Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1981 Jul 21 Tu
Margaret Thatcher

Radio Interview for IRN (Ottawa G7)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Ottawa
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Andrew Manderstam, IRN
Editorial comments: Exact time and place uncertain.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 593
Themes: Monetary policy, Foreign policy (general discussions), Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (USA), Northern Ireland

Prime Minister

I think you make a mistake if you expect that Summits automatically start initiatives. They don't. They really are for greater understanding between Heads of Government, particularly at a time when we have four new Heads of Government present. President Reagan made a very, very valid point that his programmes are not yet through Congress and he inherited high interest rates. He's doing his level best to cut public spending as a means of trying to take down the deficit.

Interviewer

I think it's generally recognised that the level of US interest rates has had a detrimental effect on the British economy. Doesn't that put you in a rather difficult position because President Reagan 's philosophy is very similar to your own?

Prime Minister

But President Reagan has not, indeed, yet got his programmes through Congress so he cannot be responsible for the high interest rates. Indeed, you'll remember that they were up 20%; at times when President Carter was President. We all agreed at the Summit that each and every country must fight inflation. That is something which you must do both to get a sound economy and as a means of getting unemployment down. So we're totally agreed, you've got to fight inflation and the United States must, like every other country, fight it in its own way. President Reagan is trying to get his programme through Congress right now.

Interviewer

Turning to the Middle East, you said you'd use all your influence to try and stop the fighting. What, in fact, can be done?

Prime Minister

We try to use our influence, especially during a time when [end p1] we're President of the Community, in every way to try to resolve the ultimate Arab/Israel dispute. And, indeed, at the moment what is happening on the Lebanon is very, very distressing indeed and costing the lives of innocent men, women and children. Lord Carrington is President of the Foreign Ministers of the Community and they meet from time to time. They will be meeting to decide how best to proceed on this very difficult issue. In the meantime, Mr. Habib from the United States is there doing his best to try to procure a ceasefire.

Interviewer

You briefed President Reagan on the Northern Ireland situation. Do you envisage any change in US policy on Ulster?

Prime Minister

It was only very short—a few sentences—because the matter was not raised with me. As you know, President Reagan and Mr. Haig both said that this is a matter for the United Kingdom and so we did not go into it in any detail.

Interviewer

Finally, there is some doubt as to whether there's any real utility in these Western Economic Summits. What do you think has really stood out? What was really achieved on this the seventh of the Summits?

Prime Minister

This was an extremely valuable one. First, it enabled four new leaders to meet with three others and we were all able to meet the new ones—all able to discuss together over a prolonged period our views on the world economy, our views on the major political issues of the day, our views on trying to take our relationship with the developing world further. It really was extremely valuable. We all thought it. I think we all moved closer together in our views. And that can only be good for the major democracies and their peoples.