The Commonwealth has a vital role to play in the World problems of the next decade, said the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Mr.
GV Arnold Smith talks to reporter
CU Smith (SOF)
TRANSCRIPT (SEQ 2)
QUESTION: "You say in report that the Commonwealth will be under strain in the next ten years. Do think there will be any Commonwealth at all after the Singapore Conference?
ANSWER: I think the Commonwealth will become increasingly important, unless of course there's a great failure of statesmanship. The major problems of world politics, for the next couple of decades at ??? least, are going to the be between the relations of people of different nations, between the rich countries and the developing countries, this problem of development, and the dangers of continental isolationism. Now the very shape of the Commonwealth makes it particularly relevant to dealing with some of these problems. But of course they involve strains.
QUESTIONS: At the moment you're got the row of arms to South Africa and the threat to expel Britain from the Commonwealth and of other countries to leave it. Can the commonwealth wether this storm?
ANSWER: Unless there's a serious failure of statesmanship I think the Commonwealth could come out stronger. I think an association such as this should be seen as an instrument to be used, to help shape the future, and of course the object of foreign policy is to help shape developments outside your own borders. Consultations can help to avoid making mistake.
QUESTION: So are you optimistic about Singapore?
ANSWER: Well, I don't feel complacent about it, only a fool would be complacent, but I'm not gloomy, I think there's a opportunity for an advance. I think whether the opportunity will be taken depends on the heads of governments."
Initials MF/BOB/SGM/0152 MF/BOB/SGM/0159
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Background: The Commonwealth has a vital role to play in the World problems of the next decade, said the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Mr. Arnold Smith, in a press interview on Thursday (31 December) on next month's meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of State. Whether the Commonwealth actually fulfils this role, he said depends on the Heads of State.
Mr. Smith answered questions on the stresses threatening the Commonwealth.