INTRODUCTION: The British Foreign Secretary, Mr. Anthony Crosland, was said to be still "dangerously ill"?
INTRODUCTION: The British Foreign Secretary, Mr. Anthony Crosland, was said to be still "dangerously ill" this morning (15 February). He had a stroke last Sunday, and is unconscious in hospital in Oxford, near his country home.
SYNOPSIS: Anthony Crosland is 58, and was apparently in good health up to now. He has been a Member of Parliament for 23 years -- the last 18 of them for the east coast fishing port of Grimsby. He is regarded as a man of the centre in the British Labour party.
He was first attracted to socialism during his student days at Oxford University, and his book, "The Future of Socialism" is a denunciation of class influence in Britain.
Last year, he challenged Mr. James Callaghan for the Labour Party leadership, but dropped out after the first ballot. Mr. Callaghan became Prime Minister, and appointed Mr. Crosland Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary.
It has been a busy year for the Foreign Secretary, with Rhodesia and southern Africa bulking large among his problems. This was the main thing he had to talk to Dr. Henry Kissinger about when the American Secretary of State made a brief stop in Britain at the start of his two weeks' African tour last April. Dr. Kissinger was careful to insist that his settlement proposals were Anglo-American proposals. The efforts made by Mr. Ivor Richard to implement them were ultimately Mr. Crosland's responsibility.
In May, he was in Peking, to meet Chiao Kuan-hua, then Chinese Foreign Minister, and later, Prime Minister Hua Kuo-feng. It was his first major visit abroad as Foreign Secretary. He went on to Tokyo.
A month later, he was in Norway, wrestling with another difficult problem: the British fishing dispute with Iceland. He and the Icelandic Foreign Minister, Mr. Einar Agustsson, signed an interim agreement putting an end to the so-called "cod war", and allowing the two countries to resume diplomatic relations.
Britain at present holds the Chairmanship of the Common Market Council of Ministers; and chairing these meetings would have been one of Mr. Crosland's duties for the next six months. The Prime Minister will have to find someone urgently to take on this task.