In London on Friday (7 December) Lord Soames was named as Britain's governor in Zimbabwe Rhodesia.
In London on Friday (7 December) Lord Soames was named as Britain's governor in Zimbabwe Rhodesia. He had been widely tipped to take the post, in which he will hold sweeping executive powers during the country's transition through a ceasefire to elections and independence. At present he is leader of the House of Lords, Britain's upper chamber, and as such attends ministerial cabinet meetings. Lord Soames is a close personal friend of Britain's Foreign Secretary, Lord Carrington, who chaired the Lancaster House talks.
SYNOPSIS: Lord Soames, is 59, has been a life-long Conservative party member. He was in the Commons for 26 years, from 1950, becoming Winston Churchill's Parliamentary Secretary and later a Minister of Agriculture in the Macmillan government.
In 1968, after losing his Parliamentary seat, he was appointed Britain's Ambassador to France by the Labour government of Harold Wilson. He was known to strongly favour the European movement and his appointment was seen as being part of the then government's drive for membership of the Common Market. His four years in Paris did help pave the way for Britain's eventual entry ... a period he's described as his 'golden age'.
In 1973, shortly after Britain gained membership of the European Economic Community, he was the association's Commissioner for External Affairs ... a post he held until 1976. Observers regard his experience as an ambassador, administrator, negotiator and government minister as being indispensable in his forthcoming task as governor of Zimbabwe Rhodesia.
For Lord Soames, it will probably be the most difficult job he has held in a long and active political career ... a job that will end when he hands over power to a newly elected government, and the country becomes independent.