Oral Answers to Questions — Dominions (Definition)

– in the House of Commons on 25th November 1942.

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Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs in what terms it is the practice of His Majesty's Government officially to refer collectively to the British Nations defined in the Statute of Westminster, 1931, as, "the Dominion of Canada," "the Commonwealth of Australia," "the Dominion of New Zealand," "the Union of South Africa" and "the Irish Free State"?

Photo of Mr Paul Emrys-Evans Mr Paul Emrys-Evans , Derbyshire Southern

There is no standardised practice for referring collectively to the countries mentioned. They were included in the definition of Dominions in the Statute of Westminster, 1931. In the report of the Inter-Imperial Relations Committee of the Imperial Conference of 1926 the "group of self-governing communities composed of Great Britain and the Dominions" were described as being "autonomous communities within the British Empire" and as being "freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations."

Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye

May I ask whether it is the practice of His Majesty's Government to refer to the British Nations as the British Commonwealth, in view of the fact that Field-Marshal Smuts and other Dominion statesmen use that term; and, if so, will he ask his right hon. Friend to see that Whitehall Departments and Ministers use the term "British Commonwealth"?

Photo of Sir Harold Boyce Sir Harold Boyce , Gloucester

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that nine-tenths of the people who live in the British Empire overseas are proud of the fact that they belong to the British Empire, and of the name?