Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1985 Mar 13 We
Margaret Thatcher

Radio Interview for IRN (visiting Moscow)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: Radio Interview
Venue: British Embassy, Moscow
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Martin Walker, IRN
Editorial comments: MT was scheduled to give radio and television interviews at 2145, immediately after her Press Conference. However, the COI recording log suggests she gave only two interviews - both for radio. The transcriber noted that the sound quality was poor.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 844
Themes: Defence (arms control), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states)

(NOTE: VERY NOISY BACKGROUND, LAUGHTER AND TALKING MAKE TRANSCRIPTION DIFFICULT)

Martin Walker, IRN

Prime Minister, you are perhaps the Western leader who knows Mikhail Gorbachev best. What do you think the West can expect from the new leader in the Kremlin?

Prime Minister

I think the West …   . I think it was very impressed by it. I think it was impressed by the ease with which Mikhail Gorbachevhe debated and discussed serious matters, and I think it believes that he too wants to have a successful conclusion to the talks at Geneva on arms control.

Martin Walker, IRN

You have just had almost an hour …   . what was the main topic of your discussion?

Prime Minister

I think two things. First, the need for further political dialogue and political contact, whether it be in either the cultural or scientific or trading sphere or political [end p1] sphere and also the need to have a successful conclusion to those Geneva talks.

If you look at the objectives which have been expressed by the Soviet Union and by the United States—about the elimination of nuclear weapons—they are virtually the same. That will not make it easy to translate those objectives into concrete results but we are going to have a jolly good try.

Martin Walker, IRN

For the last few months, the Soviet leaders have been making a great issue of Star Wars, the Strategic Defence Initiative with President Reagan. Did this come up in your conversations and do you see any progress here?

Prime Minister

Yes of course it did. We talked quite a lot about it, but as you know, this is all governed by a treaty. The treaty permits research. Research is going on on both sides. If that research ever comes to a possible deployment, that has to be negotiated under an existing treaty, and that is what President Reagan agreed to when I was over at Camp David both before Christmas and again when I was over in Washington in February. So he agreed that should it come to deployment, deployment has to be negotiated with the Soviet Union under the terms of the existing treaty.

Martin Walker, IRN

And did the new Soviet Leader seem to take on board your [end p2] clarification of the Western view on this?

Prime Minister

Yes, I think so, because do not forget, after I had met President Reagan at Camp David, and we had a communique which had four points in it, then there was a meeting at Geneva between Mr. Gromyko and Mr. Shultz, and the communique they issued there was very similar to the previous one and it also made the very important point that neither the United States nor the Soviet Union desires superiority over the other, they are only working for a balance because it is on the balance that you get deterrence but it is a balance at a much lower level of weaponry, particularly nuclear weaponry.

Martin Walker, IRN

Prime Minister, the last time you came to Moscow for the funeral of Yuri Andropov last year, the Moscovites began to give you the affectionate nickname “Masha Thatcher” . Do you think you will be back here again soon for an official visit?

Prime Minister

I do not know. I have not cast my mind to that. I am very happy with the visit that Mr. Gorbachev made to London. I think it was a historic visit and I think that as events have happened it will turn out to have been an extremely influential visit. It was noticed all over the world and had its effect then and we have had another talk today. Mr. Gromyko is going [end p3] to come to London later this year. We are going to continue to keep in touch and we made that point. How it will be done, that is a matter for negotiation.

Martin Walker, IRN

Do you think there is some kind of special relationship now growing between Britain and the Soviet Union?

Prime Minister

I think there is a certain confidence between myself and Mr. Gorbachev that we can discuss things on a very frank but friendly basis with a view to getting trust and confidence. We both believe in totally different systems. I cannot convert Mr. Gorbachev; he cannot convert me, but it is because we start on that basis and know that basis that we are then able to discuss things of mutual interest to us both, which is that there shall never be a conflict again between East and West and that we shall be able to have security at a much lower level of armaments so we have got more money to spend on other more desirable things. That is valuable.

Martin Walker, IRN

Do you like him?

Prime Minister

Yes, I like discussing things with him.

Martin Walker, IRN

Thank you very much indeed.