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THE THIMES DIARY

Niger’s President on Nigerian policy

TIMES 2.4/69

A Strong supporter of Mr. Wilson’s lpolicy towards Nigeria is now in London and waiting to see him on his return from Lagos and Addis Ababa : President Diori Hamani , of the Niger Republic . Nigeria’s northern and largely Saharan neighbour . He considers that Britain is properly following its traditional policy of maintaining a single Nigeria , just as it is right for Britain to get into the Common Market . It is wrong fir General de Gaulle to keep Britain out , to back Biafran secession , or to seek to seek to draw Quebec away from Canada . Only Rfance , not la Francophonie . Wanis any such thing he toid me .

A bluff , vigorous, outspoken man , who believes that histoty is on the side if states , cultures and economic blocks , the President has little use for Britain’s emotional attitude - for which he blames the press - to the bombings of civiliants and starvation in Biafra .

« I am an African , and ifeel this suffering more than people here can », he told me . « But European intervention and techniques are more to blame . More children died in Katalanga and Kasai , when you backed secession there , than have in Biafra . Bombing was developed in Europe and carried out out on Dresden . It is in you interest that Nigeria should remain united , just as it is in Africa’s interest . You are opposed to de Gaulle in Europe , but you fall for his policy in Biafra . I shall never understang Europeans ! »

Diori Hamani , who has twice been a French parliamentary deputy , probably understands Europeans well enough . Convinced that Africans must build own unity , he has learant English .

The first day of his visit he spent touring British atomic power plants before speding an entire evening with Michael Stewart . Uranium has been discovered in large quantities in Niger , a poor country which lacks power . Yes , president Diori agreed , it would he logical to build nuclear power stations a Niger , but he would not commit himself to the advantage of a specifically Britich one - only to an exchange of Niger uranium for western nucear skills . « I shall not go against history » , he said « and export uranium siply to import coal and oil to provide Niger with power ».

President Diori Hamani

He is here at the right moment , and so is Madame Diori Hamani . While the President clambered about Dungeness , she went to Newmarket . She is a successful breeder of horses in Niger .

Rare honour

David Oistrakh is to receive an honorary degree at Cambridge this summer , i hear . He becomes the second contemporary Soviet musician tobe thus honoured latterly : Mstislaw Rostropovich , the great cellist , pipped him to the post at St. Andrews last year . In fact Combridge had been hoping to honour the violinist last summer , too , but concert comminitments in Moscow conneeted with his sixtieth for him to come over .

He will be coming over just for the ceremony on June 5, and -as a gesture of gratitude - to take part in a consert the day before at the Cambridge Cguildhall with the Cambridge University Musical Society , which

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