FOREIGN POLICY. Prime Minister's visit to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, April 1981; part 2

PREM 19/757 1981 Apr 13 - 1982 Nov 19

This file relates to Margaret Thatcher’s visit to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, including the UAE, Oman, and Qatar, in April 1981. It contains briefs, records of conversations, and correspondence concerning:

  • The need for the Prime Minister’s personal backing for various British interests in contracts in the Gulf
  • The parliamentary question from Tony Marlow MP to the Prime Minister on whether she will meet with moderate Palestinian representatives on her trip
  • The Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington’s outline of the damage to British interests in Saudi Arabia caused by the recovery of SAS training charges
  • The Washington Post’s request for a radio interview with the Prime Minister on her trip, which was declined
  • The Prime Minister’s aversion to a substantive statement or joint communique with the Saudis upon the conclusion of her visit; and the issuing of a small statement upon the insistence of the Saudis
  • The communication with the Chancellor of West Germany Helmut Schmidt on the Prime Minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia, due to his upcoming Gulf visit, and the coordination of Tornado sales
  • Communication with the US State Department on various interests, including Turkish representations for assistance from Saudi Arabia
  • The meeting of the Prime Minister and her party with various Saudi officials and Gulf Rulers including: Crown Prince Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the Saudi Minister of the Interior Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the Commander of the Saudi Arabian National Guard Prince Abdulla Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the Saudi Minister of Defence Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Sheikh Suroor Bin Mohammad Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Prime Minister of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Sultan of Oman Qaboos Bin Saeed, the Amir of Qatar Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and the Crown Prince of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani
  • The Prime Minister’s subsequent visit to India, and the Indian complaints on UK-India trade relations
  • The congratulations to the Prime Minister from various industry figures for championing British industry in the Gulf; and her wish to capitalise on this favourable trade climate
  • The Prime Minister’s update to US President Ronald Reagan on her visit
  • The UAE’s surprise that HMG didn’t offer to sell warships to it
  • The case of the UK nationals Charles Clark and John Sullivan, who are imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for alleged whiskey smuggling, and the plea of their case to the Prime Minister.

This file also includes the various British interests in the Gulf. It contains correspondence concerning:

  • British Aerospace’s (BAE) interest in the Arab Satellite Communications Organisation (ARABSAT)
  • The sale of Tornado aircraft to Arab countries
  • The British Insurance Association’s involvement in an insurance claim from the Dubai Aluminium Plant
  • The sale of BAE 748 aircraft to Oman
  • The Saudi Arabian National Guard Medical Project (SANGMED)
  • The Qatar North West Dome Gas Field
  • Gas storage for Das island.