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Commonwealth Conference on Development
November 7th Conference of Commonwealth Statisticians New Delhi
THE COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT
HE Commonwealth Secretariat was established by the Commonwealth Prime Ministers at their Meeting in London in June 1965 (see pages 25-31 of the Commonwealth Relations Office Year Book, 1966). The following is a list of the senior officers of the Secretariat:
Geoffrey Wilson, KCB, CMG Deputy Secretary-General
Arnold C. Smith
There was no Heads of Government Meeting in 1970, but during the early part of the year, the Secretary-General undertook soundings among Governments, which culminated in an agreement that the next Meeting would be held in Singapore in January 1971.
The reappointment of the Secretary-General for a further five years was also announced. The announcement was made in March by Tunku Abdul Rahman, Prime Minister of Malaysia, who announced that following consultations with other Heads of Governments, he had been authorized "to announce a clear consensus in favour of offering Mr Arnold Smith a further term as Commonwealth Secretary-General". Mr Smith accepted the offer of re-appointment.
The Secretariat organised and serviced a number of functional meetings such as a Conference in Ghana on Education in Rural Areas in February, and a Seminar for senior diplomats from Commonwealth countries on the changing patterns in the organisation and conduct of foreign policy. This seminar was held in Singapore in March, and was the first of its kind to be held outside London. The timing of the seminar was important as many Commonwealth Governments are now giving active consideration to priorities in the organisation and tasks of overseas representation.
The Secretariat also organised and serviced the Meetings of Finance Officials and Ministers in Cyprus in September. At the same time, there was also a review of the Commonwealth Programme for Technical Cooperation which has now been in operation for two years. The Programme first tried to meet the planning rather than the operational needs of Governments, and has also introduced third country financing of experts as a means of tapping additional manpower needs of developing countries.
During the year work was completed on a report, for presentation at the 1971 Heads of Government Meeting, containing proposals for a Commonwealth Information Programme.
As a result of the first Commonwealth African Regional Youth Seminar which was held in Nairobi in November 1969, the Secretariat published a book "Youth
and Development in Africa" in April 1970. This book embodies the thinking and experience in Youth organisation and training in many countries, and is not limited to the problems of African developing countries. As follow-up to the Nairobi Seminar, the Secretariat organised a Caribbean Regional Youth Seminar in Trinidad in August.
The Secretariat also provided an officer to head the team servicing the Commission set up by the Governments of the United Kingdom and St Kitts-NevisAnguilla to consider the causes of the situation in Anguilla and to make recommendations that may lead to a satisfactory and durable solution. The Commission assembled in Antigua on 30th January, and completed its report in July 1970. During the course of the year, the Secretary General, as part of his normal process of consultation with member countries, paid a number of official visits to Commonwealth countries where he had talks with Prime Ministers and Officials on matters affecting Commonwealth cooperation. He visited India, Malaysia and Singapore in February-March, and Cyprus in April. He also visited Australia where he addressed the Canberra meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in October.
A budget of £650,095 was approved by Commonwealth Governments for 1970/1971. The scale of contributions is:
T the Commonwealth Economic Conference in Montreal in September 1958 the British Government offered to provide, for the many Commonwealth activities and meetings which are held in London, suitable premises which might be regarded as a Commonwealth centre. This suggestion was welcomed by the Conference and in February 1959 the Prime Minister announced in the House of Commons that Her Majesty The Queen, who had shown a close personal interest in this project, had placed her Palace of Marlborough House at the disposal of the Government so that it might be available for this purpose.
Few structural alterations were needed but some adjustment and modernisation was required to adapt the building to its new purpose and new furnishings and equipment were installed. The initial cost of adapting the building was met by the British Government, who also bear the cost of maintenance. The Governments of the twelve countries then Members of the Commonwealth each presented six chairs for the main conference room.
On 28th March 1962 Marlborough House came into use as a Commonwealth centre.
The main purpose of Marlborough House is to serve as a centre for Commonwealth meetings in London. The most important of these meetings are the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Meetings. Fifteen Meetings of Commonwealth Prime Ministers have been held in London since 1944; the 1962 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Meeting was the first to be held at Marlborough House.
Marlborough House stands to the east of St. James's Palace, between the Mall and Pall Mall. The main central part of the house now provides on the ground floor a suite of conference rooms for Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Meetings and other Commonwealth meetings, together with secretariat offices and reception rooms. On the upper floors there are offices for Prime Ministers and their accompanying delegations and staffs. A small radio and television studio is in the basement. The East and West Wings contain the offices of the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Foundation.
The Commonwealth Secretariat maintains a Commonwealth Information Centre and Reading Room, on the ground floor of the West Wing, which is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. Adjoining is a Press Conference room used for briefings during official conferences, and available at other times to Commonwealth organisations for exhibitions, discussion groups, film showings, etc.
When Marlborough House is not in use for Commonwealth meetings the assembly and conference rooms and other former state apartments are open to the public at stated times from Easter Sunday until the last Sunday in September.