Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1986 Nov 15 Sa
Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for ITN (Camp David talks)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: TV Interview
Venue: British Embassy, Washington
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Tim Ewart, ITN
Editorial comments: MT gave media interviews at the British Residence 1600-1645.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1123
Themes: Defence (arms control), Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Terrorism

Interviewer

You have taken a very tough stance against terrorism, yourself, is there any sense of being let down by the revelation that President Reagan has been negotiating with Iran?

Prime Minister

The Ronald ReaganPresident made it quite clear, in his own broadcast, as I am sure you know that America does not pay ransom money for hostages and that would be for the same reason as we do not, to do so would encourage the taking of more hostages and that would be the very worse thing and again the President reaffirmed his position.

Interviewer

Were you consulted, though, about what was going on? There is a suggestion that perhaps the allies have been ignored, again by the United States?

Prime Minister

I did not spend very much time discussing Iran with the President; we obviously touched on it briefly because this is a subject very much in the public eye at the moment but I have really nothing further to add to what the President said in his very extensive broadcast. [end p1]

Interviewer

But do you approve of what has been going on, do you approve of negotiating?

Prime Minister

I have just said that the President made it very clear that the United States does not pay ransom money for hostages; I approve of that position.

Interviewer

There is a strong feeling here, certainly among the Democrats and amongst some Republicans that the President has been saying one thing in public and doing something else in private; there is some hypocrisy here—are you suspicious of that at all?

Prime Minister

You are attempting to use this interview with me to undermine the position of the President anyway—I will have no part of it.

Interviewer

Turning to arms control and with Reykjavik and the possibility of any future summit meeting between the President and Mr. Gorbachev; are you, after this meeting, satisfied that British and European interests will be taken into account?

Prime Minister

Yes.

Interviewer

You have brought a message with you from the Russians; are you in some way acting as an honest broker between the Soviet Union and Great Britain? [end p2]

Prime Minister

I do not know that one could be called an honest broker at all, I have met Mr. Gorbachev; he is a tough negotiator and so am I, I prefer to negotiate in that way; I have always made my views very clear to him and he has always made his views very clear to me—it is on that basis of mutual respect that he communicates with me and I with him from time to time and he wished to reiterate his view that Reykjavik and reiterate his view of the entire package before I met the President.

Interviewer

Was there, though, a message for President Reagan that you brought with you?

Prime Minister

Not a specific message, no.

Interviewer

A sense, an indication, a mood?

Prime Minister

I think a feeling that neither side wants the talks to end, they both want to find a way forward—and that is not surprising, we all do—because at Reykjavik they were talking, not about arms control but about arms reduction and we all want to find a way forward. It is not going to be easy because the Soviet Union has done a strict linkage with SDI and I do not think that linkage is justified myself. I think that President Reagan is absolutely right to go on with research on SDI and I personally believe that research consists in going right up to feasibility, because you do not know whether something is feasible until you have tested it up to feasibility; that would not be the view, at present, that the Soviet Union takes but I still think that they will [end p3] want to find a way forward to reduce the amount that is spent on both intermediate nuclear weapons and on strategic nuclear missiles and also, I hope on conventional armaments—although they have been negotiating in Vienna for twelve years and have got nowhere— … (inaudible)

Interviewer

Do you think that the two leaders can come together again? I mean it has been suggested that Mr Gorbachev might perhaps decide to wait now until a new President comes along in a couple of years time.

Prime Minister

I think that would be a very long time. I think that they will have to wait and see how the negotiations go in Geneva; you know the pre-Christmas ones have just concluded and they do not meet again until January. But they will both be assessing how they should go ahead at the Geneva negotiations and I believe that they will both want to go ahead. I am absolutely certain that the Ronald ReaganPresident is right on SDI and he is fully supported by the American people and by many, many people in Europe. The question is whether the Soviet Union will unlink the intermediate nuclear weapons and try to go ahead with negotiations on those, it would be very welcome if she would.

Interviewer

Finally if I may, you quite clearly reaffirmed your close relationship with Mr Reagan here. It does seem that he may not have the popularity in Europe or in Britain that he enjoys here in the United States. Is there any concern that perhaps being too closely linked with him might be damaging at election time? [end p4]

Prime Minister

I would not necessarily accept your view of President Reagan's position in Europe. Since President Reagan has been President of the United States, the United States has regained her confidence, she has regained her strength, she has re-established a unity between Europe and the United States as far as detente questions are concerned. Unity which is as close as anything we have ever known. That is to the advantage of all the free people in Europe. It is also, I believe, ultimately to the advantage of people in countries who hope to be free but are not at the moment, that they see there is close co-operation between America and Europe on security matters. You know, so often you get various comments made between people who are close friends: if ever there was the slightest sign of trouble, immediately, like a family you would say “We in America are part of the same family” so I would not take any notice of any adverse comments you hear—I believe that they are not as deep as skin deep.

Interviewer

The special relationship is as strong as ever?

Prime Minister

As strong as ever, yes and quite right too. It is to the advantage of us all.

Interviewer

Thank you Prime Minister.