Constitutional recognition of the essential independence of the dominions seemed to make them more loyal. The status acquired by the dominions with the Statute of Westminster in 1931 was symbolized by a change in terminology.
They were no longer to be considered parts of the British Empire, but free members of the British Commonwealth of Nations. In this new relationship, Britain would have to negotiate with the Commonwealth countries about tariffs, trade conditions, or immigration as with foreign countries.
Although Britain was unable to build a self-sufficient economic unity out of its dominions, still in 1939 the dominions all ultimately came into the war on Britain’s side. They made this decision independently, however, for they had the legal right to follow the example of Ireland and remain neutral. Transfer of power to the major dominions was complete.