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1989 Nov 16 Th
Horst Teltschik diary

Cold War: Horst Teltschik diary (Thatcher letter to Gorbachev is helpful) [translation]

Document type: Declassified documents
Source: Horst Teltschik, 329 Tage: Innenansichten der Einigung [329 Days: Inside Views of the Unification] , Siedler Publishing 1991
Editorial comments: Translated specially for www.margaretthatcher.org. Dr Teltschik was Helmut Kohl’s closest foreign policy adviser.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 263
Themes: Defence (general), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Foreign policy (Western Europe - non-EU)

Thursday, 16 November 1989

Not all our allies stand so squarely behind us as Vernon Walters. The British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, for example, has today said at the Brandenburg Gate that, although there is certainly cause for optimism for the future, the issue of re-unification is not immediate. It does not presently stand on the agenda, because the reformers in the GDR itself have not placed it there. Helpful by comparison is the letter from Margaret Thatcher to Mikhail Gorbachev, of which we have received a copy. In it, she answers the message of 10 November that reached Kohl during the rally outside Schšneberg town hall. The English Prime Minister agrees with the Soviet President that a risky instability is not excluded, and therefore ordered steps for the maintenance of stability and prudence are necessary. Like the Federal Chancellor, she too stresses unmistakably that long-term thoroughgoing reforms in the GDR are the “most solid foundation” for stability. And she lists these reforms by name: free elections, multi-party system, complete freedom of movement, real democracy and an economic system that supports it.

The agreement with the Federal Chancellor on this point is impressive. Addressing Gorbachev, she expressly refers to the telephone conversation with Kohl. She and the Federal Chancellor are both of the opinion that a destabilisation must be avoided. Nobody in the West has the intention of interfering in the internal affairs of the GDR or endangering the security interests of the GDR or the Soviet Union. I am sure that this letter to Gorbachev will have a very calming effect.