Commonwealth leaders went into secret talks today (Tuesday) to present their arguments on Britain's controversial proposal to sell maritime arms to South Africa.
Commonwealth leaders went into secret talks today (Tuesday) to present their arguments on Britain's controversial proposal to sell maritime arms to South Africa. The session was described as tense, but calm, with no tantrums, excitement or threats. The various leaders gave little indication how things were going when they emerged for their lunch-break.
President Nyerere of Tanzania was stopped by reporters as he left, but parried all searching questions:
Though the Africans were non-committal, it emerged later in the day that Britain's Mr. Heath had spoken for 25 minutes during the morning session. It was reported that Britain had produced a formula under which arms for South Africa would be on a "replace and maintain" basis, and that Britain was prepared to monitor their use to see they were not used to suppress Africans internally.
But it was not clear how far such arguments had gone to placating Mr. Heath's African opponents on the issue. Mr. Heath had a working-lunch with two of them, Presidents Nyerere and Kaunda. Then they returned for another round of discussions - informal talks, according to reports in which almost all the Commonwealth heads of delegations had their say.