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Commonwealth collaboration in foreign affairs, 1939-1947 : the British perspective

By E. Judith Adams

Abstract

This thesis studies the modes of collaboration between the members of the British Commonwealth in foreign affairs, with particular emphasis on the United Kingdom's methods of keeping the other members informed and ascertaining their views. It is not an attempt at a comprehensive survey of the foreign relations of the U. K. or the individual Dominions, but is designed as a study of the attitudes towards collaboration over the span of nearly a decade, using specific examples of successful or deficient collaboration to illustrate the policy of the U. K. and its\ud response to the attitudes of its partners.\ud \ud The first chapter takes the form of a survey of Commonwealth relations in the late 1930s. The second chapter considers Commonwealth collaboration during the first five years of the war, with special attention to two\ud aspects; the transmission of information to the Dominions and their participation in the higher direction of the war. The next chapter, concentrates on the U. K.'s plans for the post-war period, specifically the representation of the association internationally and the F. O.'s consideration of methods by which the U. K. could increase contacts between the member countries. In the fourth chapter attention is given to the policies of the Dominion Governments and their plans for the Commonwealth after the war, both in terms of the international position of the Commonwealth and their individual association with it. Chapter five studies the only war-time Prime Ministers' Meeting, in 1944, at which the member states discussed the establishment of the proposed world organisation and the Commonwealth's association with it, and measures to improve collaboraton within the Commonwealth.\ud \ud \ud Chapter six considers the degree of harmony in the policies of the member countries on some important aspects of international policy, such as the, Great Power veto or the position of 'middle' ranking states within the U. N. The dual role of the U.K. as a member of the Commonwealth and of the Great Power elite is also studied with a view to assessing the compatibility of these two. The next chapter considers the U. K. 's attempts to promote close collaboration at the various international conferences between 1944 and 1946 and the efforts made to produce a bonsensus on policy. The 1945 San Francisco Conference is looked at in particular detail to demonstrate the contact which took place between Commonwealth Ministers and officials. In chapter eight three examples of collaboration on aspects of U. K. policy - the-1946 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty and the re-negotiation of the treaties with France and the U. S. S. R. in the same year - are studied as examples of problems which remained in Commonwealth collaboration in the, post=war. The latter two illustrate the importance of the U. K. 's attitude with regard to transmitting information in advance of policy decisions, and the\ud difficulties entailed by the divergence in Dominion attitudes. Consideration is also given to the role of the Dominion High Commissioners in London, in terms of the information provided for them and their status within the diplomatic community. Finally, chapter nine looks ahead to the expansion of the Commonwealth and the key position of India. This does not involve a study of Anglo-Indian relations, or the U. K. 's policy in granting, India independence. It considers three issues raised by the independence of India and the question of its future association with the Commonwealth: first, the effect on the U. K. 's policy of transmitting information to fellow members; secondly, the stimulus which India's new status provided for the r. 0. to reconsider its position in relation to Commonwealth liaison; thirdly, the discussions which were prompted about the fundamental basis of the Commonwealth relationship and the feasibility of permitting a republican state to be a member

Publisher: School of History (Leeds)
Year: 1981
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:166

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