1971 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

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1st Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
Host country Singapore
Dates14–22 January 1971
Participants32 (of 32 members)
Heads of State or Government26
ChairLee Kuan Yew
(Prime Minister of Singapore)
Follows1969 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference
Key points
Singapore Declaration
British arms sales to South Africa

The 1971 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, officially known as the I Commonwealth Heads Meeting, and commonly known as Singapore 1971, was the first Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations (formerly named the British Commonwealth). It was held from 14 to 22 January 1971 in Singapore, and was hosted by that country's Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew.[1]

British prime minister Edward Heath advised Queen Elizabeth II not to attend the conference due to a row within the Commonwealth over Britain selling arms to South Africa.[2] It would be the only CHOGM the Queen would miss until 2013.[3]

Ugandan president Milton Obote was overthrown by Idi Amin in a military coup, whilst he was attending the meeting.

At the meeting the Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles was agreed setting out the core political values that would form the main part of the Commonwealth's membership criteria. The final document was not ratified by Pakistan.[1] Topics discussed at the meeting included Chinese representation at the United Nations, East-West relations, conflict in the Southeast Asia, Portuguese violations of Guinean sovereignty and situation in Portuguese colonies, and South African situation.[1] Members also discussed the repercussions of future Accession of the United Kingdom to the European Communities.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Milutin Tomanović, ed. (1972). Hronika međunarodnih događaja 1971 [The Chronicle of International Events in 1971] (in Serbo-Croatian). Belgrade: Institute of International Politics and Economics. p. 2556.
  2. ^ "Only the Queen understands the true value of the Commonwealth". Daily Telegraph. 27 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Concern as the Queen misses Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka". The Telegraph. 7 May 2013. Archived from the original on 9 June 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2013.