Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1983 Nov 4 Fr
Margaret Thatcher

Interview for Daily Mail (Grenada, Cruise)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: Interview
Venue: No.10 Downing Street
Source: Thatcher MSS THCR 5/1/1E/46 part 1 f68): COI transcript
Journalist: Sir David English, Daily Mail
Editorial comments: 1500-1600. Off the record sections of this interview omitted from the copy on the Oxford CD-ROM have been restored to the text. The published article ( Daily Mail , 7 November 1983) includes material missing from the transcript.
Importance ranking: Key
Word count: 6738
Themes: Autobiographical comments, Civil liberties, Conservatism, Defence (general), Defence (arms control), Defence (Falklands War, 1982), Industry, Monetary policy, Public spending & borrowing, Foreign policy (general discussions), Foreign policy (Americas excluding USA), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Health policy, Leadership

Material published in the interview but missing from the transcript:

“On personalities. She talked sadly of Cecil Parkinson and was fierce in her loyalty to him. He was an outstanding Minister of Trade and Industry. He was an accountant, he built up his own business, he could take his counsel’s part when a corporate plan came in, he could look at it understanding it all. But could she ever see him coming back into the Government? She was honest. “I just don’t know, I tried to enable him to continue … but” , and she spread her hands. And what of the men in Opposition - the two Davids [David Owen and David Steel] and the newly elected Labour leader Neil Kinnock? Did she have any plans to deal with them? She grinned. No new plans were needed, she indicated. “I shall cope with them the same way as I have been coping with them”, she said, as if they were the smallest of her possible problems”. David English

I want to start with Grenada which is the first issue. The feeling that we have from our correspondents—and most of our impressions are guided not just on what our writers write or what the readers write—most of them seem to think one, the Americans have behaved extremely badly …   . and treated you, particularly as a very close friend, with some contempt by not keeping you and the Government fully informed. On the other hand they think the Americans are absolutely right in going in and we and you are very wrong in not getting involved. Now haven't you really got the worst of all possible worlds? Prime Minister

No, I don't really think so. If you look at the speeches I made during September—the speech to the Canadian Parliament and the Churchill speech and you will find echoes of the Churchill speech in the foreign affairs part of the Party Conference speech—you will see I spent some time in those speeches saying a number of things. Let me just try to summarise them. First, that NATO and the West is a defensive alliance. In one speech I said it doesn't need to be said, it doesn't need to be repeated that NATO will attack no-one. No-one need fear NATO. We are a totally defensive alliance. I went on to develop the theme. Yes, the West does believe certain thingsit believes very strongly indeed that it has not advanced its ideas by military force, unlike the Soviet Union. We advance ours by persuasion, by meetings, by theories and books and ideas. Now you will find that very vigorously worked out in the Churchill speech. It is very, very important because, however much you may dislike the regime in another country, you do not just walk in. If we did all just walk in …   . well, we should soon have a much worse position in the world than we have at the moment, because there would be no stability, no certainty. It so happens that I did spend a lot of time spelling all this out and you will see how I did it in accepting the Churchill Award right in the heart of Washington. And you will see within the Canadian speech I said that I could never stand it when people tried to treat the two super-powers as if they were the same. Surely, one could see that they were not the same, that the United States had in fact been one of the most generous countries giving aid to other nations …   . in the Caribbean. In Central America, for example, 75 cents out of every dollar was civilian aid, aid to help with food, the standard of living and the things they needed for civil purposes. In answering questions in the House before the Recess when there were 8,000 troops, an enormous number of American troops on exercise in Honduras, I said no, they are there on exercise, the Americans do not go into other people's countries. I spent a long time on this and I believe it to be right. That is your basic proposition but you do not, however much you dislike a regime in another country, you do not walk in.

Now rule in politics is absolute. But there are times when even though you hold that fundamental position you may be entitled to go in. It may be that there is a colossal civil war there and someone in authority says ‘Please will you come and help us to end this’. That actually is the case of the Dominican Republic in 1965. The Americans went in with the OAS and Healey did not oppose that. Nor did Michael Stewart at the time. He merely took the view that we have citizens there. So there are times when you do actually have to cross someone's territory and go in. But I think there have to be overwhelming reasons. David English

And you don't think there were in this case? Prime Minister

I did not take that view from my viewpoint—our viewpoint here is that they were [not?] overwhelming. But there are always two ways of looking at something. If I look at a problem from here I may see a different view from someone looking from there, and this you will find all the way. Now, I have tried to protect the American position from my very first answer in the House. We recognise that from their prospect it may have been different. In my view what swayed the President very much was the small Eastern Caribbean countries and the two others asking for help. The Caribbean itself is split … and this was our information before the Monday. Then things changed very, very rapidly when we got the message at 7.15 on the Monday evening. Before that everything had been on the basis of precautionary measures … if there was trouble at the end of the curfew in Grenada and our people needed to be taken off. So I said, all right, this is our view; they may have a different prospective and I think that what influenced it was the other countries asking. Now, let me tell you how we came to our view, since I have to justify not only on the point of principle but more on the point of practice. Grenada had been Marxist since March 1979. Grenada was made independent with 110,000 people in 1974 with a fully independent democratic constitution. The then President became Prime Minister and made a recommendation about the Governor-General to the Queen of Grenada. That recommendation was accepted; it was Sir Paul Scoon . Within five years that constitution had been suspended as Maurice Bishop took power by a coup. He ran a Marxist organisation. He promulgated people's laws. There was nothing different about Grenada becoming Marxist; she had been Marxist. I have been at Commonwealth Conferences since Lusaka 1979 and the representative from Grenada has always been a Marxist Prime Minister. Then there was the sudden trouble in which Coard and his people overthrew Bishop. Now that, if I might put it this way, is a real quarrel in the Marxist world, quite embarrassing for Cuba because Bishop was a personal friend of Castro . They had a problem on their hands. How come in this Marxist world could one person overthrow another? So all right there was a problem. So we sent in our Deputy High Commissioner and we also had a representative on Grenada. We sent our Deputy High commissioner from Barbados because we had 200 people there. The Deputy High Commissioner went in on the Sunday afternoon, together with two American Consuls, to ask about the safety of our people. We were told that they were in no danger. We asked whether they needed or wanted any help or had asked for any help. There was no indication whatsoever—indeed, we were told that our people were safe. David English

What about the safety of the Grenadan people, They were being shot down by these mad gun-thirsty extremists? Prime Minister

There was curfew in existence. A total curfew in existence when we went on on that Sunday, when we got permission to go and see Sir Paul Scoon the Governor General …   . None of us knows what the casualties are. Don't you see, you can by going in an invasion force put people's lives at risk and in danger? We have not yet got any figures. We have heard rumours and counter-rumours about both the American casualties both in numbers and in the number of helicopters lost. We don't know the numbers who have been lost by action, about the hospital. David English

But I take all these points and I think they are very valid. Prime Minister

What I am saying, David, is that you need an overwhelming reason to go in. I saw from our viewpoint no overwhelming reason to go in. And that was shared by some other members of the Caribbean. In the meantime any suggestion of a parallel with the Falklands is totally and utterly wrong. We went down to the Falklands to get ours back. We have always been on the right side of international law, always. David English

I agree. But I am talking about the real politics, accepting all these arguments which I think very valid arguments. One can accept them but you are still left somewhat wrong-footed, Prime Minister aren't you, because you can't really come out hard and say too much against the Americans because if you do that you weaken the Alliance? Prime Minister

But that doesn't mean I'm wrong-footed, David. That means that we recognise the large issues at stake. This happened when a major issue was coming out in our Parliament and in Europe; the stationing of Cruise missiles. David English

Indeed, that is the point I am making. Prime Minister

Indeed, yes. But you say I am wrong-footed, David. Please—maybe. But let me put it this way. We see the larger issues. I think in the end, as I say, the smaller islands asked for it and I think it [the Americans going in] was for a reason of security. But if you go into Grenada under those circumstances, well, Cuba is a much bigger danger isn't it? …   . Look at the map. You don't go into Cuba because you don't like the Cuban attitudes. But you go into Grenada because there are Cubans there. I mean look, David, can you not see the point? David English

I can and I absolutely take it. But what I am saying is … Prime Minister

But you see Kennedy tried Cuba in the Bay of Pigs. David English

And failed miserably because he did it in a very wrong, inefficient way. But I mean it still left you, I won't say wrong-footed, but in a very difficult position because you can't make these arguments too strongly because if you are right, and I am accepting that you are right in what you are saying, then the Americans are wrong. But you can't keep saying the Americans are wrong because that then gives succour to their enemies and your enemies … Prime Minister

That is why, and you are right in a sense, one has to stand on two feet saying this is our viewpoint this side. They from over there might have seen it from a different perspective. Look at it from a different view and you get a different perspective. No, Sir Paul Scoon the Governor-General did not ask us on Sunday afternoon. And there is a statement from the Palace that he did not ask them. Then at some stage on Monday, I don't know what happened. David English

Have you told them that this has not been at all helpful to the Cruise programme in Europe and is pretty foolish? Prime MinisterNo, let me put it this way, I don't think you would somehow put it down this way David. Let me just remind you, David, that they were jolly lucky to have me here so that we could promptly … they know that we would … I am sorry I can't say that precise word. [sic] David English

But somebody else might have really allowed it to blow up. We have absorbed …   . Prime Minister

They know that whatever they did I am not going to do anything to undermine the Alliance. Nothing. I would take the wider, the larger more important view. We have a job to do here. We have to get Cruise missiles sited in pursuit of the NATO decision. We have to take the lead in doing it. The date in Germany will come up after us. So we have to take the lead in doing that. It was the most important thing in East/West terms and that you do not in fact put in jeopardy. All right, things somehow changed on the Monday. They did not tell us anything over the weekend. But even then you just go back and look at the very first principles I laid down in those speeches. David English

I think your principles are right, but as I say it's difficult for you to keep …   . Prime Minister

No, I don't keep hitting them. As I said on the World Service there are lots of people who are very pleased. I mean all the people are very pleased in Grenada. But don't think they went in because it was a sudden Marxist takeover because of a sudden appearance of Cubans—they had been there for a very long time. David English

No, they suddenly saw that they could pull off an adventurous piece of foreign policy action, didn't they, and that is what they did? Prime Minister

Indeed the Eastern Caribbean countries wanted it. Jamaica and Barbados wanted it. I think also, David, one has to look at it further back …   . David English

Well it depends on the size of the country involved. But …   . Prime Minister

But I don't feel in any difficulty myself. I would not allow any slight difference between us to undermine the Alliance because it would be contrary to Britain's interests. It would be contrary to the interests of every single thing in which I believe. We took it absolutely head-on. Some think I should have backed them but as I say you just do not go in. We have an absolute cast-iron reputation in upholding international law. That is what I went into the Falklands for, to uphold international law and give people the right to choose. And now the Americans are in and Sir Paul Scoon is putting it together very well indeed. And I hope that this time they will be able to get democracy to stick in Grenada. David English

Well, all those small islands are very vulnerable to fresh colonialisation. Prime Minister

Now this is a new thing which we now have to consider. There are a load of small islands that have been given independence, none of them can defend themselves against subversion. David English

With colonialisation it was only Russian and Cuban …   . Prime Minister

So you have to look and see who might be vulnerable to it and what one can do to prevent it. In other words, to strengthen them. David English

Well, moving on, it has made things more difficult with Cruise. Prime Minister

Now, have I said anything that one ought not to? No, they can rely on me absolutely in defence of everything in which I believe. I would not dream of undermining the Alliance. But it does leave some questions, some communications questions for a start. How decisions are made, how consultation is carried on and how decisions are communicated. David English

These things must be brought up and cleared up I should imagine? Prime Minister

This is another important aspect, quite apart from Cruise …   . I looked at it that weekend. What we've got to get is the really important international decision implemented now and to make it quite clear to the Soviet Union that we are going to site Cruise and Pershing unless they go for the zero option. All right, we will get it done. David English

But just to finish this off, to get it absolutely clear, Prime Minister. I know what you are saying that you have had to bite on the bullet, that you have had to take all that political, internal domestic flak; your Government had to because you took the view that Cruise was the most important issue, so you had to bite on the bullet. they understand that, I presume, now. They sort of owe you one now because in a sense you had to take all that. This means that they had better not get it wrong again in a sense, not in your words but in our terms. Prime Minister

That may be your interpretation but, David, you know full well that I would do nothing to undermine the things in which I believe. They think that they were pursuing the things in which they believe in going into Grenada at the same time. I would not, I did not, take that view. I saw a really tricky problem in the Marxist world where one Marxist had deposed another and somehow there had been the murder of another. That was a fantastic opportunity. Maybe for a demarche. But don't forget, when you do go in and invade you are by the invasion putting lives at risk. I mean, I had two hundred there. They had a thousand. You can argue straight away, as I was arguing and was concerned, that the moment you set foot on an invasion you're putting lives at risk which from my understanding were not at risk. David English

Absolutely, they could have been taken hostage …   . anything. Prime Minister

You are putting lives at risk at that point of time and, after all, we have known what it is like. And so I would have tackled it another way. Castro must have been very embarrassed when Coard took over and someone murdered Bishop. There will be a hell of a row in the Marxist world. David English

It could have been exploited. Exactly, point taken. It could have been a very good …   . But can I just ask about Cruise missiles? Prime Minister

From my perspective this is how it seemed. And therefore there might have been opportunities to afford help to Grenada, but not of military help. Incidentally, when we gave them independence we gave them £2 million aid of which, I think £80,000 is outstanding. It is not my purpose, David, to criticise the United States. She does see things differently. She reacts differently as you can see. But it is totally in the interests of the whole free world that we and the United States stay together. It is hopefully in the interests of the whole free world. You have got democracy in the whole free world. You have got democracy in the whole of Europe, democracy in North America. Those are two big areas of democracy and you try to extend those. Now the great thing about the Caribbean is that they themselves are not naturally Marxist. If you look at them they on the whole have kept their democracies. David English

Well, can we move to Cruise? I think …   . Prime Minister

You see. Are we going to look around and say well who is there as a result of a coup? David English

What's going to happen now? Prime Minister

Well, this is it again now. You may not like what goes on, but you have to be very careful, you have to have an overwhelming reason, I think, to go in. The view I took was the reason that I said that it was not overwhelming, overwhelming for anybody to go in—that was also the view taken by some of the Caribbean countries. The United States took a different view. I think the view had something to do with the cri de coeur of the small countries and of what I would call regional security. And don't forget I have supported her for what she is going in El Salvador because she was trying, in fact, to get El Salvador back to democracy. So I sent—the only European country to send—observers. I support her all the time. We have a slight difference on this but I am not going to condemn her because she took a different viewpoint from our viewpoint. That might make it difficult for me, but in the end I am not going to allow that to undermine British interests. But we have to look at the way decisions are taken; the way in which consultation is conducted; and the way in which information is communicated. David English

Does that mean you are going to Washington then, soon? Prime Minister

No. We do these things through normal diplomatic channels. (EVERYONE TALKING TOGETHER) David English

Yes but you have still got this big blank in communication, haven't you? You must obviously be very disappointed at the way you were left in the dark? …   . Prime Minister

Let me say what I said the moment I heardWell, if I was preparing an invasion I would not tell everyone because the important thing is that you should never put lives at risk and that I understand. One of the things that made it difficult with the Falklands was everyone had to be given 3–4 weeks' notice. But I understand that if everyone is in fact preparing an invasion you have to be very very careful what you do with information and how long before you tell anyone. I am the first to understand that because you must have an element of surprise in order to have regard to your soldiers' lives. David English

But surely you are the closest friend really? Well as long as they understand the message I think we have got the whole perspective. So if you had more time you probably might have had time to put over these viewpoints and you might have changed the course? Prime Minister

…   . I don't know …   . I think basically that though I put over those points they did see it from a different perspective from us. From what I call a regional security aspect. They take the view that the Marxists and Cubans are having greater influence in the area of Central America and that they therefore, because that could possibly be a threat to them, must do everything they can from their viewpoint to diminish it. So that might have been an overwhelming reason for them when it wasn't for me. David English

They learned a lot from us, from the Falklands, in the way that they did it, I thought, the way they …   . their command structure in the navy and so forth. I thought it was very interesting. Now what about Cruise. They've made it more difficult for you. They've given an extra shot in the locker of the CND people just when you were winning against them. That must be irritating, that must be particularly …   . Prime Minister

Well it was. I said at the outset—the moment I heard about it—that the most important thing at the moment is that we have got to get this Cruise missile started. Please, I'm not going to be anti-American. What I said to them—I am quite firm with them obviously behind the scenes. I will tell you what really will make it acutely difficult for me and it is the one thing that I am very worried about—is if they supply arms to the Argentines. That's the one that I am very very concerned about indeed. I spoke to President Reagan about it when I was there. David English

Well that would really cause the most tremendous burst of anti-Americanism here. Prime Minister

Well I was rather distressed about this other thing it caused on the part of Healey and the Left. A burst of anti-Americanism. But if you look at it, Healey did not protest the moment the Americans went in to the Dominican Republic. It caused a burst of anti-Americanism, but it is not a view I hold at all—I am pro-America. That would make it much more difficult for us. David English

It would make it enormously difficult. That would really pour petrol on the whole fire and I hope they would understand that really. Prime Minister

…   . the single most difficult thing for us. David English

Now can we come to Cruise? Prime Minister

Well I might say so but don't use it David, don't use it. We have problems in the Republic with terrorists back in the Republic. I wonder what the United States would say if Her Majesty went in. Now you are not to use it, you are not to use it. It's [not?] coming from me. You understand? David English

It's an interesting point. Where does it actually come from? Prime Minister

No, no I am sorry .. David English

It could be used in a philosophical discussion in a leader or something. That's what you mean. It's a very interesting point. Prime Minister

The Republic is a democracy, certainly Grenada was not. But the question that I … David English

It's a very good analogy actually. Prime Minister

The question that I got from America on the World Service was - You are supposed to hate communists and terrorists, and yet there are terrorists and so forth in Grenada, yet why did you oppose us? …

(TAPE CHANGE) Prime Minister

So these things broke down. But you begin to see the thoughts that went through my mind? David English

Yes I can. Prime Minister

But I am sure that, well, I personally think that my view actually was the right one. But again, again don't use this. You can see another viewpoint in the sense that that weekend America had lost a lot of Marines in the Lebanon and it had looked on the Sunday that the great United States was really rather powerless to protect her soldiers because life is easy for terrorists. Heaven knows that … David English

Again today too. Prime Minister

And the great United States are powerless under those circumstances. David English

Yes they pushed that Marines thing off the front pages by what they did and it worked for them. Prime Minister

But I said don't, don't use that. But it is a fact which one puts to the back of one's mind when you are trying to … David English

Do you think this means now that perhaps you could open up a dialogue with Moscow, perhaps as a bridge between the Super Powers? Prime Minister

I had two sort of coded messages, one in the Churchill speech in Washington. Of course, no-one took any notice of the part that I thought they would fall upon, so I repeated it in the Party Conference speech. The structure of the Churchill speech in Washington wasfirst make an assessment of the potential aggressor, know your potential aggressor, know him very well. Now that's what I did, an assessment of him. And then all, so many of the papers, said Maggie Slashes Moscow. They forgot the next statement that nevertheless we have to live on the same planet. Then I went on …   . when the circumstances are right we must talk to the leadership. Now that was in the Churchill speech, and no-one took any notice so I repeated it again in the Party Conference. But, you see, every time you think you must get closer to dialogue something happens. Afghanistan started first and then the Korean airliner. But yes, we do, we will have to, David. I'm absolutely convinced in my own mind because, you see, today was an example, Papandreou comes across and I am going to Bonn next week and Mitterrand was here ten days ago. In Europe we meet frequently so we know one another's minds because we see one another three or four times a year. We know one another's mind on things …   . on the great issues which do not change so quickly. …   . Now we don't meet the Americans and certainly not the Canadians regularly. It had been a long time since I saw Trudeau—not since Williamsburg and I hadn't seen him before that but once, passing through since CHOGM. We don't get so much dialogue there. Now that's in the free world. You translate all of that over to the Soviet world. And they're far more insulated from their own people, let alone isolated from free world opinion. Now I don't know, and again it's worked out in both the Churchill speech and the Conference speech, that we can have very much influence on them because they operate a very, very rigid system. Not only is Communism a rigid creed but the system is also very rigid. That's the only system they know. If they were to change it then the fear would be that the whole thing would fall apart. So I don't know how much influence we can have on them. And yet I can see that over the years the West has had some influence on them. Some people have come out of the Soviet Union. Actually the position as regards the Soviet Jewry at the moment is very bad, very bad indeed; there are fewer and fewer being allowed out. Just after Helsinki there were a lot more. David English

Well they changed the whole …   . Prime Minister

Fewer and fewer …   . Yes, they have closed up on it. I was going on to say we might not be able to change them very much but I believe we have had some effect. At least if we had seen them more often the opportunities for misunderstanding one another would become less. David English

Yes. Prime Minister

Even that is very very important. May I also say this? I've always taken the view that if you are negotiating with someone of fundamentally different philosophy, you want to know where you stand with them and they want to know where they stand with you. You know by virtue of your being strong—and they know you are going to stay strong—it makes it easier to negotiate with them because they know that they are dealing with someone who means what she says. And in that case Reagan is strong and so are we. But the next thing is they know if I say that we uphold international law and don't go in unless there are overwhelming reasons, I mean if they know from the speech I made that I dislike their system, they dislike mine. But they know that if I say something that I will stick by it. That is a very much better basis for negotiation. They are not uncertain. David English

It's quite a major plus when you talk to someone, yes. Prime Minister

That's right. David English

So you would like …   . Prime Minister

And that you see is an important thing. So they read my speeches. I hope to goodness that someone there is making the same assessment of us as we are making of them. Because they will see quiet determination, which cannot be shifted by deviousness or by false propaganda. And they will also see that whether I like or dislike any regime I do respect other people's boundaries and I say there might be overwhelming reasons which you know there weren't overwhelming reasons in Hungary, there weren't in Czechoslovakia. …   . But all I'm saying that at least I have several things now. Don't use the first person. One is actually strong in one's belief. One is determined to defend it. One has been seen to have the resolve to use one's forces where it is necessary but there are certain …   . David English

and not to use them when it is a matter of principle and not to use them when …   . Prime Minister

That's right. Now it may be one can turn that to good advantage. David English

I agree. Prime Minister

When I go there, when I see them or they come here—when we meet—it is as a friend of the United States. We belong to the same alliance, to a faithful and loyal ally. An ally whose friendship is so great that I owe them my judgement. …   . David English

They cannot sell arms to Argentina and expect to stay popular in this country. Prime Minister

Well it was suggested to me in the House of Commons that America ought to accept my advice. I said no, not necessarily; we do not operate a Warsaw Pact arrangement. If you say they must accept my advice you mean that I must accept their advice. But don't forget on Falklands for four weeks the Americans were taking up a neutral position. David English

But we don't want to have anti-Americanism do we? Prime Minister

No I do not. David English

We've got to be very careful about this and do you think that the Cruise missile problem will go away? Or do you think that it's now been stirred up? Prime Minister

The fact is that President Reagan has put forward more general proposals for disarmament than anyone else and he genuinely wants disarmament. So do I. But we have to get across to the Soviet Union that we really genuinely want disarmament. David English

What about public opinion on dual key? Isn't that slightly worrying for you? Prime Minister

I don't find it so. We've had American nuclear bombs on our soil for 30 years …   . it was an agreement of Truman and Attlee. Followed by, with Winston . There are …   . submarines in … David English

You don't think that CND can use this dual key worry to actually get their support against Cruise that they wouldn't usually get. You don't think it's a burst of nationalism that says it's all right to have Cruise as long as we've got …   . Prime Minister

…   . get Cruise off Greenham Common …   . we've got to clear a road …   . we have a massive operation to get it to …   . David English

But you don't accept that a lot of people who do support you who are not in favour of CND but for some nationalistic or security reason would feel a lot safer if you had a control over those missiles. Literally …   . literally dual key. Prime Minister

…   . physical control …   . I don't think it is necessary. I think that on our soil …   . David English

That's not the real question I asked. I'm asking whether you accept that there are quite a lot of people who don't necessarily feel that way and feel we ought to have the key …   . Prime Minister

If you look at the prospects of nuclear war they are totally and utterly horrific, totally and utterly horrific. And that I hope is the viewpoint that the Soviet Union takes. One wants to talk to them. That means that the possession of nuclear weapons makes war on both sides so horrific. But that's what has kept the peace. It is the possession of nuclear weapons that has kept the peace. Not only a nuclear peace, but a conventional peace as well. And to those who say‘Drop the lot’, I say, ‘Don't you realise that that will put us into the position of before the World War II and people might contemplate conventional war which again to me is utterly horrific?’ And I say again, the possession of nuclear weapons is such a deterrent to war that it's kept all kinds of peace. So I regard Cruise and the others as a deterrent, and once you start to talk about the use of the things it fails. So that's why I put dual key on a very much different basis. David English

I wonder if I can bring you back, Prime Minister, to Falklands and Argentina. The election of a new radical government. I heard you on the phone-in at the weekend. Doesn't the election of a democratic government change the climate down there a bit? Prime Minister

No it doesn't. If a country wants your territory then I can't see it makes any difference when that country becomes a democracy. The only difference it might make is that a democracy is a means of self-determination in your own country and you therefore should also understand that it extends to others. David English

More prone to talk to them about the future? Prime Minister

You don't give away …   . David English

But no-one is asking you to do that. Prime Minister

Well that's what they are asking us to do. David English

Not if you ask—if they make the first move. A new Government could presumably make an official end to hostilities. If they start a dialogue … Prime Minister

I have a perfectly simple message. I'm willing to enter into talks but not about sovereignty. We want good commercial relations. And I'm not entering into negotiations or talks about sovereignty. David English

And we will keep the fortress Falklands as long as … Prime Minister

Not Fortress Falklands, it is we who will defend the right of our people to live in their own way in their sovereign territory. David English

But the cost of that principle is just as important as the cost of any other principle … Prime Minister

What do you think I've said that I shouldn't have. Bernard Ingham

I don't think it's what you said I think it's the way it's handled. Prime Minister

You won't handle it in a sensational way will you David? David English

I think it is important that the message is put over that if the Americans after all of this then went blindly and insensitively ahead and started selling arms to Argentina that this would not only make the whole British people very angry but it might make the British Government very angry. I don't think that would be too bad a thing to say. Prime Minister

David there is nothing we can do about if if they do. David English

No, except we can be angry and they should know that that is a gratuitous insult to a friend. I mean, I assume you have mentioned it … Prime Minister

I mentioned it when I was over there. You weren't there were you? David English

No … that's really the only issue that I see … that needn't be put in your words but I think there's nothing wrong in that message in my view. It's a statement of the obvious but I think there is time for saying it and it is at this particular time perhaps the time for saying it. The most effective time to say it. Prime Minister

That is I think the greatest worry I have on the story … friendship hasn't gone, I mean we've been very statesmanlike. This is seeing the larger view, David. Don't forget they're a bit wounded … that they think we ought to positively support them. So don't forget their wounds too. David English

Now let's move to several other … Prime Minister

And don't forget there are people in Grenada who are now free and those who are not free. And there are people in the Caribbean who will sleep better at night. David English

On the question of presentation. It is difficult to get things in perspective. Prime Minister

It is difficult for some people. They think it is still British territory - it is not. I need hardly say that to you it's astonishing that people still think it is still British territory. David English

Do you think that some of the criticism that you used up a tremendous amount of energy in the Falklands war and now a tremendous drive … in your pre-election campaign, and there was, not just for you, but for the whole of the Government afterwards … you've been an exciting and controversial Prime Minister. You've made life in this country such and then there has been a let down. Prime Minister

I think if you look at the record, actually it's not a let down in what we've done. In the first few weeks, Bernard will give you the list, the number of things we have managed to do, and we came straight back into Parliament and I wanted to get a certain amount of things done and we have to the finance bill obviously. I wanted MPs' pay out of the way. I knew I would take a different view from the backbenchers—some backbenchers, not all. I knew I had to get the capital punishment debate out of the way. I knew I had to get 4 or 5 bills re-introduced and on their way. I knew I had to get certain white papers out, about London Transport, about rate capping and several other papers. All that has been done David, the whole lot. David English

But that was not what I was talking about … Prime Minister

Then I undertook—I went to Holland, I went to our forces in Germany where I'd never been. I did a major tour of the United States and of Canada. David, it has to be enough. David English

It couldn't have done much for you, I would agree … why do you think people say at this stage… Prime Minister

We had a science and technology seminar. That has not been done before. You know it was really quite exciting. And in industry I got 100 industrialists and 60 scientists, 40 people from the City … at Lancaster House, I was in the chair. David English

Why do you think people will say Does Maggie … Prime Minister

I've no idea… I had this eye and they think it must have made me ill. I don't even use glasses to read a speech, David. David English

…   . I think you are the one person in Government who hasn't lost the magic. Prime Minister

My job now is to keep the strategy absolutely on course, because again if you look at the Party Conference I was marking out the course. Let me summarise it this way and then you will see it in the Party Conference speech; never accuse this Government or any government I lead of being laissez faire. It isn't. The things we have done could only have been done by strong government. Getting inflation down. Curbing public expenditure. Holding down the borrowing requirements. Strong in defence. Putting more, even though you believe in less public expenditure, not only into defence but also into law and order. Pushing through the sale of council houses against a good deal of local opposition. Knocking off controls of prices, income dividends, exchange control. People say, oh don't do that, all sorts of things, your pack of cards will collapse. Knocking off industrial development, knocking off office … All of those were the actions of a very, very, very strong government. Not of a laissez faire government but of a strong government. But the essence of freedom is the limitation of government, not its extension. And before I came to power it was progressively more and more extension of government, coupled with a passing over of a lot of powers to the trade unions. Now this government has been two things; strong in the things I have indicated, actions of strong government and they will continue to be strong in those spheres. But they have been strong also to leave to the people what only the people can do. So I've been strong to do those things I've indicated. Strong to cut down the regulations. Strong to cut down the tax on top incomes. Strong to give help to small business. But then I say, but enterprise is the task of people and that can only be done in an atmosphere of liberty.

Inventiveness, enterprise is the language, practice, habit, custom of liberty. We believe it is all there. It can only flourish in that atmosphere. It can only flourish with two things—liberty plus responsibility. In getting trade unions more responsible. All work forces more responsible. No over-manning, no restriction. Liberty works when it induces responsibility. So you see governments can be strong, but strong enough to let the people be free. Now that all painted out the whole strategy of my Party conference speech. That's what we are going to do. What I have to do. I have watched governments in the post-war period. The tendency of governments and the tendency of many other people who come into politics is to equate duty with asking government to do more. More expenditure from someone else, by taxing someone else, for my constituency. More regulations to stop this, that or the other. David English

So we're going to have less government? Prime Minister

… doing less government. But what I have to do is make certain we keep inflation going down. Now at last the wisdom of it is beginning to show. Not only are people now accustomed to low inflation … and I want it down a little lower. It will blip up just a little bit in December and January, but not very much because we had such a good December and January last time … I've got to struggle to keep that down. I've got to struggle to keep public spending down. However much you might want to spend more, the absolute spending down. However much you might want to spend more, the absolute top priority now because you cannot spend more public expenditure until you have got expansion, a higher standard of living and … when it's going again … I am going to have to fight it, to fight it again and again. It has to be fought every year. A part of keeping inflation down, a part of the liberty of the people is containing your public expenditure. And don't say that all or even a reasonable chunk of public expenditure is wrong. It isn't. You've got to make up your mind. You've got to contain public expenditure, and you've got to live within your budget. And within that budget we've done far better on the National Health Service than any previous government in history. But we've husbanded our resources and spent them well. David English

But you've made cuts there. Prime Minister

No, I have not made a single cut in the amount of money allocated to the National Health Service. David English

No, but we are sacking nurses and doctors. Prime Minister

Not a single cut. Not a single penny piece in the amount allocated on which I fought the election. The next 3 years. That same amount on which I fought the election. David English

Why don't we just do commonsense things in the NHS, that you would do. Why don't we charge people hotel charges, why don't we … Why are you frightened of doing that? Prime Minister

You'll see a piece in my speech. That is what France is doing. And now what we are looking at is the longer term, David … on this is part of … look at it straightaway … because we know roughly the shape of things with this term. Now we're looking at 5 years ahead and into the next term so one is starting to look at how we are going to meet the demands in the next 5 years. But equally ordinary people have a right to expect that part of growth goes into their own pockets to spend in their own way. Now I've explained it. You'll find it spelt out. And it doesn't matter what the politics of your government, you cannot duck these fundamental issues. They are quite fundamental.