j The London 'Times' the other day, with I a resounding journalisj Imperial Affairs: tic shot which missed j An Inopportune th.- bull's-eye of the oc- ! Prcpcsa", casion (it occasionally ] misses), suggested that ! to hold ;m Imperial Conference of reprej sentative statesmen of the Empire this I year, as orisinally .arranged, would "set j ••the seal on a unity which the Umpire ] '"has already so remarkably demonstrated, j' J ancl show the world that the British "people, in tho midst of war, can prepare " themselves for new works of peace." The sentiment in the suggestion is admirable, but the proposal in itself is, in. our judgment, both inopportune and impracticable in the present circumstances. The people of the Oversea Dominions anticipate some- ! thing more direct and definite from the | next Imperial Conference than " setting the seal" on Imperial Unity, which has been sealed effectively, surely, with blood ■ and ready service. Apart from various I political and economical differences which exist, and must continue to exist, as between the "Mother Country and her farflung countries, the ideals, aims, and spirit of all are identical, and constitute, as Mr Asquith remarked at a luncheon to Dominion M.P.s at Hampton Court in 1911, "the abiding safeguard of our Empire." | In that oneness of purpose, and spirit of j affectionate loyalty, there is the seal of Imperial Unity, and it is quite unnecessary to gather together in London from the "ends of the earth and its centre" a nnmber of administrative representatives from the Dominions and colonics of the King for a purpose little greater than to impress baffled Cermans with the Imperialistic Unity of their best-hated combatants. Let the unity be demonstrated and sealed nearer llerlin than London, and with j action rather than with academical talk j about sympathetic co-operation, freedom, I loyalty, unity, and all the inspiriting features of true British Imperialism. It is obvious that if tho war drags on till, say, the end of the European autumn (though wo are pessimistic in that relation), it would be impossible to hold r.n Imperial Conference this year that would prove as effective and as far-reaching as the unique circumstances of the period demand from Imperial statesmen. On the occasion of the latest Imperial Conference the discussions and decisions, more or less tentative and experimental, merely served to indicate the vast scope and great clamant need for Imperial co-opeiation and close association. Since then astounding events have widened and intensified that scope and need. The vital questions that now require deliberate consideration by Imperial and colonial statesmen are so numerous, so varied, and, in several instances, so delicate in character and so difficult of wise and dependable adjustment that it would be futile to hold a deliberative Conference at a time when leading minds could not be free from the distracting influences of war. It would be easy to cite a formidable list of teasing problems that shall spring out of this tremendous clash of nations, but one alone will serve to open minds to a view of the ddigaie situations invplYe&H&e attitude.
of British communities overseas to the j King's colored subjects and Allies in the East, whoso loyalty and splendid, unmeasured service to the Empire during this critical period have proved that the hue of a man does not affect his conception of high duty, his ideals, and his patriotism. The question of colonial restrictions against colored pubjeots of the Empire will have to be faced squarely and honestly, and many folk whoso "color" is their only claim to certain privileges will need to remodel their views of the just rights of more colored citizens of the Umpire. It is necessary also to recognise and support adequately the beneficial alliance between Japan and the United Kingdom, which is accepted by the Imperial authorities as an integral part of Great Britain's international policy in the East, and as a, mutual insurance of common interests. The tendency in certain oversea communities, which are familiar to u.s all, to accept the. advantages of Imperial Unity and reject almost harshly tho inevitable disadvantages must in future be checked and j finally smothered. These are but a few I en the delicate questions awaiting the deliberation of the next Imperial Conference. .Most people will agree that such problems cannot- bo considered adequately during the progress of a war involving the interests and sacrifices of widely-different peoples of our Great Empire. Tho Hon. .}. -Alien has discussed the question with a saneness and a. penetrative I insieht rather rare in colonial poliiici-nis. ITo a Press interviewer the Minister <>t Defence pointed out- very clearly that I "the war is daily teaching every part of ("the Empire lessons that each part has ! "to, learn, and that a Conference will be "of more value when several of these "lessons have been absorbed." This reveals, the position in true perspective. Mr Allen states further that The lessons of this war may teach us to come to very different conclusions as to the composition of the local units to those wo held before the war broke out. A gathering together of all these will be splendid'material for the next Imperial Conference to build its newwork on, and I sincerely hope that the edifice erected may be one that will prove the solidarity of the Empire and the wisdom of the various representatives who meet to consider the grave issues that lie before us. For my own part I do not believe our minds are- in a proper condition, under the unusual circumstances now prevailing, to enter npon the consideration of the Imperial questions of the future. Tho most important thing required "from us now. when our fate is in the hands of those ureat statesmen whose home is the .Mother Country and who control for the time being- the destinies of the .Empire, is faith iii the controlling authority, trust in their judgment, ami a firm belief that they will act in the best interests of every constituent part- of the Empire. We cordially endorse- Mr Allen's opinions on a vitally important subject; and trustthat nothing will be done by the authorities this year in the direction of holding an Imperial Conference during the. progress of tiic war. It is to be hoped fervently that circumstances will favor tho holding of a Conference before 1916. but tho prospects are not very promising. When the Conference is held a givat- effort should be made by the New Zealand Parliament to send two representatives—tho Prime Minister and Minister of Defence. i irrespective of party or personality. There will bo many questions of serious importance to this Dominion to be. advanced effectively, and if circumstances are. at all favorable the two leading Ministers of tho Government of that time ought- to attend the Conference with carefully-pre-pared, clear-cut. suggestions. There will be time enough, .however, to discuss that phase of the representation. In the meantime, representative politicians throughout the Empire ought, to bend their energies towards assisting the Mother Country to vanquish a, stubborn and resourceful enemv.
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Evening Star, Evening Star, Issue 15694, 7 January 1915