Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Complete list of 8,000+ Thatcher statements & texts of many of them

1981 Feb 28 Sa
Margaret Thatcher

Radio Interview for IRN (visiting Washington)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Blair House, Washington DC
Source: Thatcher Archive: transcript
Editorial comments: The interview probably took place between 0800 and 0920, at which point MT was made-up for her interview with Barbara Walters.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 683
Themes: Defence (general), Economy (general discussions), Taxation, Foreign policy (Americas excluding USA), Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states)

Q

Prime Minister it is considered that your visit to Washington amounts to the beginning of a new special relationship between the leaders of both countries. What precisely has been achieved?

A

If you ask me to list, say points one to twenty then one can't do it, because we did not come to detailed agreements. You get together with the Ronald ReaganPresident, with the Alexander HaigSecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, with other Ministers—like the Donald ReganMinister for Treasury, Caspar WeinbergerDefence Ministers, Minister of Commerce; and you really discuss your own approach to these problems. We found a tremendous amount of common ground—and you just get to know how they see things, the viewpoint they are taking on particular issue and you have a discussion about this. And you can do it so much better than any amount of telegrams or written documents flying from one to another. And you also get to know the personalities who are dealing with these things, and it is very valuable indeed, and I can't stress that to you too much.

Q

You showed an interest in American rapid deployment force for the Persian Gulf. In a British context how would that work?

A

Well, we still yet have to discuss it. What we have not got is a force that could move rapidly, if there were trouble. It's obviously a wise precaution to have one. We would be interested in it, we are members of NATO and I think that other members of NATO, some of them would be interested, although it wouldn't be under NATO command but under a separate command. But these things have to be worked out, but there is a willingness to go ahead and work them out.

Q

There has been much interest here in the United States on your economic policies. Is there anything that you have learnt from President Reagan 's projected policies which could be applied [end p1] in Britain?

A

I think that he has acted very quickly indeed for putting up a very big programme to cut public spending from its previous planned totals. I have been very impressed at the way in which they have put their package together in a few days and presented it to Congress. I think if that goes through it will be a wonderful foundation for the deep cuts in taxation they wish to make which I too would have wished to make. We had a number of things to which we were pledged and we were not quite as free to move as he is and I just hope that his policy goes through Congress.

Q

Before arriving in Washington you issued a Statement deploring the level of outside interference in El Salvador. Does that imply that you are opposed to all interference whatever the source?

A

Now look there is a lot of outside interference at the moment. To the guerilla forces, and that of course has exacerbated the very difficult situation there, and we are concerned, and I think all people are everywhere, about what's happening there. It has a terrible effect on the lives of the people there, in El Salvador, and we stand by that Statement absolutely—it was very well received and our American friends were very pleased with it.

Q

A final question on the Summit. You have suggested that their decision be delayed while Brezhnev 's speech is studied. Would that not in fact increase tension for the Super Powers?

A

No what would be absolutely wrong would be to dash into a reply. That speech has been very, very, carefully thought out by President Brezhnev. And you must, before you ever go to summits, know all aspects of the problem, know exactly what you want, and indeed even consider whether you should go, in view of the fact that Afghanistan is still occupied. You must never, never, never make a quick ill-considered instant response to the Soviets; and end of transcript