HC Deb 22 February 1917 vol 90 cc1454-5
48 and 49. Mr. LYNCH

asked the Prime Minister (l) whether, in view of the approaching Conference with representatives of the Dominions, he will discourage in all official documents the use of the terms Empire and Imperial as being improper in point of fact and contrary to the spirit of free institutions in self-governing States; and (2) whether he will take advantage of the presence in London of the representatives of the Dominions to set up a small committee, including delegates from the Dominions, in order to consider the objections to the use of the word Empire in official documents on account of its associations in history, and its present implication, according to German usage, of military domination, and to suggest in place of Empire a term which shall apply to the community of nations of which this country and the Dominions form part, and which shall be consistent with the freedom of development of each of the parts according to its destiny?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Bonar Law)

The answer to these questions is in the negative.


If the use of the word Empire, which is incorrect in fact, be not out of order, shall I be in order in using the word Republic, which is also incorrect in fact, at present; but which has a brighter future than the word Empire?


I do not know what term the hon. Member would use, but I am sure that his philological studies must have taught him that a word does not necessarily depend on the roots from which it originates, and the word Empire does not necessarily mean a military despotism.


Is His gracious Majesty the King an Emperor at all, except as to India?