Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1985 Feb 21 Th
Margaret Thatcher

Radio Interview for IRN (visiting Washington)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: Radio Interview
Venue: British Residence, Washington DC
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Andrew Manderstam, IRN
Editorial comments: 0700-0800 MT gave interviews to British broadcasters and national public radio.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1245
Themes: Defence (general), Defence (arms control), Monetary policy, Privatized & state industries, Foreign policy (USA), Science & technology, Strikes & other union action

Andrew Manderstam, IRN

…   . US dollar has been raised during these talks. How sympathetic has President Reagan been to our plight in sterling?

Prime Minister

It is not only sterling with that problem. As you know, the dollar has surged against all other currencies and this morning it has made another surge against the Deutschmark and, of course, the German economy is very very strong, so it cannot have anything to do with that.

They are very very much aware of what is happening. It is causing great problems for their industry. It is because with a very very strong dollar their exporting industries cannot export. We had something of the problem when the dollar was very weak and the pound was very strong, so they are very much aware of it, and I do not think we have ever had this phenomenon before and we do not fully comprehend why.

It is two things. The immense strength of the American enterprise culture. You know, they go out and start up businesses on their own. They expect to succeed. It is just a sign of how good you are here. But also there is a certain psychology about it and then there is a sort of speculative movement [end p1] about it, and together, we, really have something that we have never seen before, and we do not know quite how long it will last and when the bubble will burst.

Andrew Manderstam, IRN

Don't you think the situation is in fact out of control?

Prime Minister

No. It is not out of control. It is the market operating, but it is a good deal of speculation and the action that can be taken is limited, but the timing of course is pretty crucial, because you can take the kind of action if you intervene together which can clip the speculators' wings very much, but we have to consult about that carefully.

Andrew Manderstam, IRN

Can we look forward to some sort of agreement after the Bonn Economic Summit?

Prime Minister

I am not quite sure. Some kind of agreement?

Andrew Manderstam, IRN

On intervention.

Prime Minister

We did a certain amount of intervention as a result of agreement at the Williamsburg Summit and of course some of us [end p2] have had to use the interest rate weapon as well.

Andrew Manderstam, IRN

Did you get any assurances from Mr. Reagan concerning the size of the US budget deficit which some people believe affects our own interest rates?

Prime Minister

They are very much aware of the problem and, as you know, the Ronald ReaganPresident made quite fundamental proposals to Congress. I imagine they will be changed as they go through Congress, but I am quite sure that Congress will take some action. You will recall that last year they did what was called a “down payment” to reduce the size of what the deficit would otherwise have been and I am quite sure they will take some action this year, because they are much aware of the problem.

Andrew Manderstam, IRN

How do you think that Britain's perception abroad has been damaged by the miners' strike?

Prime Minister

Well, of course it is damaged because you know they still have an image of Britain as a strike-happy country. It does us immense damage, any strike, any news, any rumour of a strike does us immense damage and yet there is a certain understanding that in spite of that strike, in spite of everything the miners could do, in spite of all of that, the British economy has grown [end p3] 2½%; this year. It is a pity we did not grow 3½%; but it has grown and there is a good deal of understanding in spite of everything they could do, they have not been able to get the support of any other union, and that is a real plus for Britain, because they understand that things are changing.

Andrew Manderstam, IRN

In your address to the US Congress, you repeated your support for research into the Strategic Defence Initiative, the so-called Star Wars. You expressed a desire for a British scientific participation. What form would that take?

Prime Minister

Well that has to be done in conjunction with the United States as to what kind of research they would like us to do. They are very much aware of our skill in research. There is a great admiration for British research and for the professionalism and ingenuity and inventiveness of British scientists, indeed quite a number of ours of course are already over here doing research.

I was very anxious that as we are going into a different perhaps level of research that some of our scientists should have the opportunity of doing it and, of course, the Americans are delighted that they will have the advantage of having the help of some of our people. [end p4]

Andrew Manderstam, IRN

Prime Minister, you yourself were a chemist, a scientist. Do you think the concept can actually work?

Prime Minister

Yes I do in the end. I think that an enormous amount could be done. I do not believe that there will be anything 100%;, because just as you eventually get something to knock out the missiles before they come down, so eventually there will be action taken for the missiles to avoid anything that is coming towards them, and in science you never come to the end of ingenuity. You achieve one thing and then something else comes along. You get a new defensive weapon and then there is a new attack weapon.

But all of that, in a way, has been thought about in the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and they also thought when they drafted that treaty that there would be other great scientific inventions and that is provided for with a special committee to discuss them. So if we move from research into deployment then there will be a good deal of negotiation. Do not think this is only going to be on one side. There has been a lot of research on the Russian side as well. They got an anti-satellite capability before the United States, so I think both will have an interest in negotiating under that treaty. Otherwise, the cost will be enormous. [end p5]

Andrew Manderstam, IRN

How seriously should one take the implied threat by the Soviet Union to walk out yet again from the arms control negotiations if President Reagan goes ahead with the so-called Star Wars?

Prime Minister

I was very very satisfied with the communique from Geneva after the Shultz-Gromyko talks and I think it owes a very great deal to the diplomatic skill of George Shultz. I believe that the Soviet Union wants an agreement just as much as we do. You know, the cost is enormous. I think we both realise we would like to have far fewer nuclear weapons and the question is to find a formula. I think they want to succeed as much as we do.

Andrew Manderstam, IRN

Finally, you said that you are President Reagan 's greatest fan. You have spoken at length about the special relationship between Britain and the United States. What do you think of those critics who feel that we should not be too closely allied with America; that it is not in our national interest?

Prime Minister

I simply do not understand them. America and NATO is the shield and defence of the freedom of the West. We are allies. That is absolutely fundamental. I have not found many people taking that view, except those who take a very very …   . left-wing view in Britain.