Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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1986 May 5 Mo
Margaret Thatcher

Radio Interview for IRN (Tokyo G7)

Document type: speeches
Document kind: Radio Interview
Venue: ?Hotel New Otani, Tokyo
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Ray Gardner, IRN
Editorial comments: MT gave television and radio interviews 1500-1540.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 910
Themes: Employment, Industry, Energy, Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Northern Ireland, Terrorism

Ray Gardner, IRN

Prime Minister, is the joint statement on terrorism likely to bring specific new advantages to the UK in its fight against terrorist threats, notably in Northern Ireland?

Prime Minister

I think it is good, really, for the whole of the western world which has been so subject to terrorism. First, because it shows absolute solidarity among all western nations, not only in words but in what we are prepared to do to try to defeat it. To defeat it totally is very difficult indeed, just as difficult as it is to defeat violence, because terrorism is a form of violence, but I think it will help.

On Ireland, I very much hope the United Nations [sic] will pass her extradition law. The Administration are making strenuous efforts to ensure that that happens, because neither they nor we want to feel that any Irish person who does a terrorist deed can find safe haven in the United States. That would help the terrorists and it would hinder the fight against terrorism. [end p1]

Ray Gardner, IRN

The statement has been characterised in the press as a personal success for yourself and for President Reagan. Is this perception correct?

Prime Minister

I believe it is because we were faced with a rather bland statement at first and we said: “Look, this just will not do. It is no earthly good to say we are going to be relentless and determined in fighting terrorism and then not be either. You have got in fact to say what you are prepared to do.”

Ray Gardner, IRN

So were there differences of opinion, in particular with the naming of Libya as an offending nation?

Prime Minister

Well we got Libya in as an offending nation, so we all agreed.

Ray Gardner, IRN

Was there a timetable suggested for a review of the effectiveness of these measures?

Prime Minister

No. We shall keep in regular consultation and see if we can recommend further measures as necessary. [end p2]

Ray Gardner, IRN

The statement on nuclear safety was entitled “The implications of the Chernobyl nuclear accident” . Has this incident marked a turning point on the issue of safety in nuclear power generation?

Prime Minister

We have always been very particular about safety, so I think have most other western nations. No-one in the west has the kind of reactor which caused the trouble in the Soviet Union. We have taken the view that we have a paramount responsibility on safety to our people, safety in the kind of design, safety in the high level of manufacture of each of the component parts, safety in the way you operate the plant and safety in maintenance. That makes for a whole different approach to the one which they have had in the Soviet Union.

We have also recognised in this particular communique that we not only have a responsibility to our own people on these things, but a responsibility to the wider international community, and that we accept and recognise.

Ray Gardner, IRN

So if another incident were to occur tomorrow, is it likely that the summit communique would lead to a better response? [end p3]

Prime Minister

I am not quite sure what could be a better response than the summit communique. Do not forget we have never had a fatal accident as far as civil nuclear power is concerned in any of the western industrialised countries. When we had Three Mile Island in the United States, that shut itself down, there was no fatal accident at all, so far as we are concerned, we have not had such an accident as this because of the approach we take to safety and the way in which we regard it as paramount.

Ray Gardner, IRN

Japan was the host to this summit. Has there been any specific benefit from meeting in Tokyo?

Prime Minister

I do not know. It has certainly been a very successful summit and I certainly gladly say what an excellent chairman Mr. Nakasone has been, very good indeed.

Ray Gardner, IRN

Did the problem of unemployment come up in discussions?

Prime Minister

Of course, frequently, because although we have all got economies which are growing and we have all got a record standard of living, we nevertheless, a number of us, have a serious problem on unemployment and of course we try to set up ways to tackle it, that the ways in the end result in job creation and [end p4] higher growth, but still keeping inflation down, but the essence of it is how best you create more jobs. You do not do that by more controls, but by really having more freedom of enterprise.

Ray Gardner, IRN

Was any form of united action discussed which could help in this problem?

Prime Minister

I think it is continuing with those policies which are fundamentally sound, which do a certain amount of deregulation within a framework of safety and health law and the kind of tax incentives which we have been introducing in Britain, but in the end it depends upon the enterprise of those who are in industry, in services, how many are prepared to start up on their own and build something up and employ more people.

We are getting there, you know. We have more small businesses than we used to have. We have more self-employed, so we are getting the seed corn of new big industries in the future.