Britain's Dominions and the European War

September 13, 1941

Report Outline
Demand for closer imperial collaboration
Evolution from Empire to Commonwealth
The British Commonwealth in the War
The British Commonwealth After the War

Demand for closer imperial collaboration

British Press Campaign for Imperial War Conference

The increasingly important role being played by British dominions in the prosecution of the war is expected sooner or later to result in action by the British government to give the dominions a greater voice in the formulation of imperial war policy and in the direction of the war effort. The arrival of W. L. Mackenzie King, Canadian Prime Minister, in London in mid-August touched off a British press campaign in which the Churchill government was urged to call an imperial conference as a means of increasing collaboration between the dominions and the mother country and of giving recognition to the new status of the dominions as major allies of the United Kingdom. “We need the empire's best minds for winning the war and for the world-wide task of reconstruction afterwards,” said the London Star. In the opinion of the Evening News, the empire could not “rest content with brief scattered visits of busy men.” Continuous consultation between the home government and the dominions was needed for effective joint action.

Mackenzie King is the third dominion prime minister to visit London since the war began and the third to attend meetings of Britain's War Cabinet. He was preceded by Prime Minister Fraser of New Zealand, who recently visited this country on his return trip to Wellington, and by Prime Minister Menzies of Australia. Menzies resigned his leadership of the Australian government late in August, after an inter-party dispute precipitated by his determination to return to London.

During the first World War, the Lloyd George government in Great Britain undertook to facilitate joint action by the dominions and the mother country through the formation of an Imperial War Cabinet, in which dominion prime ministers sat with British ministers, and of an Imperial War Conference, presided over by Britain's Colonial Secretary, in which the prime ministers and other dominion ministers sat with British colonial officials. Some similar machinery, possibly a supreme war council, may in future be set up by the Churchill government.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Feb. 09, 1944  Diplomatic Recognition
May 07, 1943  Colonies After the War
Feb. 08, 1943  War Experience of British Newspapers
May 28, 1942  North Pacific Fronts
May 07, 1942  Invasion of Europe
Apr. 06, 1942  Governments in Exile
Sep. 13, 1941  Britain's Dominions and the European War
Aug. 29, 1940  Foreign Policy of the Roosevelt Administration
Jun. 17, 1940  Gateways to the Mediterranean
Regional Political Affairs: Europe
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