Balfour Declaration

Balfour Declaration of 1926

The Balfour Declaration of 1926, named after the British Lord President of the Council Arthur Balfour, Earl of Balfour, was the name given to a report resulting from the 1926 Imperial Conference of British Empire leaders in London. It states of the United Kingdom and the Dominions:

The inter-imperial relations committee, chaired by Balfour, drew up the document preparatory to its approval by the imperial premiers on November 15. It was first proposed by South African Prime Minister James Barry Munnik Hertzog and Canada's Prime Minister at that time, William Lyon Mackenzie King.

The document accepted the growing political and diplomatic independence within the dominions, in particular Canada, since World War I. It also recommended that the governors-general, the representatives of the King who acted for the Crown as head of state in each dominion, should no longer also serve automatically as the representative of the British government in diplomatic relations between the countries. In following years, High Commissioners were gradually appointed, whose duties were soon recognised to be virtually identical to those of an ambassador. The first such British High Commissioner was appointed to Ottawa in 1928.

The conclusions of the conference were restated by the 1930 conference and incorporated in the December 1931 Statute of Westminster by which the British Parliament renounced any legislative authority over dominion affairs except as specifically provided in dominion law.

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