Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1988 Nov 4 Fr
Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for TV-AM (visiting Poland)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Interpress, Warsaw
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Adam Boulton, TV-AM
Editorial comments: Between 1830 and 1910 local time.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 801
Themes: Foreign policy (Central & Eastern Europe), Foreign policy (USA)

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

Another trip to the Warsaw Pact! Can I ask you as you see the Socialist system in action, does your heart warm to it, do you feel more understanding or less?

Prime Minister

We obviously have two very different systems and we believe passionately that ours is far the best, we fought for it, it is liberty, justice and democracy. And therefore we have a whole forum, which is Parliament, in which to express dissent, to express criticism, to express opposition, and a forum in which government can say this is the way we want to go and this is why we want to do it that way.

They have not quite got that, well they have not got it at all, and therefore you find that movements like Solidarity are not just a trade union movement, they are a forum for the expression [end p1] of opposition and they obviously long to do it in dialogue with the government but they have not quite found a way of doing that yet and of course they are not legally recognised by the government so they have a very difficult time.

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

When you say not just a trade movement, does that mean that you think they are important because they have other things as well as being a trade union movement …

Prime Minister

The importance goes beyond that of being a trade union movement. As trade unions they are not recognised as legal, that you sometimes get in systems this side of the Iron Curtain. They are not and they feel that deeply.

But they are more than a trade union, they are the natural focus of opposition because there is not another one so they have taken on the two roles.

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

How widespread do you think their support is? [end p2]

Prime Minister

I was amazed at the number of people who came out in Warsaw yesterday when we went to the church of Father Jerzy Popieluszkothe priest who was murdered, the very moving memorial there and also again today, we did not know that there would be anything like that number, they came out, all ages, a very very orderly people who had come just to see, to watch, to cheer and to make their views known.

And then in the church, the church was packed with people who sang the second most important hymn after the National Anthem. It was very very moving, it just left an indelible impression which one will never forget. One began to understand the strength of feeling, nothing else but going there could have given one that experience and I must say this, General Jaruzelski put no obstacles in my way to going to Gdansk, no obstacles in my way to meeting Solidarity and Lech Walesa, no obstacles in my way to meeting other groups of opposition people so I have had a very wide and almost uniquely wide experience in these two and a half days of visit to Poland.

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

What did you think of Walesa?

Prime Minister

He is a very quietly impressive person, very sensible, very articulate, very moderate views, nothing extreme, very understanding of certain difficulties, understands that if things make losses [end p3] then they have to be turned round to make a profit and that there have to be changes, but wants to be consulted about those changes but also wants to be able to have some kind of discussion with government because the views that Solidarity takes are not the views of total State-control at all, they want a much freer society and they have no way in which they can say that.

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

Looking ahead, do you feel that there might be some retrenchment in relations between the West and the East given that both American Presidential candidates seem to have a slightly more definite attitude towards nuclear deterrents and more scepticism towards the East than President Reagan has in recent years.

Prime Minister

It is not for me to say the differences between the two. I know President Reagan 's policy. I hope and believe it will be carried forward because I believe it has been the right one. It has been the right one for the United States, it has been the right one for East-West relations, it has been the right one for bringing new hope to people in the Warsaw Pact countries and I very much hope it continues also for being the right one for ensuring that our peace with freedom and justice is very securely defended. [end p4]

Adam Boulton, TV-AM

Finally, could I ask you how important for Britain you regard that election on Tuesday?

Prime Minister

Of course the American election, a change in America, is important, very very important. They come about once in eight years or in shorter times, also very important for getting negotiations going again in the Middle East.