93 Report to Meeting of Prime Ministers
PMM(48) 14 LONDON, 19 October 1948
STATUS OF HIGH COMMISSIONERS
Report of the Committee of High Commissioners and Officials
We were invited by the Prime Ministers' Meeting to consider
certain questions in connection with the status of High
Commissioners  in the light of-
(a) a note by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom circulated
as P.M.M.48) 9 dated 13th October, 1948 ;
(b) the discussions in the Prime Ministers' Meeting on 18th
October (P.M.M.(48) 7th and 8th Meetings).
2. Our discussions were attended by the High Commissioners for
Australia, South Africa and Ceylon , and by representatives of
Canada (Mr. Pickersgill and Mr. Leger), Australia (Mr Oldham), New
Zealand (Mr. McIntosh), India (Sir Girja Bajpai) and Pakistan (Mr.
4. Summary of Recommendations
1 . High Commissioners should rank with Foreign Ambassadors for
purposes of precedence. (Section 3 (i)).
2. The practical application of this principle would be for each
Commonwealth Government to determine, but the maximum degree of
uniformity between Commonwealth Governments should be aimed at.
(Section 3 (i)).
3. The practice of treating High Commissioners and Ambassadors as
separate groups should be abandoned unless there are decisive
technical objections to doing so. (Section 3 (iii)).
4. While there are arguments for a Commonwealth representative
being able to become doyen of the Diplomatic Corps, there is no
objection, on the assumption that this is not pressed, to the
diplomatic doyen of the Diplomatic Corps continuing to take
precedence over other Ambassadors or High Commissioners. (Section
5. Subject to (4), Ambassadors and High Commissioners should take
precedence in strict order and date of appointment. (Section 3
6. Seniority of countries should be abandoned as a basis for
precedence of High Commissioners inter se. (Section 3 (V)).
7. It should be left to each Commonwealth Government to decide
whether High Commissioners should be styled 'Excellency'. (Section
8. Precedence of visiting Cabinet Ministers should be regulated as
in (6) of P.M.M. (48) 9 of 13th October.  (Section 3 (vii)).
9. It is not recommended that High Commissioners be accredited by
the King. The question of providing some form of credentials for
them should however be considered. (Section 3 (ix)).
10. Title. Strong objection was voiced by the majority of the
Committee to the term 'High Commissioner'. If, however, that title
was to be changed, the general sense of the majority was in favour
of 'Ambassador', despite the arguments against that style.
(Section 3 (viii))
Signed for the Committee
[AA:A6712, 4 COPY 1]