Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Speech at lunch for President of the Cameroon (1215Z) (Ahmadou Ahidjo)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: No.10 Downing Street
Source: Thatcher Archive: speaking text
Editorial comments:

Between 1315 and 1440.

Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 482
Themes: Foreign policy (Africa), Foreign policy (development, aid, etc), Defence (Falklands), Trade

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, We in Britain are now facing an exceptionally grave crisis in the South Atlantic, but which has worldwide ramifications. It has therefore been particularly valuable for us to be able to welcome to our country today so distinguished a statesman as President Ahmadou Ahidjo. The discussions which we have had this morning have provided a most useful opportunity to exchange views with a sage leader who has enormous experience of international affairs. He is, if I may put it this way, an elder statesman in Africa, and a prominent member of the Non-Aligned Movement. [end p1]

We know that we can count on the whole-hearted support of cameroon in working for the implementation of Security Council Resolution No. 502.

Although the Falkland Islands crisis has overshadowed our discussions it has not prevented us from giving full consideration to other issues, both of world affairs and concerning our bilateral relations. [end p2]

Britain's relationship with Cameroon dates back many years and has always been characterised by close friendship and co-operation. Some people have alleged that we have tended to neglect that relationship since President Ahidjo led Cameroon to full independence more than twenty years ago. My Government has taken energetic steps to rebut that accusation. The past eighteen months have seen an unprecedentedly large number of high-level visitors travelling in both directions.

These exchanges are bringing practical results, we hope, during the president's visit, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding under which the British Government will provide ten million pounds [end p3] in aid for development projects undertaken by British companies in Cameroon. Tomorrow our Ministers will sign an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and a Double Taxation Agreement covering airline operations. The latter arises from the Douala—London services begun last year by British Caldedonian and Cameroon Airways, which are bringing our countries so much closer together. [end p4]

Within the framework of all these agreements we look forward to a steady strengthening and expansion of our commercial relationships. This will require a far more positive attitude on the part of British businessmen. Cameroon is a country whose sensible, well-balanced development policies and abundant natural resources assure her of a prosperous future. I hope to see Britain playing a large part in that future. [end p5]

As I have said, the visit this week by President Ahidjo and his distinguished team of Ministers is the culmination of a process of injecting new vigour into our friendship with Cameroon. We most sincerely welcome His Excellency, and Madame Ahidjo, and his suite to this country, I am sure that the other engagements in his programme, including the hospitality by Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent, and by the Lord Mayor of London will be as warm and as friendly occasions as this luncheon has been.