By November, international support for Belize was virtually unanimous. A.U.N. resolution(A/35/596) called for independence for Belize without conditions, and security, by the end of 1981. This time the United States of America, which had previously abstained on all the Belizeresolutions since 1975, voted in favour, and no country voted against.The Organization of American States, which had traditionally taken Guatemala's side in thecontroversy, endorsed by an overwhelming majority the U.N. resolution calling for anindependent Belize secure and without conditions before the end of 1981. (3)
On January 31 the Belize government issued its White Paper on the Proposed Terms for theIndependence Constitution of Belize. The National Assembly of Belize had earlier appointed abi-partisan Joint Select Committee comprising of members of the House of Representatives andthe Senate to consider the Proposals in the White Paper and to report thereon. The Committeewas instructed to canvass the opinion of the country before making this report.Special invitations were sent out to all organizations throughout the country inviting ideas bothwritten and oral. The committee found a general and overriding acceptance of the monarchicalform of government based on the Westminster parliamentary pattern. Although the oppositionparty refused to serve on the Joint Select Committee, it took steps to appear before theCommittee by a senior official of their political party in each district of the country and made awritten presentation in Belize City. (4)In March Britain and Guatemala signed the Heads of Agreements providing the basis for a fullynegotiated settlement and a termination of Guatemala's claim to Belize. Basically, theseagreements provided for Guatemala's recognition of Belize's Independence and territorialintegrity, economic cooperation and Guatemala's access to the Caribbean Sea from the south of Belize. Subsequent negotiations ended without a formal treaty-both parties were unable to agreeon the conditions of the use of two cayes and the sea corridor to south for Guatemala's access tothe Caribbean. (5)Between April 6-14, the Belize Constitutional Conference was held at Marlborough House,London. The basic conference document was the White Paper on Proposed Terms of theIndependence Constitution prepared by the Belize government. Also considered was Belize'smembership in international institutions and Belize's succession to obligations andresponsibilities which the U.K. had hitherto exercised. (6)On July 28 the Belize Independence Act received the Royal Assent. This Act provides for: thefully responsible status of Belize, the power to make a new constitution for Belize, the operationof existing laws, modification of the British Nationality Act and the retention of citizenship of the U.K. and colonies in certain cases.