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74 High Commission in London to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 1675 LONDON, 27 April 1949, 2.25 p.m.

My immediately preceding telegram. Approved text of final


During the past week, the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom,
Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan and Ceylon,
and the Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs have met
in London to exchange views upon the important constitutional
issues arising from India's decision to adopt a Republican form of
Constitution and her desire to continue her membership of the

The discussions have been concerned with the effects of such a
development upon the existing structure of the Commonwealth and
the constitutional relations between its members. They have been
conducted in an atmosphere of goodwill and mutual understanding
and have had as their historical background the traditional
capacity of the Commonwealth to strengthen its unity of purpose
while adapting its organisation and procedures to changing

After full discussion, the representatives of the Governments of
all the Commonwealth countries have agreed that the conclusions
should be placed on record in the following declaration:

'The Governments of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New
Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan and Ceylon, whose countries
are united as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations and
owe a common allegiance to the Crown
which is also the symbol of their free association, have
considered the impending constitutional changes in India.

The Government of India have informed the other Governments of the
Commonwealth of the intention of the Indian people, that under the
new constitution, which is about to be adopted, India shall become
a sovereign independent Republic. The Government of India have,
however declared and affirmed India's desire to continue her full
membership of the Commonwealth of Nations and her acceptance of
the King as the symbol of the free association of its independent
member nations and as such the head of the Commonwealth.

The Governments of the other countries of the Commonwealth, the
basis of whose membership of the Commonwealth is not hereby
changed, accept and recognise India's continuing membership in
accordance with the terms of this declaration.

Accordingly, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
South Africa, India, Pakistan and Ceylon hereby declare that they
remain united as free and equal members of the Commonwealth of
Nations, freely co-operating in the pursuit of peace, liberty and
These constitutional questions have been the sole subject of
discussion at the full meetings of the Prime Ministers. ENDS.

[AA: 1838/283, TS899/6/1, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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