Arundells, a very fine townhouse in the heart of Salisbury, Wiltshire, was the home for many years of Sir Edward Heath. The former Prime Minister wanted his house, garden and art collection to be retained and made available for members of the public to visit and enjoy following his death. Now, thanks to The Sir Edward Heath Memorial Foundation, Arundells is preserved for posterity and incorporates a fascinating museum of Ted Heath’s life and political career (as well as his musical and sailing interests). This year it is also staging a major exhibition entitled “World Leaders of the 1970s: A Decade of Turmoil.” The exhibition, says the Foundation’s spokesman David Felton, “will explore the personal histories, careers, achievements and errors of nine of the most important political leaders of the decade and their relationship with Britain.” As such, it should be of great interest to all journalists!
During the decade of turmoil, international relations were conducted against a backdrop of Cold War tensions, oil price shocks and a number of high profile acts of terrorism including the 1972 Munich Olympics, the Iranian Hostage Crisis and numerous hijackings. The exhibition runs until mid-August.
The featured leaders are:
• President Richard Nixon – President of the United States of America
• Leonid Brezhnev – General Secretary Communist Party of the Soviet Union
• Chairman Mao Zedong – People’s Republic of China
• Willy Brandt – Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
• Indira Gandhi – Prime Minister of India
• President Georges Pompidou – President of France
• Kakuei Tanaka – Prime Minister of Japan
• Pierre Trudeau – Prime Minister of Canada
• Henry Kissinger – Secretary of State, United States of America
“World Leaders of the 1970s” comprises a unique collection of over 70 iconic photographs, as well as documents from the turbulent period together with artefacts and memorabilia from the Arundells collection including photographs of Edward Heath with H.M. The Queen and President and Mrs Nixon at Chequers; President Gerald Ford, Henry Kissinger and Leonid Brezhnev decked out in furs at the Vladivostock nuclear arms control summit; the infamous kiss between Leonid Brezhnev and East German leader Erich Honecker lampooned on the Berlin Wall; and a photograph given to Ted Heath by Richard Nixon inscribed: “In our line of work it’s always good to have a second skill! Smooth sailing in your new boat.”
Among the controversies and insights explored in the exhibition, with echoes of today’s debates, is correspondence between Willy Brandt and Edward Heath about the outcome of the 1975 European Referendum and, in 1972, a commitment from Germany to take a share of the influx of Ugandan Asian refugees to the UK. Other events documented include the deterioration of relations between Britain and the US over the Middle East in 1973 to the extent that papers were commissioned for Secretary of State Kissinger on potential US sanctions against Britain.
An account is also included of the occasion when Brezhnev took Nixon for a spin around Camp David in a dark blue Lincoln Continent, which had been presented to him by the Ford Motor Company before the Secret Service could stop him.
The exhibition has been made possible through the assistance of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the Foreign Ministry of Japan, the Archive and Libraries Service of Canada and the Nixon Presidential Library.
For more details please visit the website www.arundells.org