Margaret Thatcher in Georgia

In the spring of 1987, Margaret Thatcher arrived in Moscow. This was the first visit of the British Prime Minister to the Soviet Union in 12 years.

I have to make the following confession. When I was offered to visit any other place besides Moscow during my visit, I was wondering where to go. I asked my colleague and assistant Lord Whitelow for advice, who was here with a parliamentary delegation last year. And he told me that there is one place where I should go without hesitation – this is Georgia. And here I am. I can say that he was absolutely right.

I know that the root “tbili” in the name of your city means “warm.” And you really demonstrated it with your hospitality today and this amazing dinner.

I was able to convince myself of the extraordinary beauty of your country and your capital. You are undoubtedly the most ancient people of all the Soviet republics, your culture is world famous. I was told that you have a famous school of rhetoric, created in the fourth century, i.e. more than one and a half thousand years ago, and that among her students there were many Greeks.

He who surpassed the Greeks in oratory, in fact, should be exceptional. And now I understand why the respected Foreign Minister Mr. Shevardnadze is so eloquent.

Your famous twelfth-century epic poem “The Knight in Tiger’s Skin” was written about two hundred years before our Jeffrey Chaucer published his “Canterbury Tales.” And your literary tradition continues today with your filmmakers.

This afternoon I visited Mtskheta and saw that – if I can put it that way – and today for us the road leads to the temple.

I am pleased to say that the origins of contacts between Britain and Georgia are in the distant past. Both our countries have traditions that we are proud of and which we faithfully keep. Both you and we are big tea lovers. We even have one patron – St. George.

After Margaret Thatcher’s return to London, the journalists bombarded her with questions, they said, what were the motives of the visit to the British Prime Minister to little-known Georgia, what guided her. Margaret Thatcher, without thinking twice, replied: “I wanted to face the face, the eyes of the people who never in their history knew what is hatred of others.”

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Tour in Georgia

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