Newsletter 23
Spring 2009
Updated on 17Feb2009
Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents Hawker Association

Aces, Erks, Backroom Boys
Book Reviews
Christmas Lunch
Demonstration Flying
Harrier News
Harrier Sales To China
Hunter News
Hurricane News
Kingston's Aircraft Industry
Members' e-mail Addresses
Restoring Hawker Biplanes
Royal Air Force Club Visit
Sea fury News
Sea Harrier News
Sir Keith Park Memorial
Windsor Camm Appeal
View From The Hover
    Dick wise has been doing some fascinating delving into the past...
    Whilst researching at the National Archives, Kew, I came across a file released in December 2008 under the thirty year rule. It was marked PREM16/1535 - Anglo-Chinese Relations, The Sale of Harrier Aircraft to China. This Cabinet Committee file provided an interesting snap-shot of government thinking and actions between October 1977 and August 1978. The file, about an inch thick, was a mixture of memos, minutes, speaking notes, telex copies and visit reports; a fascinating collection of papers recording how government attempted to balance conflicting foreign policy and economic issues. It also demonstrated the potential impact that sales prospects have on government policy, causing engagement at the highest levels of government.
    Initial UK Government motivations were driven by strategies to oust the French from what was perceived as growing trade relations with China. The Foreign Secretary, David Owen, was of course concerned about the impact of a UK-China relationship on President Carter's US administration and the COCOM (Co-ordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls) nations. 
Harrier Sales To China

    The Prime Minister, Jim Callaghan, commissioned a study to analyse the economic, military, industrial and political implications of a sale such as that of the Harrier. The study report recommended the development of a Western policy that would enable China to stand up to the Soviet Union whilst encouraging her to moderate her inclination to work against Western interests world-wide. Therefore, it stated, the UK should promote arms sales to China and press the COCOM nations to agree.
    A visit to China by the Chief of Defence Staff Sir Neil Cameron, where the Harrier was discussed, caused a major stir due to his poor choice of words regarding the threat posed by the Soviet Union. His comments, together with rumours of a potential Harrier sale to China reinforced by an invitation for a Chinese military delegation to visit England, aroused concern within the Soviet leadership. This in turn produced an abrupt cooling of London's relationship with Moscow.
    John Farley, in his recently published book, 'A View from the Hover', describes flying a Chinese pilot in the Harrier during the 1978 Farnborough air Show. Having a better understanding of the UK Government's policy challenges at that time made his account even more interesting. Will more be revealed when the 1979 files are released by the National Archives?