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Historia

versión On-line ISSN 2309-8392
versión impresa ISSN 0018-229X

Historia vol.54 no.2 Durban  2009

 

"Voice and Vision" - The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland's public relations campaign in Britain: 1960-1963

 

"Voice and Vision" - Die Federasie van Rhodesië en Njassaland se publisiteitsveldtog in Brittanje: 1960-1963

 

 

Andrew Cohen

Andrew Cohen is a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Pretoria. He has recently completed his PhD thesis at the University of Sheffield. The thesis focuses on the final years of the Central African Federation. He would like to thank Ian Phimister, John Darwin and Alois Mlambo for their comments on earlier drafts of this article.

 

 


ABSTRACT

By the late 1950s, the future prospects of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland were increasingly portrayed in a pessimistic light in the British press. The Federal government chose to counter this coverage by undertaking a comprehensive public relations campaign in the United Kingdom. This article examines their decision to hire the London public relations company, Voice and Vision, and this company's subsequent attempts to rehabilitate the Federal image between 1960 and 1963. It will be argued that although the campaign achieved limited success in some quarters, it revealed that the Federal government had misunderstood British politics, and did not grasp the erosion of the ties that might previously have secured the Federation's future in British public sympathy only ten years earlier.

Key Words: Africa; Britain; Butler; Central African Federation; colonial history; decolonization; Macleod; Macmillan; Maudling; Public Relations; Rhodesia; Salisbury; Voice and Vision


OPSOMMING

Teen die einde van die 1950's is die toekoms van die Federasie van Rhodesië en Njassaland in 'n toenemend pessimistiese lig deur die Britse pers uitgebeeld. Die federale regering het besluit om hierdie negatiewe mediadekking teen te werk deur 'n omvattende publisiteitsveldtog in die Verenigde Koninkryk te onderneem. Hierdie artikel ondersoek hulle besluit om die dienste van die Londense publisiteitsmaatskappy, Voice and Vision, te bekom, en hierdie maatskappy se daaropvolgende pogings van 1960 tot 1963 om die Federasie se beeld te rehabiliteer. Daar word aangevoer dat hoewel die veldtog by sommige beperkte sukses behaal het, dit bewys het dat die federale regering Britse politiek misverstaan het en nie begryp het tot watter mate die bande, wat slegs 'n dekade tevore nog Britse openbare simpatie vir die Federasie se toekoms kon verseker het, verskiet het nie.

Sleutelwoorde: Afrika; Brittanje; Butler; dekolonisasie; koloniale geskiedenis; Macleod; Macmillan; Maudling; publisiteit; Rhodesië; Salisbury; Sentraal-Afrikaanse Federasie; Voice and Vision


 

Full text available only in PDF format.

 

*Report on Federal Public Relations, January 1961 Rhodes House Library, Oxford, Welensky Papers (hereafter WP) 274/2, Public Relations Proposals (no date) attached to D Cole -J M Baines, 1 February 1960
1 Commonly referred to as the Central African Federation
2 R Hyam and P Henshaw, The Lion and the Springbok: Britain and South Africa since the Boer War (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003), pp 224-225;         [ Links ] P Murphy, "'Government by Blackmail': The Origins of the Central African Federation Reconsidered", in M Lynn (ed), The British Empire in the 1950s: Retreat or Revival? (Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2006), pp 53-76         [ Links ]
3 J T R Wood, The Welensky Papers (Graham Publishing, Durban, 1983), p 532         [ Links ]
4 Rhodes House Library, Oxford, MSS Afr s 2152, D Hobson, "The Last Gasp" (1991), p 6
5 D Sanders and P Norris, "The Impact of Political Advertising in the 2001 UK General Election", Political Research Quarterly, 58, 4, 2005, pp 525-536         [ Links ]
6 P Keatley, The Politics of Partnership: The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (Penguin, London, 1963), pp 446-450         [ Links ]
7 D Goldsworthy, Colonial Issues in British Politics (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1971), p 365         [ Links ]
8 Wood, The Welensky Papers, p 371; R Wood, So Far and No Further! Rhodesia's bid for independence during the retreat from empire, 1959-1965 (Trafford Publishing, Johannesburg, 2005)
9 P Murphy, Party Politics and Decolonization (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1995), pp 73-87         [ Links ]
10 J Darwin, Britain and Decolonisation (Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 1988), p 235;         [ Links ] J D Hargreaves, Decolonization in Africa (Longman, London, 1996), p 200;         [ Links ] R Holland, European Decolonization 1918-1981 (Palgrave Macmillan, London, 1985), pp 206-210         [ Links ]
11 N Owen, "Critics of Empire in Britain", in J Brown and W M R Louis (eds), The Oxford History of the British Empire IV (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1999), p 206         [ Links ]
12 A Thompson, The Empire Strikes Back? The Impact of Imperialism on Britain from the Mid-Nineteenth Century (Longman, Harlow, 2005), p 212         [ Links ]
13 WP 600/4, J Thompson - D Cole, 5 March 1959
14 The Federal Party represented mainstream settler opinion in the Federation during the early 1950s, and was renamed the United Federal Party in 1957, after its merger with the United Rhodesia Party in Southern Rhodesia For more detail on the UFP, see: J Greenfield, Testimony of a Rhodesian Federal (Books of Rhodesia, Bulawayo, 1978)         [ Links ]
15 A Cohen, "Business and Decolonisation in Central Africa Reconsidered", Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 36, 4, 2008, pp 641-658         [ Links ]
16 WP 600/3, D Cole - R Welensky, 3 October 1958
17 WP 600/4, D Cole - J Thompson, 12 March 1959
18 WP 600/4, D Cole - R Welensky, 10 April 1959
19 WP 600/4, D Cole - R Welensky, 10 April 1959
20 WP 600/4, P Brownrigg - J Thompson, 30 April 1959
21 WP 274/2, Memorandum regarding public relations, 25 January 1960
22 WP 274/2, Memorandum regarding public relations, 8 March 1960
23 See: M Rees and C Day, Muldergate (Macmillan South Africa, Johannesburg, 1980), for details regarding the South African government's misappropriation of public funds to finance a secret propaganda campaign The operation included an attempt to buy the Washington Star newspaper in the United States, and the foundation of The Citizen, an English language South African newspaper favourable to the National Party The scandal eventually led to the resignation of the South African State President, B J Vorster, as he had been Prime Minister when the campaign was approved and had known about the corruption
24 Murphy, Party Politics, pp 58-59
25 The Colman, Prentis and Varley campaign is covered in D Butler and R Rose, The British General Election of 1959 (Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 1960);         [ Links ] and M Rosenbaum, From Soapbox to Soundbite: Party Political Campaigning in Britain since 1945 (Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 1997)         [ Links ]
26 WP 274/2, Memorandum regarding public relations, 8 March 1960
27 WP 274/2, Memorandum regarding public relations, 8 March 1960
28 WP 274/1, D Cole - R Welensky, 30 December 1959
29 Goldsworthy, Colonial Issues, p 367
30 WP 274/2, Public Relations proposals, 25 January 1960
31 WP 274/2, P Brownrigg - R Welensky, 18 February 1960
32 Rhodes House Library, Oxford, MSS Brit Emp s 527/2, Interview with Lord Home, December 1984 Transcript from the Granada End of Empire series
33 Rhodes House Library, Oxford, MSS Brit Emp s 527/2, Interview with Lord Home, December 1984 Transcript from the Granada End of Empire series
34 The Times, 16 September 1960, p 7
35 The Times, 7 October 1960, p 17
36 The British government dispatched a Commission, led by Lord Monckton, to the Federation in early 1960 to aid the Federal constitutional review which was scheduled for later that year Welensky was adamant that the Commission's terms of reference did not give it the right to recommend the dissolution of the Federation In the event, the Commission concluded that although it would damage their economies, the individual territories should have the right to secede from the Federation, if they so wished This led Welensky, not for the last time, to accuse the British of breaking their promises to the Federal government
37 R Blake, A History of Rhodesia (Eyre Methuen, London, 1977), p 331         [ Links ]
38 The Times, 7 October 1960, p 17
39 J Barber, Rhodesia: The Road to Rebellion (Oxford University Press for the Institute of Race Relations, London, 1967), p 35         [ Links ]
40 Keatley, Politics, p 448
41 The Times, 10 November 1960, p 5
42 The Times, 10 November 1960, p 5
43 At the time the loan received by the Federal government for the construction of the Kariba Dam was the largest ever awarded by the World Bank Initially the decision had been taken to construct a smaller, cheaper hydro-electric dam on the Kafue in Northern Rhodesia, but this was overturned in favour of the Kariba project
44 H Franklin, Unholy Wedlock, The Failure of the Central African Federation (Allen & Unwin, London, 1963), p 105         [ Links ]
45 See: J Stonehouse, Prohibited Immigrant (Bodley Head, London, 1960)         [ Links ]
46 Hansard Debates (hereafter HD), 3 November 1960, column 429
47 Keatley, Politics, p 457
48 WP 679/3, P Wall - R Welensky, 17 October 1960
49 Inside the New Africa (London, 1960), p 3
50 Inside the New Africa (London, 1960), p 6
51 Inside the New Africa (London, 1960), p 45
52 Inside the New Africa (London, 1960), p 18
53 Inside the New Africa (London, 1960), p 19
54 WP 274/3, S Wynne - S Parker, 28 March 1961
55 The Times, 9 November 1961, p 8
56 The Times, 9 November 1961, p 8
57 The Economist, 11 November 1961, p 547
58 Thompson, Empire Strikes Back, p 213
59 Murphy, Party Politics, p 212
60 Bow Group, Africa - New Year 1960 (Bow Group, London, 1960), p 4         [ Links ]
61 WP 274/2, S Wynne - Acting Secretary of Home Affairs, 6 October 1960
62 WP 389/3, McWhmme - Matthews, 13 September 1960
63 WP 389/3, McWhinnie - Matthews, 13 September 1960
64 HD, 25 October 1960, column 2157
65 Reynolds News cited in HD, 25 October 1960, column 2157
66 Reynolds News cited in HD, 25 October 1960, column 2157
67 Reynolds News cited in HD, 25 October 1960, column 2157
68 HD, 3 November 1960, column 406
69 HD, 3 November 1960, column 462
70 WP 274/2, S Wynne - Acting Secretary of Home Affairs, 6 October 1960
71 WP 274/2, M Barrow - R Welensky, 7 November 1960
72 WP 274/2, M Barrow - R Welensky, 7 November 1960
73 WP 274/3, S Wynne - S Parker, 18 May 1961
74 Face to Face: Sir Roy Welensky with John Freeman (V&V, London, 1960)
75 WP 274/3, S Wynne - R Welensky, 18 July 1961
76 WP 274/3, S Wynne - R Welensky, 18 July 1961
77 WP 665/2, R Welensky - Lord Salisbury, 12 April 1960
78 The Times, 2 April 1960, p 7
79 All file references are to the National Archives, Kew, London (hereafter NA): DO 35/7620, I Macleod - A Home, 27 June 1960
80 WP 665/2, R Welensky - Lord Salisbury, 18 August 1960
81 WP 679/3, P Wall - R Welensky, 27 February 1961
82 Goldsworthy, Colonial Issues, p 367
83 Holland, European Decolonization, p 230
84 NA: PREM 11/3485, H Macmillan - I Macleod, 27 January 1961
85 NA: PREM 11/3485, H Macmillan - I Macleod, 27 January 1961
86 NA: PREM 11/3485, H Macmillan - I Macleod, 27 January 1961
87 NA: PREM 11/4608, Lord Salisbury - H Macmillan, 18 February 1961
88 NA: PREM 11/4608, Lord Salisbury - H Macmillan, 18 February 1961
89 The "Suez Group" refers loosely to MPs on the "right" of the Conservative Party who backed Anthony Eden's decision to use force against Egypt in 1956 They also predominantly supported the cause of European settlers in East and Central Africa
90 R Welensky - Lord Salisbury, 27 January 1961, cited in S Ball, The Guardsmen (Harper Collins, London, 2004), p 354         [ Links ]
91 Ball, Guardsmen, p 352
92 WP 665/2, R Welensky - Lord Salisbury, 18 August 1960
93 H Macmillan, Pointing the Way 1959-1961 (Macmillan, London, 1972), p 311         [ Links ]
94 D Horowitz, "Attitudes of British Conservatives Towards Decolonization in Africa during the Period of the Macmillan Government 1957-1963 " DPhil thesis, University of Oxford, 1967, p 102
95 WP 665/3, R Welensky - Lord Salisbury, 27 February 1961
96 WP 679/3, P Wall - R Welensky, 27 February 1961
97 WP 665/3, Lord Salisbury - R Welensky, 25 February 1961
98 WP 665/3, Lord Salisbury - R Welensky, 25 February 1961
99 All figures from D Butler and G Butler, Twentieth Century British Political Facts (Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2000), p 536         [ Links ]
100 Goldsworthy, Colonial Issues, pp 368-369
101 M Kahler, Decolonization in Britain and France, The Domestic Consequences of International Relations (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1984), p 146         [ Links ]
102 A King (ed), British Political Opinion 1937-2000, The Gallup Polls (Politico's Publishing Ltd, London, 2001), p 262         [ Links ]
103 Goldsworthy, Colonial Issues, p 369
104 NA: PREM 11/3414, Pearson - H Macmillan, 1 March 1961
105 Ball, Guardsmen, p 344
106 Goldsworthy, Colonial Issues, pp 366-367
107 NA: PREM 11/3495, K Cunningham - H Macmillan, 17 March 1961
108 NA: PREM 11/3495, Briefing for H Macmillan, 22 March 1961
109 NA: PREM 11/3495, P Wall - H Macmillan, 17 March 1961
110 NA: PREM 11/3495, MR - H Macmillan, 17 March 1961
111 NA: PREM 11/3495, Letter from K Cunningham - H Macmillan, 17 March 1961
112 NA: PREM 11/3490, I Macleod - H Macmillan, 10 May 1961
113 NA: PREM 11/3490, I Macleod - H Macmillan, 10 May 1961
114 NA: PREM 11/3490, Note regarding H Macmillan's attitude to I Macleod's suggestions, 11 May 1961
115 Weller, "Pressure Politics", Encounter, August 1962, p 11, cited in Horowitz, Attitudes, p 116
116 Ball, Guardsmen, p 353
117 WP 679/3, P Wall - R Welensky, 10 October 1961
118 WP 679/3, P Wall - R Welensky, 20 October 1961
119 A Horne, Macmillan 1957-1986 (Macmillan, London, 1989), p 408
120 Blake, Rhodesia, p 337
121 The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland Newsletter (V&V, London, 1962), located in WP 274/4
122 WP 589/3, Institute of Directors - R Welensky, 3 April 1962
123 WP 589/3, Institute of Directors - R Welensky, 4 May 1962
124 WP 274/4, S Parker - S Wynne, 12 July 1962
125 HD, 19 July 1962, column 89
126 WP 274/4, S Wynne - S Parker, 6 July 1962
127 WP 274/4, S Wynne - S Parker, 6 July 1962
128 Darwin, Decolonisation, p 277
129 Murphy, Party Politics, p 71
130 Bow Group, The New Africa, p 46
131 WP 274/4, S Wynne - Eden-Greene, 25 May 1962
132 WP 686/7, S Wynne - R Welensky, 11 April 1963
133 WP 686/7, S Wynne - R Welensky, 16 April 1963
134 WP 215/2, P Brown - S Parker, 10 May 1963
135 WP 687/7, S Wynne - R Welensky, 18 July 1963
136 R Welensky, 4000 Days (Collins, London, 1964), p 11
137 Thompson, The Empire Strikes Back, p 137
138 Darwin, Decolonisation, p 278
139 Thompson, The Empire Strikes Back, p 216
140 M Shipway, Decolonization and its Impact: A comparative approach to the End of Colonial Empires (Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, 2008), p 203         [ Links ]
141 B Porter, The Absent Minded Imperialists: What the British Really Thought About Empire (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004), p 2         [ Links ]
142 Hobson, "The Last Gasp", pp 30-31

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