Story: Self-government and independence

New Zealand in the League of Nations

New Zealand in the League of Nations

Under the first Labour government New Zealand took an independent line in the League of Nations. For instance, when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935 the league imposed economic sanctions against Italy, but these were lifted in 1936 when Italy threatened to go to war over the matter. New Zealand opposed the lifting of sanctions and the league's decision not to challenge Italian aggression, which put New Zealand at odds with Britain's position. The government justified its stance by saying New Zealand was a sovereign country and did not always have to support Britain.

In October 1936 New Zealand was elected to a three-year term of office on the League Council and in 1938 New Zealand's representative to the league, William Jordon, served as its president. This shows Jordon chairing a session of the council.

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United Nations Office at Geneva Library, League of Nations Archives

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How to cite this page:

W. David McIntyre, 'Self-government and independence - Statute of Westminster', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 3 June 2020)

Story by W. David McIntyre, published 20 Jun 2012