Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1985 Jun 29 Sa
Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for ITN (Milan European Council)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: TV Interview
Venue: Sforzesco Castle, Milan
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Michael Brunson, ITN
Editorial comments: The Press Conference began at 2130; interviews must have followed. MT left for the airport at 2230.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 601
Themes: Foreign policy (Middle East), European Union (general), Economic, monetary & political union, Transport, Terrorism, Autobiographical comments, British relations with Italy

Michael Brunson, ITV

Prime Minister, haven't you been forced to agree to a conference which you always said would be a waste of time? Is it still going to be a waste of time?

Prime Minister

I came to this conference, this one, prepared to agree certain measures which would mean progress. We had specific things, many other people agreed with us, but others somehow wanted to put it off to a conference which will be endless and difficult. If we cannot make decisions, I do not think that conference can.

Michael Brunson, ITV

Will that conference be a waste of time?

Prime Minister

I do not think it will achieve anything that we could not achieve here.

Michael Brunson, ITV

What will you do at such a conference? Will you simply go there and block everything? [end p1]

Prime Minister

No. We shall go and back in favour of the things we agree. The things we want to propose, the way in which we want to go forward.

They want changes in the treaty. I do not think we need changes in the treaty. I do not think we want changes in the treaty. We want to make the existing treaty work.

Michael Brunson, ITV

Some of your critics here are already saying that you have been selfish. That you have come to the Council expecting just what you want and you have not been able to give any ground to other people's ideas.

Prime Minister

No. I have been firm. I have been firm in what I believe are Britain's interests. Firm in what I believe is best for Europe and instead of putting forward airy-fairy things and pushing off everything else to some conference over there. I said: “Let us deal with it here!” The others would not.

Michael Brunson, ITV

Why would they not agree to that?

Prime Minister

I simply do not know. We had practical proposals. I thought that we had agreement of the majority, but some of them want a conference to consider amendment of the treaty. I want to make the existing treaty work. I want to make it work because if we do make it work properly there are more jobs, there is a bigger [end p2] market, there are more jobs for our people. I am practical. Let us make steady progress. They somehow wanted some great new objective. I think if you try to take that view you preclude the possibility of steps forward which we could have taken now, but did not.

Michael Brunson, ITV

Prime Minister, just a quick question if I may, on the hostages. There does seem to have been movement today. Unhappily they are still in Beirut. What is your reaction to that?

Prime Minister

Messages have been coming in and out all day. First that the were on the way there by bus, by aircraft, they were going to have lunch, tea, with President Assad, and then to our great disappointment, deep disappointment, they were still in Beirut because not all of them had been released. Really, we have been a heartbeat away from Beirut all day and we are just sharing the difficulties and anxieties and worries of their families and President Reagan. In the meantime, we had a long discussion last night on everything we need to do to step up airport security, to cooperate and to see that airlines go to ports that are properly protected. So we have had a discussion on terrorism, we have had a discussion on airport security, and in the meantime, like everyone else, we are just absolutely on tenterhooks waiting for the latest news.