Volume #27 - 436.|
RELATIONS AVEC DES PAYS PARTICULIERS
AFRIQUE DU SUD : DÉTENTION DE NORMAN PHILLIPS
Le haut-commissaire en Afrique du Sud|
au sous-secrétaire d’État aux Affaires extérieures
LETTER NO. CAPE-105|
le 13 avril 1960|
Reference: Your Tels G-32† and G-34† of 9 April. My Tels Cape-35† and Cape-36† of 10 and 11 April.
INTERVIEW WITH MR. LOUW
As instructed, I saw Mr. Louw, Minister of External Affairs at noon on Sunday, 10 April to make representations for the release from detention of Norman Phillips of the Toronto Star. It was a stormy session. Mr. Brown of our staff accompanied me.
2. I began by presenting (in written letter form) your message of sympathy from our Prime Minister on the attempted assassination of Dr. Verwoerd77 and added my own deep regrets. Mr. Louw offered no thanks and indeed did not read the letter, during the thirty minutes we were there. I then presented your representations for the release of Mr. Phillips.
3. Mr. Louw then began a long, ranting abusive outline criticism of the actions and reports of journalists in general and Phillips in particular, in which he criticized vehemently the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mr. Macmillan, for permitting a resolution to be passed unanimously in the U.K. House of Commons,78 our Prime Minister, Mr. Diefenbaker, for issuing such a news release and using the words "widespread indignation already felt in Canada at the measures etc."79 which Mr. Louw stated were based on "completely false and distorted reports" and continued to blast the United Nations, United States, France and many others who have been critical of South Africa. He was at his "discursive worst" as Mr. Brown so aptly put it, was speaking in a loud abusive tone and even blamed the attack on Dr. Verwoerd on the activities and reports of the press in general including Mr. Phillips. He stated that the attack on his Prime Minister could be laid at the door of the English-speaking press in South Africa and foreign journalists.
4. Eric Louw is a ranting, raging bore, when he gets going, and is one of the most intolerant and abusive men I have ever met. He is quite intolerant of the views of others and indeed does not and will not listen to anyone. He did not permit me to finish one complete sentence during our interview or rather during his dissertation. He even offered a bit of blackmail or nearly so by saying that he had so far (sic) not criticized Canada but "could do so, could very well do so."
5. I did manage by dint of perseverance to advance the argument that was contained in your telegram and add that here was an opportunity to make some return to Canada for the attitude which our Prime Minister and the Government of Canada had adopted which I described as "leaning backward" in their efforts to prevent official criticism of South Africa, by the immediate release of Phillips. I added that his detention and the intentions of the Security police to question him, would only aggravate matters and make his subsequent reports, after he had left South Africa, more violent. All to no avail. He accused me of interfering in the affairs of the Government of South Africa and "telling them what to do." He was referring to my strong suggestion, repeated several times, that Phillips should be released immediately without questioning or if they insisted on this action, then it should be done that afternoon, Sunday, and Phillips released on Monday morning.
6. He gave no promise that he would help in the matter or that he would offer any advice to the Minister of Justice but merely stated that he would "transmit my representations to Mr. Erasmus, Minister of Justice." With that, we had to be content, and left. (My telegram Cape-35 of 10 April refers).
7. I am in the dog house with External Affairs since I was none too gentle in my efforts to "get a word in edgewise" and my relations with Jooste and the other officers of External are rather strained at the moment.
8. As you now know, Phillips was released yesterday and spent the night with Gordon Brown in Pretoria and leaves South Africa today at 4:45 p.m. from Jan Smuts airport in Johannesburg.
9. After the departure of Phillips I intend to ask Mr. Louw for a copy of the dispatch which Phillips attempted to send and which was intercepted by the postal authorities. Mr. Louw referred to it during our "visit" as "wilfully distorted and containing false statements." I should like to send a copy to you so that you may judge whether or not Mr. Louw's allegations are correct. It is reported in today's Cape Times (editorial) that "the Canadian is on his way to Canada with the offending message in his pocket and it will be published against a background of what will be presented as attempts to censor it. No better device could have been excogÉtated to give the document a weight which it probably does not possess." It is the original document that was refused transmission that I want and propose to ask for.
10. There will be interesting reports to send you from Ross Francis who has been in Durban from Saturday night last and has visited Phillips in confinement several times, and from Gordon Brown in Pretoria with whom Phillips spent last night and who will see Phillips to his plane at 1645 hours today. These reports will go to you as soon as possible.
11. Since writing the above, I have seen Jooste re the "Law of the Sea" and gave him my version of the interview with his Minister. We are friends again.
James J. Hurley
77Le 9 avril 1960./On April 9, 1960.
78Voir/See Walter H. Wagonner, “Commons Decries Africa Apartheid Without Dissent,” New York Times, April 9, 1960, p. 1.
79Voir le communiqué de
presse du 9 avril 1960 dans « Diefenbaker, 1960 », Speeches [Collection of the
speeches of Prime Ministers and Leaders of the Opposition held in the Library
of Parliament collection] ([Toronto]: Micromedia Ltd., n.d.)