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Visiting Britain

May 25, 1986

I'm an American citizen, living in England for the past 10 years, who works for an American company in Europe. I've just come to California on a business trip from London. The plane was one-third full. Talking to people over here it seems that travel to England is off--it's too risky they say, with terrorists endangering Americans going to England. The tourist travel to the UK--Americas strongest ally--is down 50% and declining further.

Nothing has ever made me more ashamed of the behavior of my countrymen than this.

Perhaps Americans here don't appreciate what backing the USA's action against Libya has cost the British government. Margaret Thatcher's commitment to us has badly hurt her government's chances of reflection. The act of backing the USA was unpopular with many British voters because of expected retribution by the terrorists on Britain. Already three British hostages were killed directly due to their support of U.S. actions.

It would seem that at a time like this Americans would make a special point of visiting their most loyal and committed friend overseas, but no, to add even further negative effects for British loyalty, Americans are avoiding visiting England because it is now a target. The other countries of Europe, whose support for U.S. policy is almost always lukewarm now have a perfect example of what it can cost to back America. And they see the British getting nothing positive for their loyalty.

Britain is safe. Security on British flights is excellent. It is a beautiful and exciting place to visit. And most of all the British like Americans. They will continue to like us if we don't make fools of them.

Come on . . . pay your friends a visit.



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