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1990 Sep 19 We
Margaret Thatcher

Radio Interview for IRN (visiting Hungary)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: Radio Interview
Venue: Hilton Hotel, Budapest
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Peter Murphy, IRN
Editorial comments: After the Press Conference at 1600?
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 821
Themes: Trade, Foreign policy (Central & Eastern Europe), Foreign policy (International organizations), Foreign policy (Middle East), Northern Ireland, Terrorism

Interviewer

Mrs Thatcher, you have seen the changes in Eastern Europe, how confident are you that they will succeed on the road to full democracy and a market economy?

Prime Minister

I think here they are well on the way to full democracy, they have a truly centre-right government here and they now have to turn the industries from being 85 per cent owned by the state, and many of them running inefficiently, into industries that are run as ours in the United Kingdom, to denationalise or privatise. It will take a time, as it has taken us time on a much lesser scale in the United Kingdom, but you know the results, you will then change over from often frequent inefficiency and subsidy to an efficient profitable company which actually contributes to taxation.

I think they were rather hoping it could be done extremely quickly. One has said that if you are to get it right, you certainly cannot do it all of a sudden because there is only a limited amount of savings to purchase them and you have to get each one right. You cannot just go from a state monopoly to a private [end p1] monopoly, you have to make some provision for competition or some provision for regulation if you have got a monopoly.

So I think we can help with advice and I am sure that they will bring it about and that they will be a success.

Interviewer

You have warned it will be a long hard slog, do you think the people of Eastern Europe will be patient enough?

Prime Minister

Nothing like such a long hard slog as communism has been, with nothing at the end of it except misery and oppression. At the end of this they have a tremendous hope, they will get greater prosperity and they will have the human dignity that comes from democracy. Communism is about state dictation, human beings do not matter. Democracy is that human beings matter and government is there to serve the interests of the people and the economic back-up to that is a free society within a framework of law of the kind that most of Western Europe has and of the kind the United States has, and you only have to look at the whole difference between the way of life, the standard of living, the dignity and amount of freedom, and a rule of law that you get in West Europe and the United States compared with that which you have had in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

Interviewer

Can I turn to the Gulf and Iraq, you mentioned the United Nations and an air embargo, are you confident that that will be approved? [end p2]

Prime Minister

I believe it is recognised now that you need an enforceable air embargo, that some things of very considerable importance are getting through by air, you cannot get the same amount through in bulk by air but you can get some very important things through by air. And you not only have to say that countries must stop other planes from going through their air space, you have to devise a method in which you can enforce that. And that has been one of the difficulties about getting this resolution. We have now got one agreed, so I understand, between the five Permanent Members of the Security Council, that is the most important thing before you can go any further. If you cannot get the agreement of the Five, one of them could use a veto and you could not get any further.

I understand we have got the agreement of the Five and we now have to go round to the other ten members of the Security Council and see if they too will agree to that particular resolution and then we vote upon it and then it becomes binding.

Interviewer

You are not going to shoot planes out of the sky, though, how do you enforce it if countries do not play by the rules?

Prime Minister

There are well established methods of buzzing planes and getting them to land.

Interviewer

On the IRA, you talked this morning about new security measures, what have you got in mind? [end p3]

Prime Minister

I cannot tell you before I have discussed it with my colleagues. The number of attacks we are getting now in Northern Ireland, in mainland Britain and on the continent is increasing and we will have to see what new either security measures we can take to protect people or new measures or intensified measures we can take against people who carry out these criminal, murderous and violent acts.

Interviewer

You say criminal and murderous, this morning you talked about guerrilla warfare, this is something which politicians normally avoid when describing criminal activities?

Prime Minister

Not really, there is terrorism, guerrilla warfare, it is just precisely the same thing, they come out with the weapons of war, guns, bombs, missiles—those are weapons of war—they come out and then they disappear into the background from which they come and it is difficult to identify them. They are thugs, they are cowards, using guns and bombs against innocent people, call it what you like.