1970s

po012. ‘British arms will make a great contribution to South Africa’s way of life’

Poster for the AAM’s campaign against the resumption of arms sales to South Africa by the 1970–74 Conservative government. The campaign was supported by the churches and the TUC. It involved marches, threats by trade unionists to boycott work on arms for South Africa and a 100,000-signature declaration presented at the 1971 Commonwealth conference in Singapore. As a result of the campaign, the only weapons sold were five Westland Wasp helicopters.

po013. ‘British arms will make a great contribution to South Africa’s way of life’

Poster for the Anti-Apartheid Movement’s campaign against the resumption of arms sales to South Africa by the 1970–74 Conservative government. The campaign was supported by the churches and the TUC. It involved marches, threats by trade unionists to boycott work on arms for South Africa and a 100,000-signature declaration presented at the 1971 Commonwealth conference in Singapore. As a result of the campaign, the only weapons sold were five Westland helicopters.

70s08. Cabora Bassa and the Struggle for Southern Africa

The huge Cabora Bassa dam project in Mozambique was a collaboration between South Africa, Rhodesia and Portugal. The project was intended to supply electricity to South Africa. This pamphlet was written for the Dambusters Mobilising Committee, a coalition of groups set up to campaign against the involvement of British companies in the project. The pamphlet and a campaign poster were funded by the WCC’s Programme to Combat Racism.

tu08. ‘Stop Arms Sales’ Yorkshire conference

One of the first decisions of the Conservative government elected in June 1970 was to resume arms sales to South Africa. This leaflet advertised a regional conference in Leeds for British trade unionists, to discuss how to campaign against arms sales to South Africa. Similar conferences took place in Swansea, Manchester, Edinburgh and Croydon, London. A Gallup poll showed that 71 per cent of the British public were opposed to arms sales. The only weapons sold to South Africa under the 1970–74 government were seven Wasp helicopters.

arm14. ‘British arms will make a great contribution to South Africa’s way of life’

One of the first decisions of the Conservative government elected in June 1970 was to resume arms sales to South Africa. This leaflet described life under apartheid and set out the moral case for an arms ban.

pic7101. Protest against arms sales to South Africa

The 1970–74 Conservative government lifted Labour’s ban on British arms sales to South Africa. In March 1971 it announced the sale of seven Westland Wasp helicopters to the South African Defence Force. The photograph shows anti-apartheid supporters protesting in Downing Street. Although the Wasps were supplied, opposition from British public opinion and from the Commonwealth was so strong that that no other arms deals were agreed.

pic7102. ‘No Arms to South Africa’

Slogan painted on the wall of Westland Helicopters factory at Hayes, near London, the night before an AAM demonstration there on 20 March 1971.

arm12. ‘Stop the Wasp’

In 1971 the Conservative government agreed to sell seven Westland Wasp helicopters to South Africa. This leaflet publicised a march to the Westland factory in Hayes, near London. Trade unionists from DATA (Draughtsmen’s and Allied Technicians’ Association) refused to work on the contract. The helicopters were supplied, but because of widespread opposition these were the only weapons exported to South Africa under the 1970–74 Conservative government.