Archive (Reagan Library)

Cold War: President Reagan's talking points (private meeting with MT) [declassified 2000]

Document type: Declassified documents
Venue: NSC, White House
Source: Reagan Library: European & Soviet Affairs Directorate, NSC: Records (Thatcher Visit - Sep 83 Box 90902)
Editorial comments: The talking points were prepared by the NSC. A very similar (abbreviated) version of this text was transferred to 5 x 3" cards.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 669 words
Themes: Defence (general), Defence (arms control), Defence (Falklands), Economic policy - theory and process, 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#2
By SMF, NARA, Date 5/12/00

Talking Points for British Prime Minister Thatcher:

-- Warm welcome. Congratulations on your overwhelming election victory. Your win is a boost to the West and to me personally.

-- Recent Soviet behaviour was deplorable, but we need to look ahead. Arms control remains central to our relationship. I hope our new, even more flexible INF position will produce a positive Soviet reaction. But I suspect that we will not make progress until we begin deployment. Your steadfast support is heartwarming. Chancellor Kohl makes all the right noises, but I am uneasy about the situation in Germany.

-- I understand you and the French are under increasing pressure from the NATO allies to adopt a more flexible formulation on the future inclusion of British and French nuclear forces. Any compensation to the Soviets in INF or START is unacceptable to us. We recognize the severe consequences for the Alliance. We do need to review our public presentation and our long-term approach.

-- Britain’s adherence to NATO’s 3 percent goal is important to us. It is a key factor in maintaining Congressional support for NATO. A cut in the present atmosphere would be especially unfortunate. We need your co-operation at COCOM in strengthening its organisation and in establishing a military experts advisory committee. [end p1]

-- Unitary tax is a thorny matter. It can only be solved through a cooperative effort by the affected parties. We are seriously concerned. I will be stressing to the working group the importance and urgency of its task. The working group will give full and complete hearing to all sides. Its objective is to develop a policy conducive to harmonious international economic relations, while respecting the fiscal rights of individual states.

-- We are mindful of British concerns regarding extraterritoriality and recognize the need to communicate extensively to reduce policy differences. The legislation we are supporting protects existing contracts, but allows me to prohibit exports in cases of overriding national security interests. I need this prerogative, but we will work to avoid unnecessary conflicts.

-- I look forward to the 1984 Summit in London and hope you will stick to an informal meeting format building on the trade and finance aspects of the Williamsburg Summit.

-- I know that the E.C.’s Common Agricultural Policy is of great concern to you. We are concerned about it as well; especially modifications that would harm our trading interests, and urge Britain to stand firm against such measures. [end p2]

-- We attach great significance to British military presence in Belize. It enhances regional stability. There is no adequate substitute and it is certainly cheaper than having to return the forces. Please join us in explaining our Central American policies publicly. We would like to utilize your presence in Belize as part of our public presentation.

-- We are well aware of your sensitivies over the Falklands. Continuity will be the hallmark of our policy. We will consult closely prior to making any decision, but as you are aware, we will be under intense pressure to declare Argentina eligible for arms sales following a return to civilian rule.

-- We view the Lebanon crisis as a Syrian effort to undermine the legitimacy of the Gemayel government and to complicate our efforts to build a lasting peace. This is a test of western resolve as the Syrians are being supported by the USSR. Lebanon is absolutely crucial to our long-term peace efforts. We share your concern about the sale of French aircraft to Iraq and wish to stay in close touch, particularly with regard to possible Iranian reaction.