Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1994 Nov 30 We
Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for BBC (Bosnia)

Document type: speeches
Document kind: Interview
Venue: BBC Television Studios
Source: Thatcher Archive
Journalist: John Simpson, BBC
Editorial comments: MT had spoken earlier in the day with the Mayor of Bihac by phone. John Simpson's questions are shortened and paraphrased for reason of copyright.
Importance ranking: Key
Word count: 454 words
Themes: European Union (general), Foreign policy (Central & Eastern Europe), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Foreign policy (Western Europe - non-EU)

LADY THATCHER: It is a terrible situation, they're being shelled from without by Serbs who are well equipped with tanks, with artillery, with SAM missiles and everything, and by the people in Bihac who have virtually no defence at all, and yet they're called a ‘safe haven’.

JOHN SIMPSON: [Question paraphrased] Did you agree with Robert Dole on this question when you met today?

THATCHER: I don't think Senator Dole's views and mine on the underlying situation have differed at all, for a very long time. Both of us have been saying every nation has a right to self-defence, if they have that right we must not deny them the weapons, particularly when the aggressor is very well armed. Therefore they must be allowed to have arms to defend themselves. And secondly, where in fact they are striking innocent people, you must use a full might of air strikes to strike the positions, to strike the SAM missiles, to strike out the artillery positions, otherwise you are just leaving the innocent to suffer at the hands of a ruthless Serb aggressor.

SIMPSON: [Question paraphrased] Dole specific in criticism of British Government, are you … [end p1]

THATCHER: You can't expect me to criticised the British Government, except insofar as I have disagreed with them publicly right from the beginning. If you have problems like this the sooner you deal with them the better, and it should have been dealt with two years ago.

SIMPSON: [Question paraphrased] Effect on NATO? Will pull Alliance apart, Europe verus America?

THATCHER: This, in the heart of Europe, and a lack of effective action has robbed NATO of its credibility. They have not stood up to the Serb aggressor, that is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of fact. And when they went to do an air attack, when NATO went to do it did you every hear anything so absurd as saying “oh, we only bombed the runway, we didn't go for the aircraft”. The runway can be repaired very very quickly, I don't know what's come over them, it's quite an absurd thing to boast about. You go for an airfield you take the airfield out.

SIMPSON: [Question paraphrased] Your view of how Foreign Office & Douglas Hurd have acted?

THATCHER: The Foreign Office will not be surprised to know that I disagree with them.

SIMPSON: And Douglas Hurd?

THATCHER: Douglas, I like Douglas very much, he and I disagree on how to tackle these problems and I must say on the whole my [end p2] method of tackling with aggression was quite a good one when I was in office.

[end p3]