A Closer Empire Unity
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 27 Apr 1944, p. 463-476
Stewart, Prof. H.L., Speaker
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Item Type
Uniting the democracies in time to prevent what they have twice within a generation been united only in time to repair. The speaker's statement: "In the interests of world peace, we need to draw more firmly the bonds of the British Empire, and we can do so—if we will—without impairing in the least degree Dominion self-government in any sense in which Dominion self-government is valuable." An exposition and illustration of this thesis follows. The recent demonstration of Commonwealth unity, and why we are amazed at it. Learning lessons from both world wars: a look back. How the Empire was stimulated once again to rally. The speaker's plea for a new Empire method by which sinister myths of our incoherence will be made harder to impose even upon wishful enemy thinkers. Objections to the proposal of a unified Commonwealth policy in foreign affairs, and counter arguments. A summary question: "Are we satisfied to preserve the studiously undefined mutual relationship of Dominions and Mother Country on foreign policy which we have hitherto known? Or has experience of two terrific emergencies suggested improvement that may help to prevent a possible third?" A discussion of this question follows.
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27 Apr 1944
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Full Text
Chairman: The President, Mr. W. Eason Humphreys.
Thursday, April 27, 1944

MR. HUMPHREYS: I am sorry to disturb your lunch, gentlemen, but, as you know, this is the Annual Meeting, and we have some business to transact.

There are one or two remarks your President would like to make prior to the election of officers for the ensuing year. These are that details of the Financial Statement will appear in the Year Book as usual. Despite an added expense of $600.00 over which your Committee has had no control whatever, it looks as though the deficit will be approximately $90.00. However, the accounts are not yet closed, and there may be one or two gentlemen who will pay their 1943-44 dues in time to reduce the deficit. (Laughter.)

Now, gentlemen, a word about membership and attendance: I would direct your special attention to this. The session just closing constitutes a war-time record in total membership. There were fewer resignations, and members dropped for non-payment of dues are few--the smallest on record. More important still, average weekly attendance at meetings has been higher.

Sixteen of our fellow members have passed on during this session. Will you please stand while I read their names

Herbert A. Clark, James E. Dyke,
Sir Robert Falconer, S. F. Fitch,
George C. Heintzman, Charles E. Lee,
Sir Charles G. D. Roberts, E. M. Saunders,
Edmund Scheuer, George E. Scroggie, W. H. Shapley,
T. D. Wardlaw,
Arthur E. Moysey, Dr. D. J. Sinclair
N. L. Nathanson, (non-resident) J. P. Patterson,

Thank you, please resume your seats.

Looking back over the session and the speakers we have received to this platform, it is interesting to note that the Club has considered: 11 subjects of strictly Canadian importance; 10 subjects of international character; and 10 subjects dealing primarily with the British Empire.

I would like to suggest that the value of your membership and mine in this Club cannot be measured by what you or I alone get out of it. Broadcasting has enlarged the scope of the influence of your Club, and I am told that our air audience can be anything up to 800,000 listeners, depending, of course, on the attractiveness of the speaker and his subject.

Another observation I wish to make is that The Empire Club of Canada should be much larger than it is. You, gentlemen, can make it so. Although you now have the largest membership roll for many a year, I suggest an objective of 2,000 members by the end of next session might be considered by you through the Executive Committee you will shortly elect.

There has never been a better time than now-today -to remind ourselves of the constitutional aim of this Club. It is, as you know, "Canada and a United Empire."

That part of the Constitution I feel must be defended up to the hilt, but I am going to suggest that consideration be given to revision of other parts of the Constitution during the coming session. One member of your Constitutional Committee has put it this way, "Our Constitution is a little untidy."

Lastly, gentlemen, I wish personally to thank the staff, the Executive Committee of The Empire Club, particularly those gentlemen who have headed sub-committees. I have called them a sort of "Inner Cabinet". It would not perhaps be fair to single them out, but you and I have received wonderful support from all these and other gentlemen of your Executive Committee. Now we come to the last item of business before we go on the air, namely, the election of officers. Mr. Bourlier, you have a report to make.

MR. BOURLIER: Gentlemen, and particularly members of The Empire Club: I dare say and hope you have read the Constitution which appears in the latter pages of this worthy manual. (Holds up Year Book.) If you may have done so, you will have found that the officers and members of the Executive Committee must be elected each year by ballot. Then, later on, you will read that a Nominating Committee must be appointed for the purpose indicated, not more than six but not less than four weeks before the Annual Meeting.

Now, your Nominating Committee was duly appointed and met twice, namely, on April 11th and 19th, and the response to the appeal for nominations was so generous that the supply exceeded the demand, and it was necessary for the committee to do some ballotting in order to reduce the number to actual requirements. This is the result

For President-Mr. Charles R. Conquergood. For 1st Vice-President-Mr. Frank L. Clouse. For 2nd Vice-President-Mr. Tracy E. Lloyd. For Third Vice-President-Mrs. S. J. Andrews. For Hon. Secy.-Treas.-Mr. H. C. Bourlier, For Treasurer-Mr. W. W. Comber.
For Honorary Auditor-Mr. H. T. Jamieson.
For Executive Committee Col. F. F. Arnoldi,
E. James Bennett, Robert A. Bryce, Hector Charlesworth, Major E. F. Coke, W. O. Detweiler,
F. B. Fetherstonhaugh, C. Norman Ham,
George Hardy, Horace Harpham, H. G. Haynes, Sydney Hermant, Gordon Janes, Gordon Jones,
J. P. Pratt,
E. F. Thompson, Lieut.-Col. H. C. Tutte.
Immediate Past-President W. Eason Humphreys,
Past Presidents who automatically become ex-officio members of Executive
Major Gordon B. Balfour, 1936-37. Major R. M. Harcourt, 1937-38. Dr. F. A. Gaby, 1939-40.
I move acceptance of this Report.

MR. HUMPHREYS: Gentlemen, you have heard the motion put by the Honorary Secretary-Treasurer. Does anyone second the motion?

MR. WILLIAM BROOKS: I second the motion.

MR. HUMPHREYS: Are you ready for the question, gentlemen?


MR. HUMPHREYS: Those in favour of the adoption of the Report please raise your right hands.

Contrary? (None)

I declare the motion carried unanimously.

Gentlemen, I shall ask the President-Elect to come and take his seat beside me here at the Head Table. Mr. Conquergood, will you please come up? As we are going on the air immediately, Mr. Conquergood will speak to us later.

Gentlemen of The Empire Club, Ladies and Gentlemen of the radio audience: Last December, and on your behalf, we invited Lord Halifax to address The Empire Club of Canada, and our invitation was accepted. Later, the Toronto Board of Trade, contemplating a centennial dinner, also invited the British Ambassador to the United States. Since the Board of Trade this year celebrates 100 years of service, and our meeting would have no such significance, we readily gave way to them.

What Lord Halifax said in his Toronto speech echoed around the world and inspired much discussion here in Canada. Opinions have differed, and views have been expressed by some who neither heard nor read the speech -(laughter)-but because of the importance of the subject, the Club thought the matter could with some usefulness to all of us be reviewed, and so we invited Dr. Herbert Leslie Stewart, M.A., Ph.D., F.R.S.C., to come and discuss the subject with us. This he does today under the title "A Closer Empire Unity."

Dr. Stewart, Professor of Philosophy, Dalhousie University, Halifax--Editor-in-Chief of the Dalhousie Review, and author of many books-was born in Cairn Castle, Country Antrim, Ireland. He was educated at Belfast and Oxford Universities and the Royal University of Ireland. His voice is well known throughout Canada, especially to those who listen to "Week-End Review" on Sundays. To The Empire Club, he is an old friend, and needs little introduction, for we welcome him to this platform for the fourth time in as many years. Dr. Stewart was given an unique job when he was appointed Chairman of the Board of Conciliation and Investigation by the Minister of Labour, in connection with a dispute between the Canadian National Railways and certain employees. He is known for his shrewd appraisal of the world about him and, early in the war, when some of us were a little confused, I remember seeing Dr. Stewart broadcast, in a very hot studio, and thanking him, then, for adding to my international thinking.

Dr. Stewart, we welcome you back; and now, will you please address us on "A Closer Empire Unity." (Hearty applause at beginning and end of Dr. Stewart's address.)




DR. STEWART: My first duty, as so often in the past, is to thank you for this invitation to speak to you again, for the never failing cordiality with which I have been received, and for the kindness of the terms in which the Chairman has introduced me.

This is the third time during the terrible conflict so well called "the ordeal of our generation", that I have come to exchange reflections with your Club. I came first, when we had been a short time at war, to summarize the reasons why Canada had, in honour, no option but to fight. Next time, two years later, when it seemed not inopportune to speak of terms of settlement, I tried to indicate to you some minimum requirements for the peace which should be imposed. Today I have something altogether different in mind.

It has been suggested to me by proposals coming to us from various quarters: from leaders of opinion as unlike one another as Lord Davies, Lord Halifax and Field-Marshal Smuts. These men, looking beyond the question how the war can be won to the question how peace may afterwards be safeguarded, have thought out scheme after scheme with at least one element in common. They all impress upon the democracies the need for a far closer as well as a more frequent coming together in council, that they may act together more promptly than in the past when a common danger threatens. It is a project one might call international preventive medicine; a project for uniting the democracies in time to prevent what they have twice within a generation been united only in time to repair.

My topic today is the value of this advice, so far as it applies to the democracies within the British Commonwealth of Nations. Has the bond there been too loose? Have we lost something precious for the maintenance of peace by creating--or permitting--a doubt of Commonwealth coherence? If so, can we eliminate, or reduce, such risk for the future? For the sake of clearness, I shall begin by putting in a single sentence the whole burden of this address. Here is my thesis

In the interests of world peace, we need to draw more firmly the bonds of the British Empire, and we can do so-if we will-without impairing in the least degree Dominion self-government in any sense in which Dominion self-government is valuable.

All I have now to say is in exposition and illustration of that thesis.

- I -

I think I hear someone exclaim "What an amazing idea to advance at a time such as this-the idea that we have been remiss in Empire solidarity! The unity of the Empire surely could not have had more signal attestation than it has just now, in a conflict whose scale was before not only unknown but unimagined--on land, by sea and in the air. I grant it. Commonwealth unity has been demonstrated by the most exacting test. But when we say, as we often do say, that this has amazed not the enemy alone but ourselves, we raise just the problem I have come to set forth. Why the amazement? There is a grave and needless risk in letting it be thought, as it was thought by far too many, that the Empire response in a crisis such as this would be far below what it has proved to be. Certainly there should be gratitude and exultation at what we have seen, but there should be no surprise, and the point of the thesis I want to commend to you is this: that the Dominions should so enter with Great Britain into constant common council, adopt a common decision, speak with a common voice at the determining of foreign policy as to leave no excuse in any quarter, either to friend or to foe, for any other expectation than their fighting together to the utmost. I have much sympathy with the argument which Lord Halifax presented here three months ago, in a speech so strangely misunderstood, or at least misinterpreted. He dwelt upon the entrance of the Dominions into this European dispute, not too late to have the cause, but alas too late to save the peace, and he suggested how a lesson might be drawn from that experience, how a quicker or more effective entry while peace is merely threatened might prevent another time what we have this time had to repair. And not only once: our generation has known two world wars; twice the Commonwealth has had to make good by intense coherence in action the damage which it may well have contributed to bring about by its apparent incoherence in plans. Twice it has united to win a war may it not learn to unite in such manner as to render it distinctly less probable that another war will break out?

Look back upon those intervening twenty years, 1919 to 1939, which are best described as constituting the Twenty-Years Truce. Fundamentally the Empire remained as close-knit as ever: everyone knows that now. But there was many a sign, negligently or thoughtlessly given, which a foreign observer in that period might construe to mean that Empire coherence was weakening. Recall the isolationism preached in too many Dominion newspapers, Canadian newspapers (which I shall not advertise by naming them) included. Often the isolationism was covert, indirect, camouflaged, but not for that reason the less, rather indeed the more dangerous. One thinks too of this subversive doctrine spread by some public men in all the Dominions, Canada included--men who could command an audience neither insignificant in number nor hesitant in response. Very common indeed, especially at those conferences of youth in which we were told that the hope of the future must be found, was speculation about Canada's probable attitude if another war should ensure. It was frequently predicted, by speakers who there took themselves very seriously indeed and who were reported by a press with quick eye for the sensational, that no such spirit as that in the summer of 1914 would be shown, that the simple-minded imperialism of those earlier days had undergone vast disillusionment, and that the neutrality programme advocated with such eagerness by United States leaders in the event of another war in Europe would make effective appeal to Canada also. Don't we recall how members of parliament were urged to support a resolution notifying the world that never again would Canada supply an expeditionary force to take part in a war outside her own boundaries? It became notorious that systematic discountenancing of the Empire, systematic inculcation of antagonism between Canadian and imperial interests, was a favourite exercise in university courses on political science or history.

Not for a moment do I suggest that all this subversive propagandism had any grave effect on the national morale. Canadian fibre is sufficiently robust to remain but little broken by such infection. What did, however, most unfortunately happen was a misleading of the Empire's foreign enemies by such plausible prima facie evidence for what they wanted to believe. They listened eagerly, to those with some apparent right to speak for South Africa, for Australia, for Canada, when such publicists assured them in the middle 1930's that the South African, the Australian, the Canadian attitude towards the Empire was altogether different from what it had been in 1914. Here was notable encouragement to the enemy. It is recorded, for example, that Schuschnigg, in his grim interview with Hitler at Berchtesgaden, that fateful spring, 1939, told the Fuehrer he would have to fight Great Britain before he could carve at will the continent of Europe. "Nothing of the sort", was the dictatorial reply: "Britain can't fight without her Dominions, and they are fed up with her". Did we inadvertently, in those years, supply any quotable evidence, which malicious ingenuity prompted by wishful thinking could so misconstrue? If we did, what precaution can we take to make sure that we never do the like again?

- II--

Consider another course from which this noxious legend of a dissolving Empire was stimulated. It arose not merely from our recurring isolationist talk--that dangerous intellectual diversion practised during the twenty-year truce, and fatally misconstrued by an observant enemy. Another source was in the loose, the diffident, the over-cautious theory of Empire relationship on which we have hitherto acted. The theory has been that Britain's foreign affairs are for Britain alone to decide: that the Dominions are to be consulted only in the event of an intense emergency-such as might drive even the most reserved of Englishmen in his private business to resort to a friendly neighbour, and that to offer advice unless or until thus solicited would be an act of Dominion intrusiveness.

No doubt this theory, like many another, has been much modified of late years in practice. Conferences have become far more frequent; even if they are still regarded as emergency measures, they may well be multiplied with the recent grim multiplication of emergencies. But such remains the theory, and when a Prime Minister of Britain addresses us all on a radio broadcast with the introductory announcement "London calling the Empire", we are still startled by the thought of some altogether exceptional crisis requiring so exceptional a measure. There is indeed something admirable in all this: the rule that bids us mind our own business, especially when our own business is more than enough to employ all our talent, is a rule which promotes both harmony and efficiency. But it involves a corresponding risk: those who do not understand each other's affairs or share each other's confidence in normal times will be of far less help to each other in time of crisis than they might be if there had been earlier co-operation. Differences of interest may have developed inadvertently into competition or even into antagonism. Energy may be lost, and time. The preparations for mutual help, which it would have been natural and easy to make in advance, may have to be improvised with much wastage and many a blunder when the danger becomes suddenly intense. I need not point out how our experience of hastily improvised war equipment has illustrated this.

Cannot you hear the subtle mocking voice of Joachim von Ribbentrop as he encouraged Adolf Hitler with assurances of the signs he had everywhere seen--as ambassador to London, as commercial agent in Canada: signs of an Empire whose concerns were so various that its members kept only nominal cohesion, knowing so little and caring so little in far-distant Dominions about the vital necessities of British foreign policy that it would be far too late, if the German Reich used its strength and its speed, to develop over the vast but discordant British Commonwealth either the knowledge or the machinery for effective resistance? There is not, I think, the slightest doubt that grave consequences followed from the trust which Adolf Hitler reposed in Ribbentrop's penetrating knowledge of British Empire psychology. It was less penetrating, less reliable by far than either he himself or his Fuehrer supposed it to be. But the consequences of the delusion were tragic. My plea is for a new Empire method by which such sinister myth of our incoherence will be made harder to impose even upon wishful enemy thinkers again.

- III -

What are the objections to this proposal of a unified Commonwealth policy in foreign affairs? I have seen three:

(i) That it would mean return to the hated practice known as "Colonialism".

(ii) That it is needless, because its purpose is already served by frequent Conferences between the Government of Great Britain and the Governments of each Dominion.

(iii) That it would be dangerous at best to Canada because of our geographical situation of neighbourhood to the United States on one side and to Soviet Russia on another.

Let us look at these objections in turn.

Would it be "return to Colonialism"? Nothing surely could be further from the truth than that. The essence of Colonialism was to keep what we now call a Dominion in constant docile subservience to control from London, while it is the essence of this project to equip the Dominions with the right and the power of influencing decisions of policy for Great Britain. Resentment at the impairing in this way of British prestige has much more plausible ground than any fear of compromising Dominion rights. The truth is that here would be indeed the further fulfilment of Canning's dream about the entrance of the New World to repair the injustices of the Old.

Is the practice of Conferences, a practice which we are told has increased rapidly of recent years, a satisfying alternative? That is to say, is it enough that from time to time, as British Governments judge advisable, the Dominions be called in for consultation on special points, while the ultimate policy remains one for which the British Government alone is responsible? I find it hard indeed to understand haw anyone can feel that such practice has justified itself by experience as sufficient. Such cases as Abyssinia, the Civil War in Spain, the rape of Czechoslovakia come to mind; one wonders that any observer can continue to justify the method of which these cases were the reflections. To offer advice when another chooses to ask for it is one thing: quite a different thing is the constant care of a partner, with the acknowledged right and the acknowledged responsibility of constant watchfulness. "Conference" is a name we fitly use of the exchange of ideas at a time of crisis between Britain and foreign Powers. Something more intimate surely should mark British intercourse with the King's Dominions overseas, if they are to share, as no foreign Power will share, the sacrificial obligation for carrying a policy into effect. But perhaps, for Canada at least, the peculiarities of geographical position interpose an obstacle? Alarm has been expressed lest Russia or the United States might some time quarrel with Britain, and might include this country, so perilously exposed to immediate action, as automatically an enemy. It seems to be argued that in order to avoid this risk we must be careful to keep Canada so separate in position as to leave Russia or the United States, if quarrel should arise with Britain, in doubt regarding the attitude which Canada would take. For our safety, it is said, we must not suffer such independence to be compromised, as it would be if we shared in framing the British foreign policy which led to strain abroad.

How much is there in this fear? Is it seriously supposed that if we refrain from rendering clear and explicit what every observer of affairs must know to be the very heart of our Commonwealth relationship, we shall make any difference except a difference of lowered efficiency in what we set out to do? Does our safety depend on keeping our Commonwealth partnership apparently fitful and occasional? If we cannot advance beyond this loose and precarious association within the Commonwealth itself, what chance is there for some of those schemes for wider international association on which high hopes have been placed? Britain looks forward to continuous post-war partnership with her Russian and American allies in maintaining the world's peace. Many times we have been assured that instead of the old, constantly suspicious mood of preserving "balance of power" the Allies in this terrific struggle for freedom must trust one another for co-operation in its joint guardianship. Are we to begin such new era by reaffirming balance of power in such a form as was never before entertained, disclosing to our Russian and American allies that Canada and Great Britain are not even sure enough of each other to establish such scheme of constant mutual consultation on matters of common clanger as they have been so quick to recommend for adoption among independent sovereign States? Finally, if this difficulty be a serious one, what becomes of the plea I noticed a moment ago that to all intents and purposes the long established Conference habit ensures united Commonwealth action? If this is true, can we suppose our Russian and American Allies to be unaware that we are accomplishing without acknowledgment what it would be too perilous to venture openly? Would those allies find our Commonwealth co-operation unobjectionable only so long as its method was kept less efficient and more wasteful than the introduction of system instead of accident might render it? The objections I have distinguished as second and third thus seem to refute each other.

- IV -

Let me sum up. The question, as I see it, for the British Commonwealth emerging from the Second World War is this: Are we satisfied to preserve the studiously undefined mutual relationship of Dominions and Mother Country on foreign policy which we have hitherto known? Or has experience of two terrific emergencies suggested improvement that may help to prevent a possible third? We have in the past been content to make limitless sacrifice and to carry limitless burden for a British foreign policy which we had no real hand in shaping. Are we content that this should continue? Or do we feel that we might so influence British foreign policy as to reduce need for such future burdens and sacrifices? In the past, twice within a single generation, at least one contributing cause of war-one cause by which the enemies of Great Britain were encouraged to attack her-was the belief that the British Dominions were so unconcerned for her interests, so remote if not actually hostile in purpose, as to be negligible in a forecast of comparative fighting strength. Are we willing to leave that tragic misconception a change to operate again?

I mentioned at the outset of this address three men who have been moved by experience to propound a new scheme of unity for defence of the democracies. Lord Davies, in his plan for what he called "the New Commonwealth", would federate the free nations, setting up an international police force. Field-Marshal Smuts advances a project for making the British Commonwealth so much more comprehensive and elastic in constitution as to induce the democracies of continental Europe to accept membership within it. Both these reformers had been anticipated by Mr. Clarence Streit, in the famous book entitled Union Now. Different as the projects are in detail, they are alike in principle and in motive. They urge us to face the plain fact that unless we organize collective security on a new plan, the world will pass from war to war of ever increasing horror. They press upon us the tragic folly of trusting again in the ingenuities of so-called "balance of Power", for which we have no ground whatever to expect anything better from the diplomacy of the future than the inferno to which it has led us through the diplomacy of the past. But in this talk I have not referred to anything on a scale so vast as the proposals of Lord Davies, of Field-Marshal Smuts, of Mr. Clarence Streit. The plea I have made is for a closer, a more explicit, a more rapidly acting unity within the British Empire. It might well lead to extension, wider and deeper, if it justified itself by trial. But, to begin with, it would involve no hard and fast constitutional commitment. Just what Lord Halifax has aptly called a design for the "unison of many voices" in the great common cause.

It is recorded of the Emperor Augustus that he declined to use the traditional formula of Roman patriotism he refused to pray that the gods would increase and magnify the power of Rome, praying instead that the gods would enable Romans to preserve a power quite great enough already. A like misgiving may well haunt the mind of a British leader about many a motto or slogan of further national ambition. In proportion as one realizes the responsibilities of vast power, one may hesitate at A. C. Benson's prayer for the British Commonwealth "God Who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet". Not for further material expansion, for wider territory, for richer trade, for more dominance of any kind over those whom it may please a national self-consciousness to call "subject races"! At his moment of highest inspiration the great Victorian poet of Embide bade his countrymen abjure all this: bade them, in the name of their true imperial purpose, to put from them

Such boastings as the Gentiles use And lesser breeds without the law.

But there is a British achievement, an achievement of Britain's past, which we may rightly desire to see become ever wider and deeper. Not flawlessly, not without lapse, but on the whole genuinely, she has promoted fairness, justice, mercy in international dealings. In the present struggle, when this high cause has been at stake as never before in the rivalries of mankind, she has led the hosts of freedom, her courage reanimating the feeble, her resolution never failing when for two terrible years, against enormous odds and abandoned by allies, she had to fight alone. "Last night", wrote a great Englishman in a recent autobiography, "I listened to a Pole describing what the Germans had done in Poland; I prayed that my countrymen might have strength to do God's errand on the wicked, and that I might live a little longer to see it done". When it has been done, as it is now plainly being done, the stern enterprize of battle so fitly called "God's errand" in which the Dominions are bearing so notable a part, there will remain a further gigantic challenge to the resources of British leadership. The international scheme will have to be redrawn, in the light of terrible experience, to establish peace, of which justice is the foundation and strength in those true to justice is the guarantee. To fulfil that great destiny, to share to the utmost the burden, the sacrifice, the responsibilities of remaining thus in the vanguard of the cause-such is the true imperialism by which the Empire may pray to be united and more. In crisis after crisis she has intervened--twice on a great scale within a single generation--to rescue the world's justice from fearful peril. The Dominions have been at her side. My plea to you this afternoon has been for a policy, based on experience, which will ensure quicker, stronger, more efficient guardianship against such perils still ahead. "Wide still and wider", says the poet, "may thy bounds be set". We are far from sure that we want for the Empire more territory: it has rather been British practice of late to withdraw from territories previously ruled, that native powers might be developed in the exercise of native control. But the poet's other prayer must be echoed by all lovers of freedom who recognize where freedom in its most dire emergency found championship, and like every genuine prayer, it should inspire those who offer it to co-operate for its fulfilment: "God, Who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet." (Prolonged applause.)

MR. HUMPHREYS: We were invited to think on this serious matter. I think, Dr. Stewart, the applause you have just received expressed our thanks and appreciation of your contribution to our thinking.

Now, gentlemen, if you will bear with us for a moment longer, I think our President-Elect would like to speak to you. But first let me read the telegram which, in accordance with the resolution passed at last week's (April 20th) meeting, was sent to the Secretary of State

The following resolution was passed unanimously by the members of The Empire Club of Canada at their regular weekly meeting today. The Empire Club of Canada respectfully requests His Excellency the Governor General to present to Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth through Their Majesties the King and Queen expressions of congratulation and best wishes upon the occasion of her eighteenth birthday.

"The members of The Empire Club of Canada reaffirm their allegiance and devotion to the Crown and Person of the Sovereign, their humble duty and deep affection towards Her Majesty and acknowledge with highest admiration the noble example of Their majesties in these troublous times, representing as it does all that is finest and most glorious in British history and tradition."

We have since received the following acknowledgment from the Department of the Secretary of State

"Ottawa, April 21, 1944.

"I duly received your telegram of the 20th instant conveying, on behalf of The Empire Club of Canada, a message of congratulation to Her Royal Highless, the Princess Elizabeth, and of loyalty to Their Majesties, the King and Queen, on the occasion of the birthday of Her Royal Highness.

"In accordance with your request, the text of this message has been brought to the attention of the appropriate authorities.

(Signed) E. H. Coleman, Under-Secretary of State."

Besides Mr. Conquergood now being President-Elect, today, I believe, is his birthday--so we present him with a sort of birthday present, in the form of the Presidency. Mr. Conquergood

MR. C. R. CONQUERGOOD: Gentlemen: I think you will probably admit this Club has, as your Past President has said, an important duty. No man could, I think, assume the Presidency of this Club unless he were conscious of its responsibilities, particularly in these important times. I want to say that I could not assume the Presidency were it not for this duty, and for the fine Executive who will serve with me. I hope we will have the assistance and support of every member of the Club. I know you would wish me, on your behalf, to tender our most hearty thanks to Mr. W. Eason Humphreys, who has so successfully guided the affairs of this season.

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A Closer Empire Unity

Uniting the democracies in time to prevent what they have twice within a generation been united only in time to repair. The speaker's statement: "In the interests of world peace, we need to draw more firmly the bonds of the British Empire, and we can do so—if we will—without impairing in the least degree Dominion self-government in any sense in which Dominion self-government is valuable." An exposition and illustration of this thesis follows. The recent demonstration of Commonwealth unity, and why we are amazed at it. Learning lessons from both world wars: a look back. How the Empire was stimulated once again to rally. The speaker's plea for a new Empire method by which sinister myths of our incoherence will be made harder to impose even upon wishful enemy thinkers. Objections to the proposal of a unified Commonwealth policy in foreign affairs, and counter arguments. A summary question: "Are we satisfied to preserve the studiously undefined mutual relationship of Dominions and Mother Country on foreign policy which we have hitherto known? Or has experience of two terrific emergencies suggested improvement that may help to prevent a possible third?" A discussion of this question follows.