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Substantive Equality, Late 1940Searly 1950S

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Chapter Summary

The 1948 Prime Ministers’ Meeting was the key event in the survival of the office of high commissioner. Moreover, at this period (1950) three steps were taken to place high commissioners in the same position as ambassadors. In the first place, arrangements were made for them always to bear letters of accreditation of one kind or another. Second, each Commonwealth member took the action which was necessary for high commissioners to enjoy diplomatic immunity within her jurisdiction. Added to the 1948 agreement regarding equal status, these developments resulted in high commissioners gaining substantive equality with ambassadors, which dissolved much of the antagonism which had been felt in some quarters towards their title. Thus, in the ‘new’ Commonwealth which had been importantly symbolised by republican India’s continued membership, the grave post-War threat to the office of high commissioner had, at least for the time being, been diverted.

Keywords: commonwealth; diplomatic corps; diplomatic immunity; office of high commissioner; republican India; substantive equality



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