Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1989 Sep 23 Sa
Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for Sky TV (visiting Moscow)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: TV Interview
Venue: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Centre, Moscow
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Bob Friend, Sky TV
Editorial comments: 1600-1630 or 1700 onwards: the appointment diary records two press conferences during the day, one of which was probably given over to interviews.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 992
Themes: Terrorism, Northern Ireland, Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Civil liberties

Interviewer

Prime Minister, is the Government going to review its security policy after the bomb blast in Deal?

Prime Minister

Look! We are concerned about any bomb blast, whether it be in Germany against our Armed Forces, whether it be, as it has been before, against the Green Jackets on a bandstand, or whether it has been in other barracks or this one. Of course, we are always deeply and greatly concerned and of course, you are constantly saying: “Keep up vigilance each and every day!” It is when it goes down that there are very very great dangers.

I am touch with Tom King and I shall get another report from him when I return, but I am deeply concerned about this. We lost a lot of people and a lot of people injured.

Interviewer

The IRA has come out with an extraordinary statement, linking the bomb blast with your visit to Northern Ireland, saying in the statement that you went there with a message of war. What is your reaction to that? [end p1]

Prime Minister

Nonsense!

Interviewer

And the Opposition, too, is complaining that the security people who were in charge of the barracks in Deal were in fact a private security company.

Prime Minister

I cannot comment on security. Tom King is in fact looking at it and we shall obviously look at all security arrangements once again.

Interviewer

Coming back to today's meeting, you seem to have an extraordinary relationship with Mr. Gorbachev. What is it about him which you so admire?

Prime Minister

First, his boldness and his courage and his vision. Mikhail GorbachevHe looked at communism; it had produced neither personal liberty nor dignity nor any standard of prosperity. He looked at Western Europe, the United States - they have liberty and a high standard of living - and he knew they were never going to get that here under the kind of communism they had had for seventy years, so he changed course. It was a historic decision - the kind of boldness and determination I greatly admire. [end p2]

He has enlarged the liberty; total freedom of expression now; people can leave much more easily; they have the chance to vote; they see Parliament on television; they hear it; we have seen the arguments they have; he can handle the debate; he can handle the discussion; he can handle the difficulties; he is constantly giving a lead forward to the objective he set for the people of the Soviet Union: that they, too, shall have a standard of prosperity which we in the Western countries enjoy.

But he knows, even if they do not fully know yet, that that requires their full cooperation. They cannot just get it by a change in policy at government level; it has got to be taken up and acted upon by the people themselves and they do not quite know how to do that yet but it is coming.

Interviewer

Do you think he can actually achieve these reforms without outside help?

Prime Minister

Outside help? I think they have to be done from within. After all, as I said at the press conference earlier, they are not embarking on a new system. They know full well that you can get prosperity by the ways in which they are trying to achieve it, because we have got it in Western Europe, we have it in the United States and several other countries in other parts of the world. [end p3]

Interviewer

You mentioned though, did you not, at the news conference, that they were short of management techniques?

Prime Minister

Yes, they have been short of management techniques because hitherto you had a totally centrally-controlled economy. They have all waited to be told what to do and, of course, do not forget for a long time during many many years they were frightened to do anything else because if they did act on their own initiative and it did not turn out right - and some things will always go wrong - then they could have been in very grave danger. So naturally, it is going to take quite a time to turn it around and we can quite easily give management education if it is required.

It is not only that. Yes, you do need to know how to manage, but they have got to drop some of the petty regulations which make it difficult for you to get the raw materials you need.

Interviewer

When you come here, do you actually sense a change in atmosphere?

Prime Minister

Oh yes, I do! We came down, as you know, in Siberia yesterday to refuel. I think we had more easy discussion of some of the fundamental issues there than I have ever had in the Soviet [end p4] Union, much easier discussion, and you see it in the periodicals, you see it in the newspapers. This just is a great move forward and, of course, the number of people who have left the Soviet Union without any difficulty has gone up enormously and they are preparing new emigration laws to make it easier. They are preparing new property laws because they really want some private ownership among the other forms of ownership. That also is going to be very exciting. The changes are colossal. Yes, it will take a few years to show through in its full impact, but it will come.

Interviewer

Mr. Gorbachev spent an hour actually talking about perestroika, I understand, during your meetings. Does he ever ask you for advice?

Prime Minister

No. I do not think I would expect him to ask me for advice. I think the essential thing here is that you understand how human nature works. These people were not allowed to speak their mind. They were frightened to do so except some extremely courageous people who led the demand for greater liberty, some of whose names we know, many of whose names we will never know. But even so, it took a leader like Mr. Gorbachev to fashion a way forward and that he has done and therefore needs all our support.