Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Speech to North Dallas Chamber of Commerce

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Loews Anatole Hotel, Dallas, Texas
Source: Thatcher Archive: speaking text
Editorial comments: 1310-1336. Checked roughly against delivery.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1830
Themes: Agriculture, Autobiography (marriage & children), Defence (general), Trade, European Union (general), Economic, monetary & political union, Foreign policy (Central & Eastern Europe), Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Defence (Gulf War, 1990-91)

Mr. President, friends.

I sometimes think that Winston Churchill was such a marvelous advocate of Anglo-American friendship, because he had an Jennie JeromeAmerican mother and an Lord Randolph ChurchillEnglish father. I was not able to arrange that for myself but with great foresight my Mark Thatcherson married a wonderful Diane ThatcherDallas girl. That gives my Michael Thatchergrandson an American mother and an English father, a kind of Churchillian start in life. And he is already expert at beating the drum! … the drum, I like to think which represents all those great everlasting values in American life— — patriotism, liberty, effort, family and sense of community.

One of the delights of visiting this country is to see the open and joyful pride you so rightly have in being American—citizens of the greatest country in the free world, a country born to be free.

It was Dwight Eisenhower who said— History does not long entrust the love of freedom to the weak or the timid. [end p1] And he was right.

Indeed, there was nothing weak or timid about President Bush 's response to the attack on the freedom of Kuwait. It was strong, decisive and brilliantly successful, re-affirming the pre-eminence and confidence of the great United States. I am glad to think that in Britain you had a reliable and faithful friend, and that both of us had such wonderful generals. (Brilliant campaign.)

We rejoice at the return of our prisoners of war. We have thought of them every day since they were taken. We grieve with the families of those who gave their lives so that others may enjoy freedom. We share the anxiety of many Kuwait families waiting for those taken away into Iraq.

Aftermath of the Gulf

The victories of peace sometimes take longer to achieve than the battles of war.

Coalition troops are still in Iraq, and rightly so, for that country is in turmoil and not yet free of Saddam Hussein and his brutal regime.

(Remember previous: Falklands: Galtieri: people of Iraq to [illegible word].)

(But now is the right time both to look again at the issues which have so long divided the peoples of the Middle East and to define the steps required for a secure peace. [end p2]

A. Iraq must renounce her claim to Kuwait. It is not well founded in law. Indeed twice Iraq has accepted the present borders—once in 1932, and again in 1963 when Kuwait joined the United Nations.

B. We must be satisfied by direct observation that chemical, biological and nuclear weapons which remain have been “destroyed” . The United States was absolutely right to issue a stern warning against any further use of chemical weapons. (No assurance good enough. Must observe destroyed).

Sanctions against the supply of chemicals and technology as well as key military equipment should be maintained. After attacking two countries in 10 years, Iraq cannot be allowed freely to re-build her armed forces.

C. Comprehensive security arrangements for this area, are already under consideration. I believe myself that Western countries, will have to keep military equipment and supplies in the area and that for a time some Western forces may have to remain until the position in Iraq is much clearer. (Have to continue in Gulf: seaways to remain free).

D. The Arab—Israeli conflict, to which Secretaries Schultz and Baker had already devoted their [end p3] skilled and dedicated attention, will require renewed effort. But do not expect rapid decisions. In past centuries, these lands have been fought over more than any others. (History—Greeks, etc.) the home of three religions but one god, there are many entrenched emotions which erupt in violent demonstrations as you see day-by-day on television. But the fact that the United States and her allies acted decisively and devastatingly to stop the aggression of the strong against the weak gives this area the best chance for a long time to achieve a secure place. (Substantial extra.)

Negotiation must be between Israel and the Palestinians. Other nations, possibly an international conference, can help with proposals and agendas, and procedures. But they cannot arbitrate. However difficult—and they will be—negotiations must continue until the nations of the area are satisfied that they can dwell in safety behind secure borders. [end p4]

Defense of the Gulf

The success of the Gulf operation confounded the pessimists (and weren't we pleased: merchants of doom.). But more important it proved the wisdom of President Reagan and of Cap Weinberger, and Senator Tower who had kept our defenses strong and our technology ahead of that of others. At the time they came under great criticism how ill judged it now seems. They were right. Do not let us forget that lesson. It is weakness that invites tyranny. It is investment in defense that gives us the dividend of peace with freedom and justice. [end p5]


The Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe are the other focus of our attention. As the iron curtain rose, a new drama began, one in which we (United States and Britain) are helping to write the script, but President Gorbachev is playing the principal part.

The Soviet Union has known turbulent and unpredictable episodes in its tumultuous history. But is surely entering its most critical phase now.

In the last four years President Gorbachev has changed the Soviet Union and the satellite countries beyond recognition. — East/West relations have been transformed. — Glasnost was launched. Perestroika started. — the proud nations of Eastern Europe have been freed from the Soviet yoke — great strides have been made in arms reduction and control.

But on the home front economic reform has hardly begun. [end p6]

While political reform—always the easier—has proceeded apace, living standards have fallen, the queues lengthened, the shortages grown and real hardship is being visited on many, many people within the Soviet Union.

It is easier to destroy Communism than for them to build an enterprise economy.

The peoples of Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria have experienced freedom and free enterprise in the past. They will find reform easier than the Soviet Union, which has skipped that whole chapter of history. (Extra chunk).

For them (the Soviet Union) the scale of reform is especially daunting. There is no rule of law or independent judiciary, no courts, little or no private property. They lack an effective financial system. Bureaucrats abound, each with their own little privilege. The whole approach is egalitarian—the very reverse of opportunity and prosperity. (Visit to Poland.)

The Soviet Union needs managers, accountants, lawyers, and above all entrepreneurs. For the free market is the counterpart of political democracy. Until now the only free market has been the black market with all the hatred and resentment it brings. [end p7]

We in the West can give some help to get things right. Not by extending endless credits, but by practical, technical help—with food distribution, with transport, with banking, with training, with deregulation, with privatisation. We want to see the Soviet Union associated more closely with the institutions which have ensured our own prosperity—such as the imf, the world bank and gatt.

But let us be under no illusions as to the size of the task.

I am often asked can we still do business with Mr. Gorbachev? We have to, for it was his courage and vision which embarked on this great adventure, and he has already achieved so much. But the reformers all need to stand together. They need iron determination to weather the storms ahead and overcome the hard liners.

So President Gorbachev can count on our help when he makes these reforms. But any return to repression will bring from us a sharp response. [end p8]

The European Community and Trade

We have to remind people that Europe existed long before the European Community. Its boundaries extended far wider—Warsaw, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Moscow are great European cities.

In two matters the Community has total jurisdiction—agriculture and trade negotiations. No member country can act independently.

The twelve member countries thrash out the mandate for the Commission, a non-elected body, to negotiate. Hence the difficulties we have been having over the Gatt negotiations.

The common agricultural policy like that of some other countries is supported by heavy subsidies. Its output is not determined by demand but by guarantees for specified quantities of supply. Subsidized exports from the Community displace Developing World products robbing them of traditional markets and of the only way they can improve their standard of living.

The USA, European community and Japan all give subsidies to agriculture and the battle in Gatt is how far can we agree to reduce them. After four years of negotiations, we haven't got agreement, but as often happens in international negotiations, deadlines concentrate the mind wonderfully—especially after they have passed. [end p9] Hence the need to extend them for a further period which will require the approval of Congress.

It is important that we do so and use the time to good effect. If we don't succeed the world would drift into protectionism. We went that way in the depression of the 1930's with disastrous consequences for America and Europe. We recovered from the 1981 recession because we kept trade open.

America is moving to a wider free trade area with Canada and Mexico. It would be a healthy development and an example to others if over a period of years we would create a free trade area between this group and the European Community. It would contain the greatest concentration of wealth and skills in history and would be the most influential in the world. [end p10]

Europe's history of different nation states each with its own history, language and culture is quite different from that of America to which all people went for the purpose of freedom and opportunity. Over two centuries your strong sense of purpose has helped to create a new unity and pride in being American.

Our pride is in being British, French, German, Spanish.

I believe our guiding principal in Europe should be willing and active cooperation between independent sovereign states. To try to suppress nationhood and concentrate power at the centre would jeopardize the objectives we seek to achieve.

Our way would enable us to extend membership of the Community to the newly free countries of Eastern Europe as soon as they have democracy and a liberal economy in place. They need this assurance that their future is with the free world of Western Europe. [end p11]

Mr. Chairman, both our nations have been tested several times this century.

Face to face with history we have together been — enemies to all tyrants — friends of the oppressed — defenders of those fundamental values which transcend the vagaries of time.

This was our noble inheritance, may we pass it on in full measure for the honour and happiness of future generations.