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Rival Rulers of the Cameroons

Postwar decolonisation in West Africa saw tensions rise between the fading imperial powers of France and Britain, according to papers recently unearthed by Kathryn Hadley.

If they have already committed crimes in French territory and full particulars of those crimes and of the persons who committed them are given to the British authorities, the latter will be very cooperative in handing over the offenders if they can be caught … But I was given details of several cases in which men apprehended on the British side were handed over to the French and forthwith tied up and beaten in the sight of our policemen …  it cannot be expected that there will be much cooperation if the French behave like that. Our policemen are not worried at apprehending French criminals and handing them over without great formality; but they cannot be expected to take kindly to seeing their countrymen beaten up after delivery.

Exasperated by French complaints that the British authorities in Nigeria and the British Cameroons had not provided sufficient aid to stop raids into French Cameroun led by supporters of the pro-independence Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC), Ralph Grey, secretary to the governor-general of Nigeria, wrote this letter on June 5th, 1958 to Christopher Gilbert Eastwood in the West African Department of the Colonial Office. Grey hoped that ‘the Foreign Office will see from what I have told you that there is not as much in the French complaints as perhaps they have supposed’.

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