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expenses of the League of Nations, certain Nationality questions, the question of the validity of marriages between British subjects and foreigners, and the proposed extension of the powers of the Imperial War Graves Commission.

Several meetings were devoted to a further discussion of the position of British Indians in the Empire and to the consideration of a proposal put forward by the representatives of India to the effect that the Dominion Governments concerned, and the British Government for the Colonies and Protectorates, should agree to the appointment of Committees to confer with a Committee appointed by the Indian Government as to the best and quickest means of giving effect to the Resolution of the 1921 Conference (see p. lxix). This proposal was generally accepted, except by the Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa.

The Imperial Economic Conference considered in detail the economic relations between the several parts of the Empire and discussed fully all aspects of interImperial trade. The most important Resolutions passed were Imperial Economic on the subject of Imperial Preference, Oversea Settlement, Co-operConference, ation in financial assistance to Imperial Development, Communications

1923. Economic Defence, the future of the Imperial Institute, Immunity (Cmd. 1990 and of State Enterprises, and the establishment of an Imperial Economic Cmd. 2009.)


A British Empire Forestry Conference was held in Canada in the autumn of 1923, its recommendations which were discussed at the Imperial Economic Conference 1923, are set out in the Record of Proceedings of the latter Conference (Cmd. 2009). An Imperial Mycological Conference was held in July 1924 (see Stationery Office Publication Colonial No. 8 of 1924).

Before steps had been taken to give effect to the resolutions of the Imperial Economic Conference, a new administration was formed in the United Kingdom, as a result of the general election in December, 1923, with Mr. Ramsay MacDonald as Prime Minister. Shortly after taking office, the new Government announced Action in that they adhered generally to the resolutions of the Conference, with the 1924 on exception of those relating to Tariff Preference and to the establishment resolutions of Imperial of an Imperial Economic Committee; later their views on the Economic resolutions of the Conference were set out in a Parliamentary Paper Conference, (Cmd. 2115). The principal action taken was as follows. Effect was 1923. given to the proposals for co-operation in financial assistance to Imperial development by Section 2 of the Trade Facilities Act, 1924, The Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, 1924, was passed, and similar legislation was carried in the Commonwealth of Australia. Provision was made in Section 31 of the Finance Act, 1924, for the exemption from United Kingdom taxation of shipping registered in such other parts of the Empire as grant reciprocal exemption to shipping registered in the United Kingdom. A Bill for the re-organisation of the Imperial Institute and the incorporation of the Imperial Mineral Resources Bureau with it was introduced into Parliament and passed through the House of Lords, but lapsed on the dissolution of Parliament in October, 1924. Arrangements were made for the establishment at Oxford of an Imperial Forestry Institute. A Committee on Imperial Wireless Services under the chairmanship of Sir Robert Donald reported (inter alia) in favour of the ownership by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of wireless stations in this country for communication with the Dominions (Cmd. 2060); and steps were taken for the completion of the Government high power wireless telegraphy station at Rugby. A contract was also entered into with the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company for the erection of "beam" stations, to be taken over on satisfactory completion and operated by the Government for communication with Canada. The contract provided for the possible extension of the arrangement to

cover communication with Australia, South Africa and India. In Canada steps were taken by the Canadian Marconi Company for the erection of the "beam" stations required. In Australia, the agreement with the Amalgamated Wireless Company was modified to provide for the erection of a "beam" station, and in the Union of South Africa arrangements were made with the Marconi Company for the erection of an experimental "beam" station. It was announced during the summer that, on further consideration, His Majesty's Government proposed that a Committee should be set up on the lines of the Imperial Economic Committee recommended by the Conference with one specific reference, namely, to consider the possibility of improving the methods of preparing for market and of marketing within the United Kingdom the food products of the oversea parts of the Empire. By the end of the year general agreement was reached for the establishment of a Committee on these lines. The definite proposals regarding Tariff Preference which were laid before the Conference were brought before parliament in June in the form of resolutions, and, so far as they were put to the vote, rejected by varying majorities. In the latter part of the year, a general election took place, and as a result a new Government was formed with Mr. Baldwin as Prime Minister. The new Government announced that such of the proposals relating to Tariff Preference as involved no increase in existing duties would be placed before Parliament as part of the budget of 1925, and that, as regards the other proposals, the full money equivalent of the advantage which would have been conferred by them on Empire imports, would be made available for expenditure on alternative schemes for improving the marketing of Empire imports of food stuffs: the proposed Imperial Economic Committee would be asked to advise as to the best methods of employing this amount.

Action in

Among the most important matters discussed at the Imperial Conference, 1923, under the head of Foreign Policy, was the offer of the United States Government to take part in an international conference or enquiry to investigate the European Reparations problem. This led up to the appointment of the Expert Committees under the Reparation Commission and eventually to the 1924 and the London Reparation Conference of July-August 1924, which considered early part of 1925 on the steps necessary to give effect to the Reports of those Committees. Resolutions In connection with the London Conference, arrangements were made of Imperial for the establishment of a British Empire Delegation, of which the Conference, representatives of any Dominions so desiring were members on the panel system; also for the representatives of the Dominions so appointed to be able to be present at meetings of the Conference on days when it was not their turn to sit as members of the British Empire Delegation. Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa availed themselves of this arrangement, which was announced to be a special one for this Conference, and not to be regarded or quoted as a precedent.


A Squadron under Vice-Admiral Sir F. Field, consisting of the battle-cruisers Hood and Repulse and a squadron of light cruisers, left Plymouth in November, 1923 and returned in September, 1924. In the course of its cruise the Special Service Squadron visited Sierra Leone, the Union of South Africa, Zanzibar, Ceylon, the Straits Settlement, the Federated Malay States, Australia, New Zealand, Western Samoa, Fiji, Western Canada, Jamaica, Eastern Canada and Newfoundland, as well as Honolulu and San Francisco. It was received everywhere with great enthusiasm.

As regards the questions discussed in connection with the status of High Commissioners (namely, the possibility of obtaining some special precedences for High Commissioners on ceremonial occasions and the possibility of extending the privileges granted to them as regards exemption from taxation and similar matters) the action taken was as follows:

(1) As regards precedence, the following notification was made in the London Gazette of the 29th July, 1924:

"Amongst the matters discussed at the Imperial Conference, 1923, was the question of precedence of the High Commissioners in London. In accordance with the undertaking then given (see page 17 of (Cmd. 1987)), the matter was examined and suggestions were put forward, with His Majesty's approval, by the late Government for the consideration of the Dominion Prime Ministers and the Government of India. These proposals have proved generally acceptable. and His Majesty has now been pleased to direct that the High Commissioners for Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, the Irish Free State, Newfoundland and India should be given precedence, on ceremonial occasions, according to the following principles :

"(a) When British or Dominion Ministers, being at the time members of their respective Cabinets, are present, the High Commissioners should take precedence immediately after them; this precedence is subject to the qualification that the High Commissioner should not on any occasion be given a precedence higher than that accorded by the Table of Precedence to Secretaries of State.

"(b) When no members of the British or Dominion Cabinets are present, the High Commissioners should take precedence immediately after that accorded by the Table of Precedence to Secretaries of State."

(2) As regards exemption from taxation, rates, etc., it was announced in January, 1925, that His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom would take the necessary action, including the introduction of legislation where necessary, to put High Commissioners personally in as favourable a position in these matters as Foreign Ambassadors and Ministers.

A suggestion was made by Mr. Ramsay MacDonald in the summer of 1924 that a preliminary enquiry should be held to consider the system of consultation with the Dominions on matters of Foreign Policy and general Imperial interest. After considerable discussion this was agreed to, in principle, by the Consultation on Foreign Dominion Governments, but difficulties were experienced in arranging Policy, &c. a suitable date, and no date had been fixed when the General Election (Cmd. 2301.) took place in the autumn. The new Government, after considering the matter, intimated to the Dominion Governments its doubts whether there would be any advantage in pursuing the matter further at this stage.

In the autumn of 1924 the Commonwealth Government appointed a Liaison Officer in London for the purpose of studying the foreign situation and supplying the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth with any information necessary to supplement that received through existing channels.

In view of the terms of the Protocol for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes drawn up at the Fifth Assembly of the League of Nations in September, 1924, His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom took steps in December to ascertain whether the Dominion Prime Ministers could arrange to attend or be represented at a special meeting of the Imperial Conference to consider the issues arising out of the Protocol. It was found, however, that the exigencies of Parliamentary and other business made a representative meeting impossible, and it was accordingly decided to deal with the matter by correspondence. As a result it was announced by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs at the meeting of the Council of the League in March 1925 that His Majesty's Government and the Governments of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa and India, were unable to accept the Protocol (see Cmd. 2368). A similar announcement was made later by the Government of the Irish Free State. Correspondence with the Dominions on the subject is printed in Cmd. 2468.

Protocol for
Settlement of
(Cmd. 2273.)

Provision was made in the Finance Act, 1925 (sections 8 and 9), to give effect to those of the proposals relating to Tariff Preference placed before the Imperial Economic Conference which did not involve any increase of existing duties; and Action in 1925 a preferential rebate was also granted in respect of the new duties on Resolutions imposed by that Act (sections 4, 6 and 7) and by the Safeguarding of of Imperial Economic Con- Industries (Customs Duties) Act, 1925. The Finance Act (section 25), ference, 1923. by providing for the liability of Oversea Governments to taxation in respect of trading operations in this country, gave effect to the resolution of the Conference regarding the Immunity of State Enterprises from taxation. The Imperial Economic Committee was set up and in July issued two reports, viz. : a general report (Cmd. 2493) which inter alia contained the advice given by the Committee as to the method of employment of the sum to be made available for expenditure on improving the marketing of Empire imports of foodstuffs (see p. lxxii), and a report on Meat (Cmd. 2499). The Imperial Institute Act, 1925, was passed to carry out the reorganisation of the Institute, and the incorporation with it of the Imperial Mineral Resources Bureau, and came into operation on the 1st July. The Government high-power wireless telegraphy station at Rugby was completed and opened on the 1st January, 1926. The sites for the "beam" stations to be erected for communication with Canada, Australia, South Africa and India were acquired, and progress was made towards the completion of the stations. A committee, on which the Dominions concerned were represented, was set up to advise the Postmaster-General on matters connected with the operations of services by the "beam" stations, and held regular meetings during the year.

An Imperial Entomological Conference was held in June, 1925 (see Cmd. 2490).


The Finance Act, 1925 (section 26), gave further relief to High Action in 1925 Commissioners, Agents-General and their staffs in respect of exemption on the Resolu- from income tax in this country; and administrative action was taken tions of the to place the High Commissioners personally in the same position as Imperial Conregards exemption from taxation in this country as foreign Ambassadors ference, 1923. and Ministers.

The Dominion Governments were kept fully informed of the negotiations on the subject of European Security which led up to the Locarno Conference of October, 1925, and the signature in London, on the 1st of December, 1925, of a Treaty of Treaty of Locarno,1925 Mutual Guarantee and other connected instruments. Article 9 of the (Cmd. 2435 and Treaty provided that it should not impose any obligations on any of Cmd. 2525). the Dominions or India unless the Government of such Dominion or of India had signified its acceptance thereof.

In accordance with the announcement made by the Prime Minister in December, 1924 (see p. lxxiii), and following upon the recommendations of the Imperial Economic Committee (see above) a sum of £500,000 was voted by ParliaAction in ment in the financial year 1926-7 for expenditure on improving the 1926 on marketing of imports of Empire products, together with home agriResolutions cultural produce. The fund was to be administered by the Secretary of Imperial Economic of State for Dominion Affairs who would be assisted by a Board, Conference, called the Empire Marketing Board. A small secretarial staff was appointed to assist the Board and various schemes under the two main heads of publicity and research were recommended by the Boardand approved by the Secretary of State. In August the Irish Free State Government appointed a representative as member of the Imperial Economic Committee. The wireless "beam" stations for communication with Canada were completed and the service was opened.


A considerable part of the work of the Imperial Conference, which met in October, 1926, consisted of the discussion of questions affecting Inter-Imperial Relations, which were referred to a Committee of Prime Ministers and Imperial Heads of Delegations presided over by Lord Balfour. The Report Conference, of the Committee, which was unanimously adopted by the Conference 1926 stated certain general principles which appeared to it to govern the (Cmd. 2768 and 2769). relations between the various parts of the Empire and dealt with the application of those principles to a number of practical questions.

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Questions As regards general principles, the Report stated that equality of affecting In- status was the root principle governing Inter-Imperial Relations so ter Imperial Relations. far as concerned Great Britain and the Dominions, which it described as autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in Status, in no way subordinate one to another, in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations." It pointed out, however, that the principle of equality and similarity, appropriate to status, did not universally extend to function.

The application of these principles to particular questions was dealt with by the Committee under the three heads of (a) relations between the various parts of the Empire, (b) relations with Foreign Countries and (c) the system of communication and consultation.

(a) The Committee recommended that, in view of the altered state of affairs arising from the establishment of the Irish Free State as a Dominion, legislative action should be taken, subject to the approval of His Majesty the King, to secure that His Majesty's title should in future read "George V. by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India." It defined the position of the Governor General in a Dominion as the representative of the Crown and not the representative or agent of His Majesty's Government in Great Britain and expressed the view that the practice whereby the Governor General of the Dominion was the formal official channel of communication between His Majesty's Government in Great Britain and His Governments in the Dominions was no longer wholly in accordance with the constitutional position of the Governor General and that the recognised official channel of communication should be, in future, between Government and Government direct. It considered various points connected with the operation of Dominion legislation, with particular reference to the reservation of such legislation for the assent of His Majesty, the power of disallowance of such legislation, the competence of Dominion Parliaments to give their legislation extra-territorial effect and the principles embodied in or underlying the Colonial Laws Validity Act, 1865, and recommended the appointment of a special committee to enquire into these points. It also considered the question of principle involved in certain provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, and recommended that a special Sub-Conference should be held to consider the subject.

(b) The Committee examined the working of the Resolution adopted by the Imperial Conference of 1923, on the subject of the negotiation, Signature and Ratification of Treaties (see page lxx) and made a number of recommendations as to Treaty procedure with a view to supplementing that Resolution. It considered, in the light of the same Resolution, the question of the representation of the different parts of the Empire at International Conferences and arrived at conclusions as to the most suitable procedure in the various classes of case arising. It examined

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