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British Government Protocol respecting the New Hebrides: signed at London on August 6, 1914, by representatives of the British and French Governments [Ratification

  • AU PMB DOC 438
  • Collectie
  • 18 Mar 1922

The governments of the United Kingdom and France signed a protocol respecting the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) in 1914 and ratified it on 18 March 1922. The copy here is the ratified version. The protocol superseded the Anglo-French Convention of 1906 which had established the Condominium of the New Hebrides in that year. The protocol strengthened the provisions of the 1906 condominium. It allowed France and the UK to govern jointly in the New Hebrides and establish exclusive sovereignty over their own citizens, subjects and optants (people of another nationality who had to choose between the jurisdiction of France or the UK). Indigenous ni-Vanuatu were placed under the jurisdiction of the condominium. The protocol declared the archipelago a region of joint influence. It confirmed and enhanced the presence of joint services in the territory, including a postal system, courts, finance department and land registry. Other administrative functions such as education, the police and health were the responsibility of the two governments. In some cases there were triplications with the condominium. For example the protocol provided for a joint health service, but there were separate British and French hospitals, clinics and physicians. The distinction between French and British services and growing duplications with some condominium functions became more noticeable as the two governments increased their spending levels in the territory in the 1960s and 1970s. For all practical purposes the Protocol was a kind of constitution for the New Hebrides. It provided the French and British Resident Commissioners with a para-constitutional framework upon which to enact new laws by joint regulation. The protocol remained in place, despite modifications, until Vanuatu achieved independence on 30 July 1980.

The Protocol consists of 83 pages and 68 articles, complete with French and English translations.

British Government