Power, Policy and Personality: The Life and Times of Lord Salter, 1881-1975
There is hardly a historical biography or monograph dealing with the first half of the 20th century which does not refer to Sir Arthur (later Lord) Salter. Yet, this book represents his first biography. The historical record reveals Salter had intimate, global access to the seats of power. He rose doggedly, through increasingly influential positions, national and global, political and economic. As a prominent civil servant he was instrumental in shaping the welfare state. He was a pioneering administrator with the League of Nations and the United Nations. He was an original member of the European Movement, a world recognised authority on economics and finance, an Oxford professor, an Independent and then a Conservative MP, and a cabinet minister in two of Sir Winston Churchill’s governments. He was, as well, an influential author, journalist, advocate and broadcaster.
Lord Salter’s historical impact begins with his work as a civil servant during the innovative period of the British National Health Insurance Act of 1911, and his leadership in the wartime Ministry of Shipping. He played a central role in establishing the convoy system, which enabled Britain to overcome the German u-boat campaign and thus avoid starvation. His creative role continued in the 1920s, as an international civil servant while at the Allied Maritime Transport Council, the Reparation Commission and as the first Director of the Economic and Financial Section of the League of Nations. Throughout, he pioneered modern approaches to inter-allied cooperation, European integration, and an international civil service. In the 1930s Salter’s popularity, resulting from his best-selling book, Recovery (1932), outmatched that of Keynes. As an Independent MP for Oxford University, he opposed appeasement and lobbied for the storage of raw materials for a war he knew was inevitable.