Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1989 Sep 23 Sa
Margaret Thatcher

Radio Interview for IRN (visiting Moscow)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: Radio Interview
Venue: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Centre, Moscow
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Sue Jameson, IRN
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: 883
Themes: Foreign policy (Central & Eastern Europe), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Northern Ireland, Terrorism

Interviewer

Mrs Thatcher, does today's meeting mean that relationships between Britain and the Soviet Union are back on an even keel because it is only four short months, after all, since we had the so-called spy round of expulsions of diplomats and I think you said at the time that the leopard does not change its spots?

Prime Minister

I do not think that particular matter altered the fundamental discussions which have continued for quite a long time now between Mr Gorbachev and myself about the whole future and do not forget he embarked upon an historic course of opening up freedom of speech and expression, which we take for granted but they had not had, and you have seen the fantastic results and felt the improvement in atmosphere and going on to economic reform because what people really want is a greater standard of living and quality of life in their own lives. [end p1]

They were never going to get it, and did not get it, after seventy years of communism so they had to change to something which will bring them more prosperity in their personal lives but it will take longer than the political reforms.

Interviewer

So was that whole episode just a flash in the pan, rather a fiery one at the time?

Prime Minister

It was a difficulty, it was a difficulty, but it was a difficulty which did not alter the forward course of the relationship between the Soviet Union and ourselves on the matter of the future of perestroika and glasnost.

Interviewer

Do you think it has been particularly easy to get back on course because of the personal relationship you have with Mr Gorbachev? You like each other, that must be very important.

Prime Minister

I think when you are embarked on great things you do not let the obstacles such as the one we experienced affect your main progress forward, and they did not. [end p2]

Interviewer

You described today's meeting as another milestone in the series of meetings. What do you think was particularly achieved today in a very short visit for you?

Prime Minister

I do not think you necessarily can latch up your achievements in relation to each particular visit. I think it is the whole relationship, the whole continuous dialogue, which means that we meet from time to time to discuss things as they are now.

If you look back at the last four years, the progress forward has been remarkable. We could never have thought four years ago that things would have happened as they have happened or that you would get the progress in Poland, a Solidarity government in Poland, and the progress in Hungary as well as the progress in the Soviet Union.

The next great step forward must come in better economic results. This is what people want in their own lives. It is important they get it. I think they somehow may have thought that they would get those results in the same way as they got the results of political reform. Now that is not so. Governments can bring about the political reform. It takes governments plus people to bring about the economic reform. [end p3]

Interviewer

But the people in the Soviet Union are giving President Gorbachev rather a hard time at the moment in the Caucasus region, in the Baltics. Were you able to give him any advice on how to deal with those difficulties?

Prime Minister

If you are ever embarking on any great endeavour and you have started by giving the great thing of freedom of speech, of course people will use the freedom of speech to voice grievances and criticisms that they have had for a long time. But I do not think that should stop you from going forward and keeping your eye on the main prize and going for that and you will deal with these problems as they arise and you will deal with them in the way in which Mr Gorbachev has been dealing with them, by trying to bring about greater reconciliation where there are differences and saying: “Look, we must go forward and bring prosperity for all people in the Soviet Union” .

Interviewer

You are flying back into rather a row over security at the base where there was the IRA bomb explosion. A private security firm apparently reports today that people had been going into the base the day before signed in as “Mr and Mrs Mickey Mouse” . Are you going to be making a review of security arrangements at these bases one of your priorities? [end p4]

Prime Minister

I cannot comment on security arrangements. You know that I have been in Moscow, I have been in touch with home and Mr Tom King has kept in touch with me. I shall be in touch with him when I get back.

I am deeply concerned about any explosion and unfortunately we have had quite a number both in Germany and in the United Kingdom. The kind of explosion that they go for is one where they can, oh they are cowardly occasions, they get their bomb in before anyone sees them or knows who they are, and get out.

Of course each and every one concerns us deeply and we shall look at this precisely as we have looked at every other to see what we can do to tighten up security and make people aware that each and every person has to look and watch every day because these things happen when otherwise you would not be vigilant.