GENERAL AUTHORISES USE OF SMALLPOX TO KILL NATIVE AMERICANS
[ 7 July 1763 ]
In 1763, Major General Jeffrey Amherst, was the highly respected governor general of British North America and commander-in-chief of British forces. He had led the successful campaign to drive the French from North America in 1760, but three years later he was infuriated when Native Americans challenged British hegemony, by resisting the occupation of their lands to the south of the Great Lakes in the Ohio Valley.
PEEL COMMISSION BACKS THE EXPULSION OF ARABS FROM THEIR LAND
[ 7 July 1937 ]
On 7 July 1937, a Royal Commission of Inquiry, headed by Lord Peel, published its report on Palestine, announcing that the current British mandate had become unworkable, and that the country should be divided into two states, Jewish and Arab. However, while the Jews were only to receive one third of the land under the proposals, this was far greater than the five per cent of the land they actually owned.
‘DEFENSIVE’ WEAPONS WHICH NIGERIA’S JUNTA CAN USE TO SLAUGHTER BIAFRANS
[ 7 July 1967 ]
Today in 1967, the British government decided to explain apologetically to Major-General Yakubu ‘Jack’ Gowon, the leader of Nigeria’s military junta, that although it strongly sympathised with his efforts to crush any attempt by the persecuted Igbo population of Biafra to secede from the country, it would be diplomatically awkward to agree immediately to his entire shopping list of military equipment.
FOREIGN OFFICE WARNED NOT TO DISCLOSE COMPROMISING DATA ON NORTHERN IRELAND
[ 7 July 1975 ]
On 7 July 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
MINISTER RULES OUT ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST SOUTH AFRICA
[ 7 July 1976 ]
On this day in 1976, Roy Hattersley, then 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.’2 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, A State in Denial: British Collaboration with Loyalist Paramilitaries, Mercier Press, Cork, 2016, p. 144
- Elizabeth M. Williams, The Politics of Race in Britain and South Africa, I.B. Tauris, London and New York, 2015.
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