Archive (National Security Archive)

Cold War: Politburo discussion of MT-Gorbachev meeting (document from Gorbachev Archive) [“I like the independence of Thatcher”]

Document type: Declassified documents
Source: National Security Archive, Washington DC
Editorial comments: Document translated by James Sherr from a Russian text supplied to by Svetlana Savronskaya of the National Security Archive. The original Russian document can be viewed here.
Importance ranking: Key
Word count: 503
Themes: Economy (general discussions), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Northern Ireland

Soviet Politburo: unofficial minutes (excerpt)

Thursday 13 Apr 1989

[Misdated ‘1988’ in original document]

The Results of Gorbachev’s Visit to Great Britain


I like the independence of Thatcher. With her it’s possible to talk about whatever you’d like. And she understands everything. And she is reliable. Each time we very sharply disagree about nuclear weapons. She has to defend herself. She feels shaky [lit., deficient] in her position.

In Europe and in America people consider that she’s overdoing her attempt to become the leader of the West. Both Bush and Kohl saw these ambitions of hers and regard her with some scepticism. Talking to her is always interesting. She herself strikes up a direct, lively conversation. And she realistically grasps the situation that our perestroika has created in the world. She doesn't hide the fact that “they need” perestroyka [editor's note: text implies this means perestroyka "in the West"]. That’s why minds are changing [turning] here [editor's note: again, perestroyka in the West] . She is afraid that the process of perestroika [in Russia] might be disrupted. And this means disrupting the process of creating peaceful, realistic relations in Europe and the world.

I went to see the Queen. A lively conversation. She is a calm and good person. Nikolai II’s first cousin once removed was her father. She continues to call Leningrad ‘ St. Petersburg’. She doesn't rule out visiting us.

[Aleksandr] Yakovlev:

She [MT] and I talked behind the table. She paid attention to the intrigues between the GDR and FRG and advised us not to go along with them. She said in May I will meet Bush, and I will tell him the same. When you talk to her, she takes seriously the difficulties involved in perestroika. She reassures you, citing her own experience. She says, “my “perestroika’ took 6-7 years”. She chuckles. “So here we have Thatcher, and you have Gorbachev. And in each case - perestroika”. But, she says, “your politics have got ahead of your economics. Hurry up!”


She'd like to come visit us again.

I think some little movements will now take place. Contact with her is important. And, I repeat, she stands by her positions on nuclear deterrence, but not very firmly. Although, she told me, by the way, “I'll go at the next election”.

With Northern Ireland, she has a real headache. I, of course, manoeuvred her from their politics there to our position. She understood it and said to me, “I know that you also have a headache about the future of the USSR”.

Results of the Soviet-Irish Summit Negotiations

Gorbachev: At the airport, we met with the Prime Minister [Charles Haughey]. Such a nice and friendly meeting! And even in an hour it was clear we could do so much, just by being attentive to this little country.