Catalogue description Records of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission

Details of HR
Reference: HR
Title: Records of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission

Records of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission relating to its granting of scholarships to United States citizens.

Minute books of the Commission's meetings are in HR 1, annual reports in HR 2, and a representative selection (not a scientific sample) of scholars' personal files are in HR 3.

For series created for regularly archived websites, please see the separate Websites Division.

Date: 1953-2001
Related material:

Records of the Foreign Office Cultural Relations Department's liaison with the Commission are in FO 924

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission, 1953-

Physical description: 4 series
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

from 1996 Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission

Administrative / biographical background:

The Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission was established by the Marshall Aid Commemoration Act 1953 to grant scholarships to United States citizens under the age of 26 who had gained relevant qualifications in the United States and wished to undertake a further degree course in a British university. The objective of the scheme was to serve as an expression of gratitude from the government and people of the United Kingdom for the actions of the United States in aiding reconstruction in Europe after the Second World War (the so-called Marshall Aid Plan).

Candidates apply to regional centres at British consulates in the United States where they are interviewed by a panel consisting mostly of US citizens, who recommend a short-list of candidates to the Commission for consideration at its meetings. Initially ten or twelve candidates were selected each year, but this has now risen to thirty. The Commission attempts to match the scholar to a place at his or her favoured university, pays the scholar's fees, and offers general guidance and support during the scholar's stay in the United Kingdom (which is usually for two, but sometimes three, years).

The Commission was funded from the outset by the Foreign Office (FO), and then the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and liaison between the Commission and the FO/FCO has been through the Cultural Relations Department. The chair and members of the Commission are appointed by the secretary of state, but usually on the recommendation of sitting members.

No members of the government attend or are represented on the board, though all meetings are attended by an observer from the FCO's Cultural Relations Department. Initially, observers also attended from the Treasury and the Ministry of Education. The Commission meets three times per year, and has a small secretariat to conduct its business. The secretariat also maintains links with past scholars.

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