Letter to the Times, Friday August 13, 1976; pg 13; Issue 59781; col B.
From I. M. CUMPSTON
Reader in Commonwealth History
University of London
Malet Street, WCI dated July 30
A leading article in The Times on July 9 contained these words: "The Commonwealth barely survived Rhodesia". What do they mean?
The date of the Rhodesian unilateral declaration of independence was 1965. The activities of the Commonwealth Secretariat founded in 1965 have been continuous. The Commonwealth Prime Ministers in 1965 agreed to set up the Commonwealth Foundation, which by 1971 had helped among other activities to bring into being 12 new Commonwealth-wide professional associations. In 1971, 28 Commonwealth Governments were contributing funds to the foundation. In 1968 the Association of Commonwealth Universities had a membership of 182 university institutions. Did the Rhodesian issues fundamentally affect the work of the Commonwealth Institute, the Commonwealth Institute, the Commonwealth Association of Architects, the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Commonwealth Education Conferences or the Agricultural Bureaux, to mention only a few examples of Commonwealth activity?
Your leader writer should be aware that the Commonwealth Press Union and the Commonwealth Correspondents' Association continued to expand in the 1960s. In 1970, 23 Commonwealth governments were partners in the operations of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Board. There was systematic cooperation in airlines.
In your first leading article of July 29 the word 'survived' again appears in relations to the Commonwealth and Rhodesian issues. The article refers to the 'good work' which the commonwealth 'still manages to do. This grudging language is inadequate to recognize the very extensive, if unostentatious and continuing cooperation in the Commonwealth.
I. M. CUMPSTON