HC Deb 26 February 1968 vol 759 cc244-5W
Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the agreement reached on the independence constitution for Swaziland.

Mr. George Thomas

The Swaziland Independence Conference was held at Marlborough House from 19th to 23rd February. The delegation from Swaziland which was accompanied by Her Majesty's Commissioner was drawn from members of both Houses of Parliament in Swaziland and was led by the Prime Minister. It is proposed that the Report of the Conference should be published at an early date.

The Conference discussed proposals for adapting the Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland for the independence constitution. These proposals had been approved by both Houses of Parliament of Swaziland unanimously. The Conference approved them subject to modifications described in their Report, copies of which have been placed in the Library.

The Conference was informed of the agreement of the Governments of all other Commonwealth Governments that Swaziland should become a member of the Commonwealth on attaining independence.

The Conference received confirmation that the necessary legislation would be undertaken to safeguard the position after independence of holders of stock issued by the Swaziland Government under Colonial Stock Acts; and that a Public Officers' Agreement would be entered into in accordance with normal arrangements when independence was achieved.

The Swaziland Government also presented to the United Kingdom Delegation a claim in respect of the remainder of the land of the Swazi Nation which had been alienated in consequence of Orders in Council empowering such alienation after Britain assumed responsibility for the administration of Swaziland in 1903. The United Kingdom Delegation stated that, as they had consistently made clear in the past, they could not accept this claim. It proved impossible to reconcile the views of the two delegations on this matter.

At the closing session the Conference learned with great pleasure that Her Majesty would be represented at the independence celebrations by His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent who would be accompanied by the Duchess.

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