“I have watched the development of fraternal relations between our Congress and the British Parliament for a long time with deep satisfaction. All Americans take pleasure in this healthy and cordial evolution”. Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1944
(From a letter read out in the House of Commons, 14th March 1944. Col. 58 of Hansard)
“The friendship of the British people with the people of the United States is deep and abiding”…….”It seems appropriate that by this Motion we here in this House should strive to complete the circle of comradeship”. The Rt. Hon. Anthony Eden, MP, Leader of the House, 1944
(14th March 1944. Col. 62 of Hansard)
Sadly, the Group’s records do not contain details of the meetings that brought about the formation of the British-American Parliamentary Group.
We do know from Sir John Graham’s book “Ditchley Park” that the group was founded in 1937 by Ronald Tree, a Conservative back-bench Member of Parliament for Market Harborough 1933-1945 and Anglo-American, together with fellow back bencher Hamilton Kerr, MP. They were “instrumental in setting up an all-party American Committee which was able to do sterling work both before and during the war in extending the extraordinary limited knowledge of the United States at that time within the British Parliament and elsewhere”.
In Sir Roger Moate’s (former Honorary Secretary) chronicle of the group from 1941, he discloses that in the Group’s early years its history was intertwined with the Empire Parliamentary Association, later to become the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
The Government undertook funding of the Group during the Second World War.
The Group’s Objectives, Activities and Rules were formally adopted on 5 July 1967 and have since been subject to minor amendments in 1968, 1981, 1982, 1996, 2000, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2015.
Sir Roger Moate’s history of the Group 1941-1991, with an update through to 2001, can be downloaded via the link below.