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This programme consists of two filmed interviews with politicians who were members of cabinet committees considering issues connected with the sale of British arms to South Africa. The Rt. Hon. Joh...n Boyd-Carpenter MP (Conservative) and the Rt. Hon. Richard Crossman MP (Labour) talk to Dr. James Barber about policy-making in this area, particularly in the period 1960-70. The interviews illuminate not only on the issue of arms sales, but also Cabinet decision-making in general.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: D203, Decision making in Britain
Item code: D203; 15
First transmission date: 06-08-1972
Published: 1972
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:13
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Producer: Michael Philps
Contributors: James Barber; John Boyd Carpenter; Richard Crossman
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Arms sales; Internal and external constraints; South Africa
Footage description: James Barber introduces the programme. It will consist basically of interviews with Richard Crossman and John Boyd-Carpenter on the question of arms sales to South Africa. In passing Barber utters some words of advice and warning on the critical approach that must be adopted in the face of this evidence. Barber asks John Boyd-Carpenter for information on the criteria by which licences for sales of arms to South Africa would be granted by the Conservative governments of which Boyd- Carpenter had been a member. The position of the Conservative Government at that time (mid-and early 60s) is also ascertained. John Boyd-Carpenter, in response to Barber's questions, describes the relationship between the Cabinet and the Committee of which he was Chairman and whether there existed internal pressures upon the Government to sell arms or not to sell. He also describes external pressures not to sell arms of which he was aware, i.e. pressures on the government within Britain, but outside the government. In response to questions Mr. Boyd-Carpenter describes international pressure upon the Conservative Government, the relations between South Africa and Britain on the official level, and how far the question of arms sales was seen in terms of the national interest. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter's understanding of the national interest at that time is expressed. James Barber sketches in the history of the sale of arms to South Africa under the Labour governments (of 1964 and 1966) up to 1967. He then begins the interview with Richard Crossman. The latter explains why the matter of arms sales to South Africa should have raised its head again in 1967 and describes the ways in which the problem was seen. Richard Crossman goes on to describe the Labour Government's interpretation of the United Nations embargo, his own position (official position in 1967) and his own opinion on the question of arms sales to South Africa. Richard Crossman also describes the approach to the problem by other cabinet colleagues. Richard Crossman describes the reactions of the cabinet members to the proposal that the Labour Party should overlook the South African arms embargo, and the moves that resulted in the arms embargo being retained. Richard Crossman is asked for his understanding of the term 'national interest'. Crossman reviews the conflict of constraints under which the Labour Government suffered during the crisis. Credits.
Master spool number: 6HT/70460
Production number: 00521_2214
Videofinder number: 3417
Available to public: no