CHAPTER IX.--A JOINT PLAN OF RECONSTRUCTION. (continued)
562. Our proposals, in brief,
are that it should be frankly recognised that it is impossible for the Island to
surmount unaided the unprecedented difficulties that now confront it, and that the
Newfoundland Government should make an immediate appeal for the sympathetic
co-operation of Your Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom in the execution
of a joint plan of reconstruction of which the following would be the main
suspension of the existing form of government until such time as the Island may
become self-supporting again.
(2) The creation of a special Commission of Government, which would be
presided over by the Governor, would be vested with full legislative and executive
authority, and would take the place of the existing Legislature and Executive
(3) 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.
(4) 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
(5) 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.
(6) 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.
563. 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.
564. It will thus be seen that
the plan of reconstruction which we desire to recommend is of twofold character,
constitutional and financial. The two parts of the plan hang together; neither
separately would achieve the purpose in view, nor could we recommend that either
part should be adopted without the other.
565. It is fully present to our
minds that, in view of Newfoundland's status as a Dominion, neither part of the
plan can be put into effect except on the initiative of the Newfoundland Government
and Legislature. We feel confident, however, that the Newfoundland Government and
Legislature, which have already given proof, both individually and collectively, of
their anxiety to serve only the best interests of the country will not hesitate to
give their approval to, and to collaborate in the speedy adoption of, measures
which impartial examination has shown to be best calculated to repair the fortunes
of the Island.
Our subsidiary recommendations will be outlined in the following