Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for HRT (Croatian radiotelevision) [urges international recognition of Croatia & Slovenia]

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: 17 Great College Street, Westminster
Source: Thatcher Archive
Editorial comments: Exact time unknown. No questions were recorded: effectively MT made a statement to camera. At this point MT’s office was temporarily housed in a street close to the Houses of Parliament, prior to its transfer to Chesham Place in Belgravia.
Importance ranking: Key
Word count:
Themes: Defence (Gulf War, 1990-91)


[film begins in mid-sentence, MT apparently giving an account of the approach she has been taking to the Croatian question in private conversation:

…I have spoken, either in this country or the United States.

At first people had been given to understand, wrongly, that it was just a question, serious as though that is, of civil war between two different groups.They needed to be informed that it was between Communist Serbia which has taken control both of the army and of the country, and Democratic Croatia and Slovenia, both of whom had exercised their right to become independent.

I then duly explain that Croatia and Slovenia have no army. They have only got the weapons they can capture and the weapons they can get hold of, and they are entitled to a right of self-defence against those who have attacked them. I said early to people over whom I would have hoped to have had some influence that I thought, as the hostilities got worse and worse and more and more Croatians were being killed and massacred, that it would have been right to recognise Croatia and Slovenia as independent. Then we should have been in a position legally to supply them with arms with which to defend themselves and they would have been in a very much better position, and what is more, Serbia would have known the position the world was taking.

Unfortunately that has not happened. But there are many, many friends of Croatia now the situation is more fully realised.

The figures of deaths need to be better known. In the earlier days I was saying to people they have been over a thousand Croatians murdered or massacred. And that is four times as many as we lost in regaining the Falklands, and twice as many as the whole of the allies lost in the Gulf, in regaining Kuwait. And also that those figures have gone up and I have just been reliably informed that it is about 15,000 Croatians - that is an enormous number - fighting for liberty who have been killed. And I know from the radio that there are hundreds of thousands of people who have been driven from their homes and their towns and cities levelled, and ancient monuments and churches attacked.

All of these [facts] I have been trying to get over to people, who when you speak to them are amazed at the situation. In face of that, there have been many meetings of politicians in the European Community, many many ceasefires. Nothing they have been done has been effective. There have been one or two Security Council [sic] … it is difficult to get across the awfulness of what is happening there. We shall continue. Because I think now many many people know the Adriatic coast, and that means that they have some kind of personal touch and contact with them.

I must make it quite clear, in my view, the West should be on the side of liberty and democracy and justice. And the more we can get home to people the true situation, and this is happening in the heart of Europe, and that the cries of the Croatian people are not being heard, the more we can awaken them to the true position.

I should say, by way of comfort, that there are a number of organizations that are trying to help the Croatians with practical help. And I shall continue myself to put their case and to put it as forcibly as I can.