The Second World War significantly reduced Britain's global power and post-war development was constrained by a failure to match the economic growth of other leading industrialised powers. Over the period 1950-68, its share of world trade dropped significantly and growing balance-of-payments problems exacerbated its financial difficulties. However, Britain continued to pursue a political and military global role into the 1960s, especially in South-East Asia. London's post-war policy in that region focused on the economic reconstruction and development of British territories and several Commonwealth nations: Ceylon, India, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand. From the British perspective, the security of the latter group would be adversely affected if countries in South-East Asia were to fall under the influence of hostile regimes, as would the flow of trade in raw materials. Within the region, the exports of rubber, tin and petroleum from the British territories of Malaya and Borneo were of great value to Britain through trade with the United States. Therefore, for the British, these territories needed the opportunity for an orderly and peaceful route to self-government. © Sue Thompson 2015.