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Certain constitutional questions raised by His Majesty's Government in the Union of South Africa, together with the question of the nationality of married women raised by His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia, which had formed the subject of preliminary and informal discussions between advisers prior to the opening of the Conference, were referred to a Committee. This Committee presented a report dealing with nationality, treaty procedure and the nationality of married women which was adopted by the Conference. The report on nationality dealt with the relationship between the common status possessed by subjects of His Majesty and the particular status of membership of any one of the individual communities forming the British Commonwealth of Nations. The report on treaty procedure recognised that each Member of the British Commonwealth taking part in a multilateral treaty is, in the absence of express provision to the contrary, in no way responsible for the obligations undertaken by any other Member. The report on nationality of married women indicated that it was not found possible to arrive at an agreement in favour of any change in the existing law on this subject.

Constitutional Questions.

It had been agreed prior to the Conference that questions arising out of the Ottawa Agreements could best be dealt with as occasion offered in separate discussions between the individual Governments concerned and Economic apart from the Conference, and there was accordingly no discussion Questions. on matters of detail affecting trade between the different parts of the British Commonwealth of Nations. A meeting of Principal Delegates was, however, held for the purpose of a general review of the progress of Empire trade. This meeting afforded a valuable opportunity for an interchange of views on economic questions of general concern.

General questions arising in connection with shipping policy, including the work of the Imperial Shipping Committee, were referred to a Committee. The Conference approved the report of this Committee, which dealt with questions of foreign discrimination against British shipping, the provision of additional statistics relating to shipping and the continuance of the work of the Imperial Shipping Committee.

The Conference also approved the report of a Committee set up to consider (1) the work of the Imperial Economic Committee and (2) the proposal for the establishment of an Empire Agricultural Council. This report recommended the continuance of the Imperial Economic Committee and the addition of a representative of Burma thereto, but considered that the establishment of an Empire Agricultural Council was not called for.

A Committee on Civil Air Communications discussed the prospect of establishing a British Commonwealth chain of air communications and the methods of cooperation which might be adopted by Members of the Commonwealth with this aim in view. The Conference adopted a number of resolutions proposed by the Committee on this question (see page 29 of Cmd. 5482). The Committee also arranged that the proposed air services across the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean should be discussed by representatives of the Delegations concerned.

Civil Aviation.

The position of the New Hebrides and certain Polar questions were examined by representatives of the Governments interested, and the Conference approved Other certain recommendations for co-operation between the GovernMatters. ments concerned on the latter subject.

Arrangements were made in advance of the Conference for the special representation of Southern Rhodesia and Burma (which in April, 1937, was separated from India) as observers at the Conference. The Prime Southern Minister of Southern Rhodesia (Mr. G. M. Huggins) and the Chief Rhodesia Minister of Burma (Dr. Ba Maw) were present at the Conferand Burma. ence; they attended and spoke at Plenary Meetings, and at meetings of Committees where matters of special concern to them

were under discussion.

In 1937 the Empire Settlement Act, 1922, was continued for a further period of fifteen years by the Empire Settlement Act, 1937. During the fifteen years 1922-1937 of the operation of the principal Act, £6,082,042 were Empire expended by the United Kingdom Government on schemes of Settlement assisted immigration and during that period 405,000 persons from Act, 1937. the United Kingdom were assisted to settle oversea within the Empire. Assisted immigration which had been practically suspended to all Dominions as a result of the depression in 1931 was resumed to Australia in 1938.

In 1937 the Trade Agreement concluded with Canada at Ottawa in 1932 was cancelled and replaced by a revised Trade Agreement dated 23rd February, 1937.


This Agreement relaxed a considerable number of the margins of preference previously bound to the United Kingdom in the Canadian Agreements. Customs Tariff. In this year also, there were negotiations at the request of the Governments of New Zealand and of the Union of South Africa, for a revision of the respective Trade Agreements, but in the result the Agreements were allowed to remain in force without modification. This also applies so far as similar negotiations in 1938 with the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia are concerned.

In 1938 agreement was reached after discussion between representatives of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand for the forma

Air Mail Services.

tion of a new company to conduct a regular air service twice weekly between Australia and New Zealand, and for the carriage thereby of all first class mail. It was proposed that the service should start in the early part of 1939.

It was announced in July, 1938, that it had been decided to appoint a High Commissioner in New Zealand for His Majesty's GovernHigh Commissioner for the ment in the United Kingdom, and that Sir Harry Batterbee, United Kingdom K.C.M.G., K.C.V.O., had been appointed to the post and would in New Zealand. take up his appointment early in 1939.

In August, 1938, Lord Stanley, Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, visited Canada and performed the opening ceremony at the Canadian National Exhibition at Toronto.

Visit of U.K.

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In June, 1937, the draft of a new Constitution for the Irish Free State was approved by the Parliament of the Irish Free State and subsequently adopted by referendum. It came into force on the 29th December, 1937. Constitution Article 4 of the Constitution provides that "The name of the of Eire. State is Eire, or, in the English language, Ireland ". The United Kingdom Government issued a statement on the 30th December, 1937, regarding their position in the following terms:

"His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have considered the position created by the new Constitution which was approved by the Parliament of the Irish Free State in June, 1937, and came into force on December 29th. They are prepared to treat the new Constitution as not effecting a fundamental alteration in the position of the Irish Free State, in future to be described under the new Constitution as 'Eire' or 6 Ireland', as a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

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His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have ascertained that His Majesty's Governments in Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa are also prepared so to treat the new Constitution.


His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom take note of Articles 2, 3 and 4 of the new Constitution. They cannot recognise that the adoption of the name Eire or Ireland, or any other provisions of those Articles, involves any right to territory or jurisdiction over territory forming part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or affects in any way the position of Northern Ireland as an integral part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. They therefore regard the use of the name Eire or Ireland in this connexion as relating only to that area which has hitherto been known as the Irish Free State."

Agreements between the United Kingdom and Eire.


In January, 1938, negotiations were opened between representatives of the Governments of the United Kingdom and of Eire which were concluded in April, 1938, by the signature of three agreements, described respectively as "the Agreement regarding Articles 6 and 7 of the Articles of Agreement of December 6, 1921", "the Financial Agreement and "the Trade Agreement ". The agreements were published as Cmd. 5728 and were subsequently confirmed by resolutions of the Parliament of Eire and by an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament entitled the Eire (Confirmation of Agreements) Act, 1938 (1 and 2 Geo. 6, Ch. 25). Section 1 of that Act provided that the territory which under previous United Kingdom statutes was required to be styled and known as the Irish Free State should be styled and known as Eire, and that, accordingly, references in any enactment to the Irish Free State should be construed as references to Eire.

On 17th November, 1938, a Trade Agreement was concluded between the Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States after prolonged negotiations which could not be formally put in hand until an

U.S.-U.K. assurance had been received from the Dominions concerned that they Trade would be prepared to relax some of their guaranteed privileges Agreement. in the United Kingdom market (under the Trade Agreements

concluded at Ottawa in 1932 and subsequently). These privileges

related to the duties on goods such as wheat, apples, pears, certain canned fruits, chilled or frozen salmon, honey and timber, and formal letters were eventually exchanged with the Dominions concerned regarding the extent of the relaxations. In a foreword to the text of the Agreement, as published in the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom Government expressed their cordial appreciation to the Governments concerned of their readiness to facilitate the conclusion of the Agreement by consenting to such modifications of their rights as were necessary to enable it to be concluded.

A complementary Agreement was concluded on the same date between the Governments of Canada and the United States.


The greater portion of the Colonial Empire has accrued within comparatively recent times, though the first attempt at Colonial settlement, that of Sir Humphrey Gilbert in Newfoundland, was made as early as 1583. The Treaty of Utrecht (1713) left this country in possession, in addition to the New England States and other Settlements on the N. American Continent, only of Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, St. Helena, two slave-trading stations at the Gambia and the Gold Coast, the Bermudas, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, the Virgin Islands and Gibraltar. Until the great wars which marked the second half of the eighteenth century, there was little further territorial expansion. The States of New England, and the steadily increasing business of the East India Company, afforded sufficient outlet for the colonising activities; but when the progress of the Seven Years' War caused a conflict with France in North America and India, an era of colonial expansion began. The Treaty of Paris (1763) added to the Empire the rest of Canada and Dominica, St. Vincent, Grenada, the Grenadines and Tobago in the West Indies. The nucleus of the Colony of Sierra Leone was acquired in 1788. By the Treaty of Amiens (1802) the Netherlands and Spain ceded Ceylon and Trinidad respectively. The two Treaties of Paris (1814 and 1815) added to the Empire the Cape, British Guiana, Malta, Mauritius, Seychelles, St. Lucia, and Tobago (which had been given back to France in 1783). The reign of Victoria saw the occupation of Natal, Rhodesia, Bechuanaland, Basutoland, and the Transkei, Zululand, British Columbia and the wide North-West Territories of the Canadian Dominion, as well as Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania and British New Guinea. Also Hong Kong, Labuan, Lagos, the greater portion of the Gold Coast, and Fiji were ceded and Cyprus and the basin of the lower Niger were acquired by agreements. From 1890 large expansion was witnessed in Africa, as a result of the arrangements between the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Portugal for the delimitations of their respective possessions and spheres of influence in that continent; and, by the end of the 19th century the United Kingdom had established its claims, to the exclusion of other Powers, over the wide territories now known as Kenya, Zanzibar, Uganda, Nyasaland, British Somaliland, the Protectorate of Nigeria, the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast, and the Protectorate of Sierra Leone. A Protectorate was proclaimed over Amatongaland, now part of Natal, in 1895. In 1898 Weihaiwei was obtained on lease from China, as well as an extension of British Kowloon. The former was given back to China on 1st Oct., 1930. In 1899, by an arrangement with Germany, certain of the Solomon Islands were transferred to the British sphere of interest. The Orange Free State and the Transvaal were annexed in 1900. In the same year Tonga, in the Western Pacific, came under British protection, and the Cook Islands, Savage Island and other small islands were annexed.

British protection has been extended to all that part of the Malay Peninsula which is not in the possession of Siam, and the government of the various States is carried on in accordance with the advice of British Residents or Advisers.

The Great War of 1914-18 resulted in extensive territories, formerly belonging to Germany and Turkey, being placed under British administration under mandates from the League of Nations.


Of these, the following were entrusted to the control of the Government of the United Kingdom :Tanganyika Territory, i.e., the former German East Africa, less the north-west corner which was assigned to Belgium.

Cameroons under British Mandate, a strip bordering on Nigeria of the former German Protectorate of the Cameroons.

Togoland under British Mandate, a strip of former German Togoland bordering on the Gold Coast. Palestine and Trans-Jordan.

To Australia were entrusted German New Guinea and the neighbouring German islands in the Pacific Ocean; to New Zealand, the German Samoan Islands; and to the Union of South Africa, German South West Africa.

A mandate for Nauru was given to the British Empire.

Including India but excluding the countries held on mandatory conditions, the Empire now extends over 11 millions of square miles. The area of the oversea Empire excluding India is nearly 80 times that of the United Kingdom, and the estimated population is 64 millions.

Of the total area of over 9 million sq. miles, the self-governing Dominions (exclusive of Ireland) cover about 7 million sq. miles, inhabited by a population of 23 millions, so that the area more or less under the direct authority of the Home Government amounts to 2 million sq. miles, with a population of about 48 millions. All but about 300,000 sq. miles of this is in Africa.

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