Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1983 Sep 29 Th
Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for CBS (visiting Washington)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: British Residence, Washington DC
Source: Thatcher Archive: transcript
Journalist: Dianne Sawyer, CBS
Editorial comments: 0700-0830 MT gave interviews which were broadcast live.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1429
Themes: Autobiographical comments, Autobiography (marriage & children), Defence (arms control), Defence (Falklands War, 1982), Foreign policy (International organizations), Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states)

Announcer

I'll say good morning again to Diane in Washington.

Diane Sawyer (CBS Morning News)

Good morning again to you, Bill. And the CBS Morning News is so pleased to welcome this morning Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher from Britain. So good of you to join us. Thank you. When you meet with the President later today, what assessment will you give him of Yuri Andropov 's bitter speech?

Mrs. Thatcher

Well, I'm not going to say in detail because I think it's best that I say to the President what I have to say before I say it on morning news but it's a very discouraging response, very discouraging and disappointing but we must nevertheless continue to try to find a solution but the place to find it is at the negotiating table in Geneva. The President's put certain proposals on that table and that's the place to discuss them in detail.

D. Sawyer

There was some theorising this morning that perhaps the West went too far in provoking him after the Korean plane incident. Do you think so?

Mrs. Thatcher

I do not understand what you mean: how do you mean we went too far in provoking after one of the most terrible incidents in human history?

D. Sawyer

A lot of people say as well that it could be the end of the arms control negotiations, that this seems to be the signal that he no longer feels he can deal seriously with the Reagan administration, is your conclusion that dire?

Mrs. Thatcher

No, and I think it would be a bad conclusion and not justified by events. We have been negotiating for a long time, we're very disappointed that the Soviets have not come up with a response where they should, at Geneva, but we must go on trying, the West really genuinely wants disarmament. It's we who put down detailed proposals and it's we who are prepared always to discuss them where they should be discussed, in Geneva.

D. Sawyer

Vice President Bush said, although somewhat ambiguously, he implied at least, that there may come a time in some negotiation that the British and French nuclear missiles should be included in those talks. Do you agree?

Mrs. Thatcher

Well, any suggestion that they should be included in Geneva at the moment is merely sidetracking from the main issue. Our nuclear deterrent, Polaris, is only 2½%; of the Soviet Union's strategic missiles, nothing to do with the intermediate weapons and really if we concentrated on getting down the immense number of strategic missiles which the Soviet Union have got and they should do that in the talks on start, with the United States again at Geneva. But it's absolutely ridiculous to try to sidetrack with about 2-½%; of their enormous numbers. We should concentrate on getting those down. [end p1]

D. Sawyer

Would you resist to the end then the inclusion of them in negotiations or can you see a state at which you would be willing to have them introduced?

Mrs. Thatcher

If they in fact so reduce the strategic missiles, which are not the ones we're talking about in intermediate talks, so reduce the strategic missiles that we went into a completely different world, supposing they came down enormously, President Reagan 's proposed they come down already by a third people forget his constructive proposals the Soviet Union hasn't responded to that at all. Let her start to respond by getting down these colossal numbers, then we might move into a different world and consider other people's strategic missiles.

D. Sawyer

If we can switch to Lebanon for a moment, the US congress is about to make official essentially an eighteen month deadline for US forces there: will you consider that an effective deadline for British forces there too?

Mrs. Thatcher

As you know there are four nations represented in that multinational force and we do meet and discuss regularly. The commanders meet every day and the ambassadors meet every day. So we are regularly in touch and I think we move together before making any decisions about the future. Each of us has given our own forces instructions within which they can operate, that's a matter for each political leader. We try to work together but I think it's too soon really to draw very many conclusions about the future in Lebanon. What is encouraging, and let's sometimes look at encouraging news. Is that there is a ceasefire so therefore there is a chance for President Gemayelthe President of the Lebanon to use policies to get greater reconciliation and to have a government which is satisfactory to all the people in Lebanon. That is encouraging. That is the kind of thing we are there to assist.

D. Sawyer

Would you stay though if US troops were not there even if it were supplemented by some other troops?

Mrs. Thatcher

I think it's important that we all move together and I believe all of us there would think that that's the most important thing

D. Sawyer

To switch again to another hemisphere, to the Falklands, many of us have not heard much about it since the war. Has there been any rapprochement on your part with the Argentinians, is there any further rumination on your part to the sort of negotiations?

Mrs. Thatcher

Negotiating about what?

D. Sawyer

Over the question of sovereignty of the Falklands with the Argentines?

Mrs. Thatcher

Certainly not. The Argentines marched in, they invaded, there isn't a single Argentine person living there, the islands were discovered by the British, colonised by the British, there were no indigenous population and no Argentines there. Many of the Falklands families have been in the Falklands long before some of the Italians and Spanish went to the Argentine, they wish to stay British. The essence of democracy is self-determination, there is no sovereignty to negotiate about. [end p2]

D. Sawyer

There have been reports in this country that the Argentinians are on the verge of developing a nuclear weapon. Does that affect your calculations?

Mrs. Thatcher

That does not affect our calculations in any way, nor should it. You know full well what the democracies are like who possess nuclear weapons, we do not threaten to use them.

D. Sawyer

This past Sunday a member of the British press said of you that she's even tougher than Churchill, because even in wartime he would grab a few brandies and chew the fat with some of his friends, yet she just keeps on working. Is that a fair description?

Mrs. Thatcher

Well if I were to grab a few brandies and chew the fat with some of my friends that would make a headline wouldn't it?

D. Sawyer

Do you see yourself as more serious even than Churchill? In …   . just in the approach to the job?

Mrs. Thatcher

No, I don't think it's possible to compare, yes I do like work, yes I do keep on working but one does relax sometimes.

D. Sawyer

And a final question, the question of great serious matter of state. During the campaign when it was much reported here that you did indeed make breakfast for your husband in the morning, during the campaign you said that you thought maybe it was going to be too much for you and you were going to have to get help. On this great international question can you resolve it for us, have you indeed stopped making …   .

Mrs. Thatcher

Well I must tell you we don't really have very much breakfast which is terrible news for all of those who are trying to sell eggs and bacon. But we have a very light breakfast indeed, especially during election campaigns.

D. Sawyer

Mrs. Thatcher again, it's a great pleasure for us to have you join us this morning.

Mrs. Thatcher

A pleasure for me too, thank you very much.

D. Sawyer

Back to you Bill.

Announcer

Diane thank you.