That Was The Year That Was...

Public Records 1968
Click to follow
Falklands talks: The Government considered a 10-year "transitional period" to pave the way for transferring sovereignty of the Falkland Islands to Argentina. Papers reveal that the Foreign Office was anxious to convince the islanders of the benefits of a transfer of sovereignty. However, talks with Buenos Aires foundered on the entrenched opposition of the islanders, who were determined to stay British.

Fancy dress: Richard Crossman, the crusty lord president in Wilson's government, nearly choked with rage when he saw a photograph of Sir Paul Gore-Booth, head of the Foreign Office, in his Daily Telegraph on 1 May.

Sir Paul and his wife, dressed as Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler, were pictured at an airport with the Sherlock Holmes Society. Mr Crossman condemned Sir Paul's "antics" at a meeting in Downing Street and was angered further by a dismissive reply.

Remembrance clash: Plans by Michael Ramsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to modernise Remembrance Sunday were vetoed by the Queen. A file reveals the Church proposed a radically reformed day designed to be more "youth friendly" with all references to war removed.

However, a letter by the home secretary said: "As it was felt the Queen's views would be shared by many ... the time for a change is not yet opportune."

'Britannia' saved: The year began with the Queen offering to dispense with the royal yacht Britannia as a cost-cutting gesture in light of the poor shape of the economy. Britannia was estimated to cost pounds 550,000 a year to operate but the defence secretary decided the yacht would stay.

White riot: Fears of civil unrest were behind the Government's decision to rush through legislation in February to block the number of immigrants entering Britain.

Tension caused by the influx of Asians fleeing East Africa were behind Mr Wilson's decision to override serious cabinet opposition and force through controversial legislation to stop immigration by UK passport holders.

Papers also reveal Mr Wilson was anxious to "play it cool" over the decision not to prosecute Tory politician Enoch Powell under the Race Relations Act for his "Rivers of Blood" speech in April.

Plane sabotage: Unknown attackers sabotaged an aircraft from the flight used to transport Mr Wilson to talks with the leader of rebel Rhodesia.

Bolts on the wheels of the RAF plane were found to have been loosened just hours after the arrival of the prime minister in Gibraltar for a showdown with the white leader of the African country, Ian Smith, in October.

Frost action: Ministers considered suing the television presenter David Frost over a claim that the "No 10 publicity machine" had broken cabinet security rules.

Labour insiders wanted to launch a libel action against the broadcaster after an interview with the defence secretary, Denis Healey, in December in which Mr Frost claimed there had been a leak of the fact that the minister backed arms sales to South Africa in a cabinet meeting.

Downing Street believed Mr Frost had been referring to the prime minister's press secretary, Trevor Lloyd-Hughes - the Alastair Campbell of his day.