The British Foreign Secretary, Sir Alec Douglas Home announced today (Monday) that Britain was ready to resume arms sales to South Africa.
The British Foreign Secretary, Sir Alec Douglas Home announced today (Monday) that Britain was ready to resume arms sales to South Africa. The announcement was expected to cause considerable reaction in Britain as well as in African and other Commonwealth countries and at the United Nations.
Sir Alec made it quite clear, however, that no arms would be sold which could be used for the South African Republic's apartheid policy or for internal repression. He said the resumption of arms sales would be restricted to the purposes of the 1955 Simonstown naval base agreement. This deals with categories of arms related to maritime defence and the security of sea routes.
Nine Commonwealth countries and many African states are totally opposed to the arms for South Africa policy, and Tanzania has said it will withdraw from the Commonwealth if negotiations are resumed.
All arms sales to South Africa were banned by the former Labour Government of Mr. Harold Wilson in 1964 in response to United Nations resolutions. tonight (Monday) Britain appealed for an immediate hearing in the United Nations Security Council to explain her policy. The British Ambassador, Mr. Frederick Warner, assured the council that no final decision had been taken and that consultation with all interested Government was continuing.
In London, the Foreign Office was among public buildings and private houses daubed with slogans condemning the sale of arms to South Africa.
SYNOPSIS: Among British firms which might be expected to supply arms to South Africa if the Conservative Government's policy to resume sales is implemented -- Vosper Thorneycroft at Southampton.
This firm specialises in the construction of fast patrol boats and light warships. These frigates are armed with sea to sea missiles and anti-aircraft mortars as well as other gun batteries.
British Foreign Secretary, Sir Alec Douglas Home, announced the Government's readiness to resume arms sales, banned by the Labour Government in 1964 in response to United Nations resolutions. The statement provoked widespread reaction throughout Britain, the Commonwealth, and in particular among African states. In London, public buildings and private houses were daubed with slogans condemning the arms for South Africa policy.