CHAPTER XI.--SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS.
A. Main Recommendations.
634.--(1) The requirements of
the Island are two-fold, financial and political. Newfoundland is in extreme
financial difficulties; the present burden of the public debt is wholly beyond the
country's capacity and it is essential that it should be lightened if the Island is
to be saved from the imminent peril of financial collapse. (As regards the
financial position, see summary of conclusions in paragraph 195.)
(2) On the other hand, measures designed to alleviate the present
burden of public indebtedness would not, in themselves, provide a solution of the
Island's difficulties, since those difficulties are largely due to the reckless
waste and extravagance, and to the absence of constructive and efficient
administration, engendered by a political system which for a generation has been
abused and exploited for personal or party ends. A complementary requirement,
therefore, to measures of financial relief is that the present form of government
should be temporarily modified in such a way as would serve not merely to check the
unfortunate tendencies to which the present system has given rise but also to
promote the rehabilitation of the Island on sound principles (paragraph 545).
(3) It is essential, if this object is to be achieved, that the country
should be given a rest from party politics for a period of years, and we have no
hesitation in saying that, in the circumstances now prevailing in Newfoundland, the
proposal that a system of "Commission by Government" should be established for a
limited period affords the best means of enabling the Island to make a speedy and
effective recovery from its present difficulties (paragraph 557).
(4) We therefore recommend that the Newfoundland Government,
recognising that it is impossible for the Island to surmount unaided the
unprecedented difficulties that now confront it, should make an immediate appeal
for the sympathetic co-operation of Your Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom
in the adoption and execution of a joint plan of reconstruction, of which the
following would be the main features:--
existing form of government would be suspended until such time as the Island may
(b) A special Commission of Government would be created which
would be presided over by His Excellency the Governor, would be vested with full
legislative and executive authority, and would take the place of the existing
Legislature and Executive Council.
(c) The Commission of Government would be composed of six
members, exclusive of the Governor, three of whom would be drawn from Newfoundland
and three from the United Kingdom.
(d) The Government Departments in the Island would be divided
into six groups. Each group would be placed in the charge of a Member of the
Commission of Government, who would be responsible for the efficient working of the
Departments in the group, and the Commission would be collectively responsible for
the several Departments.
(e) The proceedings of the Commission of Government would be
subject to supervisory control by Your Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom,
and the Governor-in-Commission would be responsible to the Secretary of State for
Dominion Affairs in the United Kingdom for the good government of the Island.
(f) Your Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom would, for
their part, assume general responsibility for the finances of the Island until such
time as it may become self-supporting again, and would, in particular, make such
arrangements as may be deemed just and practicable with a view to securing to
Newfoundland a reduction in the present burden of the public debt.
(g) It would be understood that, as soon as the Island's
difficulties are overcome and the country is again self-supporting, responsible
government, on request from the people of Newfoundland, would be restored.
(h) The appropriate procedure for bringing a joint plan of
this character into operation would, we suggest, be the submission of an Address to
Your Majesty by both Houses of the Newfoundland Parliament, followed by legislation
in the United Kingdom.
For details of our proposals,
reference is invited to paragraphs 558-561.