Dominions Office and Commonwealth Relations Office fonds [textual record (chiefly microform)] [Great Britain]
Record Information – Brief1
Dominions Office and Commonwealth Relations Office fonds [textual record (chiefly microform)] [Great Britain]Hierarchical level:FondsDate:1926-1956.Reference:R10975-0-7-E, MG42-DOType of material:Textual materialFound in:Archives / Collections and FondsItem ID number:134215Context of this record:
Record Information – DetailsFonds includes:8 lower level description(s)View lower level description(s)Date(s):1926-1956.Place of creation:United KingdomExtent:865 microfilm reels.
2.5 cm of textual records photocopies.Language of material:EnglishScope and content:The fonds documents Canada's status as a dominion of the Commonwealth. It consists mainly of microfilmed copies of complete classes or selections from classes of records generated in the Dominions Office or its successor, the Commonwealth Relations Office. Where selections have been acquired, they relate generally or specifically to Canada. Where complete classes have been acquired, the resulting records relate to all parts of the British Empire and Commonwealth.
The fonds consists of records reflecting the three departments into which the Dominions Office was initially organized. Organized partly on topical and partly on geographical lines, they dealt with foreign affairs, defence, consular and passport questions, telecommunications, censorship, prisoners of war, prize, honours and ceremonial matters; with Canada, the Irish Free State, Newfoundland, naturalization and merchant shipping; with the Commonwealth of Australia and the Australian states, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, settlement overseas, and Asiatic questions.
By 1938, the fonds reflects five departments, in which the geographical element had been reduced, including: (Dept. A): constitutional and nationality questions, Ireland, ceremonial and honours, civil aviation and establishments; (Dept. B): defence, imperial communications, broadcasting, bi-lateral non League of Nations conventions and the Arctic and Antarctic; (Dept. C): international questions of an economic nature, imperial economic relations, intra-imperial trade agreements and shipping; (Dept. D): Newfoundland, the British Phosphate Commission, Southern Rhodesia, territories in South Africa; (Dept. E): migration and miscellaneous questions. (The boundaries of these departments were altered during World War II.)Provenance:Additional name(s):Biography/Administrative history:Great Britain. Office of Commonwealth Relations : From 1801 to 1925, the Colonial Office was responsible for relations with all parts of Britain's Empire, except India and Burma, including the self-governing colonies, the Crown colonies and the protectorates. In 1925, however, the Dominions Division of the Colonial Office became an independent Dominions Office organized into three departments. As a result, the Colonial Office surrendered responsibility for the Dominions of the Empire (formerly self-governing colonies). As Canada had been identified as a Dominion in 1867, responsibility for relations with Canada was included in the Dominions Office. The Dominions Office became responsible not only for relations with Canada but also with Newfoundland (until it reverted to the status of a crown colony in 1933), Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Irish Free State (until it became a republic in 1949), and the South African High Commission. Following World War II and the breakup of the British Empire, the structure and functions of the Dominions Office and Colonial Office changed. In July 1947, the title of the Dominions Office was changed to Commonwealth Relations Office and the secretary of state for dominion affairs became secretary of state for Commonwealth relations. The following month, responsibility for relations with India and Pakistan, then becoming independent, was transferred to the Commonwealth Relations Office from the India Office, which was abolished. As more colonies became independent, the powers and responsibilities of the Colonial Office rapidly diminished and in August 1966, the Commonwealth Relations Office and the Colonial Office merged to form a single Commonwealth Office under a secretary of state for Commonwealth affairs. In 1968, the Office merged with the Foreign Office under the new name of Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Records of the Colonial and Dominions Offices, PRO Handbooks, No. 3, R.B. Pugh, London, HMSO, 1964.Finding aid:Additional information:General Note:Microfilm reels are available for consultation through the inter-institutional loan service offered by the National Archives of Canada. Information about our microfilm loan service may be found on the website of the Archives. Loans must be requested by institutions participating in the loan service on behalf of their patrons and must specify the microfilm reel numbers required.Citation/reference note:Thurston, Anne. Sources for Colonial Studies in the Public Record Office, Volume 1, Records of the Colonial Office, Dominions Office, Commonwealth Relations Office and Commonwealth Office. A revised and expanded version of Public Record Office Handbook No. 3: Records of the Colonial and Dominions Offices by R.B. Pugh. London: The Stationery Office, 1997. Provides information on the organization of the Dominions, Commonwealth Relations and Commonwealth Offices, 1925 to 1968, as well as information regarding the records of the Dominions Office, the Commonwealth Relations Office and Successor Offices, 1922 to 1968.Preferred citation note:National Archives of Canada, Manuscript Group 42.Location of originals note:The original documents are located at the Public Record Office, London, England.Dates of creation note:Microfilmed between 1948 and 1997. Photocopied in 1979.Subject heading:Source:Private
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