Saturday, January 01, 2005

British government sought to shun "irrational" Nixon during Watergate

While the British government remained officially friendly to US President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal, behind the scenes, officials were urged to take "any measure open" to keep him away from London, newly-released archives showed.

At the same time, Britain's then ambassador in Washington warned that Nixon had to be handled with care, as he was "vengeful" and "irrational".

Britain's prime minister of the time, Harold Wilson, fought hard to prevent Nixon going ahead with a proposed visit to Britain in July 1974, just a month before he resigned, which would have seen him feted by Queen Elizabeth.

With moves in Washington growing for Nixon to be impeached over the bugging scandal, the president's visit would prove a serious embarrassment, Wilson believed, according to April 1974 documents from his official files.

Pity that the "vengeful" and "irrational" standard has fallen from favor.


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