MARGARET Thatcher complained bitterly in private about the numbers of immigrants coming to Britain from south Asia . .SHE KNEW ASSIMILATION WAS NECESSARY AND THAT UNBRIDLED SOUTH ASIAN (THE SUB-CONTINENT, PAKISTAN) IMMIGRATION WOULD LEAD TO CULTURAL SUICIDE.
Papers released to the National Archives at Kew, west London, under the 30-year rule cast fresh light on the former prime minister's attitude towards race and immigration.
They record a meeting in July 1979 between the premier, foreign secretary Lord Carrington and home secretary William Whitelaw to discuss the plight of hundreds of thousands of "boat people" fleeing communist persecution in Vietnam.
According to the minutes, Lord Carrington, who had visited refugee camps in Hong Kong where some refugees were being held, gave a "vivid account" of the conditions he found and suggested Britain should accept 10,000 over a two-year period.
He expressed concern that if the UK did not come forward with a significant offer, there would be a "damaging reaction" both at home and abroad. Anything less than 10,000, he said, would be "difficult to sustain internationally".
The suggestion drew an angry response from Mrs Thatcher who said that there were already too many people coming into the country.
She said that "with some exceptions there had been no humanitarian case for accepting 1.5 million immigrants from south Asia and elsewhere. It was essential to draw a line somewhere".
Mr Whitelaw weighed in, saying it was a mistake to mix up immigrants and refugees. He further antagonised Mrs Thatcher by adding that his postbag was showing a shift in opinion in favour of accepting more boat people.
"The Prime Minister said that in her view all those who wrote letters in this sense should be invited to accept one into their homes," the minutes noted.
"She thought it quite wrong that immigrants should be given council housing whereas white citizens were not."
Mrs Thatcher then raised the question of the implications of such a move in the light of the expected exodus of the white settler population from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) once majority rule was established.
She added, however, that she had "less objection to refugees such as Rhodesians, Poles and Hungarians, since they could more easily be assimilated into British society".
THERE'S PLENTY MORE; USE THE LINK.
Britain was desperate for the shah of Iran not to move near London after the 1979 revolution despite previously supporting him, even planning a cloak-and-dagger mission to the Bahamas to put him off.
Prime minister Margaret Thatcher was "deeply unhappy" that Britain could not offer sanctuary to a "firm and helpful friend".
But her predecessor James Callaghan and officials had already decided before she was elected in May 1979 that the shah's would pose a huge security risk and damage relations with the new regime, secret files released Wednesday showed.
Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi left Iran on January 16, 1979 and in February, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile in France and became supreme leader of the Islamic republic.
Meanwhile, the shah moved between a series of countries including the Bahamas while desperately trying to persuade someone to give him a permanent home. On February 9 1979, a freelance journalist close to the shah called Alan Hart contacted Downing Street to say the deposed royal was interested in living full-time at his lavish estate in Surrey, southwest of London. Hart said "he had been asked by the Shah... to make an informal approach to the British authorities to sound out their reaction to the possibility that he might seek to come to the UK to settle more or less permanently," according to a letter from Downing Street to the Foreign Office.
In response, a senior Foreign Office official wrote to Downing Street that any such move "would be bound to complicate and very likely damage our relations with any successor government", plus "saddle us with an enormous security problem". Callaghan, who was still in office before being ousted by Thatcher later that year, echoed this analysis. "He is an intensely controversial figure in Iran and we must consider our future with that country," Callaghan wrote in a note on the situation on February 19. "He will need to make interim arrangements."
Within a few months, though, Thatcher was in Downing Street and voicing discontent about the situation.
"The prime minister made it clear that she was deeply unhappy about the Government's inability to offer sanctuary to a ruler who had, in her view, been a firm and helpful friend to the UK," a letter from Downing Street to the Foreign Office revealed on May 14.
In the meantime, officials were plotting to send an emissary, the former ambassador to Iran Sir Denis Wright, under an alias to the Bahamas to discourage the shah. "His cover will be breaking a business trip to spend a weekend with an old friend -- yourself. Your old friend's name is Edward Wilson!" another former ambassador, Anthony Parsons, telegrammed to Britain's high commissioner in the Bahamas on May 16.
After travelling between countries including Egypt and Morocco, the shah headed to the US for cancer treatment. Once he arrived, Iranian students took 63 hostages at the US embassy in Tehran in November 1979, demanding that the Shah return to Iran to face trial in the 444 day-long Iran hostage crisis.
He died in Cairo in 1980.
SHE WAS RIGHT AGAIN.
THE BRITS NEED ANTHER THATCHER; SO DO WE!
INSTEAD, WE EACH HAVE CLEMENT ATTLEE.