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James Arthur Salter, 1st Baron Salter, GBE, KCB, PC (15 March 1881 – 27 June 1975) was a British politician and academic.

Salter was the son of John Henry Salter (1853–1930), head of Thames boating company Salters Steamers, and Mayor of Oxford in 1903.[1] Educated at Oxford City High School and Brasenose College, Oxford, where he was a scholar, he graduated with first class honours in Literae Humaniores in 1903. He joined the Civil Service in 1904 and worked in the transport department of the Admiralty, on national insurance, and as private secretary, being promoted to Assistant Secretary grade in 1913. On the outbreak of war, Salter was recalled to the Admiralty, and became director of ship requisitioning. He was sent to Washington D.C. to press for a US programme of new construction. In 1917/18 he was a colleague of Jean Monnet in the Chartering Committee of the Allied Maritime Transport Council, and in 1919 appointed secretary of the Supreme Economic Council in Paris. Salter then worked as head of the economic and financial section of the League of Nations secretariat, and in the League secretariat at Geneva, where he worked for stabilization of currencies of Austria and Hungary and resettlement of refugees in Greece and Bulgaria.

He returned to London in 1930, and worked as journalist and author. In 1932, he presided over a Conference on Road and Rail Transport tasked with looking at the true costs and benefits of transport, and whose results were known as the Salter Report. It recommended changes to the way that public roads were funded to account for the growing demands of the motor car and road freight, and to ensure that road and rail were evenly regulated and competed fairly. After some deliberation, and receiving many protests from companies with road interests, government introduced freight licensing and the Road Fund as a direct result, so that motorists should completely cover the costs of the road network and associated costs across the economy.

In 1934, he was appointed Gladstone professor of political theory and institutions at Oxford University, and a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He was MP for Oxford University from 1937-50. He resumed his shipping interests from World War I, being appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Shipping in 1939, and heading the British shipping mission to Washington from 1941–3. He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1941. In 1944 he was appointed deputy director-general of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. He briefly served as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the summer of 1945. He was elected as Conservative MP for Ormskirk from 1951–3, and served as Minister of State for Economic Affairs at the Treasury, and as Minister of Materials in 1952.

He was raised to the peerage as Baron Salter, of Kidlington in the County of Oxford on 16 October 1953. He had received many honours during his career, being first appointed a Companion of the Bath in 1918, a Knight Commander of the Bath in 1922, and a GBE in 1944. His peerage became extinct when he died in 1975.


  • Christophe Le Dréau, Arthur Salter face à la construction européenne (1929-1951), Mémoire de DEA de l'Université Paris I Sorbonne, sous la direction de Robert Frank, 1999, 232p.
  • James Arthur Salter: Allied Shipping Control, Oxford 1921.


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Lord Hugh Cecil
A. P. Herbert
Member of Parliament for Oxford University
1937 – 1950
With: A. P. Herbert
University constituencies abolished
Preceded by
Ronald Cross
Member of Parliament for Ormskirk
1951 – 1953
Succeeded by
Douglas Glover
Political offices
Preceded by
Ernest Brown
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
May–July 1945
Succeeded by
John Burns Hynd
Title last held by
Hugh Gaitskell
Minister for Economic Affairs
31 October 1951 – 24 November 19521
Office abolished
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Salter
Notes and references
1. List of Ministers


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