Archive (Reagan Library)

Cold War: McFarlane memorandum for President Reagan (suggests he read "vintage Thatcher" interview) [unclassified]

Document type: Declassified documents
Venue: White House
Source: Reagan Library: European & Soviet Directorate NSC (Thatcher Visit - Dec 84 [4] Box 90902)
Editorial comments: McFarlane's memo is preceded by an exchange of letters with Sir Oliver Wright, UK Ambassador to the US; Wright's letter enclosed the interview transcript in the form prepared by the COI and available from the link at the bottom of this page.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 424 words
Themes: Conservatism, Defence (general), Defence (arms control), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Terrorism, MT contacts with Ronald Reagan

(1) Sir Oliver Wright (UK Ambassador to the US) to Robert McFarlane, 28 Nov 1984:

British Embassy
Washington D.C.

28 November 1984:

Dear Bud,

I try not to impose speeches on busy men, not even my Prime Minister’s; but the enclosed interview on 31 October with Austrian TV is such vintage Thatcher that I thought I should make an exception and send you a copy in case a moment should open up in your schedule to enable you to read it.

Yours ever,

(2) McFarlane to Wright, 10 Dec 1984:

The White House

December 10, 1984

Dear Oliver:

Thank you for your recent letter forwarding a transcript of Mrs. Thatcher’s interview on Austrian Television. You are quite right in your description: It is vintage Thatcher; thoughtful, pointed, and courageous. I have sent it to the President.

Again, thanks for thinking of us.


(3) McFarlane memorandum for President Reagan, 10 Dec 1984:

The White House

December 10, 1984

SUBJECT: Mrs. Thatcher’s Interview on Austrian Television

British Ambassador Oliver Wright has forwarded us a copy of a recent interview Mrs. Thatcher gave on Austrian TV. Sir Oliver called it “vintage Thatcher”. I agree and thought you may wish to review it. Mrs. Thatcher made several striking and provocative points:

-- British Gratitude: Mrs. Thatcher emphatically states to a non-American audience that the Conservative Party is pro-American, and thanks America for its generosity in the sacrifices it makes defending Europe.

-- NATO: “NATO is strong. NATO is a strong alliance.” “The Soviet Union suffered the biggest defeat for a very long time when we stationed Cruise missiles [in Europe].”

-- Freedom: We realize that “freedom will not last just because it is freedom. Freedom will only endure if we are prepared to defend it.”

-- Arms Control: “I do not think the United States should give up anything in order to go to the negotiating table”.

-- East-West Relations: “We have had so much history together.” So our policy is “actively seeking better understanding as well as strength; defense, deterrence, and greater understanding”.

-- Deterrence: The purpose of nuclear weapons is to deter. “It has succeeded. I believe it will go on succeeding.”

-- Terrorism: It is a paradox that freedom offers freedom to do evil. You cannot eradicate evil, but you must make it acutely difficult for them.”

That you peruse Mrs. Thatcher’s interview.
[Marked:] ”RR 12/11/84”

[Annotation by M[ichael Deaver], 22 Dec: “We will include a reference to the speech in your materials for her visit.”

Link to TV Interview for Austrian TV (ORF) (“vintage Thatcher”)