Margaret Thatcher and George H. W. Bush Against Decommunization of Eastern Europe

September 10, 2009 at 9:46 pm | Posted in American politics | 2 Comments

wow. I am stunned. I didn’t think I could be stunned by events in politics, but I am truly stunned. Via Andrew Sullivan, we learn that Margaret Thatcher had a secret meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev in which she told him it was not in the interests of Great Britain or Western Europe that East Germany reunify with West Germany, and that it is not in the interests of Britain, Western Europe, and apparently even the United States of America that Eastern Europe remove communism from their countries.

Two months before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Margaret Thatcher told President Gorbachev that neither Britain nor Western Europe wanted the reunification of Germany and made clear that she wanted the Soviet leader to do what he could to stop it.

In an extraordinary frank meeting with Mr Gorbachev in Moscow in 1989 — never before fully reported — Mrs Thatcher said the destabilisation of Eastern Europe and the breakdown of the Warsaw Pact were also not in the West’s interests. She noted the huge changes happening across Eastern Europe, but she insisted that the West would not push for its decommunisation. Nor would it do anything to risk the security of the Soviet Union.

Even 20 years later, her remarks are likely to cause uproar. They are all the more explosive as she admitted that what she said was quite different from the West’s public pronouncements and official Nato communiqués. She told Mr Gorbachev that he should pay no attention to these.

As a Romanian who left Romania in 1982, I take offense to this, though I am not surprised. President Ronald Reagan’s policy positions vis a vis Romania were not really in the best interests of the people of Romania. Ceausescu’s Romania were examples of “good communists” in Reagan’s eyes. Anyways, that is a side story. The meat of this new revelation from Gorbachev of Thatcher’s positions will be explosive the more it gets out. Here is the transcript:

September 23 1989 : transcript

Thatcher:

I wanted to raise some questions regarding the situation in the countries of Eastern Europe. I was deeply impressed by the courage of General Jaruzelski in Poland and by his patriotism. Of course, the future of Poland and its alliance with you are very important. I noticed that you reacted calmly to the results of the Polish elections and generally to processes taking part in this and other Eastern European countries. My understanding of your position is following: you welcome each country developing in its own way on the condition that Warsaw Pact stays. I understand this position perfectly.

Now I would like to say something in complete confidence and would ask you not to record this part of our conversation.

Y’all ready for this?

Gorbachev:

I agree to your request.

(The following part of the conversation is reproduced from memory)

Thatcher:

We are very concerned about the processes taking place in Eastern Germany. Some big changes could happen there, forced partly by the state of the society and partly by the illness of Erich Honecker. One example of this is the flight of thousands of people from the GDR to the FRG. All of this is on the surface, it is very important but even more important is something else.

The reunification of Germany is not in the interests of Britain and Western Europe. It might look different from public pronouncements, in official communiqué at Nato meetings, but it is not worth paying ones attention to it. We do not want a united Germany. This would have led to a change to post-war borders and we can not allow that because such development would undermine the stability of the whole international situation and could endanger our security.

In the same way, a destabilisation of Eastern Europe and breakdown of the Warsaw Pact are also not in our interests. Of course, internal changes are happening in all Eastern European countries, somewhere they are deeper than in others. However, we would prefer if those processes were entirely internal, we would not interfere in them or push the de-communisation of Eastern Europe. I can say that the President of the United States is of the same position. He sent me a telegram to Tokyo in which he asked me directly to tell you that the United States would not do anything that might put at risk the security of the Soviet Union or perceived by the Soviet society as danger. I am fulfilling his request.

Wow! The President of the United States, one George H. W. Bush did not think it was in the best interest of the United States to have Germany unified, or Eastern Europe to decommunize. Wow! The reason I wrote earlier the point of Romania’s Ceausescu (a real reprehensible guy) being a “good communist” in the eyes of the Reagan administration is that George H. W. Bush did little different in his administration from his predecessor. Thus if George H. W. Bush wanted the Soviets to know that the United States “would not do anything that might put at risk the security of the Soviet Union” it is very safe to assume Ronald Reagan thought the same. I think Reagan historians will have to go back on their research and really ask themselves what Reagan really thought about the Soviet Union.

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2 Comments »

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  1. so you’re saying Ronald Reagan was a liar when he said “tear down this wall”

  2. That’s what it looks like.


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