Right Hon. C. D. Howe (Acting Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, I desire to inform the house of a declaration issued from the prime ministers' conference at two p.m. eastern standard time today, as follows:
The government of Pakistan have informed the other governments of the commonwealth of the intention of the Pakistan people that, under the new constitution which is about to be adopted, Pakistan shall become a sovereign, independent republic. The government of Pakistan have, however, declared and affirmed Pakistan's desire to continue her full membership of the commonwealth of nations and her acceptance of the Queen as the symbol of the free association of its independent member nations, and as such the head of the commonwealth. The governments of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Ceylon, the basis of whose membership is not hereby changed, accept and recognize Pakistan's continuing membership in accordance with the terms of this declaration. The government of India, the basis of whose membership is also unaltered, similarly recognize Pakistan's continuing membership.
In notifying the other prime ministers of Pakistan's intention, Mr. Mohammed Ali reaffirmed his country's steadfast adherence to the commonwealth. The other prime ministers, in accepting this proposal, welcomed Pakistan's continued association and co-operation as a member of the commonwealth and assured Mr. Mohammed Ali that the friendship and good will of their countries towards Pakistan would remain unaffected by this constitutional change.
Accordingly, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan and Ceylon hereby declare, as they did in 1949 when a similar decision was taken in respect of India, that they remain united as free and equal members of the commonwealth of nations, freely co-operating in the pursuit of peace, liberty and progress.
I am sure, Mr. Speaker, all hon. members and all Canadians will rejoice in this new demonstration of the traditional capacity of the commonwealth to strengthen its unity of purpose while adapting its organization and procedures to changed circumstances. Everyone will rejoice in the fact that, notwithstanding the exercise by the people of Pakistan of their right to determine the form of their domestic government, it has been found possible to have Pakistan remain a member of the commonwealth and to continue for the peace of the world the association of those nations whose traditions give
them the same concept of a proper way of living and of democratic processes designed to further the welfare of the men and women of their respective nations.
Subtopic: PAKISTAN TO BECOME INDEPENDENT REPUBLIC WITHIN COMMONWEALTH