1926 Imperial Conference

J. B. M. Hertzog Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Stanley Baldwin

1926 Imperial Conference
Host countryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Date19 October 1926
23 November 1926
Heads of State or Government8
ChairStanley Baldwin (Prime Minister)
Key points
Balfour Declaration, constitutional arrangements

The 1926 Imperial Conference was the seventh Imperial Conference bringing together the prime ministers of the Dominions of the British Empire. It was held in London from 19 October to 22 November 1926.[1] The conference was notable for producing the Balfour Declaration, which established the principle that the dominions are all equal in status, and "autonomous communities within the British Empire" not subordinate to the United Kingdom.[1] The term "Commonwealth" was officially adopted to describe the community.[2]

The conference was arranged to follow directly after the 1926 Assembly of the League of Nations (in Geneva, Switzerland), to reduce the amount of travelling required for the dominions' representatives.

The conference created the Inter-Imperial Relations Committee, chaired by Arthur Balfour, 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, but also fell short of endorsing the "end of empire" espoused by Smuts's arch-rival, Barry Hertzog.[1] The recommendations were adopted unanimously by the conference on 15 November, followed by an equally warm reception in the newspapers.[1]


The conference was hosted by King-Emperor George V, with his Prime Ministers and members of their respective cabinets:

Nation Name Portfolio
United Kingdom United Kingdom Stanley Baldwin Prime Minister (Chairman)
The Earl of Balfour Lord President of the Council
Winston Churchill Chancellor of the Exchequer
Austen Chamberlain Foreign Secretary
Sir William Joynson-Hicks Home Secretary
Leo Amery Colonial Secretary and Dominions Secretary
Sir Laming Worthington-Evans War Secretary
Sir Samuel Hoare Air Secretary
William Bridgeman First Lord of the Admiralty
Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister President of the Board of Trade
The Viscount Cecil of Chelwood Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
The Earl of Clarendon Under Dominions Secretary
William Ormsby-Gore Under Colonial Secretary
Sir Philip Sassoon Under Air Secretary
Australia Australia Stanley Bruce Prime Minister
Neville Howse Minister for Defence and Minister for Health
John Latham Attorney-General
 Canada William Lyon Mackenzie King Prime Minister
Ernest Lapointe Minister of Justice
British Raj India The Earl of Birkenhead Secretary of State
The Earl of Winterton Under-Secretary of State
Irish Free State Irish Free State W. T. Cosgrave President of the Executive Council
Kevin O'Higgins Vice-President of the Executive Council and Minister for Justice
Desmond FitzGerald Minister for External Affairs
Patrick McGilligan Minister for Industry and Commerce
James McNeill Irish High Commissioner to United Kingdom
Dominion of Newfoundland Newfoundland Walter Stanley Monroe Prime Minister
William J. Higgins Minister of Justice
Alfred B. Morine Minister without portfolio
New Zealand New Zealand Gordon Coates Prime Minister
Sir Francis Bell Minister without portfolio
South Africa South Africa J. B. M. Hertzog Prime Minister
Nicolaas Havenga Finance Minister




  1. ^ a b c d Marshall, Sir Peter (September 2001). "The Balfour Formula and the Evolution of the Commonwealth". The Round Table. 90 (361): 541–53. doi:10.1080/00358530120082823.
  2. ^ Historical Dictionary of European Imperialism. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. 1991. pp. 297–298. ISBN 0313262578.