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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33 No. 12. 5 August 1970

South Africa & NZ

South Africa & NZ

In response to Sir Keith Holyoake's statements to the press concerning the proposed United Kingdom arms agreement with South Africa, NZUSA President Paul Grocott has sent the following letter to the Prime Minister:

Dear Sir


New Zealanders will be relieved to know, following your statement to the press, that your Government has no intention of becoming a party to any arms agreement which the British Government might decide to make with South Africa.

To many of us some of your statements deploring apartheid in South Africa have seemed to lack substance, and I am happy to be reassured that at least on the subject of arms tales to South Africa the New Zealand Government has no intention of compromising its expressed principles.

I cannot, however, agree with your assessment of the British Government's role in this affair. Sir Alex Douglas-Home, the British Foreign Secretary, has tried to claim that his Government's interest in resuming arms sales to South Africa does not affect British opposition to apartheid in any way. In my mind a decision to resume arms sales to South Africa completely undermines any opposition to apartheid. Surely it must be understood by the British Government that to resume this close association with the South African Government is not only to provide Mr Vorster with the physical materials that prop up apartheid, but also strengthens South African morale against any liberalisation of their present repressive policies.

Hence I was extremely disappointed by the failure of the New Zealand Government to express strongly and clearly to the British Government exactly what our own views are on this particular matter. Regardless of how relevant you feel the British military interest in the Cape of Good Hope is. I am convinced that it is very important for New Zealand to join those Commonwealth voices who have condemned without qualification any suggestion that Britain might break the embargo on arms sales to South Africa.

I call upon you as Prime Minister, to declare as widely as possible New Zealand's opposition to arms sales with South Africa, to condemn the British Government's proposal to resume arms sales, and to inform the British Prime Minister of our stand on these issues.

Yours faithfully.

Paul Grocott