Courtesy Reuters

The Commonwealth Problem: Union or Alliance?

THERE has been a great stirring of minds on the subject of the British Commonwealth and Empire. Its name; its structure; its internal rights and duties; its means of family consultation; its place in the world -- all are in debate.

In the nature of things, uniformity of ideas about it would be unlikely. For example, there are no real racial difficulties in the relations of an Australian or a New Zealander, either with his fellow citizens or with the land from which his grandparents came. He has no difficulty in understanding the institutions of the home land which are also his own. He rejoices in being British, and has a respectful but affectionate and almost proprietorial interest in the Crown which makes a common "subjecthood" a matter not of subordination but of pride. But in this matter a Canadian has great difficulties to face. There are marked differences of race and tradition between the major groups of inhabitants of the major provinces, and there is in the immediate proximity a powerful United States which must exercise an influence upon many matters, including the psychological problems of national security. These and other factors have inevitably encouraged the growth of a conception of local and special Canadian nationality which differs very clearly from that to which we Australians are accustomed. Again, the problems of the Union of South Africa are in a sense known to and understood by students, but can be fully appreciated only by those on the spot. Eire also chronically produces problems; we who look on from a distance are sometimes tempted to be impatient about them, forgetting, as men commonly do, that distant difficulties always falsely seem capable of relatively easy solution. The new Indian Dominions have, in their accession to independent self-governing nationhood, brought with them a host of new questions as well as what all hope will be an increasingly strong and fruitful partnership in world affairs.

This curt and inadequate summary need not be elaborated;

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