Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1986 Dec 6 Sa
Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for TV-AM (London European Council)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: TV Interview
Venue: Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster, London
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Adam Boulton, TV-AM
Editorial comments: Media interviews followed the Press Conference, which was due to begin at 1430.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1905
Themes: Agriculture, Defence (arms control), Employment, Industry, European Union (general), European Union Budget, European Union Single Market, Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Health policy, Security services, Terrorism

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

Prime Minister, Britain has said repeatedly throughout this summit that it is an ordinary peoples' summit, but that does not seem to have got across in what we, the media, have been saying about it. How has this been an ordinary peoples' summit?

Prime Minister

I think by taking some of the great ideas, and turning them into practical propositions, everyone knows that we want to increase and expand business and enterprise. Everyone knows that we want to try to reduce unemployment, and the question is how?

So we are reducing some of the regulations that restrict business, we are trying to get harmonious safety standards across Europe and trying on technological things to get specific standards, so that we really can have a single market and businessmen know what they can sell into Europe and where, and trying to get rid of a lot of the barriers, all practical barriers. And then we are saying to the Social Affairs Council look, concentrate your funds on trying to help the long term unemployed, trying to help the young unemployed and young people and also have [end p1] a look at some of the very restrictive practices that you find at work. For example, many people said that you know there are a lot of part-time jobs coming forward if people would take them, and some groups of people will not because they do not like that kind of job. So, it is a lot more flexibility in the labour market and then practical things on terrorism, practical things on drugs, practical things on cancer and on AIDS. All practical.

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

There was a feeling on jobs from some of the delegations that the cutting red tape measures you suggested were indirect rather than direct ways of creating jobs. Do you accept that criticism?

Prime Minister

They are indirect, certainly, but there are sometimes, you know, people wanting to start up a business, look at all the regulations, piles of them and they get so fed up that they never get any further—they say, what is the use? Or you will find a very good small business could expand, but all of a sudden it comes into a new set of regulations.

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

But we cannot say out of this summit there will be several million more jobs across Europe. Can we?

Prime Minister

Good heavens, no, you never can. What you can say is you will remove the obstacles so that the people who start to create and [end p2] build up business will be the better able to do so. Because that is really how jobs are created, by someone having an idea, designing it, making it and selling it.

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

Not by Government?

Prime Minister

Not by Government. We, in fact, tax those people in order to create the Government jobs and to pay for the education, for the teachers, for the nurses, for the health, for the hospitals, for the universities, and if we did not get that business, then we should not have the money to create the Health Service, the education or anything like the extent that we have.

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

Turning rather rapidly to AIDS, is there really anything more that the Western European Government can do? I mean after all people are going to carry on catching this disease and dying are they not, whatever publicity or information exchange there is?

Prime Minister

I think what we are trying to do is to get very direct and explicit information to people on how to avoid catching AIDS. That is very very important and we are learning from what others do, and I hope they are learning from some of our advertising campaigns, some of our literature and the way in which we are tackling it. [end p3] Government cannot stop people from getting AIDS, but people can stop themselves from getting AIDS. Now that we, in fact, monitor very carefully all blood transfusions as you know, the AIDS virus is screened there, it used not to be. But information on how to avoid getting AIDS is vital. It has to be fairly explicit and so we are now undertaking information campaigns of a kind that I think that would not have been acceptable or possible six or twelve months ago. I think people are prepared for them now.

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

Did you get any sense that some of the more traditional countries, Greece or Ireland perhaps may drag their feet a little on this sort of explicit campaign?

Prime Minister

Well, each will have to make up their own minds on how they do it. We have already made up our mind. I think also it is important that we try to co-ordinate our research. Our medical research council does some research, other countries are doing research, commercial firms are doing research. There is no vaccine. I am told that there is not likely to be one for some years to come, if then and that makes it all the more important to let people know how not to catch this disease and try to prevent it spreading that way. Because, you know, it is a tragic disease and we must do all we can. [end p4]

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

Turning to another modern scourge, terrorism. You in your communique reached an agreement saying that there will be no negotiating under duress with terrorists. Do you think that will hold given what we have see in other European capitals?

Prime Minister

Yes I believe that more and more it is appreciated that that is the way. If you do anything else you know, you only encourage …   . If terrorists think that in order to get more money or to get their own way or to get the release of murderers who have been in prison, all they have to do is to take a few hostages and negotiate with them, then they will take more hostages. Now, we have never negotiated under duress, never, as you know and there have been times when I have had to see the families of hostages and it has been very difficult to explain to them that, no, we do not do this. No we do not trade someone who has been convicted of murder in our country and in prison for someone who has just been taken without committing any very serious offence abroad, and that if we did, we would be making the matter worse, and I think now, people are at last beginning to understand the wisdom of our course of action and that it is much better in the long term. But I am the first to understand how people, relatives of hostages and prisoners, feel, and we do everything we can to help them. [end p5]

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

One of the problems which was not perhaps directly attacked at this summit was the EEC Budget and the question of particularly, agricultural services leading to the EEC possibly facing bankruptcy next year. You were President this time round and you could not really speak out on that, but when you are not President in January what will you be saying?

Prime Minister

Well, the fact that I have been President has not stopped me from speaking out on the issue. There are fundamental issues, the Fontainebleau Agreement about the strict financial discipline has not in fact solved all the problems and the agricultural yields have gone on rising and we are still getting bigger surpluses although the prices have gone down to farmers in the last three years. We shall have to tackle this—it does not get any easier. I am afraid those surpluses all over the world, save perhaps in the Soviet Union and in some of the third world countries where disaster hits, and we try to give food aid there. We cannot run away from it. Mr. Delors, the President of the Commission, is going to go round to each of our capitals discussing with each Government the possible ways forward, setting out the options and the consequences. And when he has done that and we have each had thorough discussions and with each other, then we will have to consider proposals for getting down the surpluses and ensuring that we do not get into a position where we build up more. [end p6]

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

The solution will be a less good deal for farmers in the long run will it not?

Prime Minister

You cannot go on creating more and more surpluses, putting them into cold storage where they gradually deteriorate. That does not make sense and our farmers and the National Farmers Union are very much aware of that. Our objective is to try to change things at a speed at which farmers can take and which enables them to adapt to new and different circumstances.

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

Another country which, of course, has problems with its farmers is the United States, but that is hardly President Reagan 's biggest problem at the moment with the revelations about …   .

Prime Minister

Well, it is a very big problem. It is a very big problem in the Western world. It is one that has come about really in the last ten years, …   . a collosal scientific advantage would have given us very much bigger yields both in milk and in cereals and in beef.

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

Nonetheless, President Reagan perhaps is more concerned with Iran and also the consequences of Reykjavik, where, to some Europeans, he seemed to have been prepared to consider fairly wild sorts of deals on the table. Was there any sense at this summit [end p7] that the people now feel the United States has lost its direction and that Europe has got to shore up the Western World a little?

Prime Minister

No, not the United States has lost its sense of direction. We had a very clear NATO communique out when Defence Ministers met last week, setting up very clear priorities for the negotiation of arms reductions, which is what we all want to see. If you try to do everything, you will succeed in doing nothing so we felt it much better to set out the priorities.

Yes, we know that the United States has some problems which is absorbing a good deal of its time at the moment. We are very anxious, nevertheless, that everyone is forward looking and constructive. There is a great deal of work to do, the world has need of the leadership and confidence of the United States and therefore we want everyone to get on with the arms control reductions and not limiting relationship with the Soviet Union to that particular subject. It is also a matter of human rights and a matter of trade and of many more contacts with some of the satellite countries which we have been developing and some of them have trading agreements with the European community. So there is quite a lot to be getting on with and, of course, there is a problem with the Middle East too, and a number of other foreign affairs problems to which we must devote our attention as well as home problems. [end p8]

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

A lot of work to be done, but finally, one home problem: Lord Rothschild. You took measures yesterday to clear his name. Were those measures intended to say not guilty or not proven on whether he was a spy?

Prime Minister

We took measures to clear Lord Rothschild in the terms in which we did. As you know, we do not usually respond to some of these innuendoes and allegations. May I make it clear, the innuendoes and allegations never came from Government, they came from certain parts of the media. They caused deep and wounding hurt and harm and they were grave allegations. So exceptionally, we took the step we did and I hope now that this an end of the matter.

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

And Lord Rothschild can rest easy.

Prime Minister

I hope so.

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

Prime Minister, thank you very much indeed.