Imperial Conferences

Quick Reference

Meetings between the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions. These were held in London with the exception of the 1932 conference. The conferences replaced the colonial conferences which had begun in 1887, as it had been agreed in 1907 that the colonies inhabited by a White majority would be called ‘Dominions’, and that they would have significant measures of authority in their domestic affairs. The first imperial conference was held in 1911. In 1918, an Imperial War Conference discussed war strategies and the supply of raw materials. The 1921 conference included representatives from India, and it became increasingly clear that the Dominions desired total independence over external as well as internal affairs. The 1923 conference discussed imperial preference (tariff reform) at length, as well as disarmament and issues arising from the Chanak Crisis. The conference of 1926 discussed Balfour's formula for defining the relationship between Britain and the British Empire, which resulted in the 1931 Statute of Westminster. At the 1930 conference, the world economic crisis dominated discussions, with the result that the Ottawa Conference of 1932 finally established a system of tariffs. The final conference was held in 1937, following George VI's coronation. It discussed the worsening international situation, and overwhelmingly supported appeasement. Since World War II, regular Commonwealth Conferences have been held.

Subjects: Military History.

Reference entries