One of the most critical conferences of Commonwealth heads of state opened today (Tuesday) in London -- and almost immediately delegates began discussing the Rhodesian situation which has so strained Commonwealth ties.
Demonstrators and arrival of leaders at Marlborough House.
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Background: One of the most critical conferences of Commonwealth heads of state opened today (Tuesday) in London -- and almost immediately delegates began discussing the Rhodesian situation which has so strained Commonwealth ties.
The meeting was formally opened this morning, and then adjourned for lunch.
The British Prime Minister, Mr. Wilson, had offered to stand down from chairmanship of the conference while discussions on Rhodesia were in progress. However, his officer was declined by other delegates.
The Malaysian Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, talking at the opening session, urged critics of the British government's policy on Rhodesia not to break up the Commonwealth because of the deadlock that had resulted over Rhodesia's illegal independence.
He said that all Commonwealth members must exercise restraint for the good of the Commonwealth and the peace of the world -- a direct reference, reports Reuter, to threats by some African nations to leave the Commonwealth over the Rhodesia issue.
If members of the Commonwealth wanted to vent their wrath they should vent it against Britain and not the Commonwealth, he said.
As delegations arrived at Marlborough House for the session this afternoon they were met by rival groups of demonstrators -- some supporting Rhodesia's illegal independence, and others opposing it.