The citadel papers
AFTERTHOUGHT JOHN WELLS
DOCUMENTS RELATING TO PROPOSALS IN CONNECTION WITH TENTATIVE NEGOTIATIONS CONCERNING A POS- SIBLE SETTLEMENT OF THE RHODE- SIAN CRISIS 1968. Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Thirty Shillings. Hide Bound with Alter- native Readings, some quarters a little foxed but a nice copy, particularly of the 'Tiger' Talks in 1966.
RECORD OF A MEETING HELD IN THE WARDROOM OF HMS 'FEARLESS' ON SUNDAY, 13m OCTOBER 1968, AT 9.30 P.M. Present:
THE RIGHT HON HAROLD MR IAN SMITH WILSON, MP, PRIME MR LARDNER-BURK MINISTER MR J. H. HOWMAN GEORGIE 'FINGERS'
THOMSON, MP, Secretary of
State for Commonwealth Affairs
SPANISH SID, Commonwealth Office 'LEFTY' KRUMMPITZ, Commonwealth Office NOSHER BORIS, Commonwealth Office THE CARVER, Commonwealth Office MORRIE GRABBE, QC, Legal Aid
Constitutional Questions: Recapitulation The PRIME MINISTER, summing up their thirty hours of frank and honest talks on constitu- tional matters, said that he found the attitude of the rebel regime both inflexible and incom- prehensible. What, after all, were they there for, if it was not to achieve some form of settlement?
Mr small requested that they should search him. He said that he had assumed the Prime Minister must have some little trick which he intended to pull out of the bag at the last moment.
Mr HOWMAN said that they had been mulling over that very question in the course of infor- mal discussions the night before on board HMS 'Kent.' They had at that stage come to the con- clusion that as the Prime Minister was interested principally in occupying the attention of the British press for the duration of the. British
Conservative party conference, such a prestige- winning device must in all probability be pro- duced on that Sunday evening. He said that they were all agog, and addressed the Prime Minister as 'clever dick.'
Mr SPANISH sIn asked Mr Howman to repeat the substance of his remarks at a private meeting.
Mr J. H. Howman and Mr Spanish Sid with- drew.
The PRIME MINISTER reaffirmed the intention of Her Majesty's Government to eschew cheap publicity gimmicks. Indeed, he himself would never have published the minutes of their secret meetings on board FIMS 'Tiger' if he had not considered that the mere threat of doing so would have been sufficient to twist Mr Smith's arm.
Mr SMITH thanked him.
The PRIME MINISTER said that Heaven knew, it was in both their interests to patch up some sort of a settlement with the minimum of pub- licity as soon as possible.
Mr SMITH said he had understood the Prime Minister to say that there were grave matters of principle on which they disagreed. How, then, could he talk of a patched-up settlement?
The PRIME MINISTER expressed despair.
Mr MORRIE GRABBE said that Her Majesty's Government recognised Mr Smith's superior talents as a negotiator, but that time was money, and Her Majesty's Government was not made of it. Business was terrible. He asked Mr Smith to give them a break.
Return to Legality and the Six Principles Mr smrrn asked the Prime Minister to restate the position of Her Majesty's Government with- out the trimmings. Perhaps he had missed some- thing.
The PRIME MINISTER emphasised, not for the first time, that their deliberations were being closely watched by the United Nations and the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' conference, due to reassemble in January. Both these bodies, like the Prime Minister's own party, were of what might be termed a liberal turn of mind when it came to matters of individual liberty and the colour question.
Mr small said that that sort of thing might be all right for people living in other countries, but that he had to live in Rhodesia.
The PRIME MINISTER invoked the omnipotent Founder of the Christian religion. He asked Mr Smith whether he realised that any return to legality must be made to appear acceptable to such bodies. - Mr swim said he had understood the Prime Minister to say that any return to legality must be on the basis of the Six Principles.
The PRIME MENUS-TER said he was a patient man. He had accepted the astonishing fact that
Mr Smith, the so-called Prime Minister of a
so-called police state, had come to these meet- ings without plenipotentiary powers, whereas
he had come vested with a brief from his Cabinet colleagues to do a deal off his own bat. He had put up with Mr Smith's breathtaking stupidity for long enough. Did his veiled refer- ences to the British Wartime Defence Regula- tion 18B, permitting imprisonment without trial, his offer to have political detainees flown to Britain for the period of interim government, his climb-down on NIBMAR, his acceptance of the 'fact' that the falling African death-rate would create an imbalance and that the voting age for Africans on the 'B' Roll should be raised to thirty—did these mean nothing to Mr Smith?
Mr SMITH said that if the Prime Minister was trying to pull a crafty one he could only say that he found it very repugnant.
The PRIME MINISTER began eating the Ward- room carpet and the meeting was adjourned at 10.45 pm.