Ministerial visits from the UK to the Persian Gulf: general

FCO 8/3813 1981 Jan 01 - 1981 Dec 31

This file relates to ministerial visits to the Gulf. It concerns the cancelled visit of the Minister of Defence Francis Pym to Bahrain, the UAE and Oman due to a cabinet reshuffle through which he was appointed Leader of the House of Commons, and contains correspondence regarding:

  • The programme and travel arrangements for the visit
  • Consideration of the inclusion of business representatives in the party considering the coincidence of the visit with the period of mourning for Sultan of Oman Qaboos Bin Saeed Al Said's uncle Tariq Bin Taimur
  • Letters of apology for the cancellation from Pym to Sultan Qaboos, the Omani Deputy Prime Minister for Defence and Security Faher Bin Taimur, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Bahraini Minister of the Interior Sheikh Mohammad Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa; and replies from Sheikh Mohammad and Sheikh Khalifa
  • Concerns regarding the lack of ministerial visits to Oman, and the possibility of the new Defence Minister John Nott making a visit to Oman and Saudi Arabia as soon as possible

The file also relates to the visit of the Under-Secretary of State for Industry R M Marshall to the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Paris to lobby on behalf of the British aerospace industry, with correspondence concerning:

  • The exclusion of Kuwait from the visit
  • Changes to the itinerary
  • Delays to Marshall’s travel plans
  • Details of his meetings with: Director General of the European Space Agency Erik Quistgaard; Secretary General of the Arab Satellite Communications Organisation (ARABSAT) Dr Ali Al Mashat; Chief Executive of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) Abdul Aziz Bin Abdulla Al Zamil; Saudi Deputy Minister of Industry Dr Fuad Al Farsi; Saudi Deputy Minister of Communications (Transport) Dr Muhiddine Khayyal; and Bahraini Minister of Transport and Communications Ibrahim Humaidan

This file also contains correspondence concerning:

  • The visit of the Lord Privy Seal Ian Gilmour to Jordan, Syria and Kuwait
  • The proposed visits of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE, and to Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar
  • A proposed visit by the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Douglas Hurd to Saudi Arabia and Oman
  • The visit of Energy Minister David Howell to Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi; and cuttings from the Gulf Mirror reporting Howell’s speech in Bahrain warning against sharp increases in oil prices, and a subsequent letter by Bahrain’s Minister of Development and Industry Yusef Al Shirawi criticising the Gulf Mirror’s reporting
  • HM Ambassador to Qatar C T Brant’s advice on appropriate gifts for Arab Rulers
  • Recommendations for undertaking improved research and preparation prior to ministerial visits
  • The position of ministerial visits within HMG’s strategy for international defence sales
  • A list of Western visits to the Middle East linked to trade and defence sales
  • The question of businessmen accompanying Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Ministers on overseas visits
  • Minutes from a Cabinet meeting in which the Prime Minister underscores the importance of ministerial visits to the Gulf to maintain British interests in the region
  • Possible visits to the Gulf by the Secretary of State for Transport Norman Fowler, the Secretary of State for Trade William J Biffen, and the Minister of State for Industry Kenneth Baker, all of which would coincide with the visit of the Prime Minister to the Gulf