Hong Kong Letters Patent 1939

Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm bearing date the twenty-ninth day of June One thousand nine hundred and thirty-nine  (1939) 
Government of the United Kingdom

Issued by King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 29th June 1939, and proclaimed by Governor Sir Geoffry Alexander Stafford Northcote on 2nd September, 1939, the Hong Kong Letters Patent 1939 further amended the Hong Kong Letters Patent 1917.

GEORGE THE SIXTH, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India.

To all to whom these Presents shall some, Greeting!

WHEREAS by certain Letters Patent under the Great Seal, bearing date at Westminster of the Fourteenth day of February, 1917 (hereinafter referred to as “the Letters Patent of 1917”), as amended by Letters Patent bearing date the Thirtieth day of April, 1938, the office of Governor and Commander-in-Chief in and over Our Colony of Hong Kong and its Dependencies is constituted:

AND WHEREAS We are minded to amend the Letters Patent of 1917 in the manner following:

NOW KNOW YE that We do hereby declare Our will and pleasure as follows :-

I. Article XVII of the Letters Patent of 1917, is hereby revoked, and the following Articles are substituted therefor :-

“XVII. Whenever the office of Governor is vacant, or the Governor is absent from the Colony, or is from any cause prevented from, or incapable of, acting in the duties of his office, then such person as may be appointed under the Royal Sign Manual and Signet, or, if there shall be no such person or the person so appointed shall be absent from the Colony or prevented from, or incapable of, acting as aforesaid, then the person lawfully discharging the functions of Colonial Secretary, or if there shall be no person discharging such functions, then the senior member of the Executive Council actually present in the Colony, shall, during Our pleasure administer the Government of the Colony, first taking the Oath hereinbefore directed to be taken by the Governor and in the manner herein prescribed; which being done, We do hereby authorise, empower, and command such person, to do and execute, during Our pleasure, all things that belong to the office of Governor and Commander-in-Chief, as provided in these Our Letters Patent: Provided that the Governor or the person appointed as aforesaid, when visiting any neighbouring territories in the exercise or discharge of any powers or duties by these Letters Patent or otherwise conferred or imposed upon him by Us, or through one of Our Principal Secretaries of State, shall not be regarded as absent from the Colony for the purposes of this Article.” “Any such person as aforesaid shall not continue to administer the Government after the Governor or some other person having a prior right to administer the same has notified that he is about to assume the administration.”

“XVII.A. In the event of the Governor having occasion at any time to be temporarily absent for a short period from the seat of Government, or, in the exercise or discharge of any powers or duties by these Letters Patent or otherwise conferred or imposed upon him by Us, or through one of Our Principal Secretaries of State, to visit any neighbouring territories, he may by an Instrument under the Public Seal of the Colony appoint any person or persons to be his Deputy or Deputies within the Colony or any part or parts thereof during his absence from the seat of Government or from the Colony, as the case may be, and in that capacity to exercise, perform and execute for any on behalf of the Governor during such absence, but no longer, all such powers and authorities by these Letters Patent or otherwise vested in the Governor as shall in and by such Instrument be specified and limited, but no others. Every such Deputy shall conform to and observe all such Instructions as the Governor shall from time to time address to him for his guidance. By the appointment of a Deputy or Deputies as aforesaid the power and authority of the Governor shall not be abridged, altered, or in any way affected otherwise than We may at any time hereafter think proper to direct.”

II. We do hereby reserve to Ourselves, Our heirs and successors, full power and authority from time to time to revoke, alter, or amend these Our Letters Patent as to Us of them may seem fit.

III. And We do direct and enjoin that these Our Letters Patent shall come into operation on a date to be fixed by the Governor by Proclamation in the Hong Kong Government Gazette, and shall be published in the said Gazette, and shall be read and proclaimed at such place or places within the Colony as the Governor may think fit.

In Witness whereof We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent.

Witness Ourself at Westminster this twenty-ninth day of June, 1939, in the Third year of Our Reign.

BY WARRANT under The King’s Sign Manual.

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