A noon meeting in Belfast on Saturday (March 20) with British officials was due to decide the future of Major James Chichester-Clark as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.
A noon meeting in Belfast on Saturday (March 20) with British officials was due to decide the future of Major James Chichester-Clark as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. For after a day of reports on Friday (March 19) that Major Chichester-Clark was to resign over the crisis in Northern Ireland, Britain's Prime Minister, Mr. Edward Heath, ordered Lord Carrington, his Defence Minister, and Sir Geoffrey Baker, Chief of military Staff, to go to Belfast and for urgent talks in an attempt to save the situation.
The crisis followed a surprise visit to London on Tuesday (March 16) by the Northern Ireland Prime Minister, seeking further British troops to handle the explosive civil situation in Ireland. But after talks with Lord Carrington, Mr. Heath, and Home Secretary Mr. Reginald Maudling, Major Chichester-Clark was promised only a further 1,300 troops -- not enough, according to news reports, to relieve pressure on him from within his own ruling Unionist Party, who wanted more troops in order to bring the situation under control. Following the announcement of the planned British visit to Belfast, news reports said it was possible that Britain would increase the number of troops on offer and avert the need for Major Chichester-Clark to resign.