1965: Mauritius Sells Chagos For Three Million Pounds

September 1965. The Mauritius Constitutional Future is decided from 7 to 24 at Lancaster House, a center of government conferences and receptions in London. The purpose of the fifth and final Mauritius Constitutional Conference, chaired by the Secretary of State for Colonies Anthony Greenwood, is whether or not to accede Maurice Independence.

A total of 28 Mauritians from four political parties of the government are involved. Thirteen members of the Labour Party (PTr), five of the Independent Forward Bloc (IFB), five Mauritian of the Social Democratic Party (PMSD), three of the Muslim Action Committee (MAC) and two independent members.

Only the PMSD is not in favor of independence. They instead want Mauritians to be seated at Westminster. In addition to the request for a referendum.

While the constitutional conference is in full swing in London, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (SSR) is convened in the morning of September 23, 1965 at 10 Downing Street. British Prime Minister immediately puts him at ease. Harold Wilson informs his preference for PTr proposal for the Independence of Mauritius instead of the PMSD for association with the United Kingdom. It is particularly noted that the meeting was revealed in the L’an prochain à Diego Garcia, the work of Jean Claude de l’Estrac, the “opportunities” mentioned by the head of the British government.

First, “SSR and his colleagues returned to Mauritius with or without independence.” Secondly, Diego Garcia could be ‘detached’ or by an Order in Council, or with the agreement of the Prime Minister and his colleagues. And for the British PM, “the best solution for all could be independence and ‘detachment’ with their agreement …”. SSR who believed he is well placed before the choice to keep the Chagos archipelago or get independence, opted for the last option.

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