A Nation amongst Nations

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 organisations.

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.

Key Dates - Early Nationhood (1964-1987)

1964 -  Malta Independence within the British Commonwealth
1974 -  Malta becomes a Republic
1979 - Last British services leave Malta

1987 - Change in the 1974 Constitution