HC Deb 26 August 1907 vol 182 cc154-6
* MR. REES (Montgomery Boroughs)

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can give any information, before the House rises, regarding the constitution of the Imperial Secretariat, the creation of which was decided upon at the Imperial Conference.


At the Imperial Conference the Secretary of State indicated his willingness, first, so to separate the departments of the Colonial Office that there will be a distinct division dealing with the affairs of the Colonies possessing responsible government; and, secondly, to appoint a member of the Colonial Office to be Permanent Secretary to the Conference, so as to focus all business connected with it. The Secretary of State has made a statement in another place which sets forth the arrangements which are being made to constitute a separate division of the Office to deal with the self-governing Colonies and Protectorates or Possessions geographically connected with them. Mr. C. P. Lucas, the Senior Assistant Under-Secretary of State, will be head of that division, and Mr. H. W. Just, an Assistant Under-Secretary of State, who held the position of joint secretary to the last Conference, and has a special knowledge of South African affairs, having visited that country with a former Secretary of State for the Colonies, will be Permanent Secretary to the Conference. A despatch explaining these arrangements in detail will be addressed to the Governors of the self-governing Colonies and will be laid on the Table.

In reply to a further Question,


There will be two main departments—the Colonial Department and the Dominions Department. The latter will have the responsibility of the self-governing Colonies and the Possessions geographically associated with them. The Protectorates will be under the Colonial Department.

MR. LYTTELTON (St. George's, Hanover Square)

Will the position of Mr. Just, the secretary to the Conference, be in the Dominions Department?


Yes, Sir; it will be in association with the Dominions Department, but it is an extra feature of the Dominions Department. It is that portion of the Dominions Department which will be charged with the duty of preserving the link between Conference and Conference.


Does this leave the Crown Agents' position as before?


There will be no alteration there.