Once Independence was achieved, Malta started to play her part in
international relations. Her independence was immediately recognised
by China, USA and USSR and she soon started to join international
On the 20th August 1964 parliament had approved without opposition
her membership in the Commonwealth. Soon after Independence, she
joined the United Nations Organisation. On 1st December 1964 Dr
George Borg Olivier addressed the UN Assembly. Dr Arvid Pardo, the
Maltese representative at the UN steered Malta's proposal regarding
the Law of the Sea. The following year the Prime Minister met the
Secretary-General U Thant and Pope Paul VI while at the UN
Headquarters on the 13th October 1965.
Malta gained membership in such organisations as the FAO, WHO, ILO,
UPU and the International Committee of European Migration. In 1965
Malta joined the Council of Europe, and on the 12th December 1968
the Prime Minister signed the European Convention on Human Rights.
In 1970 an Association Agreement was also signed with the European
Community which through three financial protocols has provided aid
for development and infrastructural projects.
In 1966 Malta had its first general election after Independence. It
returned Dr George Borg Olivier to power. In 1967 Queen Elizabeth
visited Malta as Head of State and was given a warm welcome.
The diversification of the economy was affected by the British
Government's policy to reduce its Defence expenditure especially
when it was declared that employment with the Services was to be
reduced by 2/3 by 1968. In the 1971 elections, the Labour Party
gained a majority and the Defence Treaty and Financial Agreement
were revised. On the 13th December 1974 the Constitution was amended
and Malta became a Republic having Sir Anthony Mamo as its first
President. On 31st March 1979 the Defence Treaty came to an end and
British forces left the Island. The Labour Party, led by Mr Mintoff
and subsequently by Dr K Mifsud Bonnici, remained in power until
1987 when following general elections, the Nationalists led by Dr E
Fenech Adami were returned to power.
In January 1987 it was unanimously agreed in parliament that the
party gaining a majority of votes was to have a majority of seats in
parliament. Malta was declared a neutral state and non-aligned,
without a military base or foreign interference. As an independent
nation it has increased its participation in international fora. It
is fulfulling her role as a nation working for peace particularly
within the Mediterranean region.