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Sir Frederick Crawford

(1906-1978), Colonial administrator

Sitter in 1 portrait

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Sir Frederick Crawford, by A.C.T. Ward - NPG x7014

Sir Frederick Crawford

by A.C.T. Ward
bromide print, circa 1961
NPG x7014

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Justin R. Grant-Duff

20 April 2020, 18:38

Sir Frederick Crawford (1906-1978) was a colonial governor of moderate conservative opinions. He hit the headlines in 1968 when the Labour Government, in the form of Commonwealth Secretary, George Thomson MP accused Sir Frederick of racism, and withdrew his British passport. His many Conservative friends, including Edward Heath, complained, and one MP Frederic Harriss had claimed that he knew the former Governor of Uganda personally. Nowadays he was living in Rhodesia, where he appeared to support what HMG called "an illegal UDI government". Few doubted that the career diplomat had enjoyed a spotless reputation at the very heights of the Colonial Office appointments in Africa. Tall, angular, charming sophisticated and highly polished, Sir Frederick was a personal friend of the Queen Mother. He did not actively support any actively racist political organisation, declared Heath, leader of the Opposition. But the former Director of Anglo-American in South Africa looked to be fraternising with the most suspect opponents of Labour. The economic sanctions imposed by Britain and the UN were supposed to bite, but Sir Frederick President of the Bulawayo Trade Fair appeared to be inviting Ian Smith into his confidence. In 1961, he had decided to remove permanently to the African country; and resisted attempts to surrender his passport, but when he ventured into on London 10 May 1968 he was arrested and passport impounded. The treatment of a perceived public servant of high repute caused many to comment that Labour were behaving like Nazis. The Queen decided against Wilson's advice to grant the KCMG instead of the KCVO, because it was in her personal gift, for a businessman who symbolised an older generation of Imperialists now out of favour.

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