The History of Lothian Foundation.
A brief description
Established in October 1986, the Lothian Foundation has remained loyal to its original aims which are to educate the public in the problems and ways of achieving better relations between the peoples of the European Union, and between them and other peoples, particularly those of the United States.
In pursuing these aims the Foundation has followed a programme of activities focusing on the the history of the federal idea and the economic and political consequences of the creation of a European Federation.
The British federal tradition
One of the main pillars of the history of Lothian Foundation is the willingness to demonstrate that federalism is not alien to British political thought and tradition, as generally believed.
Indeed, it was Winston Churchill who in June 1940, during the Nazi occupation of Europe, offered to merge British sovereignty with that of France.
This move was made possible because there was widespread support in Great Britain for the Federal Union, the first European federalist movement organized on a popular basis, with 270 branches all over the country and 15,000 members.
The writings by such distinguished representatives of British culture, as Lord Lothian, Lionel Curtis, Lord Robbins, Sir William Beveridge, Barbara Wootton, Lord Lugard, Arnold Toynbee, Henry Wickham Steed, James Meade and Harold Wilson were seminal in the creation of federalist movements in Germany and Italy, where Helmuth von Moltke, Altiero Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi played a significant role in the Resistance.
Philip Henry Kerr, 11th Marquis of Lothian, KT, CH, PC, DL (18 April 1882 – 12 December 1940), was known as Philip Kerr until 1930.
Lothian’s federalist conception of international relations ispired a great deal the drafting of the Ventotene Manifesto, a foundative statement for the movements which led the process of European unification.
Kerr served in the South African government from 1905 to 1910 as a member of the ‘Milner Kindergarten’, a group of Oxford graduates who played a prominent role in the process of unification of
the four colonies Natal, Cape, Orange River and Transvaal in the creation of South Africa. He returned to
England with the other members of the Kindergarten in 1910 and took part in the creation of the Round
Table Movement, advocating the transformation of the British Empire into a federation.
He served as editor of the journal of the movement, The Round Table, from 1910 to 1916, when he was appointed David Lloyd George’s private secretary. At the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 he played a key role in
shaping the Treaty of Versailles
Kerr was a director of United Newspapers from 1921 to 1922 and secretary to the Rhodes Trust from 1925 to 1939. In March 1930 he was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and entered the
House of Lords.
After the formation of the National Government in August 1931, he became Under-Secretary of State for India, a post he held until 1932, playing a leading role in the creation of the Indian
Federation (the 1935 India Act).
As a founder and leading figure of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), Lothian contributed to the creation in New York of the Council on Foreign Relations, bridging the two shores of the North Atlantic. From the perspective of an ever closer Anglo-American cooperation in managing world affairs, Lothian had been the main theorist and wire puller behind the scenes of the policy of
In September 1939, Lothian was appointed Ambassador to the United States, a post he held until his death, aged 58, in December 1940, playing a crucial role in the Destroyers for Bases Deal (July 1940) and Lend-Lease Program.
Moreover, he initiated the joint Anglo-American military organisation of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
Lothian was sworn of the Privy Council in August 1939 and made a Knight of the Thistle in November 1940, immediately before his death.