Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1990 Oct 1 Mo
Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for CBS (visiting New York)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: TV Interview
Venue: UN Plaza Hotel, New York
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Harry Smith, CBS
Editorial comments: 0700-0745 MT gave live interviews to breakfast television.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 947
Themes: Defence (general), Family, Foreign policy (Central & Eastern Europe), Foreign policy (development, aid, etc), Foreign policy (International organizations), Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (Western Europe - non-EU), Media, Terrorism

Interviewer

Among the world leaders in New York at the United Nations for the World Summit for Children is Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. She joins us now at the United Nations Hotel and we will talk about a wide range of issues. Good morning!

Prime Minister

Good morning!

Interviewer

First off, there is increasing talk around the UN about military action against Iraq. Is it time to go to war?

Prime Minister

There has always been a military option and it is up to the United States and others of us whose troops are there to consider when to take that option, but that option has always been there and we have full legal authority from the United Nations under Article 51 to use it. [end p1]

Interviewer

Does war seem more imminent now than, say, two weeks ago?

Prime Minister

No, I would not necessarily say so. Sanctions are being tightened-up and we are hoping that they will work.

Interviewer

There was a report in a British newspaper over the week-end that says that Britain is in fact ready to use nuclear weapons if Saddam Hussein uses chemical weapons. Is that true?

Prime Minister

As far as I am aware, there is no authority for that report.

Interviewer

In other matters, Hussein seems to now be embracing the Francois Mitterrand proposal that suggests that all problems in the Middle East be brought under the umbrella of one solution-seeking process. That would include Lebanon, that would include Israel. Is that really feasible?

Prime Minister

No, and it is wrong!

There have been clear United Nations resolutions. Saddam Hussein is an aggressor, he has been told he must withdraw from Kuwait and he has been told the legitimate government of Kuwait must [end p2] be restored. That stands absolutely alone. There is no negotiation about that. He has to comply.

Interviewer

Are you at all hopeful for a negotiated settlement for this problem?

Prime Minister

What do you call a “negotiated settlement” ?

I have just indicated my very clear view that Saddam Hussein has to obey the United Nations resolutions. On behalf of the whole world, those United Nations resolutions were passed—an aggressor must get out, his aggression must not pay and the legitimate government must be restored.

There will also be other things to consider. You cannot go in and cause all the damage to life and desolation that Saddam Hussein has caused without expecting to have to pay some compensation for that, nor can you go in and have your soldiers do some of the things that have been done without expecting them to be brought before a court and to be answerable for their terrible deeds.

Interviewer

Your Government is restoring relations with the Government of Iran. Have you received any assurance that hostages like Terry Waite may at some soon time be released? [end p3]

Prime Minister

We have always been trying to seek the release of hostages who are still held. Hostage-taking is contrary to civilisation. It is not possible to get an assurance that they will be released. We just work time after time and day after day for their release and also for Mr. Cooper who is in Iran.

Interviewer

Has Iran assured you at all that it would rescind the death order against Mr. Rushdie?

Prime Minister

No. We have not been able to secure that. A Fatwa is not a mandatory order; it is a weighty opinion but it is not a mandatory order.

Interviewer

You have never been a proponent of German unification. That comes to be fully in two days. Do you still have concerns?

Prime Minister

I thought some time ago that the transition from two Germanies to one should be taken in slower time so that we could in fact get things sorted out rather more easily. That was not to be. Germany is going to be unified, she will be a full member of the European Community and she will be a full member of NATO. That is the basis on which we go ahead now. [end p4]

Interviewer

But do you have concerns still in the back of your mind as this comes to be?

Prime Minister

Germany will be very dominant in the Community but that is up to the rest of us. There is France, ourselves, Spain, Italy; It is up to the rest of us not to allow her to be dominant.

Interviewer

Finally, as this World Summit for Children concludes with a list of very noble goals, do you think the world is ready to pay the cost, to pay for the goals that were set up yesterday?

Prime Minister

I think that the speeches were very interesting yesterday. We are all ready to devote a bigger proportion of our aid to children and people like the Rotary Club have been raising money to provide for a polio injection for every child in the Third World, which is absolutely terrific, and we were trying to make clear that the United Nations and Governments though we will do more, we are not substituting for the responsibilities of parents. We can never do that. They have to carry out their own responsibilities and also speech after speech pointed out that we could never cure [end p5] the world's problems if the world population rose at the present rate so family planning is vital.

I think you will find, if you look through it all, it is a very interesting discussion.