Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1986 Jun 12 Th
Margaret Thatcher

Remarks to American tourists visiting No.10 (Britain is safe)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: No.10 Downing Street
Source: COI recording: OUP transcript
Editorial comments: Late afternoon. MT served tea to a party of American tourists, accompanied by US Ambassador Charles Price, and showed them around No.10. The event was televised. The intention was to reassure American tourists that Britain was a safe tourist destination, a proposition questioned by some Americans in the aftermath of the bombing of Libya by US warplanes flying from British bases and the attempted bombing of an El Al 747 flying from Heathrow.
Importance ranking: Trivial
Word count: 7481
Themes: Executive, Defence (general), Foreign policy (USA)

Interviewer

Excuse me, could I possibly ask you both your names and where you come from in the States.

Male Tourist

Mary and Don Gillespie from Lexington, Massachusetts.

Interviewer

And is this your first visit to Britain?

Don

No, second, but not the last.

Interviewer—laughing

But not the last.

Mary

Everybody has been so wonderful, in, oh, I just love it.

Don

Indescribable.

Interviewer

Were you in any way hesitant about coming about what you'd heard.

Mary

No, no. We were at the beginning but British Airways treated us so royally and the security was fantastic.

Don

Remarkable really.

Interviewer

But what did you actually expect in Britain? I mean did you expect to see the results of bombing? [end p1]

Both together

Oh no!

Mary

Oh no, nothing like that. I think we were just fearful of the air trip. I think this was the thing that bothered us the most …

Interviewer

I see.

Mary

… getting to England.

Interviewer

And what about this particular visit, your mystery tour today, how …

Mary—with great emotion

Oh, shocked! [Don laughing] Absolutely cannot believe that this happened. [Mary laughing]

Don

It's hard to find words really.

Mary

Unbelievable!

Don

If she can't find them, I don't know that I ever can. [Both laughing]

Interviewer

So how long are you going to be in Britain?

Mary

We're just, we're only here until Saturday, but we will be back again.

Don

Most definitely! [end p2]

Mary

Yup.

Interviewer

Well, I hope you enjoy the rest of your time here.

Mary

Thank you.

Both together

Thank you.

Don

It can't be any nicer than it has. It's been flawless. More than one could expect and more than one could hope for, really.

Interviewer

So you're going to encourage others to come anyway?

Mary

Oh, most definitely.

Don

Without a doubt.

Interviewer

Could I ask you both your names and where you come from in the States?

Male Tourist

I'm Leroy Houston, this is my sister Ida Houston.

Interviewer

So where do you actually come from?

Leroy

I'm from San Francisco, she's from Los Angeles.

Ida

Los Angeles. [end p3]

Interviewer

Is this your first time to Britain?

Leroy

No I was here in ‘65. This is the first time since, almost twenty-one years to the day.

Interviewer

Twenty-one! It must have changed quite a lot.

Leroy

Well, thus far we haven't been here long enough to determine.

Interviewer

I see. What are you seeing so far?

Leroy

What have we seen so far? Very little. We only arrived on the eleventh.

Interviewer

Oh, I see. So you haven't had much time.

Leroy

It's been just enough time for a good rest and off we're going tomorrow.

Interviewer

And, er, will presumably be looking forward …

Ida

And participate in this visit, after which we'll, er, since we've rested up then we'll go and you know, about and see the sights and everything.

Leroy

We're only here five days so we're going to do the typical tourist route.

Interviewer

Well, this must have been an unusual element within your tour anyway. [end p4]

Leroy

It really was. The transportation alone was quite sufficient, so this is more than expected.

Interviewer

Something on top.

Leroy

Quite unexpected and very delightful.

Interviewer

Well, I hope you enjoy your trip here anyway.

Leroy

Thank you very much. Thank you.

Ida

Thank you.

Tourist

Everything's been …

MT

It's more and more important that there's more and more people. But now tell me, which part do you come from?

Male Tourist

Right outside of Miami, Florida.

MT

You're in from Florida?

Same Tourist

Yes, yes, we brought this weather with us.

MT

And what, what kind of work do you do in Florida yourself? [end p5]

Same Tourist

I work in a grocery store.

MT

Oh well, that's very appropriate, isn't it? [Laughter] Is business good at the moment?

Same Tourist

Excellent. Excellent.

MT

And of course I suppose, you have a lot of tourism there at the moment.

Same Tourist

Oh yes, yes, we get them from all over.

MT

But so many people there have their second houses in Florida and they come down from work, they come down from the north during the winter time as well.

Same Tourist

Oh yes, yes.

MT

I've been there alas only once and one, one loved it.

Same Tourist

We'll be glad to have you back.

MT

Yes.

Same Tourist

You're very nice.

MT

Well, you're very kind. Now, let's … please have some more …

Same Tourist

If I can get one without shaking too much. [end p6]

[Laughter]

MT

All right! Look, there. There! A favourite apple.

Do you want one of those?

[A babble of voices.]

MT

I've only been there once. Where do you come from?

Another Male Tourist

I come from Pittsburgh, Father Leonard.

MT

You're from Pittsburgh. No, don't go! You're very on far. You're a very long way away.

Father Leonard

Yes.

MT

I mean, even from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles.

Father Leonard

We're so delighted to be here.

MT

It's almost as far away as is London.

[A babble of voices]. [end p7]

MT

Now tell me about, em, about Pittsburgh because you've suffered from some of the things we have. It was a steel town at one stage, and I think you had eight or nine steel companies there. I think there's only about …   .

Father Leonard

Most of them are closed down now.

MT

… one left, yes. What happened? Did new businesses come to Pittsburgh?

Father Leonard

We're beginning to adjust a little bit, I think that we're beginning to see a bit of a revival and, em, also some of the what they call high-tech industries, I guess we're facing in Pittsburgh, Carnegie-Mellon had …

MT

Yes …

Father Leonard

… won a contract for the development of some of the, em, some of the strategic defence, er, weapons, that's good.

MT

Yes. So, so some, some new companies have gone in and then some people have gone out to find different jobs.

Father Leonard

Well I, some of them have not found jobs yet and there's still going to be I think, er, a lot of unemployed …

MT

Particularly for the older people who are established there. Yes, it's … it's exactly the same problems as we're having. Now tell me about Los Angeles. I think … of course it's a city with an enormous spread, fantastic spread. [end p8]

Male Tourist

Spread, enormous spread, all over. We have to drive miles to …

MT

And sometimes you get quite a kind of fog from the pollution there.

Same Tourist

That's true, yes, aha. But we like it there, we've been there for almost thirty ye …

Female Tourist

Twenty five years.

Male Tourist

Twenty-five years.

MT

Twenty-five years.

Female Tourist

We love it there.

MT

You're not that far from San Francisco, we always used to go up on the shuttle from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back quickly to another …

Male Tourist

We drive up about once a month …

MT

Yes, but of course California has an ever-increasing population, hasn't it, because everyone wants to go there because the, the climate is marvellous.

Male Tourist

The climate's nice, yes [end p9]

MT

And a lovely place to live. And you, you said you came from …

Another Male Tourist

Washington.

MT

Washington, yes.

Same Tourist

I'm sure you know that place.

MT

Yes, of course I know that place. Are you interested in politics or diplomacy or government or what?

Same Tourist

A little bit, government. My Dad works for government, so it's kinda …

MT

Does he?

Same Tourist

Mm.

MT

Washington's a lovely city.

Same Tourist

It is.

MT

You've also got so many beautiful, er, a lovely art gallery there …

Same Tourist

Yes, museums. [end p10]

MT

Lovely, the Smithsonian, lovely museums and lovely facilities.

Same Tourist

I always think yours are yet better.

MT

And it's all, well we have some marvellous museums, really lovely, and marvellous art galleries, which I'm sure you'll find really good, if you go round them.

Same Tourist

Very excited.

MT

But you must look around them and compare them with yours.

[A babble of voices.]

Another Interviewer

Mr. Ambassador, I wonder whether … I'm from the Central Office of Information in Britain, whether I could ask you just a couple of questions and ask em, how important do you think this particular visit is today.

Charles Price

Well, I think it's probably very important. First of all, it's typically gracious I think of the Prime Minister to be so considerate as to invite this representative group of so many to come by here. But secondly I think it will only lead to a very absolute confirmation on the part of all of the people that have come over, that they will return saying how graciously and hospitably they have been accepted, and what a safe and very lovely country it is indeed.

Interviewer

Did you have any doubts before? [end p11]

Charles Price

No I never had any doubts and I published my views in an LA Times article that was syndicated some time ago, and some of the people have been kind enough to mention they read it and were encouraged, and the President was kind enough to endorse it yesterday in his press conference, so, er, I don't, I think we're all of one view there is little or no question whatsoever, this is probably the safest place that anybody could travel.

Interviewer

And with a little bit of luck this will clinch it.

Charles Price

Absolutely.

Interviewer

Thank you.

Charles Price

Thank you.

Interviewer to another Tourist

Can I ask you a few questions? Can I start by asking you …

Tourists

Certainly.

Interviewer

… your names and where you come from in America.

Male Tourist

Gary Mosselman and this is Michelle Hoyer. We're from Pompano Beach, Florida.

Interviewer

Is this your first visit to Britain? [end p12]

Gary

Yes it is.

Interviewer

What's your first impression? Do you like …

Gary

It's lovely, it's lovely. We brought this weather for you.

Interviewer

Yes, we have to congratulate you …

Gary

Yes, I wouldn't travel without the sunshine.

Interviewer

The British summer's started today.

Gary

Yes.

Interviewer

What, what did you expect in Britain? I mean did you have a lot of misconceptions which have been changed?

Gary

Well, I was expecting to see, em, like, er, punk rockers walking the street and, er, a little bit, it's, it's just very, it's just lovely, everybody's so nice, the people are nice, and, er, it's just, it's just a thrill, every corner when we go walking, it's a thrill, it's a thrill going on taxicabs …

Interviewer

But you must have traffic problems …

Michelle

Not like this.

Gary

Not like this, this is a whole new ball game here. It is. [end p13]

Interviewer

Were you at all worried about coming?

Gary

No, no.

Gary & Michelle together

No, not at all.

Gary

Not at all. My, my friends were trying to put fear into me, but it didn't work. You know I, I knew that, you know, everything would be fine. There's, there's troubles everywhere you go, there's, there's always something to fear and, er …

Interviewer

Were you more worried as it were about the plane trip over, or what you might find when you got here?

Gary

More worried about the plane trip, I'd say.

Michelle

I would agree with you [laughing].

Gary

Being over the ocean, you know, and no place to land, that, that might cause a little bit of fear.

Interviewer

But you presumably have no worries now?

Gary

Oh no, no …

Michelle

Great! [end p14]

Gary

… it's perfectly safe, we just, we just walk the streets, we walk the streets at night, in the morning and just, I just feel at home.

Interviewer

What are you going to do for the rest of your time here?

Gary

We've got a full day tour tomorrow that we're going to take, that will take us every place that we haven't been, and … you know.

Interviewer

You're going to cram it in.

Michelle

Oh yes, [laughing]

Gary

A, a one-day special right there and I think that's the best way to do it and then we can always come back to a place if we find something that we like a lot.

Interviewer

Would you, I mean from what you've seen already, would you like to come back to Britain?

Gary

Oh, yes.

Michelle

Sure.

Gary

And I know my mother just, my mother's been here about three or four times and she just loves it, and she was just so happy that I won this contest, and she was so thrilled because I was going to get to see exactly what she loved so much, and it … [end p15]

Interviewer

Well today must be quite an unusual addition to your …

Gary

Oh yea! [Michelle laughing] … this is definitely an honour, definitely.

Interviewer

Enjoy your trip!

Gary

I'm sure we will.

Gary & Michelle together

Thank you very much.

MT

So can we have, can we have, I'd really like to have a couple of young people too. Come along, come along. Right. And I'm just going to be serving some of … Oh, cakes!

Can we have someone, I want, can we have someone else very young, too. Is there anyone here not in this group, below 25?

[Lots of Laughter]I know he's there, but I want another one, he's lonely! Come along. Right! There were are. That's right, now come along. We going, now this is altered so that I am seen handling this—afternoon tea, yes, I know they've got lots of calories. Are you all right on calories?

You're all right on calories?

Female Tourist

You've got it. [end p16]

MT

That's right. Now, are you going to have one?

Male Tourist

Oh, I'll be delighted, thank you.

MT

Good. Here we are. We've got sandwiches if you prefer something savoury. [Laughter] Now, how are we doing? You have one.

Another Female Tourist—with southern accent

Mrs. Thatcher, I would like to say how much we appreciate you helping us when we really needed it. That's what I would like to tell you.

MT

That's very kind of you. Don't forget, you help Europe. All the time.

Male Tourist

We're happy to.

MT

Really all the time, and that you've got a lot of troops on the central front in Europe, three-hundred-and-thirty-thousand and some of their families are there too.

Female Tourist

Thank you.

MT

So if they can come and help us, we can turn around and help you. And we'll just have to stick together.

Female Tourist

That's right. [end p17]

MT

And never forget one of Winston ChurchillWinston's speeches, em, in the post-war period, it's called ‘Let Us Stand Together’, and it's one I've always remembered.

Now come along, now how are you doing? You're not eating very much. [Laughter]. Come on, pop it in your mouth! You might have time for another one. [Laughter] Now, who else? Well, have all the press gone? [More laughter]

All right, yes, he's COI. All right, so are you going to have another one, come along.

Reporter

Well, I'm also COI, but I'll take a sandwich.

[Lots of talking & laughing among the tourists]

MT

Well that's all right …

I would like here to just tell you a little bit about No. 10 Downing Street. It's been the home of British prime ministers since the year 1735. Not before, because we didn't have a prime minister before 1735, the, the chief executive of government then was the King who worked with a council and he'd never had a chief minister before. Er, his chief minister was always the First Lord of the Treasury but he was formally designated the main minister in 1735 and still remains First Lord of the Treasury, which is obviously the big white chief of the treasury, and it's still First Lord of the Treasury on the door. Er, in 1735 the King bought this house and offered it to his first minister, his prime minister. You've probably noticed that it looks bigger when you get inside than you thought it was [laughter] outside, a lot bigger. That's really because it was, it's really founded on two houses, the one on the front of No. 10 Downing Street which is comparatively small and then it's linked at every level through a narrow corridor. You came through that corridor, [end p18] there's a Henry Moore sculpture half way along with some beautiful portraits. That's a little artistic corridor that I've got. And then it opens out into this house, which has these beautiful large rooms. And this is because this house, this, this back one was once a courtier's house, er, to, when the court was in Whitehall. Of course it was burnt down, it's only the banqueting hall remains. But when the court was at Whitehall before it went to Buckingham Palace this was a courtier's house, so we still have these beautiful rooms and this very nice staircase which you came up, and up the staircase of course is a picture of every prime minister that there's ever been. Er, er, and I ought to know them all just off by heart [Laughter], but I don't.

Now, it is not only the home of the prime minister. May I hasten to say that we don't live in this part any more than the President lives in the great reception rooms of the White House. We live in a little attic upstairs. [Laughter] Eh, it is quite a small attic but the, the, the White House is a bigger top [laughter], quite bigger, much grander. Em, about a hundred people work here every day, because it is of course the office of the prime minister, just really as the White House contains a large number of people who work in the White House. Er, so we have about a hundred people here and like the White House we're going twenty-four hours a day, because when we've gone to bed, you see the United Nations is still perhaps sitting in New York and we might have questions coming in as to how people are going to vote or what amendments have to be made to resolutions, is this one acceptable, who shall we get together with to try to get an acceptable amendment, or on the other side of the world in, er, Hong Kong and Tokyo they're getting up and Australians starting their day. So there are always staff on duty. So, up also in the attic are some bedrooms and, er, other facilities.

The whole of the house on the front of 10 Downing Street is office, every single bit of it. Em, there's, there's a policy unit there, there's the press unit there, there are [end p19] all the messengers there, the detectives there, then you come to the back house, we have the political office and we have the cabinet, part of the cabinet office here. Because the cabinet meets in No. 10, I'll take you down to the Cabinet Room, we'll get you down there and have a quick look at it. It's a very, very modest Cabinet Room. People are always amazed at how modest and small our Cabinet Room is but it has really had some great, er, decisions taken in it, including the one where we went quite wrong over those places called the colonies and it's one of [laughter] the few decisions [laughter] in America, it's one of the few decisions we got really wrong. I'm sure if I'd been there at that time [laughter] we would never have got it wrong, we would have said what, the freedom we have for ourselves it is our duty to try, try, to give to others and, as I always regard America as, as Europe the other side of the Atlantic, we would not have had difficulty in doing that, but after all that has now been. After that one mistake, after that one mistake [laughter] the whole of British history has been to bring up every single territory to full independence.

Em, so we have quite a number of the cabinet secretariat serving the cabinet. Cabinet meets always on Thursday morning, and we have cabinet committees as well, very big cabinet committees, one an Overseas and Defence Committee which I chair and one, an Economic Committee, which I also chair, the other smaller committees I don't. Cabinet committee is a much bigger part of British government than it is a system where you have a presidential government because my ministers are Members of Parliament, either, my ministers are members either of the House of Commons or the House of Lords, only three members of the House of Lords, most of the members of the House of Commons, and we derive our majority and right to be government by virtue of having got a majority in Parliament. So we don't encounter the problems which you have, the difficulties between the executive and parliament. Because I am here because I have a majority in parliament. Sometimes [end p20] we will have to sell our, obviously like every executive, sell our policies to parliament, and sometimes they will get modified in the process, but by the time we have our major policies, on the whole we get government policies through because we have a majority.

Thursday is a very busy day for me therefore. We have a, a major cabinet and some cabinet committees Thursday morning. Twice a week I am in parliament myself, twice every week answering questions on Tuesday afternoon and Thursday afternoon, they put me through that ordeal. Er, and now, I don't know what the questions will be, so I have a very long briefing because they can be anything from defence policy to a, a particular hospital to housing policy to social security and today of course a lot of it was South Africa, something else was about Rolls Royce engines, and you just go through all the topical things, yes, it's quite, it's quite varied. Then something about child benefit and, so it is, very, very wide, but it does keep you absolutely on top. It's an ordeal which not many prime ministers are put through in quite the same way, because at 3:15 in the after …   ., Tuesday and Thursday afternoon parliament downs tools and says ‘now the Prime Minister answers questions and we will throw everything at her that we can possibly do’ [laughter], and then we come back and have a number of other meetings here. Er, I of course am over in the House of Commons other days as well.

Now these rooms here, these, I will, there are three big reception rooms, they are as they were, as far as the shape is concerned, when the house was given to the first prime minister. Last year we had our two-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of it being the prime minister's house, and the Queen came to dinner here. We have six, er, living prime ministers, far more than you have got living presidents, we have six, the Earl of Stockton is the oldest, of course, he's ninety-one, nearly ninety-two, and Alec Douglas-Home is eighty-one, and, nearly eighty-two, and then we have Lord Wilson and Mr. Callaghan, and em, and Mr. Heath, and of course myself, that makes [end p21] six of us. And they also found relatives, living relatives, of nine previous prime ministers, again the oldest one was ninety-one, so we had a rather interesting dinner here in the dining room through there. These rooms we use only for reception purposes, as you can see they're really laid out for receptions. Em, the far room which is the prettiest one, the white one with the yellow curtains down there, is the one where I always receive heads of state or heads of government, and we talk there. Er, I'll just take you through to the dining rooms to look at them, then I'll quickly show you the Cabinet Room. If some time you like to look out, can you see, there's a big parade ground there? That is where the Trooping the Colour will take place on Saturday with the Queen taking the salute. Tonight at 6:30 it is the Beating of the Retreat with the massed, the massed guard, band of the guards, and I think the Queen is taking the salute tonight. But, but you can see the saluting base, it doesn't start until 6:30 unfortunately, and they come on parade at 6:00 I would say, which is after you, yourself … [Tape changed.] … so glad you're enjoying it. I'm so glad you're enjoying it. It's just marvellous to see the sunshine.

Female Tourist

Everybody has been wonderful and I think coming to a foreign country [inaudible words] very easy, and I'm even getting used to the money and the bus system … It's really wonderful.

MT

Of course. Yes!

Male Tourist

People are so [inaudible word]. You pay how much it's supposed to be but you can't figure it out.

MT

Yes. Now this, here we are. Now this, of course, these portraits here, just let me show you them. Er, that is one of our prime ministers after you left us, Sir [end p22] Robert Peel, er, quite a famous prime minister. Er, everyone knows London policemen called London bobbies. London bobbies, London policemen are called. They are called bobbies after Sir Robert Peel, Sir Robert, Bobby. Because it was Sir Robert Peel who set up the first police service in this country, the Metropolitan Police during his time. That was the first, that was the first real police service there had been, it had its … it's about a hundred-and-fifty-three years ago, so it's comparatively new. So many of the traditions which we hallow, you know, have really been started in the last two hundred years. Just as with you, so with us, and the er, the actual rate of progress I think in the last two hundred years of course exceeded anything the world had ever known, er, and we just tend to take it for granted. That was Sir Robert Peel.

Now this is Nelson before he lost his eye, who, our famous Admiral Nelson who won the great battles, naval battles of Trafalgar. And this was, er, this was, er, the Duke of Wellington, who won the great battle against Napoleon, the final Battle of Waterloo, er, very, very different kinds of face, em, each quite a genius in that both did I suppose what all great generals do, found a different, er, formation of battle. They did in the Battle of Trafalgar, the, the ships in a different forma …, battle formation and of course, as you've seen from some of the great films, a totally different battle formation, er, at Waterloo. And it is sometimes that, that difference which is the element of surprise. I'm not sure you could do it today. I think so much about modern battles are technology and I em, always think, er, that the Ronald ReaganPresident is absolutely right, for example, on SDI, because if you defended freedom you've got to have the latest, most up-to-date thing, and I say that as most of us here, many of us here remember the last war. Had Hitler got the atomic weapon first, the result of, the result of the whole future of freedom could have been very different, and of course we were bombing from here on all the latest research installations because we knew there was a secret weapon. And of course our scientists went over to the United [end p23] States, all of them who were on that work, to help you make it. So I've always remembered as a prime minister, part of your duty is not only to have proper armed forces properly equipped, part of your duty is to do the latest research, and have the possibility of translating it into technology should the need ever arise. So that's all by the way, but it's [laughter] a very, very important point.

And this is really our favourite room. … [everyone walking]

Yes, this is really our, it's a much, it's a smaller room as you can see, it's quite my favourite. It's much more feminine I think than the others, we've tried to, to make it that way, and these are, those are Turners, they're not the best Turners, they obviously are in the galleries. But this if I, when King Hussein comes in tomorrow we will receive him here and we will do our talks and discussions here, as we have done over the years. When your ambassador comes, where is Charlie? He's been here ever so many … Well, when he comes to bring anyone to, to talk to me, it may be George Shultz, it may be Mr. Baker or it may be anyone to talk to me, it may be a group of senators, it will either be in the Cabinet Room and we had quite a big group of senators just ten days ago, er, then we were downstairs in the Cabinet Room, otherwise we will be here, and mostly if we do a television broadcast we do it from this room. So, and you're lucky, this faces, this part of Downing Street faces north, that is why we don't have very much sun in this room, this, this little bit faces west, and so have just got a little bit of sun in this evening.

I'm so sad the Beating of the Retreat didn't start an hour earlier, it would have been very good, but they're getting everything ready for it. And we have just a small garden here because we're central London, very small, much smaller than the White House, but you see London grew. London is your heritage as well as mine. It's almost as much your heritage as well as mine, and [end p24] your ancestors also built it, built it to what it is today. And also this is part of your heritage too, as I say we made one or two mistakes [laughter].

MT continuing

Now, at this point, can I just take you down and have a look at the Cabinet Room, come into the Cabinet Room. Do you think we can have the doors open, Peter?

Staff

Certainly.

MT

Stands for watching the Retreat tonight, it doesn't look very pretty. Now this is, em. Now this is where all the great decisions have been taken. You see it's a singularly … we have this so it is not scratched or anything like that, you know. You know, men are very careless, they come and put despatch cases on and have scratched it. I sit there. I'm not quite sure where the President sits when he has a cabinet. I know his cabinet room. I think he does the same thing as I do, sits in the centre of a long table, because you're much more able to see if anyone wants to speak or contribute, we have twenty-one in our cabinet and of course there's a cabinet secretary taking notes and a specialist on any subject that we are discussing, taking special notes sitting at the end there. Ah, and er, our Chief Whip sits there, right at the end. And otherwise over here the Lord Chancellor who is head of our judiciary and the Foreign Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Home Secretary and then you sit in order of precedence really. The newest ones are at the end and us old ones are in the middle. [Laughter].

Now by tradition we have only one portrait in the Cabinet Room, that is, that is Sir Robert Walpole, he's just been cleaned up, he looks much better now. [Laughter] He was here twenty-two years which is of great comfort to some of us. [Lots of laughter] [end p25]

These two candlesticks belong to the days right back, right from the beginning, those two square-based ones, big ones. They are part of a set which the Treasury has. Em, they have six more but they belong to, they belong here as First Lord of the Treasury, as I told you, that's why they are here. The two taller ones at the end were given to us by Anthony Eden when he was prime minister, and this, this goes right back to the beginning, right back to 1735 when you used to have candles and you'd snuff your light out that way. So we still keep that here because it's been there a very, very long time.

These were given to us, as Charlie here … by the United States to celebrate the Treaty of Paris, of course two hundred years ago and just, em, two hundred years ago we sent over, was it, a copy of the Magna Carta?

Charles Price

Pardon, ma'am?

MT

The Treaty of Paris, two hundred years ago, just after your Independence, we sent over what, a copy, a big copy of the Magna Carta?

Charles Price

Right.

MT

Yes. And the United States gave us these two lovely little candlesticks to commemorate that all was nice and friendly after your Independence and I said that they too must join us in the Cabinet Room because that is part of our history too. We like to build up modern history as well as old history. Now these blotters should really be all like that, they look much smarter like that. Well, you see again, it's the Cabinet Room, First Lord, everyone is like that, because, to remind one that the Prime Minister is First Lord of the Treasury, so, we still have it like that. We can get out, em, quickly, just have a quick look in the garden. [Everyone going outside] [end p26]

Can come out this way … [bird song and distant street noise].

Female Tourist

I think every day is going to be like this.

MT

Well, it would be lovely if every day would be like this, wouldn't it? It's a small garden

Female Tourist

I think every day …

Another Female Tourist

Look at this, do you get the opportunity to come out …

MT

Very, very rarely. I don't think I've sat our here ever because, em. You see we don't get very much sun, we only get it in the evening.

Same Tourist

Uhum.

MT

That is No. 11. That, er, belongs to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, so No. 10 ends here, that's No. 11. That's a whole house, it's not an office because you see his office is at the Treasury, so that is his whole house. Er, and then that red brick one was added later, which is No. 12, which is where the, the office home of our, of our Whips, it is all offices, we have quite a Whip's organisation, well so do you in the Senate and Congress but, that's the office for the Whips. And it's a common garden for the, for the whole lot.

Female Tourist

That's what we don't have in Alaska, are these gorgeous big trees. [end p27]

MT

No you don't, you have small ones, don't you, you do have them small, but then at this time of year it's light most of the time, but it's in deep mid-winter when you only have about three hours light that I think you must acquire a very kind of, different kind of approach and attitude.

[Laughing and several people speaking together—catchword]

Female Tourist

Very different [laughter], we have the feeling we want to go south. [More laughter]

MT

Do you come south quite a bit in the deep mid-winter?

Tourist

Yes, I think most people take a couple of weeks off, you know when our vacation time is, mostly in the wintertime, because our summers are gorgeous.

MT

Is Alaska suffering with the falling price of oil? You see, the state had fantastic, fantastic income, the State of Alaska, when the price of oil was high and built enormous buildings and performing arts societies, there's a great big conference centre, massive buildings, absolutely everything.

Male Tourist

We are fortunate we put a lot of that away for … the future.

MT

You did put a lot of that a way, yes, yes, it is … otherwise it would not really be liveable in would it, unless you had some of those splendid facilities, a lovely opera house, because you've got to have those things to build a community there. Two universities in there, in Anchorage, Alaska. [end p28]

Male Tourist

For a small population, you know, I think we do very well.

MT

Yes, yes, very well indeed. I only know because I went through to the Tokyo Summit, I went through it.

It's quite warm, isn't it? Now, that's a wing of the Cabinet office, again an office, and then the others are all government offices round the er, round Horse Guards Parade. You see the attic is up here, you can't see where I live, it's above this, that little attic at the top. [Laughter]

That's where I, that's where I live, right up top, right up top, I'm just over the shop. [Laughter] Just over the shop. [Laughter]

Male tourist

Not a penthouse?

[The party goes indoors again.]

MT continuing

The United States was very generous, after the first, er, man landing on the moon, em, and took up the flags of I think of several nations and then gave us this after it, and that is moon rock. And you haven't seen it in the United States, well so often you find that er, em, it was presented during Richard Nixon 's time, and it's the flag of your country that went to the moon, was taken there, and we have these four little bits of moon rock here. So if you haven't seen it in the United States, you can see it here. And if you have children here, it's the thing that they're absolutely fascinated, there's actually a little bit of the moon, it looks … We've almost forgotten that first journey to the moon, you know, but it was quite remarkable, absolutely remarkable.

Charles Price

Prime Minister, if, may I in the absence of, attempt to be your spokesperson? I know that I speak on behalf of all my fellow citizens here in expressing to you our deep appreciation for a typically gracious gesture, of having [end p29] this group that is a delegation and representative of the, I guess, fifty-six hundred who have travelled to Great Britain, for all of the courtesy and hospitality they've been accorded together with a very informative and I'm sure an extremely memorable visit to an area that I am free to say not many Americans have the great privilege of being able to, to er, visit. So please accept our most sincere expression of thanks to you. I feel confident that all of the Americans that come to Great Britain and especially perhaps this particular delegation will return to the United States recognising that, as we know who live here, it's not only one of the safest places in the world but it's also one of the most gracious and hospitable. Now the only thing I think each of you have to be on guard about in terms of a potential hazard is to your health is that you've got to be certain that you avoid being in the middle of the Mall which is that main boulevard [laughter] at the time of the Queen's royal household cavalry approaches [laughter] the Changing of the Guard [more laughter].

MT

No, we love having you here. We're delighted you've come and we're very happy that we can just do this, make this small gesture to re-affirm the tremendous friendship between the United States and the United Kingdom.

[Long Applause]

Interviewer

Can I just ask you for your impressions of what you've just seen?

Tourist

Oh, I think she's just wonderful, [laughing] she's so sweet!

Interviewer

You enjoyed your look around the, No. 10 Downing Street.

Tourist

Oh, yes, very much, it's beautiful! [end p30]

Interviewer

Something to remember.

Tourist

Oh, I thought the airplane ride was fantastic, but this is [laughing] even more so [laughing].

[Applause]

Interviewer

Just one question to round up what we have.

MT

Yes.

Interviewer

Prime Minister, to take time off from the ever-pressing affairs of state to play hostess this afternoon, you must consider today to be a fairly important occasion.

MT

I think it's rather special, and we're so thrilled to see these people from the States coming over here, the sun is shining, it was lovely to show them some of the history of Number 10 Downing Street, and I'm so glad they came on a Thursday because by the time I've done heavy cabinet meetings in the morning and questions in the House in the afternoon, I'm very happy just to relax for a short time round about tea time. Lovely!

Interviewer

Thank you very much.

MT

Thank you.