Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - January 9, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
Why all fuss over African arms deal? South Africa seems Invulnerable to any conceivable potential enemy. Why does she want to buy arms? Peter Buckley of the Washington staff of The Canadian Press, who recently visited South Africa, gives some answers in the following story. By PETER BUCKLEY PRETORIA (CP) - In the background of the current debate about British proposals to sell arms to South Africa are questions about this country's basic defence. How strong is South Africa militarily? Who are her enemies and what forces do they dispose of? What kind of arms is Britain planning to sell, and what would they be used for? What strategic value has South Africa for the West? Since the arms-sale issue gives alarming signs of threatening the very existence of the Commonwealth at the Singapore prime ministers' conference, the questions have taken on some importance. Defence information is scanty in South Africa. A tough national security law prevents the publication here of most information about the South African Defence Forces. However, briefings and interviews here and abroad, some of them off the record1, allow many of the major questions to be answered. No threat seen A fundamental aspect is that South Africa appears invulnerable to all of her conceivable short-term enemies. This seems true whether or not she gets the arms she seeks from Britain. Backed by a robust and sophisticated economy, South Africa spends approximately $400 million a year on defence-a ten-fold increase since 1959, but still only 2Vz per cent of the gross national product, about the same as Canada. Her all-white armed forces number 43,800 active members. There is also a largely-rural commando force of about 60,000 white men and a multi-racial, 50,000-man police force. Among her chief weapons are about 40 French-made Mirage figher-bombers and interceptors, 30 F-86 Sabre jets and 40 British-made Vampires in the air force; about 200 tanks and 500 armored cars in the army; three new French Daphne-class submarines of 850 tons each, two destroyers, six frigates and assorted smaller ships for the navy. With some notable exceptions, however, much of this equipment is described by military experts abroad as aged, if not obsolete. She also has air-to-ground and air-to-air missiles in her Mirage jets, and has developed ground-to-air missiles with French co-operation. Could make A-bomb South Africa also has a nuclear potential. Virtually nothing is known about it except that South Africa clearly has the material and the ability to make nuclear weapons. At the moment, the possibility that she already has such weapons can be considered a deterrent to attack. In all of black Africa, there is no country stronger in conventional forces. A survey by the Institute for Strategic Studies in London shows that the countries with the military potential to challenge South Africa-Nigeria, Ethiopia and some of the Arab nations-are too far away to represent a serious threat. The most belligerent of her African opponents, such as Zambia and Tanzania, have only small and ill-equipped forces-at least for the present. Perhaps most important, South Africa has friendly neighbors. Portugal has been engaged in a long and bloody jungle war with nationalist guerrillas in her colonies of Angola, to the northwest of South Africa, and Mozambique, to the northeast. Despite reverses, the Portuguese appear to be holding firm. Helps Rhodesia Another neighbor, Rhodesia, has been provided with several hundred South African police to help round up infiltrators bent on revolution. The operation has been an unqualified success for both countries. South Africa's black neighbors-the former British protectorates of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland-appear to have accepted the same sort of "sleeping elephant" relations with the white minority government in Pretoria that Canada is said to have with the United States. Entirely dependent economically on South Africa-and strategically helpless-they maintain correct relations of varying warmth. The Soviet Union's burgeoning navy has been active in the Indian Ocean, on a limited scale, for the last Uiree years. It now has access to several ports along the Arab and African coasts. The Chinese arc helping Tanzania build an important rail link with Zambia and, according to reports mentioned here with shudders, are training Tanzaniaa troops and guerrillas in exile in Mao-style warfare. But NATO has so far declined to extend its south-em boundary below the Tropic of Cancer, in effect playing down the importunce of the Communist threat to the southern seas. And one independent Western military strategist' said bluntly in a recent interview: "It's very difficult to produce a strategic argument in favor of selling arms to South Africa." The man, a former high-ranking officer who cannot be named, said any Soviet threat to shipping at the Cape would involve the Soviet fleet at its farthest limits from home, and would almost certainly bring intervention by larger Western powers. i ForMMt high iundfay -10 Vbt. LXIV - No. 24 Govt. takes over WINNIPEG (CP) - Mani-toba's NDP government, claiming the four companies involved are in default of a financing arrangement of which it has long been critical, went to the courts Friday to take control of an integrated forestry operation at The Pas. Premier Ed Schreyer told a news conference his government contends the foreign-backed firms, through arrears in interest and other aspects of performance, have not lived up to their contract with a former Conservative administration which gave them more than $90 million in provincial loans to build the logging-pulp-paper complex. Churchill Forest Industries Ltd. said today it intends to take legal action, allegating that the government "in bad faith breached the agreements" with the four companies involved to set up the seizure. The government obtained court orders putting the companies under a receiver and freezing their bank accounts, sent representatives to the northwest Manitoba centre to take physical charge, and appointed a Vancouver engineering firm to get the plants completed and into production. To a question about nationalization at the news conference, Premier Schreyer said that was not the intent of the government's move. PLANTS TO OPERATE The plants would be operated in receivership but no long-term decision had been made. CFI, in charge of logging op- PREMIER SCHREYER orations and building a kraft pulp mill, was allotted the largest loan at $40.7 million dollars. The other companies are MP Industrial Mills, building a kraft paper mill, $32 million; River S'awmills, building a lumber mill and a smaller sawmill, $9.6 million; and James Bertram and Sons Canada Ltd., building a pulp and paper mill machinery plant, $9.8 million. Mr. Schreyer said virtually all of the loans already have been advanced, and "as premier I could not in good faith have agreed to advancing any more and extending the risk position that the province is in." The estimated 400 persons working on the project will retain their jobs. Sub leaves Cuba WASHINGTON (Reuter) - A Soviet submarine tender which has been based in Cuba for several months now has left the island and is in mid-Atlantic headed toward Europe, the U.S. defence department said here. - ^Serving South Alberta and Southeastern B.C.* LETHBKIDGE, ALBERTA, SATURDAY, JANUARY 9,1971 * ? * ? * Price 15 Cants FOUR SECTIONS - 66 PAGES Banks cut rates as tight money situation eases SEEKS PEACE - Egyptian Vice-Premier Mahmoud Riad addresses a news conference in Paris Saturday. Riad said his country is trying to persuade the Big Four-fhe Soviet Union, the United States, France and Britain- to use their own armed forces to keep peace in the Middle east. Chartrand blasts Montreal e MONTREAL (CP) - Labor leader Michel Chartrand was sentenced to one year in jail for contempt of court Friday after an emotional outburst directed at Mr. Justice Roger Ouimet. Chartrand had prepared' a petition seeking trial in Court of Queen's Bench apart from four other well-known Quebecers on charges of seditious conspiracy and membership in the terrorist Front de Liberation du Quebec. All five are scheduled to appear in court Feb. 1. Instead of presenting the petition Friday, the 55-year-old president of the Montreal central council of the Confederation of National Trade Unions made a motion for Mr. Justice Ouimet to disqualify himself on the grounds of prejudice. "I know you are prejudiced, partial and fanatical," Chartrand shouted while pointing an accusing finger at the bench. ACCUSES JUDGE He said the justice has expressed opinions about persons detained under the Public Order Act and added: "Morally, I would feel wronged to have to be tried before a judge who is prejudiced and partial. "Everyone knows your opinions. You're smaller than I thought." Mr. Justice Ouimet rejected the motion to disqualify himself and then handed down the one-year sentence for contempt. "It's easy to hand out sentences for contempt of court when it's done from behind a row of policemen," Chartrand replied. When policemen took his arms to lead him from the prisoner's dock, Chartrand made a brief attempt to shake them off. "See," he shouted, "it's the police who run things." He continued shouting as pence led him from the court- room, calling.the judge a "vile, lousy person" and a "rotten mercenary." He delivered a similar tirade Thursday when his Feb. 1 trial date was set. Facing trial with him on similar charges are lawyer Robert Lemieux, writer Pierre Val-lieres, teacher Charles Gagnon and Jacques Larue-Langlois, a former CBC radio producer. Passengers escape in lifeboats BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (AP) - Hundreds of passengers and crew members who escaped in lifeboats from the grounded French cruise ship Antilles were brought here today by the luxury liner Queen Elizabeth 2. The Antilles went aground Friday night on an uncharted submerged reef about half a mile off tiny Mustique Island in the Caribbean and burst into flames. The fire continued to burn early today. The cruise ship's passengers and crew used lifeboats and other small craft to reach Mustique, where 501 survivors were picked up by the Queen Elizabeth, called to help the stricken vessel. All aboard the Antilles were believed safe. Another 85 passengers were brought aboard a French vessel and 49 remained on Mustique, the U.S. Coast Guard reported. By BUD JORGENSEN Canadian Press Staff Writer Canada's largest banks reduced low-interest rates Friday, a result of easier monetary conditions and pressure from lower rates in the United States. There were also new announcements of cuts in mortgage loan rates, notably by Central Mortgage and -� Housing Corp. (CMHC). Students tear up flag NEW DELHI (AP) - Angry Indian and African students tore up a Union Jack today to protest the arrival of British Prime Minister Heath for a three-day visit. Heath arrived here a half-hour before Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau's plane landed in Agra, a northern India resort town 120 miles south of New Delhi, to begin a four-day visit to India. There has been speculation here that Heath and Trudeau might confer Monday when their paths cross on their visits to this country. Police here held back stu-dfents,. numbering about 80, who unsuccessfully tried to charge into the airport to give Heath a note warning against any British decision to supply arms to South Africa. But they succeeded in having one of their leaders climb a 12-foot pole a mile from the airport and pull down one of the many Union Jacks that the Indian government had put on display to welcome Heath. "Dog Heath, go home," the students shouted as a group of African youths wearing traditional robes destroyed the flag. The students attend Indian universities. Heath's motorcade whisked past the demonstrating students, who held up their shoes in a symbolic insult common on the Indian subcontinent. The students also waved placards reading: "Bachelor Heath is in love with apartheid," Arms suppliers are enemies of Africa," and "Britain: patron of white racism." Seen and heard About town ]\/|OVIE - GOER Joyce Haraga dropping subtle hints to boyfriend about wanting to attend a certain show saying, "you can come along if you wish," . . . "Bert" Jones suddenly becoming a southpaw as she flashed a matrimonial-type hand, "to see if anyone noticed anything different - like an engagement ring perhaps" . . . Peter Milpachcr anxious to take part in a staff bonspiel but having his problems finding Picture Butte. The prime rate-the rate banks charge their best customers-will go to seven per cent from 7Vi. It is the third prime rate reduction in seven months. The rate was at seven per cent in March, 1969 and it jumped to a record 8.5 per cent by July, 1969 and stayed there for a year. The banks will also reduce to five per cent from 5% the interest paid on non-chequable savings accounts- CHMC cut its mortgage rate to 9Vi per cent from 9%. The new prime rate will go into effect Jan. 13 at Bank of Nova Scotia and Royal Bank of Canada branches. The Bank of Montreal, Toronto Dominion Bank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce will adopt the new. rate Jan. 15. All five banks will reduce the rate for non-chequable savings accounts Feb. 1. REFLECTS DECLINE A statement frpm the Bank of Nova Scotia said the reduction was "a reflection of the recent decline in the various market rates of interest, both short- and long-term." The statement said there had been no' significant weakness in bank loans in Canada as there had been in the United States ,,but "it seemed prudent to par-' ticipate in an orderly process of interest rate reduction." The U.S. Federal Reserve Board-the central bank counterpart of the Bank of Canada -reduced its lending rate to major reserve banks to 5V* per cent from 5% earlier this week. The U.S. central bank had cut its rate to 5% from 5% last Nov. 30. The round of prime-rate cuts here was started by the Bank of Nova Scotia and by mid-afternoon the other four banks had followed. The Royal Bank announced Thursday it was dropping its mortgage rates by one-half per cent to W* for National Housing Act loans and by one-quarter per cent to 9% for conventional lorns. Toronto Dominion announced identical mortgage rate cuts Friday. The Bank of Montreal lined up with a g'/i-per-cent rate for NHA mortgages and also an-n o u n c e d that home-improvement loans sponsored under sections of the act would be cut to nine per cent from 9V4 where the repayment period was less than three years. The CMHC rates apply to money provided by the treasury to the federal housing agency for direct lending when funds are not available through other lenders approved under the NHA. Women flee ^Communist9 Manitoba NEW YORK (CP) - So far, only one country has volunteered to take in the three women of Latvian extraction who fled their home in Winnipeg Dee. 2, charging that they feared for their lives under Manitoba's "Communist" government. The country is Canada. And rather than go back to Canada, Lucija (Lucy) Abolins, 27, her mother Viktorja, 50, and sister Aino, 20, say they would rather renounce their citizenship. "It would make me a person without a country," Lucy, who speaks for the three, said in an interview. "But then perhaps some other country would have us." The women, whose $1,000 savings ran out 19 days after they arrived here, now are being supported by the International Rescue Committee and have been ordered out of the country by Jan. 14 by the state department, which turned down their request for political asylum. NO BASIS FOR CLAIMS While allowing the women appeared sincere in their belief, a state department spokesman said in Washington Friday the department and the committee, which specializes in helping refugees from Communist coun- tries, could find no basis for the claims of persecution. However, a committee spokesman said his organization had helped the women because they were "in a highly emotional state and should not be left without funds and shelter," and had set no time limit on continuing to meet their expenses. ' The Canadian consulate has � offered to help the women by assisting them in getting back to Canada. The offer was rejected. � "In the final analysis," said Lucy, "we thought that if we stayed' any longer it was at the risk, of our lives." .. And when yoa cross the road, watch out for snowmobiles!' Punch snaps drama KINGSTON, Ont. (CP) - A bid by two convicts for political asylum in a foreign country ended Friday with a punch in the stomach by one of the three Kingston penitentiary officials they had held hostage for 24 hours. The break in the tedious drama came when two of the three hostages were untied so they could go to the washroom while only one of the two prisoners was guarding them. They had been tied to chairs for most of the time they spent in an office above the federal prison's carpentry shop after being abducted by the prisoners -a convicted murderer and a rapist-Thursday afternoon. Cass Turner, 53, a senior correction officer, seized his opportunity and punched convict Anthony Jack, 31, of Kenora, Ont., in the stomach. "He seemed momentarily stunned and I knew this was the chance we had been waiting for," said Allen Marsden, 48, a cabinet-making instructor. "I charged him, hitting him below the hips with my arms and shoulders." Mr. Marsden said that he and Lloyd Bramley, 52, the third hostage and another cabinetry instructor, rushed down the stairway and pinned Jack to the floor. The dramatic end followed a three-pronged demand from the convicts that included political asylum in any country that would accept them in exchange for the hostages' freedom. Canadian tourists sought in Mexican rabies scare She said they had been thre��,-ened by Communists in various ways "depending on what they are ethnically," and added it was some sort of physical threat-"the final thing"-that prompted them to pack up and fly to New York. ATTACKS PREMIER "We didn't come to this continent to live under Communist rule"' she said, charging that Manitoba's Premier Ed Schreyer is an admitted Communist and Prime Minister Trudeau runs a government that is "national socialist-well, socialist anyway." "We came from Latvia to get away from communism." OTTAWA (CP) - Travellers who visited the Hacienda del Lobos resort hotel in Puerto Vallarta, Mex., during the last two weeks of December may have been exposed to a rabid animal, the health department said Friday. A raccoon-like animal called a coati mundi, chained in front of the hotel, died Jan. 2 and was later found to have rabies, a news release said. "Several people are known to have been bitten by this animal and there are, at present, 25 people in Mexico on anti-rabies treatment." The statement said 17 Canadians were registered at the Hacienda del Lobos between December 15-31, the infectious period, "and may have been exposed to the same animal." "Names and addresses of these people are known and they are being followed up by provincial health departments." The health department state' ment says other Canadians in the town during the last two weeks in December may also have been exposed by petting the animal, and are asked to see their doctors immediately. Red robot moon gets new charge MOSCOW (AP) - Lunokhod I, the Soviet Union's robot moon vehicle, flipped open its solar panel Friday and began recharging its batteries for another round of patrols across the Sea of Rains, Tass news agency reported. The craft had been in hibernation for its second lunar night, from Dec. 23 until late Thursday, when tha sun dawned on Lunokhod's position.