Armed welcome was prepared when Amin threatened 1977 London visit or claim Scottish throne

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British police and troops were prepared for an airport shoot-out with President Idi Amin and 250 supporters if he tried to attend a meeting for Commonwealth heads of government in London, according to files released at the National Archive yesterday.

The secret security plans included snipers in the airport terminal, explosives experts and armoured ambulances to recover the wounded from the tarmac.

The files have been revealed along with a contingency plan in case the Ugandan president decided to fly to Scotland and take up his claim to the Scottish throne.

In May 1977, the Prime Minister Jim Callaghan had sent Amin a private message, via Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia, warning him that he would not be permitted to enter the country. Britain had already broken off diplomatic relations, and the scale of the dictator's brutality meant he was cold-shouldered by many African leaders.

But Amin had announced that he intended to arrive with 250 supporters, including tribal dancers, and would stay at St Ermin's Hotel, near Scotland Yard, or if that was not big enough he hoped to be accommodated at Buckingham Palace.

He expressed outrage at the ban and then disappeared from public view, while his government spokesmen claimed he was on his way to Britain with 900 followers.

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