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 ITN (London European Council)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster, London
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Jon Snow, ITN
Editorial comments: Media interviews followed the Press Conference, which was due to begin at 1430.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1052
Themes: Defence (arms control), European Union (general), European Union Single Market, Foreign policy (USA), Health policy, Law & order, Security services

Jon Snow, ITN

Prime Minister, making decisions that are made at these Summits mean something to the people of the Common Market has always been a perennial problem and it is something that you addressed at the beginning of your briefing.

What would you say to the average individual in Finchley or Newcastle? What has been decided in these two days that really makes a difference to their day-to-day lives?

Prime Minister

Well I think a number of things.

First, we have done everything we can in practical terms to make it easier for businesses to expand and to start up, by cutting the red tape and particularly where small businesses are concerned, by trying to raise the VAT threshold and simplify that.

Secondly, to direct the Council for Social Affairs to concentrate their efforts on an action programme for jobs, particularly for the long-term unemployed and for young people; and they have a series of measures to carry out there.

And thirdly, one of the obstructions to businesses across the Community is that there are still a lot of barriers to trade and [end p1] there are no universal standards, so businessmen do not know quite where they are on safety standards or on standards for goods and services. So we are trying to remedy that and we have been very successful in our Presidency and we are up-to-date on that.

And the next thing is to reaffirm our cooperation against terrorism and to start to take more effective joint action against drugs and we are starting on programmes against AIDS.

Jon Snow, ITN

On the question of AIDS, this is the first time that you have discussed it quite at this level. What did you agree?

Prime Minister

We agreed that we should really exchange information with one another on how best to let people know of all the dangers. We, as you know, have an advertising campaign and we are going to send leaflets and information out to every household. And also to cooperate in research. There is quite a lot of research going on, not only in our country but in others, and also in the United States. It is important that we cooperate.

The main thing is prevention and letting people know how they can take action to get it. Once people have it, at the moment there is very little we can do. Of course, we do look very carefully at any drug [sic] donors and we do monitor the blood, so that has been dealt with, but there needs to be a lot more research done, because we cannot, I am afraid, either cure or vaccinate against the disease. [end p2]

Jon Snow, ITN

Cooperation on research might be seen as the core, yet whoever discovers a cure for AIDS has a commercially very profitable product. Are there not some members of the Community—perhaps the French—who would rather jealously guard the work they have already done on AIDS?

Prime Minister

I think if any country or any company has put in a colossal amount of finance on research—and it is expensive—they would naturally wish to recoup that, but that is so in almost any drug, and if you could not recoup some of the costs then you would not get the research on drugs. But apart from that, the commercial research, we have a medical research council which has a considerable budget and a lot of the fundamental research is done there. When they discover a new drug, they also obviously try to make money out of its manufacture and sale because in doing so that gives them more money for research, and that is the way it goes on.

After all, your researchers need to be paid; they need laboratory facilities and so on.

Jon Snow, ITN

You also looked at East-West in the aftermath of Reykjavik. To what extent did the problems that President Reagan is facing in Washington produce a sense of unease amongst the Community this side of the Atlantic? [end p3]

Prime Minister

We are all aware that there are problems and we are all aware that anything that weakens America weakens Europe and it weakens the whole of the Free World, so I think our message is that whatever has happened there is nothing that can be done about it now, but please let us all devote attention to trying to get arms reductions and let us do that by giving our attention to certain priorities. If you tackle everything, you know, you do not get anywhere. You have to take things one by one, and so we are very much saying: “Look! Please go forward on arms control and arms reductions! Go with forward-looking economic policies!” because there is a lot of work to be done by the United States in the last two years of President Reagan's Presidency and also by Europe in the coming two years of Mr. Delors' Presidency of the Commission. So, forward, constructive, let us get on, there is work to do.

Jon Snow, ITN

In the course of the Summit, you had to issue a statement on a domestic question, that of Lord Rothschild. Some have said that your clearance of him was less than it might have been.

Prime Minister

Look! Let us make one thing clear! The innuendoes never came from Government. They came from certain quarters of the press and the media. It was they who made the innuendoes and put Lord Rothschild in acute anxiety.

Normally, we do not answer these things. As I made quite clear in the statement, because of the gravity of the allegation, [end p4] we were willing to make an exception in this case and indicated that we had no evidence that Lord Rothschild had ever been a Soviet agent and look! That is clear! Leave it at that and really, do not go on with further additional suggestions that it is not good enough! Just let us have an end to smear, smirches and innuendoes and allegations! If anyone has any specific evidence, then let them, on any matter, put it before the appropriate authorities, but innuendoes hurt the feelings not only of the people themselves; they wound them deeply; they bother them deeply and their whole families and I just hope that those who make them will stop it and have more consideration for human kindness.

Jon Snow, ITN

Is not the problem that actually they emerged, Prime Minister, in the course of proceedings in Australia?

Prime Minister

I have nothing to say about proceedings in Australia. You know I cannot say anything about proceedings in Australia.