The United States fearing the expansion of Communism in Asia, was seeking to establish a military presence between the Mediterranean and the Philippines. The Chagos Archipelago (a group of 600 individual tropical islands in the Indian Ocean about 500 kilometres from the Maldives in the Indian Ocean) provided the United States with the geographical and strategic advantage they sought as well as a minimal “population problem”.The United Kingdom had gained possession of both Mauritius and the Chagos Archipelago in 1814, and retained the islands as part of the British Indian Ocean Territory when Mauritius gained independence. The islands were discovered by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in the early sixteenth century (Chagos comes from the Portuguese word "Chagas") then claimed by the French as a possession of Mauritius in the eighteenth century.
A deal was signed between the United States and the British Government in 1966, that allowed for the building of a military base on the largest island, Diego Garcia. As part of the agreement, between 1967 and 1973 the British Government forced 2,000 island inhabitants to move from the Chagos group of islands. The British action violated articles 9 and 13 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which state that "no one should be subjected to arbitrary exile" and "everybody has the right to return to his country".
What lead the British Government to completely disregard in international law and the genuine right of its inhabitants? The British government’s case for expulsion of the island inhabitants was based on denying that the islanders were permanent residents and insisting they were temporary contract workers, employed on the copra plantations. This was the line that both the British and US governments were to maintain for years, even though they knew it was untrue. In 2000, the High Court ruled the removal of the inhabitants was illegal. The British government blocked the decision resorting to a series of draconian colonial powers.
In return for the “leasing” of the island (the lease expires in 2016), the United States offered a United Kingdom an USD $11M subsidy on the Polaris submarine nuclear program which was considered key to establish a nuclear deterrent in the region as well as provide support, following the British humiliating withdrawal from the Suez Canal in 1956 (confirmation source: wikipedia.org). However the Polaris agreement accentuated the contradiction between Britain's global ambitions and its resources meant that the Polaris deal was only one of a number of arrangements made between the US and the UK during this period. Based on a report from Ewen MacAskill and Rob Evans from The Guardian in 2000, in return for US help in trying to strengthen the pound in September 1965, an informal agreement was made that the Wilson would tighten spending; control wage rises and also more importantly, supports American intervention against Vietnam (confirmation source: wikipedia.org).
What is worst was Wilson’s complete disregard for universal law principles. While Mauritius was granted independence in 1968, the Chagos Islands were annexed to the British colonies, establishing the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). Despite UN Resolution 1514 on decolonisation and the division in public opinion in Mauritius, the island accepted a £3 million compensation from Great Britain. It was officially granted independence on March 12, 1968 despite UN General Assembly resolution 2066 XX in December 1965 which mandated that Great Britain takes "no action which would dismember the Territory of Mauritius and violate its territorial integrity" (confirmation source: The Guardian).
Diego Garcia currently houses 1,600 military personnel and 1,500 civilian contractors. The island is said to be a joint American-British military base - but only 50 troops are British (confirmation source: wikipedia.org). The depopulation of the Chagos Archipelago represents a serious case of Dark Matter Politics. Furthermore, no politician in over thirty years has explained why Chagos islanders, American and UK military cannot coexist on a territory that is longer than 190 kilometres.