1st Edition

The West Indies The Federal Negotiations

By John Mordecai Copyright 1968
    486 Pages
    by Routledge

    First Published in 1968, The West Indies is the history of Federation in the British West Indies since 1920’s, in itself a fascinating story full of strong and colorful personalities; at the same time, it offers an incisive analysis of the reasons why Federations have proved so unstable in the post war world. It is unusual to have the story from a man who was both without any narrow allegiance and at the centre of events from 1952 up to the very end. Sir John Mordecai was in daily contact throughout with the leading figures and the crisis surrounding them. He served as Secretary General of the West Indies Regional Economic Committee which prepared the organic structure for political union and as Federal Secretary and chief official when parliamentary government and the Council of Ministers took control in 1958.

    His work brings into focus the local agitation after two world wars, the great island leaders who strode the scene as apostles of Federation, the years of strenuous negotiations and compromise leading to the creation of the Federation in 1958, the events culminating in its collapse after four fractious years, and finally, the bleak predicament in which the islands and their leaders found themselves when the dream of generations lay shattered. This exciting book is a must read for anyone interested in the history of the West Indies.

    West Indian Islands, Federated 1958-62 Abbreviations Preface 1. Inter War Origins 2. Planning the Federation 3. Final Preparations 4. Forming a Government 5. First Session of Parliament 6. Chaguaramas 7. The Prime Minister Speaks 8. Confrontation 9. Intergovernmental Conference, 1959 10. A Series of Irritants 11. Mr. Manley goes to London 12. Progress of Committees 13. The Referendum Decision 14. Mr. Iain Macleod's Visit 15. The Antigua Pact 16. Committees Report 17. Intergovernmental Conference, 1960 18. The Last Three Hurdles 19. Organized Delay 20. Intergovernmental Conference, 1961 21. Lancaster House 22. The Federal Bond 23. The Referendum 24. To Save the Ship 25. The Final Count Epilogue by Sir W Arthur Lewis Who's Who Bibliography Index


    Sir John Mordecai (from Jamaica) was an exemplary civil servant at the national and regional levels. He was a senior executive engaged in the establishment of the West Indies Federation, 1952-1962.

    Reviews of the original publication:

    “This is, by any standard, an important book. It is the first full length analysis of the West Indian Federal venture which ended so abruptly with the Jamaican referendum decision of September, 1961. It is notwithstanding a few other attempted explanations of the Federal failure, a pioneer in the field, and it does what all such works must do: it gives a credible account of the events that matter, and it raises a number of questions, some of them new. But above all this is a book written by a generation about itself.”

    James Millette, Social and Economic Studies, Vol. 18, No. 4 (DECEMBER 1969), pp. 408-420