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Sunday Times publishes conversation between Mintoff and former British PM

The Sunday Times (print version) today published a transcript of a candid telephone conversation between Dom Mintoff and then British Prime Minister James Callaghan in the run-up to the Freedom Day ceremony of 1979.

In the telephone call, Mr Callaghan turns down the Maltese Prime Minister’s invitation to attend the ceremony of March 31, which marked the British forces leaving the island for the last time.

Mr Mintoff urges Mr Callaghan to visit before he loses office: “We don’t want you when you are not Prime Minister.” The phone call took place two months before Mr Callaghan lost the election to Margaret Thatcher.

Most of the declassified notes are part of a briefing document given to Lord President Michael Foot who attended the Freedom Day ceremonies on behalf of the British Government.

These include a rather unflattering “personality note” about then President Anton Buttigieg who is described as an “ineffectual” person who drank too much and hated being ordered around by Mr Mintoff.

The briefing also includes speaking notes and background about Malta and its economy which is described as “generally healthy and well-prepared for the British departure”.

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