§ 72. Mr. G. M. Thomson
asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what representations he has made to the Federal Government of Nigeria following allegations made formally on behalf of that Government to an official commission of inquiry in that country that Her Majesty's Government had interfered in the internal politics of Nigeria; and what reply he has received.
§ Mr. Tilney
The allegations were not made by the Nigerian Government, but by counsel appointed by the Commission to assist in its deliberations. However, the Acting British High Commissioner in Lagos has, on instructions, assured the Nigerian Federal Prime Minister that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has at no time expressed 131W the views attributed to him about Nigerian political leaders. This was also made clear in a statement issued on 27th July by the Acting British High Commissioner. I circulate below the text of this.
Text of a Statement issued on 21th July by the acting British High Commissioner in Lagos
On Monday July 23rd Chief Michael Okorodudu, Q.C., leading Counsel for the Commission of Enquiry currently sitting in Lagos under the Chairmanship of Mr. Justice G. B. A. Coker read to the Commission extracts from a letter written by Mr. Patrick Dolan of the New York and London public relations firm Patrick Dolan and Associated Limited in which the British Prime Minister Mr. Harold Macmillan was reported at second-hand to have expressed certain views about Nigerian political leaders.
The Acting British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mr. D. W. S. Hunt, is authorised to state that the letter referred to was written without Mr. Macmillan's knowledge and in no way reflects his views.
The report in a Lagos newspaper that a British legal team was to be despatched to Nigeria "to protect the interest of the British Prime Minister" is entirely without foundation.