Son of Ramsay MacDonald, Malcolm MacDonald was educated at Bedales School and Queen's College, Oxford and elected Labour MP for Bassetlaw 1929. He held the seat for the Labour Party until 1931 and for National Labour 1931-1935, and was National Labour MP for Ross and Cromarty 1936-1945. He held ministerial office in the Dominions & Colonial Office 1931-1940, and was involved, among other issues, in the controversies over the future of Eire and Palestine and the promotion of colonial development policy. In 1940 he was Minister of Health for a short period and then went to Canada as British High Commissioner, 1941-1946. He was then appointed Governor General of Malaya and his responsibilities were subsequently extended to cover all S.E. Asia. In 1955 he became High Commissioner for the U.K. in India and in 1960 was appointed co-chairman of the international conference on Laos. The final part of his administrative and diplomatic career was spent in Africa - Governor and Commander in Chief of Kenya 1963-4, and High Commissioner for Kenya after it became independent. He was then involved in various diplomatic missions to other parts of Africa especially Nigeria and Rhodesia. After retirement he participated in numerous domestic and overseas concerns, was Chancellor of the University of Durham, and President of Voluntary Service Overseas, and travelled in Africa and China.
From the guide to the Malcolm MacDonald Papers, 1901-1981, (Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections)