|LAST week Dale Campbell-Savours
complained that he was not given the opportunity to raise the matter of
the "Cunard affair", which took place in 1975. What is it? Insight
is in a position to enlighten both its readers and Campbell-Savours.
On July, 1975, Sir Basil Smallpiece, who had just retired as chairman of Cunard, was woken in the middle of the night by a man claiming to be an army officer. He was questioned about Cunard's flagship, the QE2, and asked to attend a meeting the following day with a colonel, whose name he carefully noted in his diary for that day, and which Insight has seen. Smallpiece attended the meeting, but when he pointed out that he no longer had any influence over the QE2, he was abruptly dismissed.
Smallpiece, an intensely loyal and patriotic person, was deeply worried about the conversation. He reported the matter to Sir Michael Cary, then permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence. It was the last he heard of it.
But Insight has discovered that there was an official in
the Home Office in 1975, with the same name as Smallpiece was given.
The man is still a senior civil servant. Last week, he confirmed to
Insight that he did have a meeting with Smallpeice, but denied he had
any involvement with a coup. "I too was phoned up in the middle
of the night." He says he was asked whether he would be prepared
to assist in "helping the nation".