Margaret Thatcher on 'This Week'

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is interviewed in 1983.
23:28 | 04/10/13

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Transcript for Margaret Thatcher on 'This Week'
Prime minister thank you very much for coming in to talk with yesterday here -- ten Downing Street. Delighted to have -- us. Here with me are George will ABC news. And Sam Donaldson ABC news White House correspondent. -- -- about to go to Washington and talk President Reagan and no doubt have a great deal to discuss. On your list must be the question of Lebanon where we have peacekeeping forces you have peacekeeping forces. A great many people in the US are concerned about it -- becoming something of quagmire what are your thoughts what do you room. How do you think the two countries -- yours ours should behave but what should we do. -- -- an amendment to peacekeeping though. You mentioned originate. To god and that big withdrawal of troops from Beirut in the early stages. No -- because there's a popular elected government to -- -- -- -- constituted Lebanese Armed Forces but in considerable difficulty. Lebanon in practice his veteran politician that the man put his way to remove them. I think it's perfectly all right that we -- out to peacekeeping you know so long as it is the popular elected government with pumpkin constituted an of his own forces. With that to try to secure a cease. -- Tennessee's secure and to enable the government of Kenya reconciliation. -- -- -- peace keeping. Real. Well no known national leader wants to make -- depressing. On pleasing prediction but do you see any prospect for genuine peace and -- and. Lebanon succumb to it has had its own troubles for quite considerable time. It did enjoy quite a long time of democracy and that a considerable cost benefit. So it has chalked up -- -- but it was acting funny and peacefully as a democracy. That is out objected to security again they can only have -- done by the Lebanese government acting effectively. Prime minister since the peacekeeping forces went in two things have changed -- -- seems to be less -- -- there was when I started. And second the Syrians seem to now having been invited to leave -- -- leaving seem to be in new and somewhat more ambiguous role there. What do you think can be done about the Syrians and do you think. That you can pursue peace where there is very little piece without a kind of forward affirmative role in the use of forces. -- fenced area. You cannot achieve peace in the Middle East with fifteen to Syria. And you have constantly to talk to Syria to try to secure that peace and that is what is happening now. I'm not quite sure about the significance of your second question is saying that is -- -- -- -- Conseco piece of -- -- -- it -- -- -- -- When corrected yourself and your first answer to David you said that they're there to secure. Peace or to get piece about how you put it there's no peace with hasten the pace where there -- not however many people think how do you keep the peace if you don't have -- should our forces. He sent out. Away from fixed positions alongside the army of the elected government that we are supporting. That when you put forces is under those circumstances. You always give them all of this to the right to self defense no government could put its armed forces and -- Even in the peacekeeping -- without the right to self defense if they would attack that is what they have. And that is what each and every one of them has that was an engagement to slightly different but they should just withdrawal from the -- -- One -- today I want to of that. Lebanon would have a future. You would possibly have. Civil -- Not it may be that teams -- was that it may be that we have to -- consider. The future of the mountainous reports but right now there's a precedent. That trying to secure a cease between the factions. And that trying to secure a policy of reconciliation between them. Against a background that there was a time when Lebanon was an effective democracy. And that's what does it charms in the hope that it will be again. If the government that is invitation peacekeeping force present. Says it needs more actions such as the use of US firepower from ships on the use of French aircraft behind -- lives. You think that was a good idea. It is not for the government of Lebanon to determine what action the United Nations the United States armed forces take. Nor the British -- forces. That is for the -- of the armed forces acting within his rules of engagement. Which he would be given by the United States -- went it is he who decides in conjunction with the United States government what action is to be taken. Not the Lebanese government and anyway. Well prime minister let's put it another way should the guns of the must multinational force be used to support. Lebanese army units around so -- And that some of the rules of engagement for the United States forces are rules of self defense. What precisely constitutes self defense has -- -- difficult feelings -- sitting comfortably in number ten Downing Street. You haven't come along the who is in charge of his forces who must protect them. But precisely constitutes self defense -- have to decide in accordance with the rules of engagement he has been given the beleaguered continent -- ask that Israel there's a kid is of -- thank -- -- That is of -- -- him. Andrea. When you have to decide. Do infect fire back if you don't -- you -- your own forces more reliable -- -- attack. I honestly don't think you and I can say that he would have an infected -- -- -- in the field. But c'mon that's all all of them -- -- national force nations consult each day. But it's very easy if -- might -- so -- to pontificate -- it's much more difficult. To make the verde ticket doctors that they have to make and we should support this song forces in this that is administered to side. -- is in the field and -- paid to make political decisions you're paid to do that. Ronald Reagan is paid to do that and surely would not give your commander the right to decide to intervene on behalf of the Lebanese army unless you had decided. Doc I've already indicated with great respect exactly -- the position is. -- president would have given that come -- that sent them -- rules of engagement with in which he can act. And with which he cannot act. He will have to make vetted through kid decisions he sometimes we'll have to make them quick. These people are used to making those decisions but the rules of engagement are decided that the case. That application must be decided by the c'mon now almost -- how else could you get an essential put and is subject anyway. The -- I'm sorry to have to belabor this -- would like to try one more question. -- on this -- -- war is the Lebanese army fighting civil factions attempting to overthrow what you say is legitimate government. And if so should the multinational force -- It is not for us to get -- Balkans civil war. We must not is -- a civil war it is not just to get involved in civil war do not believe it is a civil war. That are trying to achieve reconciliation. Between both sides -- always been -- difficulties in the Lebanon you know there has to the Lebanon. -- is difficult is it advocating nuclear substantial -- -- it is the mountain national post is together with -- to overcome them again but the actual. The actual. And -- pot is that of the Lebanese army which constitutes both Christians and druze. And which takes action in defense of certain positions. Us is a road of self defense within the peacekeeping. Prime minister climate change the subject. In the discussions of arms reductions with the Soviet Union. Moscow continually. Raises the question of -- 162. Missiles maintained by Britain and -- fronts. And says in any kind of agreement these 162 should be counted as being on the NATO -- of the west side. Our position has been that they should not. I believe you have said this is a distraction if so it in the US to a great degree it has worked. People. Wonder how we can ask them to ignore a 162 missiles can you clarify your views on -- you -- your views on. -- the talks in Geneva. Which. Two took amendment but talks on intermediate nuclear weapons the -- trenches on the Soviet side the postings and crews. On NATO's side. I'm -- to determine the -- its -- to be pissed by the titans eight. Isn't it -- -- -- minimum to act doesn't do attendant in the last resort if we ever had to use it. We have that the tenant long before the SS Trenton is what ever designed -- and then put in place. It exists as a -- tenant against the Soviets -- strategic force. It constitutes -- -- two and a half percent. Of the Soviet -- strategic weapons when I say that you can see it is totally irrelevant to the talks with the gang known -- -- Geneva. It is an attempt on the part of this opportunity to sidetrack us from the main. Talks it is an attempt to conceal the fact that this opportunity is not often packed properly and -- said in negotiating. As far too -- yet at the negotiating table in Geneva. The -- to an incidentally. Has some 2000 strategic -- silence. Week of two and a half percent of that mind and it is off -- who lost his old new -- that haven't. In your judgment is it -- that the western countries that want arms reduction. All democracies -- peace nothing they naturally. Wont to do Islam. They tend. To be attempted to -- Saturday. To disarm they tend to look at other people's. Very much is if they were us we. We have to look at the potential immigrants them. Could try to make an accurate assessment. Of precisely what -- -- like. Precisely what his objective news. That is enough information to do that about the Soviet Union about that objective of world domination of the way in which they have reacted to over the post thirteen years. In pursuit of that objective. -- we have to defendants who can take. What -- is that Christ is the level at which you have to depend to detect. Directed him to stop people and then you have to try to negotiate. But always balanced -- -- tenant is always infected. There's no doubt about -- -- attitudes of democracy is to this song we have so many other things to do. Democracy has done threaten them on the does want to -- -- lives in the way. We and so that this was that I have funded that the -- to increase its. But as of today you -- -- -- As to does today -- show widows sincere in wanting to disarm I'm not a sentence of the Soviet Union is willing to negotiate prop. If -- -- interrupt briefly we'll be back with more questions in -- moment. We're back here in ten Downing Street in London with prime minister of Great Britain Margaret Thatcher. George prime minister periodic -- deployment of the pershing and cruise missiles because and there are Soviet leaders come -- and say if they're deployed units when they're deployed. The Soviet Union won't make a counter movement to penalize the west and take the United States as you talked with American leaders and European leaders and do you. Have any speculation anticipation of what that move my -- -- that finally do that in any case. And then they will move forward some of the weapons into the satellite countries if they do that they would have done it didn't case against everything comes. To the same thing that Constance -- -- The -- and then there's that level whether completed the modernization of some particular group of weapon. And that tactic is to try to prevent us from modernizing equipment them some succeed but -- would send them -- be taken in by these tactics. -- doesn't -- and want disarmament the -- to negotiate is at the table in Geneva not doing its of these. A constant theme of your rhetoric about Soviet Union is that we in the west must be wary of giving the wrong signal signal of weakness. And I know you've been disturbed by what I think -- would call a weak European response to the Korean airline massacre. Do you think that more could have been done both by the Europeans and should've been done by the Europeans and the United States. I would in nineteen Europe for us to stop -- sites at least two months he couldn't get agreement on amongst. The most to get agreement -- was fourteen days and not all nations agree to that. So we had to be satisfied in the -- with fourteen days a pilot sport they have come -- But as the difference between fourteen days in a month. Enough of a difference to give the kind of signal strength that you talked about. I think that is quite a -- to fourteen days in the month and it's a significant difference. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Administer the US senate has just voted two. Reduce the US contribution to support of the United Nations by some 480 million dollars over four year period was otherwise move. Not for me to say this a wise move on the part of the senate. There'll then have broken the -- the United States has been vetted many agendas -- support -- United Nations. -- -- sometimes wish people would recognize that generals to the United States more than they do all right may have brought on the question. Does it make sense to reduce anyone's contributions the United Nations do we need the United Nations. I believe that the world has a better place with the United Nations and it would be -- -- But leaves lots of other states Canada beat Canada tried to influence them but influence their beliefs and don't forget that some of them come at the ticket suddenly. East European -- pats have never lived in a free society biffle. Also don't forget that some of them have never seen the samba -- cross examined about the policy is thankful he has it performs a valuable -- Well President Reagan seems to endorsed an idea from his UN representative. That perhaps the UN meet in New York for six months of the year and in Moscow for six months of the year so people particularly from Third World countries can -- the difference. You like that idea. I think in the immensely expensive. And I think that it's an idea but I doubt -- -- work you don't like it that. But I don't have little work well I like and I don't want to not look at it I think it just wouldn't work you know it's tremendous organization. You have to have every single and then translate. Who have to have all the facilities all the secretariat. And -- don't -- to duplicate told that seems to be an unwarranted expense which you have dislike each other about the United States would have to -- -- One more question on this subject prime minister. If the United States had said to you. That -- foreign secretary. Could come to the UN session but only if he came in a plane that landed -- the US military base and not your airliner. What would you do. Well -- the United States I should -- that's -- some medical amazing mother said didn't get on the telephone to say -- -- of my confidant for sale right. So you think in the case of the Soviet foreign minister Rico the US government was correct you know I'm -- -- with -- retrieve them. And diplomacy and defense that that you really think he was happy for any excuse not to go. Because it didn't want to hear what he knew he would -- once it got there. I think it's a great content of his -- can I think I know why he's not getting. What book. Because he doesn't want to go and hear what he news he -- hear about the crew and not I'm. Because in the hunt to -- in that they were wrong -- they're not only with a tentative wrong but they have handled it better than a bad name date. It would be far better. Had when they knew the full enormity. What has happened had this that this is a tentative. So that -- -- it had never happened and we'll pay full compensation. The world that I think would have been taken a very different view and that's it -- would take steps to see if it doesn't happen again. It -- have been a very different -- -- unit. From the wanted to case but don't forget that he acted in accordance -- -- fundamental Catholic cup and that's apparently to have to take into account. Does that drop off a monster. I do not would not use -- as -- -- in relation to -- a politician. This and upon his history of -- accused in -- it at that time when the Soviet tanks and -- spent a very long time in KGB he has never. Live in a free society. All visited a free society. All of these -- factors which we have to take into account is trying to make attachments often but I don't think descriptions like that help anyone. Prime minister Americans are very interested -- comparisons with Thatcher -- on the reaganism as domestic policies and there's one difference. -- that is the American deficit is enormous. And your public borrowing your deficit is comparatively quite small. And one reason for that may be that taxes actually are higher after four years of your government than they -- before. Because you have had to trouble all governments have -- and cutting public spending it -- is higher than when you came. I know you don't like to give advice. To your sister republic -- But do you think the American deficit is sufficiently disruptive to the world and ominous. That if the president has as much trouble cutting public spending as you have that he should consider as you have done raising taxes. I think the president would like at public expense and I think you'd like to get the deficit down. I think he's determined to get the deficit done not by the casket where raising taxes. But the more fundamental way of reducing public expenditure. In -- He has congress and that used to consider. And congress of course will make its -- very -- them. I took the -- in this country that as I couldn't get public expenditure down. And doubtful public expense remained a higher proportion of national income and I would have -- because of the world recession. That it was best to get taxation up than to keep -- bordering the reason is careful to say. -- a large amount of bottoming -- have been done. If people attempted by high interest rates high interest rates tend to stop a lot of construction. A lot of investment in small businesses. That stops. A company from getting under way as much as it should. It also reports some other country incidence of death it any who was trouble. Makes it even more difficult for -- to repay that interest and to repay the principal so I took the view of his back into. To have though -- interest rates also has one other thing. If -- pursuing higher interest rates to a company does not because -- the -- hospices food. It would defense expenditure takes up higher -- national income. And that -- problems so there -- many many reasons I said right. I want to get interest rates as men do as much action can possibly get them. And I definitely can't get public expenditure -- would take -- putting -- taxation to reduce the deficit. Remember people say if prime minister Thatcher who has more control over parliament and an American presidential ever have -- for congress can't cut public spending. Isn't the case that the modern welfare state -- is totally out of control. No it is not it's that it easy to talk about cutting expenditure. Is they didn't have to decide where. But I think most vivid scene in -- -- The one of the great contributions you can make and the future ES he's not ended by -- -- public expense where you can't cut it -- containment. Since it doesn't rise -- cost that otherwise would then in the period of -- the public expenditure is unknown proportion. And that we've tried to do and we kept absolutely on target -- public expense from Austria. But they decided the previous Tina would be the tenth that we would spend we kept -- it. And I have prevailed to do this and this -- so that we ought effectiveness. Contentment. Prime minister and welfare state in the world yours powers most of those in Western Europe and Scandinavia. Are having financial troubles. We do you foresee -- constantly. Rising. Taxes and debts -- From here to the horizon do you see any way out of it. No I would politics aside from -- optimistic -- -- you you do I think what has happened. And eleven over the have a -- -- is people are somehow assumed -- growth would go on forever. Was going on for quite a long time. Then all of a sudden inflation came in and stop quite a lot of things we came to terms have to come to terms of inflation. He got a lot of newly industrialized countries who competed with -- nontraditional markets opponents and -- -- -- content that -- stopped. But people's expectations when -- And it's taken quite some time but the expectations of the future to come -- to -- With our future prospects. -- -- much harder to achieve that -- in this world but it can be done. But they still got accustomed to thinking. He would have both better public services and higher income and somehow that would come about not -- that in an effort but by some magic formula. Now they're much much more realistic and that's much more have been. I think given earlier and she took sides in the dispute -- -- -- that's going on within the American administration I believe -- -- said. That it is your convictions of high deficits high public borrowing causes high interest rates is that your view. And yes it -- in this country it does it is not the only thing which can cause high interest rates inflation is another bit -- an important factor. And then minute it was -- when inflation is -- when. What interest rates will be in. But when you're having to -- -- month. You're looking -- inflation is likely to be enough and enough but in some ten years' time -- amended ten years and that has an effect. And that if you are running high deficit content to keep interest rates high in the coming up to raise as much money but interest rates can go down constant. His. Do you think President Reagan run again. -- -- -- -- -- -- We'll -- -- unless -- the endless endless a pilot costs Penn State's opinion yes I believe he would run again I don't know man. I believe he run again. That wouldn't displease you -- On that note thank you. Thank you very much for being with us today for having us here at ten Downing Street is and I -- have -- I have -- enjoyed it enormously. We'll -- back -- all the rest of our program in -- moment.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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