Murray MacLehose, Baron MacLehose of Beoch
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|The Right Honourable
The Lord MacLehose of Beoch
KT GBE KCMG KCVO DL
|25th Governor of Hong Kong|
19 November 1971 – 20 May 1982
|Preceded by||Sir David Clive Crosbie Trench|
|Succeeded by||Sir Edward Youde|
16 October 1917|
|Died||27 May 2000
|Alma mater||Balliol College, Oxford|
|Profession||diplomat, colonial administrator|
Crawford Murray MacLehose, Baron MacLehose of Beoch KT GBE KCMG KCVO DL (Chinese: 麥理浩), 16 October 1917 – 27 May 2000) was a British politician, diplomat and the 25th Governor of Hong Kong, from 1971 to 1982, the longest serving Governor, with four successive terms.
Early life and career
Murray MacLehose was born in Glasgow, Scotland in October 1917 as the second child of Hamish Alexander MacLehose and Margaret Bruce Black. He attended Rugby School in 1931 and Balliol College, Oxford.
During WWII, while under the cover of being the British vice-consul, MacLehose trained Chinese guerrillas to operate behind Japanese lines to carry out sabotage.
His career almost stalled when he left a copy of a confidential telegram in a bank in 1967. The document, from British Prime Minister Harold Wilson to US President Lyndon B. Johnson concerning the Vietnam War, was turned in by another British diplomat who found it. Wilson and Brown prevented an investigation of this security breach, because they appreciated Maclehose's ability, thus saving his career. MacLehose was appointed the British Ambassador to South Vietnam in 1967.
Before being appointed as Governor of Hong Kong in 1971, he served in the British Embassy in Beijing and as Ambassador to Denmark.
Governor of Hong Kong
MacLehose became Governor of Hong Kong in November 1971, holding this position until May 1982, making him Hong Kong's longest serving governor; his 10 years and 6 months in office exceeding Sir Alexander Grantham's previous record by one month. He was widely and affectionately known as "Jock the Sock", in reference both to his Scottish heritage and to his name, 'hose' being an old word meaning sock or stocking.
MacLehose stood well over six feet tall and looked every inch the benign and genial colonial governor. He avoided wearing his gubernatorial uniform, as he felt very ill at ease in it.
A diplomat with a British Labour Party background, MacLehose introduced a wide range of reforms during his time in office that laid the foundation of modern Hong Kong as a cohesive, self-aware society. He had Chinese recognised as an official language for communication, alongside English. He greatly expanded welfare and set up a massive public housing programme. He rooted out corruption, with the creation of the ICAC. By establishing the District Boards, he greatly improved government accountability. He oversaw the construction of the Mass Transit Railway, Hong Kong's transportation backbone, and other major infrastructure projects. On his watch, community and arts facilities were expanded, and public campaigns, such as against litter and violent crime, were introduced.
These changes required approval from the UK Government Treasury for increased expenditure, and it was against some opposition that, in his first two years in office, Hong Kong government expenditure grew by over 50%.
Other notable policies
Other major policies introduced during the MacLehose era included:
- The introduction of 9 years of compulsory education.
- The introduction of the Ten-year Housing Programme in 1972 to alleviate housing problems.
- The establishment of satellite 'new towns', such as Sha Tin and Tuen Mun.
- The establishment of the Country Parks.
- The introduction and approval of a Labour Ordinance.
- The establishment of the social assistance scheme.
- The construction of the Mass Transit Railway.
- An expansion of community facilities.
- The adoption of Chinese as an official language.
- The introduction of paid holidays.
- An increase in social service provision for the elderly.
- The introduction of infirmity and disability allowances.
- The introduction of redundancy payments for workers.
- The introduction of the Home Ownership Scheme to encourage owner-occupation.
- The introduction of a major rehabilitation programme for the disabled and disadvantaged.
- An increase in the number of schools and hospitals.
- The introduction of Criminal and Law Enforcement Injuries Compensation.
- The introduction of Traffic Accident Victims Assistance.
- The introduction of special needs allowances for the elderly.
- The introduction of sickness allowances for eligible manual and lower-paid non-manual workers.
- The introduction of weekly rest days.
- The introduction of Labour Tribunals.
- The establishment of the Junior Secondary Education Assessment (JSEA) system to increase the number of subsidised places in senior secondary education.
- The establishment of Geotechnical Engineering Office (part of Civil Engineering and Development Department) to ensure safeties of slopes and hillside to avoid further loss of lives due to landslides and slips of Sau Mau Pingin 1972 and 1976.
Hong Kong sovereignty negotiations
In 1979, MacLehose raised the question of Britain's 99-year lease of the New Territories (an area that encompasses all territories north of Boundary Street on the Kowloon Peninsula), with Deng Xiaoping. The talks, although inconclusive at the time, eventually involved top British Government officials and paved the way for the handover of the Hong Kong in its entirety, including those parts ceded to the UK in perpetuity, to the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997.
Post-governorship and later life
After his governorship ended in 1982, MacLehose was made a life peer as Baron MacLehose of Beoch, of Maybole in the District of Kyle and Carrick and of Victoria in Hong Kong, later that year. In 1983, MacLehose was made a Knight of the Thistle. In 1992 he was awarded an honorary doctorate (LLD) by the University of Hong Kong. When he was 80 years old, he attended the handover ceremony of Hong Kong in 1997.
Honours and recognition
- Knight of the Thistle (KT) (1983)
- Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (GBE) (1976)
- Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (KCMG) (1971)
- Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) (1975)
- Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG) (1964)
- Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) (1946)
- Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Hong Kong
- Life Peerage (1982) (Barony of MacLehose of Beoch, of Maybole in the District of Kyle and Carrick and of Victoria in Hong Kong)
- The 100-kilometre MacLehose Trail, stretching from Sai Kung to Tuen Mun in the New Territories, was named for him (Maclehose was an enthusiastic hiker)
- The MacLehose Medical Rehabilitation Centre, the MacLehose Dental Centre, the Lady MacLehose Holiday Village, and the Sir Murray MacLehose Trust Fund was also named to commemorate him or his wife
Sir Nicholas Henderson
|Principal Private Secretary
to the Foreign Secretary
Sir Donald Maitland
Sir Peter Wilkinson
Sir John Moreton
Sir Oliver Wright
Sir Andrew Stark
Sir David Clive Crosbie Trench
|Governor and Commander-in-Chief,
Sir Edward Youde
||Constructs such as ibid., loc. cit. and idem are discouraged by Wikipedia's style guide for footnotes, as they are easily broken. Please improve this article by replacing them with named references (quick guide), or an abbreviated title. (March 2011)|
- A & C Black (2000). "MacLEHOSE OF BEOCH, Baron". Who Was Who, online edition. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
- p. 150 The Man Who Loved China by Simon Winchester, 2008
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- District Administration Hong Kong Government
- Fitzpatrick, Liam (13 November 2006). "Sir Murray MacLehose". 60 Years of Asian Heroes (Time). Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- Social policy reform in Hong Kong and Shanghai: a tale of two cities by Linda Wong, Lynn T. White, and Shixun Gui
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- Rehabilitation: A Life's Work by Harry Fang Sinyang and Lawrence Jeffery
- Understanding the political culture of Hong Kong: the paradox of activism and depoliticization by Wai-Man Lam
- Promoting prosperity: the Hong Kong way of social policy by Catherine M. Jones
- Computer Animation of the 1972 & 76 Sau Mau Ping Landslides on YouTube
- University of Hong Kong, Honorary Degrees Congregation
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