incomes. A very announcement of liberalism by our Labour Government!" Britain was, Beveridge told his audience, "in fact less prone to have State interference in wages than you." (55) This was both a rather tongue in cheek remark and a further example of where the state should not intervene without due cause and so a criticism of New Zealand's approach to the economy and society.

Beveridge's emphasis on the limitations of state action laid the foundation for the complementary lecture, "Voluntary Action for Social Welfare." This talk was less historical and comparative than its predecessor largely because of differences in the history, structure, and role of the voluntary sectors in Britain and New Zealand. (56) Beveridge focused on two types of voluntary action, mutual aid and philanthropy. The latter, for example, was "not patronage nor condescension," and this method of aid was something of which his audience was well aware "for you have it in the Royal New Zealand Society for the Welfare of Mothers and Children, the Plunket Society." While certainly spending a great deal of the state's money for social improvement, Plunket nonetheless was "a voluntary organisation, not governed by the State." It had played a key role in reducing the infant mortality rate and Beveridge claimed accordingly that "I would be much prouder of that than my standard of life in New Zealand. I would be as proud of it as New Zealanders going to war." (57) Beveridge was genuinely interested in the Plunket Society, unsurprisingly given his promotion of the voluntary sector, and took a number of its publications, for instance Modern Mothercraft, back to Britain. (58)

But voluntarism also had a greater and crucial social purpose. For "Beveridge" in the sense of the 1942 report was "not enough." This document had shown what the state "can do to get freedom from want" but what no public body could do was to "make the kind of society in which you live; only voluntary action can do what is necessary." So philanthropy was not only not "patronage nor condescension"; it was, more positively, an antidote to bureaucratic inertia and, more dramatically and revealingly, "the necessary alternative to totalitarianism." It was so because if the situation ever arose where "no one thinks of doing anything and the State everything, you have a totalitarian State." The "banana mentality" hence had potentially dire consequences. Invoking the Greek myth of the great sea monster and the deadly whirlpool, Beveridge argued that:
   We in Britain, as you in New Zealand, have to steer your (sic)
   course between the Scylla of laissez-faire and the Charybdis of
   totalitarianism. Laissez-faire, the State doing nothing, means that
   a certain number of people are destroyed. Totalitarianism means
   that all people are destroyed. (59)

This argument for a "middle way" between capitalist anarchy and Soviet totalitarianism was undoubtedly what made Beveridge's ideas so appealing to politicians such as John Marshall. It may also have shaped the thinking of the dominion's Labour party. (60) And it can be further construed as a reminder to the Labour governments of both Britain and New Zealand not to stray too far from the path Beveridge had laid out not only in the 1942 report but also in works such as Voluntary Action. (61) The potential spread of totalitarianism and more particularly Soviet communism thus informed Beveridge's views on welfare as well as those on world peace.


Notwithstanding his critique of both Britain and New Zealand's welfare schemes, Beveridge reiterated in Antipodes Notebook the affinities between his own homeland's citizens and his recent hosts. As he put it, the longer a "Britisher stays in Australia or New Zealand the stronger becomes his sense of community with them, of sharing the same problems and with the same underlying assumptions. We are the same kind of people in the same boat." And again arguing the need for a "middle way" between unbridled capitalism and totalitarian communism, he contrasted the three British nations with, on the one hand, the United States where the maintenance of full employment was left to "happy chance" and, on the other, the Soviet Union where the notion of a "free society" was simply ignored. Full employment in a free society--also the title of Beveridge's 1944 publication--was thus central to the sort of society and world he sought to build. (62)

On his departure from Dunedin, Beveridge similarly remarked that fundamentally "Britain and New Zealand have the same outlook" and thus with "all our interests we are brothers in a Commonwealth of Nations." (63) The phrase "Commonwealth of Nations" invoked both increasing contemporary usage and the notion of closer ties between Britain and the dominions. Shortly after his return home, and around the time the nationality act was making its way through the British parliament, Beveridge used his platform in the House of Lords to urge on the government the desirability of reciprocity in social security arrangements between Britain and, especially, New Zealand and Australia. He explicitly placed this proposal in the context of renewed British migration to the Pacific dominions. (64) In so arguing, Beveridge was in keeping with the population policies of both the British and the New Zealand and Australian authorities. (65) As we shall see, his speech on world peace was complementary to those on social welfare and to his views on the familial relationship of Britons and New Zealanders. Such was Beveridge's commitment to world peace that he entitled the relevant chapter in Antipodes Notebook (a version of the speech given in Sydney) "Crusade for World Government." (66) This title also alluded to the movement of the same name.

Harris notes, again without going into detail, that Beveridge's concern for world peace and world government predated the end of World War II, as did his concerns about the Soviet Union. (67) Beatrice Webb recorded in 1933 that at mention of Russia at an LSE lunch Beveridge muttered under his breath "A country of wild beasts." (68) He was also an early and highly active member of the Federal Union. This body campaigned for, in the last resort, a federated world government, as well as for peace, economic security, and universal civil rights. Its members included other prominent individuals such as the leading Labour politicians Clement Attlee and Ernest Bevin, and the influential social scientist Barbara Wootton. (69) When he was in the midst of preparing his more famous report on social insurance in 1940, Beveridge published an essay proposing a postwar "Peace Federation," one aim of which was to hold the line against Soviet "tyranny" and thereby "keep Stalinism at bay." Prefiguring his approach to the colonies in his De Carle lecture, Beveridge insisted that the "interests of the native inhabitants must be paramount" while acknowledging that at least in the past Britain had not always operated in accordance with that principle. As for membership of the Peace Federation, this was to consist primarily of European nations, including a restructured Germany, and the four dominions. When it came to the latter, Beveridge suggested that while their inclusion was not essential, it was "highly desirable." Britain could not turn her back on the Commonwealth and the very geographical locations of the dominions would help promote the idea of global, rather than just European, cooperation. Again asserting the commonality of origin, sentiment, and purpose shared by Britain and countries such as New Zealand, Beveridge concluded that as things presently stood, the "determination with which the British, in Britain and overseas, have turned from a passionate desire for peace to acceptance of war" could not be doubted. (70)

This essay had at least two other incarnations, as a pamphlet published by the Federal Union, the first in its series "Federal Tracts," and in a collection brought out by the Royal Institute of International Affairs. (71) Both were the subject of correspondence between Beveridge and the historian, founder of The Round Table and of the Royal Institute, fellow member of the University of Oxford, and proponent of an inclusive version of the British empire and commonwealth, Lionel Curtis. (72) Beveridge told Curtis in early 1940 that his Royal Institute paper had been circulated to its members and that its council was considering publication. Given that Curtis was a council member and thus well aware of both of these proceedings it would appear that Beveridge was giving him a gentle hint about publication, which in due course came about. But it also suggests how seriously he took the issue of world peace. A few months later, Beveridge followed through by sending Curtis a copy of the Federal Union pamphlet. (73)

As the war was coming to an end, Beveridge returned to the issue of the postwar reordering of international affairs. In autumn 1944 he told Curtis that he was preparing a memorandum on "The Price of Peace," which he hoped would be published soon. Although the world had changed as a result of war it was still "as necessary as ever to abolish unrestricted national sovereignty." He was now skeptical about the possibility of world federation but nonetheless "one must set up a World authority for peace." A few months later Beveridge again wrote to Curtis. He reiterated the need for "radical changes in national sovereignty" and suggested that his own proposals were based on "sticking to the essentials of international justice while preserving national self-determination as completely as possible." (74) When The Price of Peace was published shortly thereafter it was as a substantial book rather than as a memorandum. Beveridge argued that when the war ended the "effective power in the world" would reside with the "three great confederations" of the United States, the Soviet Union, and the British Commonwealth and he again used the formulation "the British, in Britain and overseas." He surveyed various other proposals for the postwar world including those of Curtis whom he referred to as "the most distinguished living advocate of federal principles in Britain today." His own proposals, he was at pains to point out, were not for "world government" but rather for a "super-national authority for preventing disputes." All this was in pursuit of, as the title of the first chapter made clear, "The Target: Rule of Law in Place of Anarchy between Nations." (75)

Beveridge summarized these ideas in the last Liberal party radio broadcast before Britain's 1945 general election at which he unsuccessfully sought re-election as a Liberal member of parliament. The party's "first aim" was "lasting peace," something unattainable while "strong nations feel free to use their national force selfishly for national purposes." Peace had to be established on the basis of "international justice" backed up where necessary by force used exclusively in the pursuit of such justice. The interwar Conservatives had failed to understand this and did not believe war could be abolished. Although the Labour party was better on the issue, it had nonetheless shown itself "weak on the provision of the necessary force without which justice is vain." Only after establishing peace as his party's first aim did Beveridge turn to issues such as social security and full employment. (76)

What, then, did Beveridge have to say in his public lecture, given in Dunedin town hall on 21 April 1948, "The Conditions of World Peace?" He started off by alluding to his recent participation in a radio "Brains Trust" when he had been asked, "What was the most urgent problem in New Zealand?" His response, which Beveridge claimed he was not sure that "people expected it, I am not sure that they liked it," was that it was "the same for every nation of the world, the abolition of war and finding out how to make peace certain." There was no point in social security, arts and education, raising living standards, planning cities and homes, and thinking of one's children's futures, if all were threatened by destruction. (77) The recent war had ended with the atomic bomb that had brought freedom but also a "premium on unannounced treachery to smash the other side before it can take any defensive action." Nor had fighting fully ceased, for example in the British mandated territory of Palestine, which was currently experiencing inter-communal and anti-British violence. The problems in Palestine received widespread coverage in the New Zealand press during Beveridge's visit. And more broadly, and worse still, humankind was now threatened by a third world war. (78) Such remarks need to be seen in the specific context of increased hostilities during the Cold War through, for instance, the Soviet coup in Czechoslovakia earlier in the year and the rapidly worsening situation in Germany. (79)

But peace was not something to be bought at any cost, for nobody wanted it "if you are slaves." This was why "we in Britain, and you in New Zealand, fought Hitler." And there was no doubt as to where the present danger lay. It had to be recognized that the "Soviet Government is a totalitarian government, to my mind as bad as Hitler's in its restrictions on individual liberty and its threat to the rest of the world." In their speeches on how their country faced external threats Soviet leaders were using the same sort of rhetoric as had Hitler. But while "Hitler had some justification," Russia had none. Although communism was a "foolish creed," economically the real problem lay in the fact that the Soviet Union was a dictatorship. (80) All was not yet lost, though. In that moment the Soviet Union did not have atomic weapons. And many western European nations as well as the United States and the commonwealth were stronger than the surviving totalitarian states. A new approach was nonetheless required in world affairs. The colonies, for example, need not necessarily come under the direct control of an international body, but there should be "some international supervision to see that the colony is treated on principles of trusteeship and not on principles of exploitation." (81) Again this was a contentious contemporary issue. The United States was pressing Britain to divest itself of its colonial possessions and it is revealing that Beveridge invoked the notion of "trusteeship," often used to highlight the purportedly progressive and developmental dimensions of imperial rule.

But the real answer lay in world government although this phrase is ambiguous and meant something akin to what Beveridge had previously described as a "super-national" authority. Beveridge acknowledged the creation of the United Nations but felt that Soviet behaviour had already undermined it. He therefore commended to his audience the work of the Crusade for World Government, which argued that such a body be established by elected representatives of participating nations to draw up a charter upon which international law and peacekeeping would be based. This would not involve individual nations losing their sovereignty, but it would require them to cooperate with each other, not least in conflict resolution. Such cooperation would replace what Beveridge described as "Sovereign Anarchy" whereby individual nation states selfishly pursued their own interests, sometimes through violence. One consequence would be that small nations would be protected in a way that simply had not happened under the interwar League of Nations. (82) Just as individuals had responsibilities as well as basic welfare rights, so too with nations in international affairs. The balance between the collective and the individual had to be struck, and in this way would freedom be maintained both within individual societies and globally.

Beveridge acknowledged that none of this would be easy. How to get the Soviet Union on board, and how to have its people represented, was one very obvious problem. But it was necessary "and what was necessary should be done, and will be done by Britishers and New Zealanders." (83) The speech concluded with a rousing passage that played heavily on the British connection. In an atomic age New Zealand was no longer distant from any conflict and so was "tied to Europe." But this tie derived also from "your love, your feeling for us, and of the importance to you of our being strong and influential in the world." Recalling the recent war, Beveridge urged his listeners to think of "the bigness of the British on land and sea, and of the British Commonwealth." People of British stock such as "you here, we in Britain, and those in America" were political innovators. "You in New Zealand, as we in Britain, know ... we shall work together" in the event of further conflict. But much preferable would be working together "continually in peace to make certain that no war comes." (84) Beveridge's inclusion of the US here, despite its shortcomings in welfare provision, can be seen both as an acknowledgement of postwar political realities and an appeal to the unity of the wider "Anglo World." And it is also crucial to see his views in the context of Britain's desire to foster even closer links with commonwealth members such as New Zealand as part of a global strategy of resisting communism. (85)

A few months later Beveridge put forward his views on the necessity of an international authority to ensure world peace at a conference in Luxemburg. In now familiar terms, he told his audience that national governments "must lose the power to organise destruction of the way of life of other nations." In his conclusion he reflected on his antipodean journey. In both Australia and New Zealand he had been "asked and expected continually to talk on social security" and he had indeed spoken on this topic. But more and more, he continued, he had sought to move to international affairs and had repeated "again and again that world security comes before social security." Australia and New Zealand, "these remote British countries" as he described them, had suffered as much as any nation in two world wars. Their participation in these conflicts was "because they are British" and so "as inevitably as they would always be with us in war, so they should be with us in making peace lasting." But in New Zealand he had not simply lectured for "Something happened to me there." While watching the ANZAC Day parade in Wellington "I made myself a new vow that I would devote as much of my energy of my remaining years ... to making worth while the sacrifice of those who had died, of building upon their sacrifice the means of ending war." (86) And Beveridge did indeed continue to play an active part in promoting ideas for international order and world peace. (87)


Beveridge used his visit to New Zealand to further articulate his vision of what a liberal society and what international affairs ordered on liberal lines should look like. In both cases absolute sovereignty, whether of the individual or of the nation-state, had to be rejected. On the other hand, overbearing and unnecessary state action in society posed the danger of totalitarianism and loss of freedom, as demonstrated on the world stage by the Soviet Union, with its aggressive and totalitarian policies.

Beveridge spelled out his vision of a liberal society both by explaining his own philosophy and by drawing on specific examples from the dominion's welfare, past and present. For Beveridge, New Zealand--specifically its Labour government--had been overgenerous and over-interventionist. It was doubtful whether New Zealand could or wanted to attain the sort of networks of voluntarism and philanthropy which Britain still enjoyed, although the latter's own expansion of state power was also cause for concern. But the Plunket Society had shown what could be done. And in any event there was still no need for the state to step into the gap, since individual responsibility could and should always be encouraged. So in the race in which Britain and New Zealand had historically vied for precedence in social policy innovation, or at least social policy innovation which fitted with Beveridge's own current views, the latter had strayed somewhat from the track. This was not simply a matter of technical malpractice, for the basis of a liberal and open society lay in the balance to be struck between social and individual responsibility and the implementation of this balance. To abdicate personal responsibility by submitting to the "banana mentality" was to take a step along the road to slavery and totalitarianism. Some of the evidence drawn upon above suggests that this analysis was shared by a significant body of New Zealand opinion.

But as Beveridge repeatedly pointed out, whatever form of social security was in place was ultimately meaningless if the world descended into war as a result of Soviet aggression and the lack of a robust response to it. There was thus a direct and indissoluble relationship between social security and world security, practically and philosophically. Social security in any given nation needed the guarantee of an ordered and peaceful world, a situation far from being in place at the time of Beveridge's visit in 1948. The creation of such a world would be best promoted by societies which understood in both social affairs and in world affairs the need to balance individual freedom with collective responsibility. And as we have seen voluntarism was both an essential part of this liberal society and as such a "necessary alternative" to totalitarianism and slavery. It is thus revealing that one of Beveridge's radio talks in New Zealand on welfare was entitled "Liberty in a Changing World." (88) For "changing" read "threatening, unstable, tension laden." In the circumstances of 1948 it was unlikely that the Soviet Union could be induced to participate in any form of world government and even at this early stage in its history the United Nations looked damaged. All the more reason, then, for free nations to come together, act cooperatively, and thereby surrender absolute sovereignty in the ultimate pursuit of a liberal and free world order.

Nonetheless all was not lost. Beveridge was by no means campaigning in isolation. There was considerable interest in both Britain and the United States in the latter half of the 1940s for the kind of ideas he espoused. In their famous letter of 1945 to the New York Times, American physicists, including Einstein, predicted the failure of the United Nations as a peacekeeping organisation as it was based on "the absolute sovereignty of the rival nation states." (89) Specifically with regard to his trip, Beveridge set great store by the idea of New Zealanders being essentially British, albeit "remote" British. The two countries were linked by common ancestry, mentality and outlook, and mutual dependence. They had learned much from each other in terms of social policy and had still more to learn. Notwithstanding the problems in the dominion's welfare system that Beveridge had identified, he also saw a commonality of purpose, striking similarities of outcome, and historic roles for both societies as welfare innovators--thereby making them exemplars for other nations now and in the future. The two societies as members of the same family were further bound together by close personal and institutional links and relationships that took on an increased significance in an era of Cold War, of rapid change within the British empire as a whole, and with an associated desire to bring the dominions and Britain ever closer. New Zealanders had shown themselves in international affairs, and not least in the recently-ended war, to be loyal to Britain and to act as the Britons they were. And even if it wanted to, which according to Beveridge it did not, New Zealand could not isolate itself from the rest of the world and the global threat of communism in an atomic age. Ultimately what Britons and New Zealanders had in common were the fundamental tools both to improve closely associated societies and to help create an international order that, with political and social will, had the potential to steer a clear course between the totalitarian regimes of the Soviet bloc and (by far the lesser of the two evils) the capitalist anarchy of the United States.

And of course it was liberals of the Beveridge type who should be charged with bringing about the necessary internal and external balances so necessary to combat slavery and totalitarianism and foster individual responsibility. In both New Zealand and Britain, Labour governments had shown themselves to be too interventionist and thereby too prone to undermine personal responsibility and initiative, although Britain still had a large voluntary sector acting as something of a counterweight. Nonetheless if the passage between the Scylla and the Charybdis was to be negotiated, vigilance had to be maintained and the "banana mentality" rejected. It was liberals who best understood this and were intellectually and practically best equipped to carry it out.

In foreign affairs, British Labour had shown itself weak if better than the Conservatives, implicitly no great achievement. Beveridge did not comment directly on the New Zealand government's foreign affairs record. But he did note and praise the unswerving loyalty to Britain that the dominion had historically shown, something only to be expected from these Britons of the south Pacific. What was now required was international cooperation rather than a singular focus on the nation-state. The commonwealth itself, and the close kinship of its members, provided an already-existing international body that could form the basis of a broader attempt to promote international justice and police international peace. Again it was clear sighted and robust liberals who best understood this and were promoting its enactment. In so doing, they were seeking to create world security so that social security, and its attendant benefits, might safely exist.

William Beveridge travelled to New Zealand in fraught times and his speeches and interventions there have to be understood in that light. They were most definitely not simple academic exercises. Beveridge was not, nor did he claim to be, a political theorist and the contradictions and tensions in his thought have been pointed out. These included a not always consistent balance between voluntarism and statism. (90) But he was passionate about what was to him the essential promotion of his own brand of liberalism. In a threatening world his "crusade" for a liberal society and a peaceful world order was both heartfelt and urgent. And while his claim that "Something happened to me" while watching the ANZAC Day parade in Wellington was, on one level, a rhetorical flourish, given his longstanding concern with world affairs there is no reason to doubt his actual sincerity. An understanding of Beveridge's New Zealand trip thus affords us the opportunity to see his liberalism in a broader context and as an organic whole. It also contributes further to our understanding of "Greater Britain" in a period when postwar welfare states were being constructed but also when the very societies in which this was taking place appeared subject to an urgent external threat.

doi: 10.3138/CJH.ACH.50.2.002

(1) Janet and William Beveridge, Antipodes Notebook (London, 1949). This was published in New Zealand and Australia as William and Janet Beveridge, On and Off the Platform: Under the Southern Cross (Wellington and Melbourne, 1949). On their authorship, see Philip Beveridge Mair, Shared Enthusiasm: The Story of Lord and Lady Beveridge (Windelsham, 1982), p. 116. This work contains no account of the trip itself.

(2) Beveridge and Beveridge, Antipodes Notebook, pp. 85-86.

(3) British Library of Political and Economic Science, Beveridge Papers [hereafter cited as BLPES], Beveridge/11/72, cuttings from The Times Literary Supplement, 23 September 1949 and Huddersfield Examiner, 17 September 1949.

(4) See James Belich, Paradise Reforged: A History of the New Zealanders from the 1880s to the Year 2000 (Honolulu, 2001); idem, Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo World, 1783-1939, (Oxford, 2006); Carl Bridge and Kent Fedorowich (eds.), The British World: Diaspora, Culture and Identity (London, 2003); and Kate Darian-Smith, Patricia Grimshaw and Stuart Mcintyre (eds.), Britishness Abroad: Transnational Movements and Imperial Cultures (Melbourne, 2007).

(5) Francine McKenzie, "In the National Interest: Dominions' Support for Britain and the Commonwealth after the Second World War," Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 34 (2006), pp. 553-76.

(6) Jordanna Bailkin, The Afterlife of Empire (Los Angeles, 2012), p. 1; and from a more literary perspective, Nadine Attewell, Better Britons: Reproduction, National Identity, and the Afterlife of Empire (Toronto, 2014).

(7) Andrew Thompson, "Introduction," in Andrew Thompson (ed.), Britain's Experience of Empire in the Twentieth Century (Oxford, 2012), p. 28.

(8) For the broad context, see John Darwin, The Empire Project: The Rise and Fall of the British World System, 1830-1970 (Cambridge, 2009), chapter 12. On migration policy and the 1948 act, see Kathleen Paul, "Communities of Britishness: Migration in the Last Gasp of Empire," in Stuart Ward (ed.), British Culture at the End of Empire (Manchester, 2001).

(9) Melanie Oppenheimer, "Beveridge in the Antipodes: The 1948 Tour," in Melanie Oppenheimer and Nicholas Deakin (eds.), Beveridge and Voluntary Action in Britain and the Wider British World (Manchester, 2011), pp. 70-71.

(10) Margaret Tennant, "Beveridge, the Voluntary Principle and New Zealand's 'Social Laboratory,'" in Oppenheimer and Deakin (eds.), Beveridge and Voluntary Action, p. 146. On her concept of the "fabric" of welfare provision, see Margaret Tennant, The Fabric of Welfare: Voluntary Organisations, Government and Welfare in New Zealand, 1840-2005 (Wellington, 2007).

(11) Jose Harris, William Beveridge: A Biography (Oxford, rev. ed., 1997), pp. 470-71, 400, 472.

(12) I am grateful to the archivists at the British Library of Political and Economic Science for drawing my attention to previously unclassified Beveridge material.

(13) Beveridge, Antipodes Notebook, pp. 1, 4; and BLPES, Beveridge/11/66, letter, New Zealand Government Offices (London) to Beveridge, 17 December 1947.

(14) Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, [hereafter cited as Hocken], AG-180-31/0436, letter, Registrar, University of Otago, to New Zealand High Commission, London, 23 July 1947; letter. New Zealand High Commission, London, to Registrar, University of Otago, 2 Oct. 1947. I am grateful to the Archivist for permission to quote from these papers.

(15) Hocken, AG-180-31 /0462, press release "Lord Beveridge: University's Distinguished Visitor," undated but spring 1948.

(16) Hocken, AG-180-31 /0462, memorandum. "Right Honourable Lord Beveridge KCB and Lady Beveridge," undated but spring 1948.

(17) BLPES, Beveridge/11 /66, letter, Beveridge to Walter Nash, 20 January 1948.

(18) Linda Bryder and John Stewart, '"Some Abstract Socialistic Ideal or Principle': British Reactions to New Zealand's 1938 Social Security Act," Britain and the World, 8 (March 2015), pp. 51 -75.

(19) BLPES, Beveridge/11 /66 letter, Walter Nash to Beveridge, 14 February 1948.

(20) BLPES, Beveridge/11/66, letter, Margaret Cole to Beveridge, 20 February 1948; and letter, Viscount Addison to Beveridge, 18 February 1948.

(21) For further instances see Bryder and Stewart, "'Some Abstract Socialistic Ideal or Principle'" and for a similar situation with respect to Australia, Neville Kirk, Labour and the Politics of Empire: Britain and Australia, 1900 to the Present (Manchester, 2011).

(22) BLPES, Beveridge /11 / 66, letter, James Shelley to Beveridge, 14 January 1948.

(23) BLPES, Beveridge/11/66, letter, Beveridge to James Shelley, 11 February 1948; Lord Beveridge, Voluntary Action: A Report on Methods of Social Advance (London, 1948).

(24) John Marshall, Memoirs: Volume 1, 1919-1960 (Auckland, 1983), pp. 306, 113.

(25) For the impact on America, for example, see Peter T. Coleman, "New Zealand Liberalism and the Origins of the American Welfare State," The Journal of American History, 69 (June 1982), pp. 372-91; for the international flow of reform ideas more generally, see Daniel T. Rodgers, Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age (Cambridge, Mass., 1998).

(26) Harris, William Beveridge, pp. 258-59.

(27) Elizabeth Hanson, The Politics of Social Security: The 1938 Act and Some Later Developments (Auckland, 1980).

(28) Leslie Lipson, The Politics of Equality: New Zealand's Adventures in Democracy (Chicago, 1948), p. 232.

(29) Ronald Mendelsohn, Social Security in the British Commonwealth: Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand (London, 1954), p. 170.

(30) Ibid., pp. 204-205.

(31) There is a copy of the 1938 Act, and various amending Acts, in BLPES, Beveridge /11/33.

(32) Social Insurance and Allied Services: Report by Sir William Beveridge (London, 1942), pp. 8-9. See also the condensed version of this document, produced for popular consumption, which makes the same point in the same language: The Beveridge Report in Brief [London, 1942), p. 7.

(33) William Beveridge, Pillars of Security and Other War-Time Essays and Addresses (London, 1943), p. 146. See also the BBC radio address reproduced in same volume, at p. 55.

(34) Lord Beveridge, Power and Influence (London, 1953), p. 309.

(35) "Social Security: Proposals in Britain," Evening Post, 2 December 1942, p. 4.

(36) "Social Security: Schemes Compared: Britain and New Zealand," The Ellesmere Guardian, 26 February 1943, p. 6.

(37) Walter Nash, New Zealand: A Working Democracy (New York, 1943), p. 303.

(38) "Mr Nash in England," Evening Post, 24 March 1944, p. 5. On Nash's wartime advocacy of social reconstruction see Margaret McClure, A Civilised Community: A History of Social Security in New Zealand (Auckland, 1998), p. 98.

(39) For further examples from the British labour movement see Bryder and Stewart, "'Some Abstract Socialistic Ideal or Principle.'"

(40) Mayor Appleton, cited in "Social Security: Progressive Spirit," Evening Post, 22 March 1945, p. 9.

(41) "Study of Social Security. Lord Beveridge Here on Visit," The New Zealand Herald, 12 April 1948, p. 6.

(42) "As Others See Us," The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, 38 (1948), pp. 823-24.

(43) "Avoiding 'Banana Mentality,'" The New Zealand Herald, 27 April 1948, p. 6.

(44) BLPES, Beveridge/11/66, letter, D.G. McMillan to Beveridge, 19 April 1948. On McMillan and the context in which he operated in the 1930s, see Bryder and Stewart, "'Some Abstract Socialistic Ideal or Principle'" and D.G. Bolitho, "Some Financial and Medico-Political Aspects of the New Zealand Medical Profession's Reaction to the Introduction of Social Security," New Zealand Journal of History, 18 (April 1984), pp. 34-49.

(45) BLPES, Beveridge/11/72, cutting "Economic Truths," Otago Daily Times, 15 April 1948.

(46) Hocken, AG-180-31/0462, typescripts Lord Beveridge, "Public Action for Social Advance" and idem, "Voluntary Action for Social Advance." There is a slightly different version of the former in BLPES, Beveridge/11/68, typescript "Public Action for Social Advance: New Zealand and Britain Compared, with a Note on Australia." The Otago version is used except where the BLPES typescript significantly enhances the argument.

(47) Lord Beveridge, "Public Action for Social Advance," pp. 1-2.

(48) Ibid, pp. 3-5.

(49) BLPES, Beveridge/11 /68, typescript "Public Action for Social Advance: New Zealand and Britain Compared, with a Note on Australia," pp. 5-6.

(50) John Macnicol, The Politics of Retirement in Britain, 1878-1948 (Cambridge, 1998), p. 158.

(51) On New Zealand's family allowances, see Melanie Nolan, Breadwinning: New Zealand Women and the State (Christchurch, 2000).

(52) Lord Beveridge, "Public Action for Social Advance," pp. 7-8.

(53) Ibid., pp. 12-14.

(54) Ibid., pp. 14-15.

(55) Ibid., pp. 11, 12, 4.

(56) See Tennant, "Beveridge, the Voluntary Principle and New Zealand's 'Social Laboratory'"; and idem, The Fabric of Welfare.

(57) Lord Beveridge, "Voluntary Action for Social Advance," pp. 7-8, 13, 9.

(58) BLPES, Beveridge /11/69 is a collection of pamphlets and reports acquired on the Beveridges' trip. It is unclear whether Beveridge was aware of the actual extent to which the Society was subsidised by the New Zealand government. See Linda Bryder, A Voice for Mothers: The Plunket Society and Infant Welfare, 1907-2000 (Auckland, 2003).

(59) Lord Beveridge, "Voluntary Action for Social Advance," pp. 11, 13, 14. For a brief discussion of Beveridge's concerns over the abuse of state power in the context of his work with refugees from Nazism, see Nicholas Deakin, '"The Night's Insane Dream of Power': William Beveridge on the Uses and Abuses of State Power," in Oppenheimer and Deakin (eds.), Beveridge and Voluntary Action, pp. 21-35.

(60) Melanie Nolan, "Classic Third Way or Before Its Time? The New Zealand Labour Party in Local and Transnational Context," Labour History Review, 75 (April 2010), pp. 98-113.

(61) Compare with Harris, William Beveridge, chapter 19.

(62) Beveridge, Antipodes Notebook, pp. 135-6, 138.

(63) BLPES, Beveridge/11/72, press cutting "Only Too Short: Visit to Dunedin: Lord Beveridge Leaves Today," Otago Daily Times, 22 April, 1948.

(64) Hansard (Lords), 13 July 1948, col 759.

(65) See Paul, "Communities of Britishness."

(66) Beveridge and Beveridge, Antipodes Notebook, pp. 116-22.

(67) Harris, William Beveridge, p. 470.

(68) Norman and Jean Mackenzie (eds.), The Diary of Beatrice Webb: Volume Four 1924-1943 (Cambridge, Mass., 1985), p. 302.

(69) See the references in Richard Mayne and John Pinder, Federal Union: The Pioneers (London, 1990).

(70) Sir William Beveridge, "Peace by Federation?," in Sydney E. Hooper (ed.), The Deeper Causes of the War and Its Issues (London, 1940), pp. 163, 193, 179, 172-3, 202-3.

(71) Royal Institute of International Affairs, World Order Papers: First Series, (London, 1940); Sir William Beveridge, Peace by Federation? (London, 1940); Mayne and Pinder, Federal Union, p. 45.

(72) For a brief introduction to Curtis and The Round Table, see Alex May, "Empire Loyalists and 'Commonwealth Men': The Round Table and the End of Empire," in Ward (ed.), British Culture and the End of Empire, pp. 37-56.

(73) University of Oxford, Bodleian Library, Modern Manuscripts, Mss. Curtis [hereafter cited as Curtis], Ms.111, folio 188, letter, Beveridge to Lionel Curtis, 12 February 1940; and Curtis, Ms.22, folio 1, letter, Beveridge to Lionel Curtis, 1 May 1940. See also Harris, William Beveridge, p. 355.

(74) Curtis, Ms.31, folio 21, letter, Beveridge to Lionel Curtis, 13 September 1944; and Ms.32, folio 132, letter, Beveridge to Lionel Curtis, 10 April 1945. See also, more briefly, Harris, William Beveridge, p. 470.

(75) Sir William Beveridge, The Price of Peace (London, 1945), pp. 87, 83, 67, 62, 9ff.

(76) Sir William Beveridge, "Liberalism the Best Choice," Times (London), 29 June 1945, p. 8.

(77) Hocken, AG-180-31 /0462, typescript Lord Beveridge, "The Conditions of World Peace," p. 1. Beveridge gave at least three other talks in New Zealand on this issue, two in Wellington and one in Canterbury. See Hocken, AG-18031 / 0462, memorandum "Right Honourable Lord Beveridge KCB and Lady Beveridge," spring 1948 (undated). In Australia he again encountered the problem of wanting to talk about world peace while his hosts were more interested in social welfare. See, for instance, the article "Beveridge on World Needs," The Neivs, 1 June 1948, p. 4 in which it is claimed that he became "distressed" about this during his visit to Adelaide.

(78) Lord Beveridge, "The Conditions of World Peace," pp. 2, 7.

(79) Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945 (London, 2005), chapter 5.

(80) Lord Beveridge, "The Conditions of World Peace," pp. 5, 8.

(81) Ibid., pp. 9, 4.

(82) Ibid., pp. 2, 3, 5, 7, 9.

(83) Ibid., p. 8.

(84) Ibid., p. 10.

(85) Darwin, The Empire Project, p. 527 ff.

(86) Curtis, Ms.53, folios 43-53, "Address by Lord Beveridge at Final Session of Luxembourg Conference on World Government," September 1948, folios 42, 51-2. Compare with Harris, William Beveridge, p. 471.

(87) See the references in Mayne and Pinder, Federal Union.

(88) BLPES, Beveridge/11/72, press cutting, "Modern Liberty: Position of State," Evening Post, 28 April 1948 reporting previous evening's radio broadcast "Liberty in a Changing World."

(89) Mayne and Pinder, Federal Union, chapter 5 ; Mark Mazower, Governing the World: The History of an Idea (New York, 2012), chapter 8 and citing physicists' letter pp. 231-2.

(90) For example Harris, William Beveridge, chapter 19; and idem, "Voluntarism, the State and Public-Private Partnerships in Beveridge's Social Thought," in Oppenheimer and Deakin (eds.), Beveridge and Voluntary Action, pp. 9-20.

JOHN STEWART is Emeritus Professor of Health History at Glasgow Caledonian University and a Research Associate of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Oxford. Among his research interests are the history of British social welfare, including its international context; and the history of child psychiatry. His most recent book, published in 2013, was on the history of child guidance in twentieth-century Britain.
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Date:Sep 22, 2015
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