European Diary, 1977-1981

Free European Diary, 1977-1981 by Roy Jenkins

Book: European Diary, 1977-1981 by Roy Jenkins Read Free Book Online
Authors: Roy Jenkins
Belgians—not very good, but to be expected; the Danes—pretty good; the Germans—huffing a bit but fundamentally friendly; and the French surprisingly friendly. Dinner at home with Jennifer, much disturbed by the appalling bulletins coming in about Tony.
    TUESDAY, 15 FEBRUARY.
Brussels.
    Lunch with Henri Simonet, 39 the Belgian ex-Commissioner, at a restaurant near the Basilique. Back for a series of meetings during the afternoon: first a delegation from the Spanish Socialists, headed by Felipe Gonzales, 40 an extremely effective, impressive young man, aged only about thirty-four, of humble origin in the south of Spain, and certainly one of the most impressive—though a little frighteningly tough—young leaders whom I had met for some time; then Klaus von Dohnanyi, the excellent European Minister in theGerman Foreign Office. Dinner party at home, composed of Dohnanyis, Ruggieros, 41 Natali and Laura.
    WEDNESDAY, 16 FEBRUARY.
Brussels.
    Commission day, but a remarkably easy one. Thirteen or fourteen routine items, but I got them all through in two hours. Lunch at home for Duncan Sandys 42 and then back to the office to see David Owen, who had been in Brussels to open the fishery negotiations with the Russians and from whom I particularly wanted to hear just how awful the news was from London. He said he regarded Tony as already morally and mentally dead; it was settled; there was no question; he would probably live only about forty-eight hours; he might live longer but there could be no possibility of recovery. He clearly did not think that he was at all likely to get the Foreign Secretaryship himself, although I would not say that he ruled it out completely.
    FRIDAY, 18 FEBRUARY.
Brussels and Rome.
    A frenzied morning in the office trying to patch together a statement for the routine general press conference which I had rashly arranged for that day at noon. Rashly because I agreed to do it simply because six weeks had gone by since the previous press conference, and the whole Brussels press corps is addicted to press conferences. The result however was undesirable as I had very little to say, hence the difficulty of preparing a statement. Left for Rome via Geneva at 3.50. Dinner with Crispin and Jennifer when Crispin told us he was going to be married again.
    SATURDAY, 19 FEBRUARY.
Rome and the Abruzzi.
    I awoke about 6.30, having had a vivid dream about Tony being present and his saying in an absolutely unmistakable, clear, rathercalm voice, ‘No, I’m perfectly all right. I am going to die, but I’m perfectly all right.’ Then at about 8 o’clock we had a telephone call from the BBC saying that he had died that morning, curiously enough at almost exactly the same moment that I awoke from my dream about him. I pulled myself together with some difficulty and after about half an hour did a brief recording over the telephone to the BBC in London, which they used for the 8 o’clock news, it then being 8.50 in Rome.
    After speaking to Hayden in Brussels, I decided that I ought to write a
Sunday Times
piece. We therefore slightly postponed our departure with Natali so that I got it going and made the telephone arrangements in the hotel. I then wrote the greater part of its 650 words in the hour or so’s drive between Rome and L’Aquila. It was a difficult feat of concentration. I had very little idea of what I was going to say when I started and the effect of writing about Tony was to bring the immense closeness of our earlier relationship flooding back into my mind, much more than had hitherto been the case, so that during the rest of that day in the Abruzzi, and indeed during the whole Roman trip and beyond, I found I was much more affected than I had been during the previous week, even though I had already realized that he was dying.
    Official lunch in L’Aquila with the prefect, the mayor, the chairman of the regional council, etc. and then to Rocca di Mezzo where Natali

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