Archive

Large scale document archive

1983 Sep 27 Tu
Archive (Reagan Library)

Cold War: NSC briefing for President Reagan (Thatcher visit) [declassified 2000]

Document type: Declassified documents
Document kind: Archive
Venue: NSC, White House
Source: Reagan Library: European & Soviet Affairs Directorate, NSC: Records (Thatcher Visit - Sep 83 Box 90902)
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: Declassified 12 May 2000.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1,510 words
Themes: Defence (general), Defence (arms control), Defence (Falklands War, 1982), Economy (general discussions), Public spending & borrowing, Taxation, Foreign policy (Americas excluding USA), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Foreign policy (Western Europe - non-EU), Labour Party & socialism, MT contacts with Ronald Reagan

Declassified F97-013#7
By SMF, NARA, Date 5/12/00

Confidential

VISIT OF BRITISH PRIME MINISTER THATCHER

DATE: September 29, 1983
LOCATION: Oval Office/State Dining Room
TIME: 11:30 a.m. – 1.40 p.m.
FROM: William P. Clark

I. PURPOSE:
To continue your close consultative relationship with Mrs. Thatcher on matters of common interest.

II. BACKGROUND:
This will be your first meeting with Mrs. Thatcher since her resounding June election victory in which she was returned to office with a 144 seat Parliamentary majority. You will be meeting privately with her and continuing discussions with a larger group over lunch. Before arriving in Washington, she will have been in Canada for a short working visit, which includes a speech to Parliament and meetings with Pierre Trudeau. She will make a brief stop at the U.N. on Friday, September 30.

Mrs. Thatcher remains among your strongest supporters. The U.S. is central to Britain’s foreign policy, and her visit is designed to “kick-off” her second term. In a sense, the visit itself is the message; but Mrs. Thatcher will have much on her mind.

While she has been outspoken in condemning the Soviet shootdown of the Korean airliner, Mrs. Thatcher reportedly shares the desire of our European allies to keep the dialogue with the Soviets alive. She has probably won the battle with the British peace movement, but believes that long-term efforts at arms control are essential toward maintaining the political consensus on defense.

Mrs. Thatcher is feeling the heat on including British (as well as French) nuclear forces in arms control negotiations. A number of the NATO allies – the Dutch, Italians and Germans in particular – are urging the Thatcher and Mitterrand governments to be more explicit regarding their willingness to include their forces at some future time. We should let the allies take the lead in pressing London and Paris for a more flexible formulation, while we continue to emphasize the unacceptability of any compensation to the Soviets in START and INF.

The Thatcher government faces another budget crunch this autumn, and there will be pressures to cut defense spending. You should urge British adherence to NATO’s 3 per cent spending goal. You should also urge British co-operation in stemming technology transfer by strengthening COCOM. [end p1]

Unitary tax will be at the forefront of the economic discussions. She is deeply disappointed at your recent decision to refrain from filing a motion for rehearing in the Container Corporation case, but rather to establish a working group to explore the multiple aspects, including the international implications, of unitary taxation. You should stress that this issue can only be solved by a cooperative effort of the affected parties and that the working group will give a full and complete hearing to all sides.

Mrs. Thatcher will also likely underline the fragile nature of the European economic recovery. High U.S. interest rates and “extraterritoriality” – of which unitary tax is seen as its latest manifestation – are of primary concern. She will urge you to limit the use of export controls for foreign policy purposes, making a specific reference to the Export Administration Act which is up for renewal. She may note that British banks will be at risk if Congress does not urgently approve the IMF funding increase.

Thatcher will also want to discuss next year’s economic summit in London. You should confirm our desire for an informal meeting, building on the trade and finance aspects of the Williamsburg Declaration. She may also sound the alarm over protectionism, particularly on speciality steel and agriculture products. U.S.-E.C. economic relations are strained by continuing differences over agricultural trade, and effective reform of the E.C.’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a centrepiece of her European policy.

We have pushed the British to maintain their garrison in Belize. Thatcher is expected to tell you that British forces will remain for the time being, but that for financial reasons no long-term commitment is possible. You should emphasize that British presence [sic] strengthens regional stability and ask her to join in explaining our Central American policy publicly. You should seek her agreement to utilize the continuing British presence as part of our public affairs campaign.

She will also stress the need for our continued understanding of the British position in the Falklands and urge us not to sell arms to Argentina. But she probably recognizes that we will likely have to make Argentina eligible for arms purchases shortly after its return to civilian rule. We do not expect them to be large buyers. [end p2]

Developments in Lebanon have placed the Middle East on center stage. She will emphasize the dangers of the MNF becoming deeply involved in the fighting; indeed the British have been in the vanguard of the Europeans arguing for a visible deescalation of the off-shore (i.e., US Navy) presence supporting the MNF. Ironically, Britain’s diplomatic role outstrips its minor military presence – about 90 soldiers. The Thatcher government’s objective is to restrain Western involvement in what the British characterize as an internecine struggle. She will also want to hear your assessment of future peace prospects. On a related matter, Mrs. Thatcher shares our concern about the sale of French strike aircraft to Iraq, and possible Iranian reaction affecting navigation in the Gulf.

Your talking points are attached. George Shultz’s briefing memo and Mrs. Thatcher’s bio are at Tab A. Your departure statement is at Tab B. State prepared background papers are available at the NSC on: The British and INF, “Extraterritoriality”, Unitary Taxation, US-EC Agricultural Trade Dispute, 1984 London Economic Summit, Falklands, British Public Opinion on Central America, Belize, and the Middle East situation.

III. PARTICIPANTS:

11:00 am – 11:30 am Briefing – Oval Office
The President
Vice President
Secretary of State Shultz
William P. Clark
American Ambassador to Britain, John J. Louis, Jr.
Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Richard Burt
Peter Sommer, NSC
Meese, Baker, Deaver will attend at their discretion

11:30 am – 12:30 pm – Private Meeting – Oval Office
The President
White House notetaker (if British have notetaker)
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
A.J. Coles, Private Secretary to the Prime Minister (if desired by Mrs. Thatcher) [end p3]

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Cabinet Secretaries Meeting – Cabinet Room
US
Secretary Shultz
Secretary Regan
William P. Clark
Deputy Secretary of Defense Thayer
American Ambassador to Britain John J. Louis, Jr.
Charles P. Tyson
Assistant Secretary Richard Burt
Deputy Assistant Secretary John Kelly
Peter Sommer, NSC
C.K. Stocker, Office of Northern European Affairs
Meese, Baker, Deaver will attend at their discretion
UK
Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe
UK Ambassador to the United States Sir Oliver Wright
Sir Robert Armstrong, Secretary to the Cabinet
Sir Antony Acland, Permanent Undersecretary to the FCO and Head of the Diplomatic Service
F.E.R. Butler, Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister
Brian Fall, Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary
Alan Gaulty, First Secretary UK Embassy (notetaker)

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Working Lunch – Dining Room
US
The President
Vice President
Secretary Shultz
Secretary Regan
William P. Clark
Deputy Secretary of Defense Thayer
American Ambassador to Britain John J. Louis, Jr.
Charles P. Tyson
Assistant Secretary Richard Burt
Peter Sommer, NSC
Meese, Baker, Deaver will attend at their discretion
UK
Prime Minister Thatcher
Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe
UK Ambassador to the United States Sir Oliver Wright
Sir Robert Armstrong, Secretary to the Cabinet
Sir Antony Acland, Permanent Undersecretary to the FCO and Head of the Diplomatic Service
F.E.R. Butler, Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister
A.J. Coles, Private Secretary to the Prime Minister
Brian Fall, Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary [end p4]

IV. PRESS PLAN:
Photo opportunity at beginning of Oval Office meeting. Full press coverage of departure statements, which will include photo opportunity next to an easel holding the Treaty of Paris.

V. SEQUENCE OF EVENTS:
11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Briefing in Oval Office
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Private Meeting in Oval Office between President and Mrs. Thatcher
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Cabinet Secretaries meeting in Cabinet Room
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Working Lunch, State Dining Room
1:30 p.m. – 1:40 p.m. Departure statements

Prepared by Peter Sommer, NSC