Britain's Intra-Imperial Relations

May 12, 1937

Report Outline
British Imperial Conferences of 1887 and 1937
Evolution from Empire to Commonwealth
The British Commonwealth and the Future
Agenda of the Imperial Conference, 1937

British Imperial Conferences of 1887 and 1937

Representatives of the United Kingdom and of the British dominions are to convene in London May 14 to consider in Imperial Conference questions of common interest to the members of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Foremost among the topics to be discussed are those relating to foreign affairs and defence. Fifty years ago, when the first Imperial Conference met at the time of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, the colonial ministers in tendering their homage to the Queen at Windsor on May 4, 1887. detailed the growth of the empire during the preceding half century and concluded:

Your Majesty's reign has, under Divine Providence, endured for over half a century; and amidst revolutions and changes of dynasty and of systems of government in other countries, the principles of the laws of your predecessors for n thousand years still afford your subjects that safety and prosperity, and the empire that stability which claim the admiration of the world.

Addressing that conference. Lord Salisbury, Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, deprecated schemes for an empire customs union but favored closer combination for purposes of self-defence. He stressed the importance of the “shield thrown over the colonies by the imperial connexion” and said that their unity rested on the “most solid and reasonable foundations of self-interest and security.”

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