Salisbury Diplomatic Society: Sir Christopher Meyer (former British Ambassador to Washington DC)

The Salisbury Diplomatic Society was privileged to welcome Sir Christopher Meyer, former British Ambassador to the USA from 1997-2003, and previously press secretary to former Prime Minister John Major. To start the talk, Sir Christopher discouraged the use of the term ‘special relationship’ to describe the bond between the UK and the USA, explaining that there is no status quo to Anglo-American relations: they are in a constant state of flux. He gave a succinct history of Anglo-American links since World War II, which illustrated the ‘peaks and troughs’, as he put it, much determined by the personal relationships of the nations’ leaders – but always underpinned by profound ties of trade, culture, intelligence-sharing and (for the most part) diplomatic co-operation. He rejected the notion that the two nations are drifting apart, explaining that whilst at times both countries’ national interests are opposed, our cultural links will prevail over short-term disagreements. Pertinent questions ranged from the state of patriotism in the UK to Sir Christopher’s animated rebuttal of Mr Mann’s suggestion that the role of ambassadors is ever-diminishing in an age of instant technology and supra-national organisations. We would like to thank Sir Christopher for his authoritative talk on such a stimulating topic.

Nick Sinclair (MAG) and Ian Trueger (MAG)