The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers


Maurice Harold Macmillan, Earl of Stockton (1895-1986)

Harold Macmillian, British prime minister from 1957-1963, was educated at Eton and Oxford and, after working in his family's publishing house, became a member of Parliament in 1924. As a Conservative MP, he criticized Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policies, only advancing to Cabinet office during World War II. He then held a series of influential posts under Churchill's administration, ultimately closing his wartime service as secretary of state for air. When Churchill returned to the prime ministership in 1951, Macmillan served as housing minister from 1951-1954 and foreign secretary of defense in 1955. When he replaced Anthony Eden as prime minister in 1957, he helped improve British-American relations, visited Khrushchev's Soviet Union, helped negotiate the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, championed independence for British colonies, and unsuccessfully tried to get Britain included in the European Economic Community (also known as the Common Market). Fallout from the Common Market battle and the scandal caused by war secretary John Profumo's affair with Christine Keeler, coupled with his ill health, forced Macmillan to resign the ministership in 1963. He remained outside politics until 1985, when he was made a member of the House of Lords, from which he criticized the decisions of Margaret Thatcher's government.
Source: Asa Briggs, ed., Who's Who in the Twentieth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 370-371.