The second working session of the 32-nation Commonwealth Summit Conference in Ottawa o Friday (August 3rd) was dominated by efforts to agree on a declaration calling for an and to all nuclear atmospheric tests.
The second working session of the 32-nation Commonwealth Summit Conference in Ottawa o Friday (August 3rd) was dominated by efforts to agree on a declaration calling for an and to all nuclear atmospheric tests. The first drafts were proposed by New Zealand Prime Minister Norman Kirk and Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam condemned France for its current test series. But Mr. Edward Heath made it clear that Great Britain would not support the criticism of its new Common Market partner.
A special committee worked out a formula acceptable to all the delegates. It called on all powers, and in particular the nuclear powers, to negotiate a new treaty urgently that would and all nuclear testing in the atmosphere. It did not mention France.
The conference meetings are closed to the public and press. Delegates and official spokesmen reported that other topics raised on Friday concerned more economic aid for the poorer Commonwealth members.
Kenyan Vice-President Daniel Arap Moi called for a new development bank, which he said would not conflict with the existing African Development Bank. Nigerian Federal leader General Yakubu Gowon proposed an "Ottawa Plan" along the lines of the Colombo Plan for Southeast Asia.
There was general agreement that the mood of the conference showed a determination to avoid the kind of confrontation that marked the last Conference in Singapore. At that meeting in 1971, differences between Britain and the African countries over Rhodesia led many to believe the Commonwealth was on the verge of breaking up.
Presidents and prime ministers from sic continents, representing 900 million people, appeared determined that the present nine-day meeting give the Commonwealth a new world stature.
SYNOPSIS: The Commonwealth Summit Conference meeting in Ottawa for the second day was dominated by the issue of nuclear testing in the atmosphere. Though opinions were sharply divided among the 32 delegations, determination to avoid wrangling quickly produced a formula acceptable to all.
The only note of discord at the opening day ceremonies was a small crowd of demonstrators protesting against General Amin's expulsion of Asians from Uganda, and calling on Commonwealth members to "condemn General Amin's racialism." Uganda's High Commissioner in Canada represented his country at the opening session. Later, Acting Foreign Minister, Mr. P.O. Etiang, arrived as the personal envoy of President Idi Amin, who cabled the conference that the pressure of home affairs kept him from attending. He had originally requested Queen Elizabeth to provide a 'plene and an escort of Sots Guards to take him to the conference.
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau of Canada, host for the nine-day conference, greeting Chief Leabua Jonathan, Prime Minister of Lesotho, shook hands with each of the delegates, who arrived i alphabetical order, beginning with Australia and ending with Zambia.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Prime Minster of Bangladesh, came to the conference as one of the Commonwealth's news at members, only the Bahamee, which became independent last month, joined more recently.
Ghana was represented by Brigadier N.Y.R. Ashley-Lesson, Chief of his country's Defence Staff and a member of the National Redemption Council.
Vice-President and Home Affairs Minister of Kenya, Mr. Daniel Arap Moi, called on the conference to establish a new development bank offering low interest loans to Commonwealth members.
General Yakubu Gowon, Head of Nigeria's Federal Government, proposed an "Ottawa Plan" similar to the Colombo Plan for Southeast Asia.
The general atmosphere of the conference was one of compromise. Delegates repeatedly expressed the need to give it new meaning and strength. Prime Minister Trudeau is said to have added a refreshing informality.
Delegates from Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, and Zambia welcomed, along with most delegations, the call by British Prime Minister Edward Heath for the Commonwealth to play a more active role in preventing local wars and achieving economic cooperation.
Disagreement over a call by New Zealand an Australia to condemn French nuclear testing appeared likely to divide the conference at the outset. Britain refused to criticise its new Common market partner. But a special committee was appointed and, by the end of the second day, worked out an anti-nuclear test declaration acceptable to all, proof of a general determination to avoid divisive squabbling.