US dismissed ‘Iron lady’ Thatcher as ’suburban matron’ in 1975

November 14th, 2007 - 2:59 am ICT by admin  
US embassy officials in London expressed doubt in a series of papers, now declassified, written to Henry Kissinger, then US secretary of State, whether she would ever become the Prime Minister of Britain.

They also believed that Jacques Chirac, then Prime Minister of France might be friendlier towards Washington.

The documents describe Thatcher as “a quintessential suburban matron” who is “frightfully English to boot”.

Thatcher had then just defeated Edward Heath to become the Tories’ first female party leader.

A diplomatic telegram sent to Washington a few days after her victory noted that she was “honest, straightforward . . . and has the courage of her convictions”.

The missive also went on to provide a list of her apparent flaws.

In the document, titled “Margaret Thatcher: first impressions”, an embassy analyst identified only as “Spiers” wrote that she possessed “the genuine voice of a beleaguered bourgeoise”.

But he also expressed if she could broaden her national appeal.

“She has a quick, if not profound mind but tends to be crisp and a trifle patronising,” he wrote in his missive to Washington.

“Unfortunately for her prospects of becoming a national, as distinct from a party, leader, she has over the years acquired a distinctively upper middle-class personal image,” the telegram said.

The telegram also went on to describe her “immaculate grooming, her imperious manner, her conventional and somewhat forced charm and above all her plummy voice”.

The documents are among hundreds relating to European foreign policy in 1974-75 that were recently declassified and made available in the online database of the National Archives in Washington, reports Times Online.

The State Department documents also reveal that in the mid-1970s, Washington was more impressed with Chirac.

A briefing from the Paris embassy described him in glowing terms as “a young, sinewy politician with the right credentials . . . a brilliant young technocrat . . . fascinated by the United States and is probably as favourably disposed toward the US as anyone (in the French government)”. (ANI)

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