1926 Imperial Conference
The 1926 Imperial Conference was the sixth Imperial Conference held amongst the Prime Minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...
s of the dominion
A dominion, often Dominion, refers to one of a group of autonomous polities that were nominally under British sovereignty, constituting the British Empire and British Commonwealth, beginning in the latter part of the 19th century. They have included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland,...
s of the British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...
. It was held in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...
from 19 October to 22 November 1926. It was notable as the conference that produced the Balfour Declaration, which established the principle that the dominions are all equal in status, and not subordinate to the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
The conference was hosted by King-Emperor
A king-emperor, the female equivalent being queen-empress, is a sovereign ruler who is simultaneously a king of one territory and emperor of another...
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....
, with his British Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...
Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, KG, PC was a British Conservative politician, who dominated the government in his country between the two world wars...
. The other Prime Ministers present were:
– Stanley Bruce
Stanley Melbourne Bruce, 1st Viscount Bruce of Melbourne, CH, MC, FRS, PC , was an Australian politician and diplomat, and the eighth Prime Minister of Australia. He was the second Australian granted an hereditary peerage of the United Kingdom, but the first whose peerage was formally created...
– W. L. M. King – W. T. Cosgrave (whose title was President of the Executive Council
President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State
The President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State was the head of government or prime minister of the Irish Free State which existed from 1922 to 1937...
) – Walter Monroe
Walter Stanley Monroe
Walter Stanley Monroe was a businessman and conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of Newfoundland from 1924 to 1928 as leader of the Liberal-Conservative Progressive Party....
– Gordon Coates
Joseph Gordon Coates, MC and bar served as the 21st Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1925 to 1928.- Early life :Born on the Hukatere Peninsula in Kaipara Harbour where his family ran a farm, Coates took on significant responsibility at a relatively early age because his father suffered from...
– J. B. M. Hertzog
The conference was arranged to follow directly after the 1926 Assembly of the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....
), to reduce the amount of travelling required for the dominions' representatives.
The conference created the Inter-Imperial Relations Committee, chaired by Arthur Balfour
Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, KG, OM, PC, DL was a British Conservative politician and statesman...
, to look into future constitutional arrangements for the Commonwealth. In the end, the committee rejected the idea of a codified constitution, as espoused by South Africa's former Prime Minister Jan Smuts
Jan Christiaan Smuts, OM, CH, ED, KC, FRS, PC was a prominent South African and British Commonwealth statesman, military leader and philosopher. In addition to holding various cabinet posts, he served as Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 until 1924 and from 1939 until 1948...
, but also fell short of endorsing the 'end of empire' espoused by Smuts's arch-rival, Barry Hertzog. The recommendations were adopted unanimously by the conference on 15 November, followed by an equally warm reception in the newspapers.