FOREIGN OFFICE WARNED NOT TO DISCLOSE DATA WHICH MIGHT BE USED AGAINST THE UK.
[ 7 July 1975 ]
On this day in 1975, John Hickman, an official at the British embassy in Dublin, wrote to Bill Harding at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, warning him that statistics on the relative number of Catholics and Protestant homes searched for arms and explosives should not be provided to the Irish government, despite their requests for such figures, “because of the risk of their being quoted against us later, eg. in proceedings at Strasbourg.” He was in effect instructing Hickman to repress crucial information to prevent possible legal action against the UK through the European Court of Human Rights.(1) [ Check date ]
MINISTER RULES OUT ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST SOUTH AFRICA FOLLOWING MASSACRE
[ 7 July 1976 ]
On this day in 1976, Roy Hattersley, a Minister at the Foreign Office, defended the Labour government’s position of business as normal with Apartheid South Africa, declaring “I don’t believe that a policy of general economic sanctions would be in the interests either of the British people or of South Africa.” His statement came just three weeks after a massacre of black protesters at Soweto in which at least 176 men, women and children were shot dead.
- NAUK, CJ4/830 letter 7 July 1975 quoted in Margaret Urwin (2016), “A State in Denial: British Collaboration with Loyalist Paramilitaries,” Mercier Press, Cork, p144.
- Elizabeth M. Williams (2015), “The Politics of Race in Britain and South Africa,” I.B. Tauris, London and New York,