Murray MacLehose, Baron MacLehose of Beoch

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The Right Honourable
The Lord MacLehose of Beoch
KT GBE KCMG KCVO DL
Governor Murray MacLehose.jpg
25th Governor of Hong Kong
In office
19 November 1971 – 20 May 1982
Preceded by Sir David Clive Crosbie Trench
Succeeded by Sir Edward Youde
Personal details
Born (1917-10-16)16 October 1917
Glasgow, Scotland
Died 27 May 2000(2000-05-27) (aged 82)
Ayrshire, Scotland
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Profession diplomat, colonial administrator
A foundation stone laid by Sir Murray MacLehose, in Pao Yue-Kong Swimming pool, Hong Kong

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.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

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[2] trained Chinese guerrillas to operate behind Japanese lines to carry out sabotage.

MacLehose was principal private secretary to Foreign Secretary George Brown in the late 1960s.

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.[3] MacLehose was appointed the British Ambassador to South Vietnam in 1967.[3]

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[edit]

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,[4] 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.[5] 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%.[6]

Other notable policies[edit]

Other major policies introduced during the MacLehose era included:

  • The introduction of 9 years of compulsory education.[7]
  • The introduction of the Ten-year Housing Programme in 1972 to alleviate housing problems.[8]
  • The establishment of satellite 'new towns',[9] such as Sha Tin and Tuen Mun.
  • The establishment of the Country Parks.[10]
  • The introduction and approval of a Labour Ordinance.[11]
  • The establishment of the social assistance scheme.[12]
  • The construction of the Mass Transit Railway.[13]
  • An expansion of community facilities.[14]
  • The adoption of Chinese as an official language.[15]
  • The introduction of paid holidays.[16]
  • An increase in social service provision for the elderly.[12]
  • The introduction of infirmity and disability allowances.[17]
  • The introduction of redundancy payments for workers.[16]
  • The introduction of the Home Ownership Scheme to encourage owner-occupation.[18]
  • The introduction of a major rehabilitation programme for the disabled and disadvantaged.[19]
  • An increase in the number of schools and hospitals.[20]
  • The introduction of Criminal and Law Enforcement Injuries Compensation.[21]
  • The introduction of Traffic Accident Victims Assistance.[22]
  • The introduction of special needs allowances for the elderly.[23]
  • The introduction of sickness allowances for eligible manual and lower-paid non-manual workers.[24]
  • The introduction of weekly rest days.[25]
  • The introduction of Labour Tribunals.[26]
  • The establishment of the Junior Secondary Education Assessment (JSEA) system to increase the number of subsidised places in senior secondary education.[27]
  • 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.[28]

Hong Kong sovereignty negotiations[edit]

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[edit]

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.[29] When he was 80 years old, he attended the handover ceremony of Hong Kong in 1997.

MacLehose died in Ayrshire, Scotland in May 2000.

Honours and recognition[edit]

Offices held[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Sir Nicholas Henderson
Principal Private Secretary
to the Foreign Secretary

1965–1967
Succeeded by
Sir Donald Maitland
Preceded by
Sir Peter Wilkinson
British Ambassador
to Vietnam

1967–1969
Succeeded by
Sir John Moreton
Preceded by
Sir Oliver Wright
British Ambassador
to Denmark

1969–1971
Succeeded by
Sir Andrew Stark
Preceded by
Sir David Clive Crosbie Trench
Governor and Commander-in-Chief,
Hong Kong

1971–1982
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Youde

References[edit]

  1. ^ A & C Black (2000). "MacLEHOSE OF BEOCH, Baron". Who Was Who, online edition. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  2. ^ p. 150 The Man Who Loved China by Simon Winchester, 2008
  3. ^ a b Peter Graff, Mislaid MacLehose cable reveals UK efforts to end Vietnam War, The Standard, 2 November 2007
  4. ^ The East Asian welfare model: welfare Orientalism and the state by Roger Goodman, Gordon White, and Huck-ju Kwon
  5. ^ District Administration Hong Kong Government
  6. ^ Fitzpatrick, Liam (13 November 2006). "Sir Murray MacLehose". 60 Years of Asian Heroes (Time). Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  7. ^ Social policy reform in Hong Kong and Shanghai: a tale of two cities by Linda Wong, Lynn T. White, and Shixun Gui
  8. ^ Hong Kong's housing policy: a case study in social justice by Betty Yung
  9. ^ A concise history of Hong Kong by John Mark Carroll
  10. ^ ibid
  11. ^ Hong Kong employment law: a practical guide by Pattie Walsh Labour ordinance
  12. ^ a b Professional ideologies and preferences in social work: a global study by Idit Weiss and John Dixon
  13. ^ Frommer's Hong Kong by Beth Reiber
  14. ^ Growing with Hong Kong: the University and its graduates: the first 90 years by University of Hong Kong
  15. ^ Language policy, culture, and identity in Asian contexts by Amy Tsui and James W. Tollefson
  16. ^ a b Hong Kong's tortuous democratization: a comparative analysis by Ming Sing
  17. ^ Understanding the Political Culture of Hong Kong: The Paradox of Activism and Depolitization by Wai-man Lam
  18. ^ Hong Kong, China: growth, structural change, and economic stability during the transition by John Dodsworth and Dubravko Mihaljek
  19. ^ Rehabilitation: A Life's Work by Harry Fang Sinyang and Lawrence Jeffery
  20. ^ Understanding the political culture of Hong Kong: the paradox of activism and depoliticization by Wai-Man Lam
  21. ^ Promoting prosperity: the Hong Kong way of social policy by Catherine M. Jones
  22. ^ ibid
  23. ^ ibid
  24. ^ ibid
  25. ^ ibid
  26. ^ ibid
  27. ^ ibid
  28. ^ Computer Animation of the 1972 & 76 Sau Mau Ping Landslides on YouTube
  29. ^ University of Hong Kong, Honorary Degrees Congregation
  30. ^ The London Gazette: no. 49557. p. 15977. 2 December 1983.
  31. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46919. p. 8031. 12 June 1976.
  32. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 45384. p. 5959. 12 June 1971.
  33. ^ The London Gazette: no. 46610. p. 7843. 19 June 1975.
  34. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 43200. p. 5. 1 January 1964.
  35. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37407. p. 16. 1 January 1946.
  36. ^ The London Gazette: no. 48992. p. 6989. 26 May 1982.

External links[edit]