This is pretty staggering news:
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.
Here is the newly released Soviet archive record. In it, Thatcher asks Gorbachev to stop the recording before she says this:
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.
This was in her final Mad Thatch period. And the underlying reason was deep distrust of Germany, doubtless fueled by her wartime youth. But what's interesting is to see Thatcher, a neocon idol, acting in such brutally realist fashion. Toryism, even Thatcherism, is not neoconservatism, is it?
(Photo: U.S. President George H. W. Bush awards former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor awarded by the United States. 7 March 1991)