By Randall Palmer
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's Brian Mulroney, a Cold War ally of Margaret Thatcher who died on Monday, recalled an aggressive, articulate and well-prepared colleague who, he said, transformed Britain into a superpower.
In an interview with Reuters, Mulroney noted the heavy weighting of conservatives within the powerful G7 group of major nations - including himself, Thatcher, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany. France's Francois Mitterrand, a socialist, also took a hard line on Moscow.
"We had a tremendous group and we had a tremendous challenge - namely the Soviet Union had missiles pointed at London and Paris and Washington and New York," Mulroney said by telephone from his Montreal law office.
"She was extremely aggressive on it and extremely articulate."
Mulroney, now 74, was Canada's Conservative prime minister from 1984-93, and he overlapped for six years with the British Conservative prime minister.
"She would come with the smallest delegation of all..., and she would be the best prepared person in the room, and she was absolutely ferocious in the defence of her national interests," he said.
"I'll always remember her sitting there with her fountain pen in hand, alert, paying attention to everyone of the G7, all during each meeting, and only relaxing when the chairman called an adjournment."
Mulroney said he disagreed with criticism of Thatcher's handling of Britain. "She inherited the sick man of Europe and she transformed the United Kingdom into a superpower," he said.
(Editing by David Storey)