Consultation and Co-Operation in the Commonwealth: A Handbook on Methods and Practice

Consultation and Co-Operation in the Commonwealth: A Handbook on Methods and Practice

Consultation and Co-Operation in the Commonwealth: A Handbook on Methods and Practice

Consultation and Co-Operation in the Commonwealth: A Handbook on Methods and Practice

Excerpt

A handbook under the title of Consultation and Cooperation in the British Commonwealth was issued under the auspices of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in 1934. It was compiled by Mr Gerald E. H. Palmer, assisted by members of the staff of the Institute, with generous help also from the sister Institutes in the Commonwealth. The compiler of the present handbook gratefully records her indebtedness to that pioneer team.

This book, like its predecessor, was first prepared as background material for one of the series of unofficial British Commonwealth Relations Conferences organized by the Institutes of International Affairs in the Commonwealth. It was issued in mimeographed form to participants in the fourth Conference, held at Bigwin Inn, Ontario, from 8-18 September 1949. As a result, valuable comments on the text, and, in some cases, material and documents not readily available in the United Kingdom, were received by the Royal Institute from participants in the Conference, and from other members of the sister Institutes.

In view of this helpful attitude and of the fact that the Bigwin Inn Conference gave considerable attention to problems of Commonwealth consultative and co-operative machinery, and deplored the prevailing ignorance of its nature and scope, the Council of the Royal Institute felt justified in putting in hand the revision and amplification of the mimeographed material for publication.

The object to be attained by the compiler was, at first sight, simple and straightforward: to collect, in one volume, the facts about the machinery of consultation and co-operation in the Commonwealth which would otherwise have to be sought in a multitude of other publications; and to present them without comment, save in the form of quotations from official and ministerial statements.

But the task was far less simple than it appeared. 'Terminology', Mr Attlee has said, 'if it is to be useful, keeps step with developments without becoming rigid or doctrinaire'; but this flexibility can be an embarrassment when it comes to defining the scope of a book. The first question was the content to be given to the word 'Commonwealth' for this purpose. There was always implicit in the word the modern, more catholic and richer inter-

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