Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1984 Jun 9 Sa
Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for ITN (London G7 Summit)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: TV Interview
Venue: Connaught Rooms, central London
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Michael Brunson, ITN
Editorial comments: MT probably gave interviews after her 1715 Press Conference.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1159
Themes: Economy (general discussions), Monetary policy, Foreign policy (general discussions), Foreign policy (development, aid, etc), Foreign policy (International organizations), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Media, Terrorism

Michael Brunson

Prime Minister, the main message to have come out of this Summit seems to have been: “We are doing everything very well and let us carry on as we are!” Was it really necessary to have this great, grand, meeting to decide that?

Prime Minister

I think you are giving the impression that we are complacent about it. There is nothing in that communique that is complacent. What we are saying is that the recovery is more soundly based than it was this time last year; more soundly based than it has been previously and that is a cause for saying we must stick to the strategy.

We also tackled the fundamental problem of this year, which is the international debt and helping those countries that have got into international debt. And then, some of the great political issues. So I think it is a very level-headed realistic communique.

Michael Brunson

It was not an occasion when you all sat round agreeing with each other then? [end p1]

Prime Minister

No, we had some quite lively, vigorous debates; of course we should. The measure of agreement is enormous. When you try to convert general agreement into specific phrases in a communique it is of course much more difficult. That is a drafting problem usually and some countries put a different emphasis on things than others. But it was really a very very good Summit.

Michael Brunson

Is it not the case that the liveliest debate of all perhaps was over the apparent American refusal to say that there is any link between their budget deficit and high interest rates?

Prime Minister

No, that was not a particularly lively debate. The liveliest one of all, really, was how best to deal with East-West relations and that was not so much a disagreement on the fundamentals, but how much one should put in.

Michael Brunson

Prime Minister, the message to countries of debt seems to be a very stern one, if I may say so. You are saying to them really, are you not, if you put your own house in order we will help you; if you do not we will not? [end p2]

Prime Minister

But when you are lending countries money, you lend them money not to carry on in the same way that got them into difficulty, but to enable them to carry on in a way which will help them to recover, repay their debt, and go on to improve their standard of living.

Obviously, therefore, you like to have their cooperation, but each case is different. Conditions that you could ask one country to bear are different from those that you can impose upon another. You cannot impose them; you must have their cooperation.

But it seems to me that it is a two-sided thing. First, those countries themselves have to agree: “All right, we will help ourselves. We cannot do too much, but we can do a certain amount each year.” And then your banking systems has to say: “Right, we will do what is prudent.” But you are not going to help any bank if you are going to do more than is prudent.

Behind the banks you also have excellent financial international institutions. Do not forget we used not to have those in days of recession in pre-wartimes. We have got them now. So really, it is a three-way thing. I think we have set up the right framework which can apply to those debtor countries. We have set up the criteria and they will apply in different measure to different countries, so you have got to deal with them on a country-by-country basis.

Michael Brunson

But what about those countries who find it very very hard to help themselves and are hit by drought and disease and so on? [end p3]

Prime Minister

The ones that are really the poorest are not, clearly, the ones that are in great loan difficulties, because they have not had a lot of money lent to them. They have been more countries in need of aid, or they might have had grants to build dams and irrigation systems from the World Bank.

It is the next group of countries that are in the greatest difficulty. So really, we have been trying to operate at two levels. For the ones who need aid—and some of them do—we try to allocate quite a bit of our aid to the poorest countries; and then to the ones who are in loan difficulties, which are a different group of developing countries, ones with very considerable resources much of the time, but have borrowed too much on the strength of those resources and are having to adjust their programme.

Michael Brunson

May I just briefly ask you about the statement on terrorism? Have the governments really committed themselves to a programme of firm action, when it uses words like “proposals which found support in the discussion” ?

Prime Minister

Each of us has to act in cooperation with the other and I think you will find that that is by far the best statement of action in the face of international terrorism that we have had. We recognize that we cannot commit our own parliaments but we are each in fact going to do those [end p4] things which we set out, and it is quite an impressive list. On exchange of information intelligence, if one of us has to expel a terrorist we are going to cooperate so that that person is not then unwittingly accepted in the diplomatic list of someone else. We are each going to look at our own laws to see if there are gaps which the terrorists can exploit. We are going to review whether we should sell weapons to countries or states which sponsor terrorism. It goes much much further than anyone has gone before.

I do not say that it will solve everything. It is very difficult to solve international terrorism or terrorism of the kind that we face in Northern Ireland.

What this means is that together we are going to make more strenuous efforts and make it more difficult for international terrorists to operate.

Michael Brunson

Finally, Prime Minister, is there a sense in which these Summits are now getting out of hand? This huge circus, some people have called it. Everybody here. A lot of government money being spent on it. £2.6 million I understand. Is it not better if you all met in a quiet house and had a very quiet discussion, even perhaps without a communique?

Prime Minister

Would you like that? Because a lot of the money that is spent is spent on accommodating the press and television media, a tremendous amount. But we did not make it into a great media event. [end p5] It used to be held in comparative quiet. But then, naturally, the press and the media say: “Look it is Heads of Government, they must have something interesting to say,” and so we got quite a big communique, and I do not think you let us go away quietly. If so, I can just imagine … “mystery, sensation, secret meeting behind locked doors” . Now you have not got mystery and sensation; you have got level-headed, realistic communique. Could you not just like that?

Michael Brunson

We'll try to, Prime Minister!