1952 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Economic Conference

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1952 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Economic Conference
Host country  United Kingdom
Dates 28 November12 December 1952
Cities London
Participants 8
Chair Winston Churchill
(Prime Minister)
Follows 1951
Precedes 1953
Key points

The 1952 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Economic Conference was an emergency Meeting of the Heads of Government of the British Commonwealth. It was called by the British government of Sir Winston Churchill and held in the United Kingdom in December 1952 as a follow-up to a Commonwealth Finance Minister's conference held in January 1952. The conference was held in the context of British economic and military decline and the United States' surging role in the world.[1]

The principal topic of the conference was the convertibility and liquidity of Pound sterling into American dollars and British concerns that non-sterling Commonwealth countries were building up sterling balances for the purpose of conversion into American dollars, the future of the Pound sterling area, and the alleviation of Commonwealth trade restrictions and imperial preference, particularly in the light of the surging American economy and the desire of Commonwealth countries such as Australia for American investment in order for economic development to occur against British concerns that American economic dominance threatened Britain's economic position. This discussion was necessary as the Commonwealth, with the exception of Canada, had a common pool of gold and dollar reserves.[2] Little was accomplished in the economic discussion with the final communique being described as an "agreement in platitudes".[1]

British concerns at being excluded from the ANZUS military treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States were also a topic and were addressed by a communique issued by the prime ministers supporting Britain's demand for a voice in ANZUS.[3]

In addition, Commonwealth prime ministers, after months of discussion on whether the newly ascended Queen Elizabeth II should have a uniform Royal Styles and Titles throughout the Commonwealth or whether realms should adopt their own styles and titles, it was agreed that each member of the Commonwealth "should use for its own purposes a form of the Royal Style and Titles which suits its own particular circumstances but retains a substantial element which is common to all"[4][5] and agreed to pass appropriate legislation in their respective parliaments. The prime ministers also agreed to proclaim the new Queen, Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth in succession of her late father, George VI.[4]


Nation Name Portfolio
 United Kingdom Winston Churchill Prime Minister (Chairman)
 Australia Robert Menzies Prime Minister
 Ceylon Dudley Senanayake Prime Minister
 India Sir Chintaman Deshmukh Finance Minister
 New Zealand Sidney Holland Prime Minister
 Pakistan Sir Khawaja Nazimuddin Prime Minister
 Southern Rhodesia Sir Godfrey Huggins Prime Minister
South Africa South Africa Nicolaas Havenga Finance Minister



  1. ^ a b Ismail, M. (1 January 1953). "COMMONWEALTH ECONOMIC CONFERENCE". Pakistan Horizon. 6 (1): 36–40. doi:10.2307/41392562 (inactive 2018-08-27). JSTOR 41392562.
  2. ^ "17 Dec 1952 – COMMONWEALTH ECONOMIC PROGRESS Sterling Plans Ma." nla.gov.au.
  3. ^ Saskatoon Star-Phoenix.
  4. ^ a b Twomey, Anne (2006). The Chameleon Crown. ISBN 978-1-86287-629-3.
  5. ^ Coates, Colin Macmillan (2006). Majesty in Canada. ISBN 978-1-55002-586-6.
  6. ^ "1952: Queen Elizabeth II stands with seven Commonwealth premiers and two finance ministers during the Economies Conference in London". Flickr – Photo Sharing!.