1970-1979 | Arms exports | Backing dictatorships | Chile

Foreign Secretary cites copper as reason for arming Chile’s dictatorship

24 April 1974 On 24 April 1974, Foreign Secretary James Callaghan explained to the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) why the Cabinet had decided to supply the Chilean dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet with two Leander class frigates and two Oberon submarines. They had been under construction on the Clyde when the military coup, which…

1970-1979 | Backing Apartheid | Backing repressive regimes

Callaghan – ‘I won’t be pushed’ into sanctions on Apartheid South Africa

[ 17 February 1978 ] On 17 February 1978, Prime Minister James Callaghan made it clear that he would not sacrifice British business interests to help end apartheid through the imposition of sanctions. ‘Why do it for political reasons ?’ he asked at a Cabinet Committee meeting on South Africa, adding ‘I won’t be pushed….

1970-1979 | Chemical weapons | Environmental devastation

Labour government approves using depleted uranium in ammunition

22 January 1979 On 22 January 1979, the Labour Cabinet almost unanimously approved the use of depleted uranium (DU) in anti-tank ammunition.  The only voice raised in opposition to the use of the toxic and radioactive material was the Secretary of State for Energy, Tony Benn. He warned ministers that every nuclear power station in…