Toynbee reveals the letters::Harry letters affair


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Toynbee reveals the letters Toynbee and others were expelled from Rhodesia in March 1966 for refusing information to the police.<ref name="Forsythe2009"/> While she was there, however, she acquired some letters that she said had been abandoned in a safe. The letters appeared to been written in London by Benenson between January and March 1966; some were typed, while others were in his handwriting. Alternately signed "Margaret" or "Peter", and addressed to the Amnesty representative in Salisbury, they contained frequent references to somebody or something called "Harry", which Toynbee interpreted as code for the UK government.<ref name="Power2001"/>

Many of the letters contained detailed requests for payments and funding. One of them, dated 2 February 1966, included the passage "What with North Hull Harry wants a fair buzz of legal activity. Harry's financial problems apparently have been solved and he's in a generous mood."<ref name="Power2001"/> Toynbee construed this as a reference to the Hull North by-election of the previous month, which had increased the Labour government's majority in the House of Commons from three to four members.<ref name="Power2001"/> Toynbee's interest was aroused as Amnesty took pride in its declared apolitical stance, a concept very much at odds with the idea of funding from a national government.<ref name=CathHld67>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref>

On 5 March 1967, Toynbee revealed the existence of the letters in newspaper interviews.<ref name="Wong2008"/> She claimed that Amnesty had been "bought off" by the British government; "Instead of dealing with legal test cases," she said, "it is wasting its time on welfare work which could equally well be done by the Red Cross".<ref name=CathHld67/>

Harry letters affair sections
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Toynbee reveals the letters
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