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12 September 2009

Thatcher disagreed with German ReUnification ?

It is rare that one gets a peek into the private discussions that world leaders like to hold behind closed doors. But occasionally, decades after the events themselves, word of what was said under the most confidential of circumstances leaks out. This is what "The Times" of London reveals today. The subject: How much British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher worried about the prospect of German reunification on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The newspaper’s source is copies of Kremlin records smuggled out of Moscow to London in the early 1990s by a young Russian researcher, Pavel Stroilov. Stroilov reportedly copied more than 1,000 transcripts of Politburo discussions, including meetings and talks with foreign leaders. The transcripts were part of state archives that went to the foundation of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev after he left office in 1991, and where Stroilov was working. All the official transcripts were subsequently sealed, making Stroilov’s copies the only source for the information. "The Times" reports that Thatcher told Gorbachev in Moscow in 1989 – two months before the fall of the wall – that neither Britain nor Western Europe wanted the reunification of Germany and that she wanted the Soviet leader to do what he could to stop it. 'We Cannot Allow That' The newspaper also says that Thatcher said the breakdown of the Warsaw Pact was not in the West’s interests and that the West would not push for decommunization in Eastern Europe. "The Times" quotes the copied transcripts as recording her words this way: “We do not want a united Germany. This would lead to a change to postwar borders and we cannot allow that because such a development would undermine the stability of the whole international situation and could endanger our security.” She also says, “My understanding of your position is the following: You welcome each country developing in its own way, on condition that the Warsaw Pact remains in place. I understand this position perfectly.” Michael Binyon, the diplomatic correspondent for "The Times," who wrote the report, says that the transcripts shows Thatcher was much more vigorously opposed to reunification than had been generally assumed. "It is certainly well known that she was opposed to unification and that she did her best to persuade others not to go along with this," Binyon says. "But what we didn't know is that she actually went so vigorously directly to the Russians and said, 'You've got to stop it and don't listen to what we say officially, don't take any notice of NATO communiques, it is a danger to us and it's a danger to our security and what's more we would like to continue the division of Europe, as it were, with you looking after your side and we'll look after ours.' ” Source: Charles Recknagel | www.rferl.org | content | British Paper Says Thatcher ..

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