HC Deb 06 December 1968 vol 774 cc578-9W
Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Republic of Nauru has applied for membership of the Commonwealth; and whether this matter will be placed on the agenda of the forthcoming Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference.

Mr. Whitlock

The Commonwealth Secretariat issued the following statement on the 29th November 1968The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Mr. Arnold Smith, announced today that, in response to a request from the Government of the Republic of Nauru, which became independent on 31st January, 1968, Commonwealth Heads of Government have agreed that Nauru should become a special member of the Commonwealth. This 'Special Membership' of the Commonwealth has been devised in close consultation with the Government of Nauru. Nauru will have the right to participate in all functional activities of the Commonwealth and to receive appropriate documentation in relation to them as well as the right to participate in non-governmental Commonwealth organisations, Nauru will not be represented at Meetings of the Commonwealth Heads of Government, but may attend Commonwealth Meetings at Ministerial or official level in such fields as Education, Medical co-operaton, Finance, and other functional and technical areas as the Nauruan Government desires. It will be eligible for Commonwealth technical assistance. The "Special Membership" described in the statement reflects the wishes of the Nauru Government. There is no need for the question of Nauru's membership to be discussed at the Prime Ministers' Meeting.