Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1984 Jun 9 Sa
Margaret Thatcher

Radio Interview for IRN (London G7 Summit)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: Radio Interview
Venue: Connaught Rooms, central London
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Peter Murphy, IRN
Editorial comments: MT probably gave interviews after her 1715 Press Conference.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1124
Themes: Defence (arms control), Economy (general discussions), Monetary policy, Foreign policy (general discussions), Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Terrorism

Peter Murphy

Prime Minister, you started off last week, before the Summit started, in fact, by saying: “Blessed is he that expecteth nothing, and he shall not be disappointed!” Are you pleased with the outcome of the Summit?

Prime Minister

Yes, I am very pleased with it, but why I said that when I gave you a pre-Summit press conference was because I had been watching what the commentators and journalists had been saying. They had been expecting us to pull out some magic new formula. No such thing exists, and I thought it far best to damp down expectations and then people might look at what we delivered from the Summit on merit, and I believe that if you look at it in that way you will find that it is a very satisfactory Summit indeed.

Peter Murphy

You have not resolved the differences, though, between yourself and the United States over their handling of the economy, their high budget deficit and high interest rates. Is this not still a stumbling block? [end p1]

Prime Minister

Nevertheless, they are taking action to reduce their deficit and that is much more important than the argument. As you know, they have proposals before them for a down-payment of $150 billion, which I believe will shortly go through their Congress. That is a very practical step, very practical indeed, and the phrase “down-payment” implies, by its very nature, that there will be more to come, I expect at the turn of the year.

Peter Murphy

Do you think there will be changes in time to help the debtor nations and the Third World developing countries?

Prime Minister

I think they are very much aware of the need to try to keep down interest rates. They are taking some action, and obviously, they will watch their money supply figures too.

Peter Murphy

Away from the actual Economic Statement, turning to some of the other things that were discussed. East-West relations: you have issued a statement. You have repeated what has often been said before; that you want closer relations with the Soviet Union, but really, when it all comes down to it, it is up to the Russians to return to the negotiation table and do something about it, rather than the West? [end p2]

Prime Minister

I think you are being very unjust, very unjust indeed. President Reagan, in his speech recently, set out the large number of initiatives they had made at the negotiating table. They did not get a response and it was the Soviet Union that walked away from that negotiating table.

The United States has said it is prepared to go back without any pre-conditions. Would you not expect a response to come from the Soviet Union?

I wonder what you would be saying had the United States walked out on the Soviet Union? I do not think you would be very complimentary. You would say the United States should get back. It was the Soviet Union that walked out and the United States is prepared to go back and we hope that the Soviet Union will respond.

Peter Murphy

On the Gulf War, you have also issued another statement on that, but there is no new, positive initiative which the seven most powerful nations in the world seem to be able to take.

Prime Minister

I think you are dealing with the fundamental problem between Iran and Iraq and until there is a will there, in each of those nations, to resolve the dispute, there is not a great deal that the rest of us can do about it. We make various approaches, through the non-aligned, through the Islamic countries, through the United Nations, through the Security Council, [end p3] but until the will is there to sort out the conflict between them, we shall not really get to grips with it and resolve it. In the meantime, we have to try to prevent it from spreading down the Gulf.

Peter Murphy

Obviously, here in London, following the events outside the Libyan People's Bureau, a lot of people were very interested to see what you did about international terrorism. Do you feel that what you have done is actually strong enough, or would you prefer to have seen a much stronger statement?

Prime Minister

I think it is the strongest statement that has ever yet been issued by several countries meeting together, and if you look, it does embody quite a number of things.

We are going to have closer cooperation and coordination between the police and security organizations of our respective countries; exchange of information and intelligence, and also technical knowledge. We are each going to have a look at our own laws to see if there are gaps which might be exploited by terrorists. We are going to have a look at the Vienna Convention, although I am the first to admit that that is difficult. We are proposing that there should be action by each country to review the sale of weapons to states supporting terrorism; and we are suggesting that there should be consultation and as far as possible cooperation over the expulsion or exclusion of known terrorists so that if one country [end p4] expels them, another country does not in fact take them in with diplomatic status.

All of that is very practical and a much bigger step forward than has been taken by any other group.

Peter Murphy

Finally, Prime Minister, sceptics suggest that these international Summit meetings do not really achieve a great deal, apart from lots of electioneering and television pictures for back home. Do you think that is putting it at its lowest?

Prime Minister

I think it probably is putting it at its lowest and I think perhaps there is scepticism.

First, I think the important thing is that we actually meet together, and we have a very great deal of discussion; much more than is reflected in a communique, and you do get very practical results from that discussion and a much more deep understanding.

Secondly, you know, when we have fundamental problems, which are characteristic of the time, we have actually put up proposals to solve them. And this time, look, we have put up a ten-point economic programme. That is not bad; and actually tackled the fundamental debt position and some of the other things you indicated. We have got a statement on international terrorism and came out very strongly with a statement that although we have enormous differences with the Soviet Union, we have one interest in common and that is to avoid conflict. We fear, as one periodical put it, that the Soviet Union might seem [end p5] to be hibernating at the moment and we want to have discussion with them and we have made that perfectly clear.

Peter Murphy

Thank you very much Prime Minister.

Prime Minister

Thank you.