Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Margaret Thatcher

Speech on arrival of Deputy Soviet Prime Minister (Vadim Medvedev)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: ?Outside No.10 Downing Street
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Editorial comments:

Around 1605. Deputy Prime Minister Medvedev follows MT. A copy of the private section of the conversation can be found on PREM19/3181 and can be read here.

Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 436
Themes: Foreign policy (USSR & successor states)

Prime Minister

We welcome His Excellency, Mr. Medvedev, who as you know, has come hotfoot from the Soviet Plenum, where he made a speech and which we were fully behind. He is greatly in support of everything President Gorbachev is trying to do and we were waiting this morning the results of the vote of the Plenum and are very pleased indeed that it went well and that the Soviet Union will now have more than one party and that Communism will no longer be in fact in the constitution but it will be amongst other parties a political party.

I think that fairly well sums it up. It certainly leaves a lot of work to do.

Mr. Medvedev

There is a tremendous amount to be done to that end, particularly the developing of democracy and …   . This does not mean to say the Party is giving up …   . but it is going to be in a democratic context.

Prime Minister

Further than we could ever have thought five years ago! A lot still to be done but a brave decision, a great decision. [end p1]

Mr. Medvedev

I have brought a very special message for you from Mikhail Gorbachev.

Prime Minister

I am very much looking forward to hearing it.

Mr. Medvedev

He is very very glad about the development of our relationship and he looks forward to the further development of these between the UK and the USSR and I think that is going to be very meaningful and beneficial in view of what is going on at the moment both within our country and in the overall international context. I am very touched that the Prime Minister, Mrs. Thatcher, should find time on our first day to receive us. This gives a sense of obligation and I think also sets the tone for what we shall be talking about.

Prime Minister

Yes, you are quite right! I think we have set the tone. We set it well.

I receive the message with all the warmth in which it was sent and fully reciprocate it and send our warm congratulations … [end p2]

Mr. Medvedev

The perestroika in UK/USSR relations started a few months prior to perestroike in the Soviet Union starting. We very much got … with the arrival of the Soviet Parliamentary Delegation which was headed by Mikhail Gorbachev and that was when those words were first coined—the new political thinking—and I think that is very significant.

Prime Minister

It was a great day. He came to Chequers and we had …   . next time you come, you must come to Chequers!