1948 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference

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3rd Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference
Host country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Dates 1122 October 1948
Cities London
Participants 9
Chair Clement Attlee
(Prime Minister)
Follows 1946
Precedes 1949
Key points
Independence of India, Pakistan & Ceylon; economic, military and diplomatic co-operation

The 1948 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference was the third Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations. It was held in the United Kingdom in October 1948, and was hosted by that country's Prime Minister, Clement Attlee.

It was the first such meeting to be attended by prime ministers of recently independent Asian states:Ceylon, India and Pakistan. The growth in membership ended the previous 'intimacy' of the meeting.[1] The issue of whether countries, specifically India, could remain Commonwealth members if they became republics was raised but was not resolved until the next conference in 1949.

Ireland was initially invited to attend the Conference. After Ireland announced the pending repeal of its last connection to the British king, this invitation was revoked.[2] This was so even though at the time the British Commonwealth still regarded Ireland as one of its members. Ireland had not participated in any equivalent conferences since 1932.[3] It had announced plans to adopt legislation severing all ties with the British crown, although at the time of the Conference, it had not yet brought that legislation into force.[4] Irish foreign minister Sean MacBride and finance minister Patrick McGilligan attended one day of the conference as 'observers'.[5]

The Final Communique issued by the leaders at the conclusion of the meeting saw a change in nomenclature. The terms 'Dominion' and 'Dominion Government' were superseded by 'Commonwealth country' and 'Commonwealth Government'. 'British' was omitted in front of 'Commonwealth of Nations' for the first time in the Communique.[6][7]

Participants[edit]

Nation Name Portfolio
United Kingdom United Kingdom Clement Attlee Prime Minister (Chairman)
Australia Australia H. V. Evatt Minister for External Affairs
 Canada William Lyon Mackenzie King Prime Minister
Dominion of Ceylon Ceylon Don Stephen Senanayake Prime Minister
India India Jawaharlal Nehru Prime Minister
New Zealand New Zealand Peter Fraser Prime Minister
Pakistan Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan Prime Minister
South Africa South Africa Eric Louw Minister of Mines and Economic Affairs
Southern Rhodesia Southern Rhodesia Sir Godfrey Huggins Prime Minister[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ William Roger Louis, Judith Brown, Alaine M. Low and Nicholas P. Canny, The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century pg. 696
  2. ^ Elizabeth Keane An Irish Statesman and Revolutionary: The Nationalist and Internationalist Politics of Sean MacBride pg. 53
  3. ^ Nationalism and Independence: Selected Irish Papers By Nicholas Mansergh, Diana Manserghpg; Cork University Press, pg. 157
  4. ^ Republic of Ireland Act, 1948
  5. ^ Elizabeth Keane An Irish Statesman and Revolutionary: The Nationalist and Internationalist Politics of Sean MacBride pg. 53
  6. ^ By Commonwealth Secretariat, The Commonwealth at the Summit: Communiqués of Commonwealth Heads of Government, Text of the Final Communique of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Meeting 1948
  7. ^ William Roger Louis, Judith Brown, Alaine M. Low and Nicholas P. Canny, The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century pg. 696
  8. ^ Huggins was also Minister for Native Affairs