Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher did not want a unified Germany. Newly released government papers show.
The papers now in the National Archives in London showed that she had to be persuaded by aids to give a congratulatory statement following the unification of Germany in 1989. They also reveal that British officials worked behind the scenes to advert planned celebrations attended by world leaders.
Mrs Thatcher had deep concerns that a reunified Germany would dominate the continent of Europe. The collapse of the Berlin Wall ended communism in East Germany and reunified the country for the first time since the end of the Second World War.
Thatcher’s long standing foreign adviser, Charles Powell, reveals that he wrote to George Bush Senior, the then President of the United States, strongly hinting that he should stay away from planned unification celebrations. This effectively would scupper celebrations plans by Germany’s Chancellor of the time, Helmut Kohl.
Mr Powell wrote, “The prime minister wanted the president to know that October 3 would be very difficult for her and she would not at all mind if the president found that he could not attend.
“I added that the prime minister thought that the celebrations were in any case more appropriate for foreign ministers to attend.”
According to the papers, Mr Kohl, tried to assure Thatcher that all would be well, passing on matters that even his cabinet did not know about. Nonetheless, the issue reached Washington who became concerned at potential rifts, and the U.S believed that she would “entente cordiale” with the USSR to counterbalance possible German dominance.
In response the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued this statement to the U.S.
“If Wood cares to add that Blackwill’s innuendo that No 10 is inhabited by a combination of Dr Strangelove and General Curtis B Lemay, in contrast to the cool, rational thinkers of the FCO and NSC, has been greeted with some surprise in view of the prime minister’s consistent and successful record of managing East/West relations over the last 11 years, that would be fine with me.”
Margaret Thatcher was British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990.