Imperial Conference

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Imperial Conference,

assembly of representatives of the self-governing members of the British Empire, held about every four years until World War II. The meetings prior to 1911—in 1887, 1897, 1902, and 1907—were known as Colonial Conferences, and were chiefly concerned with defense problems and the possibility of imperial tariff preference. Relatively informal, they were held when colonial representatives came to Great Britain for royal celebrations. More formalized meetings were held in 1907, 1911, 1917–18, 1921, 1923, 1926, 1930, 1936, and 1937. The conferences were designed to strengthen imperial ties by exchange of ideas, but their decisions had no legal effect. The two main focal points of discussion remained defense and economic policy. In 1917–18 the Imperial War Conference acknowledged the importance of the whole empire in defense policy by admitting India, not yet self-governing, to the conference. There was an acknowledged need on the part of Britain for practical support from the dominions in military and naval resources, and a parallel desire for participation in the decision-making initiative on the part of the dominions. The dominions also wanted to be able to pursue independent foreign policies, within the bounds of imperial cooperation. The constitution of the conferences themselves and the status of the dominions were the chief problems discussed at meetings during the 1920s. The resolutions of the conferences were given legal effect by the Statute of Westminster (1931; see Westminster, Statute ofWestminster, Statute of,
1931, in British imperial history, an act of the British Parliament that gave formal recognition to the autonomy of the dominions of the British Empire and was in effect the founding charter of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
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), which declared the legislatures of the several dominions on an equal footing with that of Great Britain. A standing Imperial Economic Committee concerned itself with coordination of economic matters. After World War II, it was replaced by the biennial Conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers and yearly meetings of finance ministers.


See M. Ollivier, ed., The Colonial and Imperial Conferences from 1887 to 1939 (1954).

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References in periodicals archive ?
In this modern day and age with instant communications and easy travel the idea of setting up a loose federation comprising Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, last discussed at an imperial conference in 1911, would probably suit Britain better than the EU.
Canadian delegations were sent to the 1929 Conference on the Operation of Dominion Legislation and the following Imperial Conference in 1930 with the intention of advancing the ideals espoused by the Balfour Declaration and to make those principles a legal reality.
When the different states of the Empire wish to take counsel together they gather in an Imperial Conference which has now taken permanent form and meets every four years--Canada governs herself as Britain does.
It was, in other words, hard on the heels of these developments that the treaty-making issue became the subject of specific consideration at the Imperial Conference of 1923, and then for a second round in 1926, and to a limited extent a third round in 1930.
6, an imperial conference was convened to approve a timetable for war mobilization in the event of a breakdown in U.S.-Japanese diplomatic talks.
He outlines how at the 1923 Imperial Conference, Bruce argued for self-sufficiency as a form of common agricultural policy, whereby the shortfalls in domestic British agricultural production would be met by the dominions which would have preference over non-empire exporters.
If you ran a self-governing territory that had sworn allegiance to King George V and his heirs then you got invited to the Imperial Conference of 1923.
The 1926 Imperial Conference in London declared that the white- settler colonial Dominions (Australia, South Africa, Canada, and New Zealand) should think of themselves as autonomous political entities (in effect sovereign states) within the British Empire.
Meehan tries, as one might expect, to reevaluate O'Higgins as a supreme pragmatist and even go so far as to posit his concept of a "Dual Monarchy" Kingdom of Ireland, mooted by O'Higgins at an Imperial Conference in 1926, as a credible attempt to reconcile Republican aspirations of a united Ireland.
Similarly, while Hunter does discuss the imperial government's desire to have the dominions assume a greater share of the Royal Navy's responsibility for imperial defence, including Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain's efforts at the 1902 Imperial Conference, there is no reference to Chamberlain's "weary Titan" speech at that conference, in which he insisted that England was nearing the limits of its resources to provide for the defence of the Empire and needed the assistance of the Empire.
Bastian defends Fisher's role but notes that Fisher delayed the official opening of the 1911 campaign and left the country three weeks before polling day to attend the Imperial Conference in London.
The governor-general stands in place of the Queen as Head of State but, since the Imperial Conference of 1926, it has been recognised that a governor-general is not the monarch's representative (in terms of acting on instructions from the monarch) but serves as the equivalent of the monarch, and acts on the advice of ministers.

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