British Prime Minister, Edward Heath, said today he believed the heads of government with whom he had discussed the question of Britain's resuming arms sales to South Africa, recognised the reasons why it was necessary to maintain the Simonstown Agreement.
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 2: HEATH: "As far as the discussions with other heads of government here are concerned, and in London, then a number of things have emerged. They have all agreed that there is nothing racial about this policy. We, as a government, are opposed to apartheid. It was a Conservative Prime Minister, Mr. Macmillan, who went to South Africa himself, made the "wind of change" speech and announced our policy as being opposed to apartheid. There's no change there and this has been acknowledged by all the heads of government whom I've spoken. I think too, that what has emerged is that they do recognise the reasons why we think it is necessary to maintain the Simonstown Agreement and to have naval manoeuvres with the South African forces which have been going on under the Labour Government just as much as under us, and that we are responsible for decisions about our own defence interests in the Indian Ocean, that has also emerged very clearly."
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Background: British Prime Minister, Edward Heath, said today he believed the heads of government with whom he had discussed the question of Britain's resuming arms sales to South Africa, recognised the reasons why it was necessary to maintain the Simonstown Agreement.
The 1955 accord with South Africa provides for Anglo-South African defence of the sea lanes around the Cape of Good Hope. Mr. Heath told a press conference it had "emerged very clearly" from his talks on the arms sales question that Britain was responsible for decisions about her own defence interests in the Indian Ocean.