The commonwealth Conference in Singapore has drawn to a close with no serous break-up in the organisation over the question of South African arms.
GV Guards marching and flags being lowered (2 shots)
SCU Commonwealth Secretary-General Arnold Smith speaks (SOUND ON FILM)
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 2: SMITH: "Heads of government considered the factors affecting the security of maritime trade routes in the South Atlantic and Indian oceans, which are of vital importance for a large number of Commonwealth countries. They decided to set up a study group consisting of representatives of Australia, Britain, Canada, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia and Nigeria, with instruction to consider the question further, and to report to them and to the Secretary-General as soon as possible."
REPORTER: "Was there any commitment on British arms?"
SMITH: "When the statement, the agreement reached in restricted session, was read out in the plenary, which was re-convened as you know at about 5.30, Mr. Heath, made the following statement which he has asked me to release to you. "In agreeing to participate in this study, the British Prime Minister did so on the following basis: 1. That the British Government, while taking full account of the views expressed by other members of the Commonwealth, retains its right to take such action as it considers necessary to give effect to its global defence policy, in which the facilities of Simonstown constitute an important element. 2. The british Government is bound, f requested, to carry out its legal obligations to the South African Government under the Simonstown Agreements, on which the availability of these facilities, depends. The nature and extent of these facilities were explained to the Conference."
Initials CM/PN/OS/133 CM/PN/OS/149
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Background: The commonwealth Conference in Singapore has drawn to a close with no serous break-up in the organisation over the question of South African arms.
In the meantime Commonwealth leaders, meeting in secret, have agreed to set up an eight-nation committee to study and report back on the arms question.
But as Commonwealth Secretary-General Mr. Arnold Smith said, Britain's Prime Minister MR. Heath has agreed to take part only on the now familiar condition that Britain, which intends to sell arms to South Africa, retains her right to take whatever action she considers necessary for her own security.
Mr. Smith also announced that South Africa has given an undertaking that it will not use "maritime arms" for other purposes, and Mr. Heath has pledged that if South Africa does, then Britain will sell her no more arms.
Mr. Smith talked to reporters outside the Conference building in Singapore.