Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1988 Nov 17 Th
Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for ITN (visiting Washington)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Sheraton-Carlton Hotel, Washington DC
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Sir Alastair Burnet, ITN
Editorial comments: Between 1330 and 1345 MT gave interviews to the British media.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 905
Themes: Defence (general), Monetary policy, Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states)

Sir Alastair Burnet, ITN

At your talks this morning, what did you tell Mr Bush about dealing with Mr Gorbachev?

Prime Minister

George BushHe knows Mr Gorbachev, I did not have to tell him anything. George Bush is a very very experienced person. He has been Vice President for eight years, before that he had wide experience of diplomacy, wide experience of security matters. You do not need to tell him, we just talked together, knowing that each can profit from what the other says.

Sir Alastair Burnet, ITN

What do you think Mr Gorbachev is up to, coming to America so soon? [end p1]

Prime Minister

So soon. I think Mikhail Gorbachevhe is coming to New York, wants to speak at the United Nations and it will be a very significant speech, of that I have no doubt, and of course when you visit a country you naturally take advantage of the opportunity to see the Ronald ReaganPresident and the future George BushPresident and it will be a good meeting.

They are because I think we all admire Mr Gorbachev 's resolve and his bold reforms and we wish him well. We do not know yet whether they will succeed and so therefore we are a little wary and when you are having great change, things are a little bit uncertain.

But it is quite an historic time and it is very exciting for us all.

Sir Alastair Burnet, ITN

Inside NATO there are some differences of policy in dealing with Mr Gorbachev. Have you secured the NATO Summit for London in the summer?

Prime Minister

There will be a NATO Summit for London this summer but at the moment it is possibly at Foreign Secretary level. The question is whether it will go to Heads of Government level. The last one we had at Heads of Government level as you know was very fruitful. We agreed on up-dating our nuclear weapons, of short-range as well. [end p2]

That decision of course stands and I hope that it will continue to stand because obsolete weapons do not deter.

I think it would be a very good thing with a new President in the United States if we were to have a Summit meeting at Heads of Government level because then people will know that the extensive consultation that went on under President Reagan will go on under George Bush. That I know is his intention still to consult with the other members of the Alliance.

Sir Alastair Burnet, ITN

President Reagan said yesterday that he had mis-handled America's budget deficit. Do you agree with him?

Prime Minister

You know what President Reagan always wanted, he wanted a balanced budget in the Constitution. As you know, a number of the states have to have a balanced budget in the Constitution. He was not able to get that and he felt that if he could not get reductions in public spending, particularly on a rising economy, then he should not in fact put up taxes and he has had undoubtedly a very very strong economy.

I think he still bankers after a balanced budget and undoubtedly it would be a very great discipline. They went in part of the way, by the Gramm-Rudman amendments as you know [end p3] do have some effect on public spending, and so he got something of what he wanted but they have something quite different from us, which you are familiar with, when we produce a Bill in the House of Commons, a measure of legislation, we define the scope of what it can deal with very very strictly. In the United States they do not so they can tack on heaven knows how many clauses which give extra public expenditure in many many different spheres.

That really is a great loophole in their policies but it is something which any American President has to deal with, but they have to deal with it in their way. Our advice is no good on that.

Sir Alastair Burnet, ITN

Would you say that this has chiefly been a sentimental journey?

Prime Minister

No, much more than a sentimental journey. It has been to pay tribute to a Ronald ReaganPresident who has done great things to America, great things for the Western Alliance, great things for the free world and to sharpen up those great things in the eyes of the world so that they may have a new confidence, new inspiration to go on into the future, but it is quite a good thing to say thank you to a loyal ally and also to have the chance to talk to George Bush. [end p4]

I know that there will be continuity of policies, a different style. We each have our own style and that is quite right but these great things should go on. Of course there are always problems. You start to solve one lot and another lot come up, there always will be and come you have to fight to resolve day-by day like inflation and so on.

But much more than sentiment. Yes, thank you for a great Presidency, yes let us discuss how we can take it into the future, let us discuss existing problems and new ones which may arise but let us keep the close relationship, let us keep the resolve.