British Empire
The end of the British empire - the Dominions
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Report from the South African Cape Times newspaper on the Statute of Westminster, 1931
(Catalogue ref: DO 119/1019)
  • This extract comes from a South African newspaper, the Cape Times, reporting on the Statute of Westminster, which was passed in 1931.
  • The Statute of Westminster officially gave all of the Dominions the full power to rule themselves, although they already did this. South Africa effectively began ruling itself in 1910. As the article points out, the Statute was mainly about technical details. The article gives the impression that the issue is sensible but dull.
  • The Statute of Westminster was designed to sort out red tape. There were sometimes legal complications because the constitutions of the Dominions said that on some issues the Dominions had to get permission from the British Parliament to pass certain laws. The Statute of Westminster allowed the Dominions to pass any laws they wished to pass without having to consult the British Parliament.
  • The article refers to General Herzog, who was a minister in the South African government.
  • The article also mentions the Imperial Conference of 1926. This was a conference held in London in 1926 in which the Dominions worked out most of the details about the relationship between the British Parliament and their own Parliaments.
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