Full text of Margaret Thatcher's speech to the Blackpool fringe ... And for a very good reason, namely to express my outrage at the callous and unjust treatment of Senator Pinochet… I recall that Margaret Thatcher once called Pinochet a 'good friend'. This is a Pandora's box which has been opened--and unless Senator Pinochet returns safely to Chile, there will be no hope of closing it. Our ties are very close, and have been ever since Admiral Cochrane helped free Chile from oppressive Spanish rule. Pinochet's enemies hated him because of his success in transforming Chile's economy under a free market model, Lady Thatcher argued. Make no mistake: revenge by the Left, not justice for the victim, is what the Pinochet case is all about. We know that Senator Pinochet's guilt was publicly prejudged by a Labour Cabinet Minister. Human rights campaigners have hit back at Baroness Thatcher's claim that General Augusto Pinochet is being detained in Britain as a "political prisoner". But we will fight on for as long as it takes to see Senator Pinochet returned safely to his own country. They should understand the deep sense of shame and anger we feel at the way in which Chile - its honour, its dignity, its sovereignty and its former ruler - have been treated. Those circumstances left Britain's reputation for loyalty and fair dealing in tatters. 7.52 p.m. On that basis, Messrs. Blair and Straw should accept criminal responsibility for everything done in every prison or police station throughout the United Kingdom - and then be extradited to Spain to answer for it. Thatcher with Pinochet and his wife in 2000 in Surrey, where the former Chilean dictator was under house arrest. Why is it, I wonder, that those queuing up to accuse Senator Pinochet of every grotesque abuse imaginable don't mention the positive legacy of his rule in Chile? On President Pinochet's express instructions, and at great risk, Chile provided enormously valuable assistance. Not in Thatcher’s speeches and letters to newspapers, which were hoarse with outrage but also careful to mention Pinochet’s assistance to Britain only in connection the Falklands. House of Lords Hansard, 6 July 1999, cc.799-801. They should understand the deep sense of shame and anger we feel at the way in which Chile - its honour, its dignity, its sovereignty and its former ruler - have been treated. But it is an affront to commonsense, as well as a caricature of justice, to maintain that a head of government must automatically accept criminal responsibility for everything that is done while he is in power - whether he authorised it or not, whether he overlooked it or not, whether he knew about it or not. Similarly, on 22nd September last year, when he entered Britain on a diplomatic passport charged with a special mission by the current Chilean President, he was accorded all the privileges of an ambassador, including the protection of the Metropolitan Police Diplomatic Protection Squad. But how did the authorities, under this Labour Government, choose to repay it? But, of course, we know why none of these achievements is talked about. Watch: A speech given by Margaret Thatcher calling for the release of General Pinochet after he was indicted for human rights abuses and put under house arrest during a visit to Britain in 1998. The chance of Senator Pinochet's receiving anything resembling what we in Britain would recognise as "justice" in a Spanish court is minimal - not least because key witnesses for his defence run the risk of immediate arrest if they set foot on Spanish soil. My friends, this is a government which discredits and dishonours Britain. One day, near the end of the conflict, the Chilean long-range radar had to be switched off for overdue maintenance. The country thus owes him a great debt. Senator Pinochet came here last September as a long-standing friend of Britain. And there are implications for heads of government everywhere, as they see that at some future date they may be hauled out of hospital in a foreign country at dead of night to face some trumped up charge. But the Spanish judicial procedure in this matter has been little short of scandalous. But first I want to extend a personal welcome to our Chilean guests, who have come half way round the world to be with us. All you need to know about who Thatcher was. But we should not assume that this will continue, particularly if Senator Pinochet, who is not now in the best of health, were to die in Britain or is taken to Spain. Below is the text of the statement made in the House of Lords by Baroness Margaret Thatcher on 6 July 1999. I do not know when or how this tragedy will end. It is well-known that counselling this prosecuting magistrate at every stage is Allende's former political adviser, working with a network of other Marxists in Spain and Chile. Our reputation sustains our interests. As he himself admits, there were abuses in the wake of the military coup. Thirdly, Chile is also remarkable because President Pinochet established a constitution for a return to democracy, held a plebiscite to decide whether or not he should remain in power, lost the vote (though gaining 44 per cent support), respected the result and handed over power to a democratically-elected Thatcher was elected leader of the Conservative Party in February 1975. The country thus owes him a great debt. Before news cameras, the by then retired PM firmly told the ex-Chilean dictator, "It … He gave us early warning of Argentinian air attacks, which allowed the task-force to take defensive action. Chile thus enjoyed prosperity, democracy and reconciliation--until we and the Spanish arrogantly chose to interfere in her affairs. I never thought in my lifetime to see the honour of Britain and the reputation of British justice so demeaned as in this affair. And this, of course, was the situation when a trusting, elderly, former Chilean ruler chose to pay one too many visits to his beloved Britain last autumn. After leaving power he was accordingly received here as an honoured guest on a number of occasions. My Lords, my noble friend Lord Lamont has done the House a service by initiating this short debate on a matter of great importance to Britain’s reputation, to Chile’s stability and to the orderly conduct of international relations. The Spanish, Socialist prosecuting magistrate has simply assembled any charge whatsoever that he thinks might fit the bill - even though there is no evidence of Senator Pinochet's involvement in, or even knowledge of, the cases concerned, and even though not one concerns a Spaniard. That Treaty envisaged, of course, that all the courts of countries which signed the Extradition Convention would behave in an honest and equitable fashion, and that those extradited would receive a fair trial. But don't take my word for it. We know that he was held first in a tiny room at a clinic under sedation, and then in a house where he wasn't even allowed to set foot in the garden. Chile is our oldest friend in South America. My final point concerns the implications of the Pinochet case for the conduct of international relations, which are essentially based on trust between nation states. Perhaps he will die here, as this country's only political prisoner. She first met him while on a … posted by Twang at 2:04 AM on October 26, 2020 [5 favorites] ... Free speech isn't a human right? Without President Pinochet, there would certainly have been many more. All those responsible must be shamed, and held publicly to account. Though I shall not go into the details, I can say that without President Pinochet's considerable practical help in 1982, many more of our servicemen would have lost their lives in the South Atlantic. He must be turning in his grave, to see Britain now encouraging Spain's arrogant interference in Chilean affairs! That he lost the vote (though gaining 44 per cent support)? Margaret Thatcher's comment to Augusto Pinochet (above) in 1998 is one such example. 1945-52. Secondly, I want to speak about the situation in Chile--this country's oldest and truest friend in Latin America. Chileans can rest assured that, however contemptibly this Labour Government behaves, the British people still believe in loyalty to their friends. Until the Senator's arrest last October, Chile had achieved three remarkable successes, all of them in large measure due to former President Pinochet. We all owe him - and Chile - a great debt. The value of this intelligence was proved by what happened when it stopped. As has been confirmed at the recent hearing, Senator Pinochet is still legally prevented from answering in a British court any of the charges against him. Mrs Thatcher had no direct personal dealings with Pinochet while she was in Downing Street, despite the cooperation detailed below. Defence (Falklands War, 1982), Foreign policy (general discussions), Foreign policy (Americas excluding USA), Labour Party & socialism. This trust has now been shattered by the prospect of the courts in one country seeking the extradition of former heads of government from a second country for offences allegedly committed in a third country. What the Left can't forgive is that Pinochet undoubtedly saved Chile and helped save South America. And that he respected the result, and handed over to an elected successor? It's because the Left don't want them to be talked about - or even (if they can help it) known about. There are implications for Chile, where the small minority of communists who once nearly wrecked the country under Allende will now be encouraged to overturn the prosperous, democratic order that Pinochet and his successors built. As Eduardo Frei, the former Christian Democrat president of Chile put it: "The military saved Chile". Senator Pinochet is, of course, being victimised because the organised international Left are bent on revenge. Thatcher had the economics part of the equation worked out; it’s too bad she had an immense Warboner, sang the praises of dictators like Pinochet, called Nelson Mandela a … And for a very good reason - to express my outrage at the callous and unjust treatment of Senator Pinochet. Altogether, some 250 members of our armed forces lost their lives during the Falklands War. All Rights Reserved. We know that the authorities knew it was unlawful, because they hurriedly sent lawyers to Spain to draw up a new one. And some of these continued. Of course it is. I will tell you. With the economic crises of 1982 the "monetarist experiment" was widely regarded a failure. Henceforth, all former heads of government are potentially at risk; those still in government will be [Column 801] inhibited from taking the right action in a crisis, because they may later appear before a foreign court to answer for it-. By collaborating in Senator Pinochet's judicial kidnap. It can hardly have been much pleasanter for our Prime Minister, who recently described Allende as his "hero". First, it had seen the total defeat of communism at a time when that ideology was advancing throughout the hemisphere. The Left lost the Cold War in Chile, as they lost it everywhere else. We all owe him - and Chile - a great debt. The Left in Chile, and in Britain, had to abandon all the rhetoric, and most of the policies, of socialism in order to get power. The Thatcher speech was denounced by anti-Pinochet Chilean groups, who staged a protest outside the Blackpool movie theater where the "Free Pinochet" rally was staged. That inhumane arrest Pinochet's controversial relationship with Thatcher led Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair to mock Thatcher's Conservatives as "the party of Pinochet" in 1999. President Pinochet was this country's staunch, true friend in our time of need when Argentina seized the Falkland Islands. What is planned there is a show-trial, with a pre-ordained outcome - lingering death in a foreign land. Senator Pinochet was then held for six days illegally under that warrant. Anything that happens then will be the direct responsibility of this Government and, in particular, of Jack Strawthe Home Secretary. Britain's reputation should be of vital importance to the government of the day. Under the Extradition Treaty, the case can only be heard in Spain. The same is true, in my opinion, of Thatcher, a similarly authoritarian free-marketeer. _____ 1999 Oct 6 We, Margaret Thatcher. Pinochet subsequently visited the UK on more than one occasion. For this is a government that grovels to collaborate with Spain, whose bullying of Gibraltar is a daily outrage - yet treats our Chilean allies with contempt. What about the fact that more people were housed, that medical care was improved, that infant mortality plummeted, that life expectancy rose, that highly effective programmes against poverty were launched? And for a very good reason - to express my outrage at the callous and unjust treatment of Senator Pinochet. It was prepared for Lady Thatcher in 1999 when Pinochet was arrested and placed under house arrest in London. But we will fight on fo… Senator Pinochet is in truth on trial, not for anything contained in Judge Garzon's indictment, but for defeating communism. Lady Thatcher, a friend of the former Chilean dictator, renewed her fierce criticism of his arrest in a speech to a fringe meeting at the Tory conference. Above all, why don't they tell the world that it was Senator Pinochet who established a constitution for the return to democracy? But let me mention just one incident. There is a widespread suspicion that there had been collusion between the British and Spanish authorities prior to the arrest, when the Chileans were not given the warning they might have expected about the imminent risk. During the Falklands War, the Chilean airforce was commanded by the father of Senator Evelyn Matthei, here with us tonight. In conclusion, I think that Hayek’s support for Pinochet was a natural consequence of his system of thought and not an aberration. Without President Pinochet, there would certainly have been many more. We know this was done under what the courts later ruled was an unlawful arrest warrant. This is a government which grants amnesties to unrepentant terrorist murderers - yet overturns an amnesty in Chile, and imperils that country's young democracy. Little could he imagine that a new, legal and political assassination was to be planned for him in the Britain he trusted as a friend. Only fleetingly was this acknowledged, in public at least, by the Britons who lobbied against Pinochet’s captivity between 1998 and 2000. But the extradition court ruled that the poor health of Pinochet, a friend of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, would prevent him from being sent to Spain. So far, the Chileans have behaved with great restraint. European History: Dec 29, 2014: Thatcher's diplomacy towards Augusto Pinochet, Pol Pot, appartheid and others: General History: Apr 9, 2013: Thatcher's cunning plans: Controversial History: Jan 3, 2013 But on his fate depends much else besides. In a 1999 speech at the International Free Enterprise Dinner, Thatcher would attack Pinochet’s detractors before going on to say: “The qualities that made Britain what she is haven't changed. Speech on Pinochet at the Conservative Party Conference. That same day - Tuesday 8th June, a date etched on my heart - Argentinian planes attacked and destroyed the Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram landing ships, with heavy casualties. The issue is the approach to which human rights are enumerated and how conflicts between them are resolved. That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is what Pinochet stopped. However, some weeks later the general was arrested in hospital at dead of night, when under heavy sedation following a serious back operation. The precise extent of Ministers' and officials' involvement with the Spanish authorities is still obscure. But we know a good deal about the catalogue of abuses which occurred. The precise responsibility for what happened can only be judged in Chile. was in any case made on the basis of an unlawful warrant. Altogether, some 250 members of our armed forces lost their lives during the Falklands War. We know that for the first time in its history the House of Lords had to set aside its ruling, because a Law Lord failed to declare an interest - and that the judge in question was then publicly exonerated by Labour's Lord Chancellor. That he held a referendum to decide whether or not he should remain in power? But first I want to extend a personal welcome to our Chilean guests, who have come half way round the world to be with us. Though I shall not go into the details, I can say that without President Pinochet's considerable practical help in 1982, many more of our servicemen would have lost their lives in the South Atlantic. Thatcher wrote: ‘Scotch is one British institution that will never let you down.’ I know - I was Prime Minister at the time. We know that he was then arrested by night on his bed of pain, after a spinal operation, in circumstances which would do credit to a police state. Copyright © Margaret Thatcher Foundation 2021. All Rights Reserved. Today I break my self-denying ordinance. Or perhaps he will breathe his last in a Spanish hospital, awaiting some interminable, contemptible semblance of justice. Today I break my self-denying ordinance. I do not know when or how this tragedy will end. The great majority of Chileans, even the political opponents of Senator Pinochet, feel wounded at the way we and the Spanish have treated them. We know that the Chileans were led to believe that he was safe, when the British authorities already knew that to be false. The Pinochet case has sullied that reputation. The speech was one of Lady Thatcher's first at a Tory conference since she was dumped as party leader in 1990 and marked the culmination of an electrifying return. We know that Senator Pinochet was treated on his arrival, as on previous occasions, as an honoured guest. Copyright © Margaret Thatcher Foundation 2021. My friends, these are vital matters for our Party to ponder. To the delight of an adoring crowd, the woman known as the Iron Lady accused Britain of leaving Pinochet in the lurch after he saved British lives during the Falkland Islands' War. What about the fact that Chile was turned from chaotic collectivism into the model economy of Latin America? MT was speaking on a question tabled by Lord Lamont of Lerwick: "To ask Her Majesty’s government what were the circumstances and background of the arrest of Senator Pinochet; what was the role of the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, Ministers and the Diplomatic Service; and what has been the effect on Anglo-Chilean relations". This is a government which reckons that ageing spies, who betrayed our country to Soviet communism, should escape prosecution - yet obsessively pursues the frail 83 year-old Pinochet, who stopped the communists taking Chile. Listen instead to President Aylwin, Pinochet's democratically elected successor and frequent opponent, who said: "the Allende government was planning, with the assistance of an armed militia of enormous military power, to establish a communist dictatorship". Baroness Thatcher has visited General Pinochet while he is under house arrest Former prime minister Baroness Thatcher will make her first speech to the Conservative conference since leaving office when she addresses a meeting organised by supporters of General Augusto Pinochet. But at least he will know, and the world will know, that his friends did not abandon his cause, and that those whom the Left would like to silence - but dare not - have proclaimed the truth about his treatment. How a former president became a prisoner in his favourite country. And his accusers do not, it seems, have to present here any evidence of guilt. Lady Thatcher visits General Pinochet on the Wentworth estate, where he spent much of his 16-month detention in Britain. The speech was Thatcher’s first at a Conservative conference since she was dumped as party leader in 1990, and marked the culmination of an electrifying return. But what they couldn't and wouldn't abandon was the poisonous prejudices they harboured in their youth. When the communists so nearly assassinated him in 1986, President Pinochet knew that he was being fired on by his enemies. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher credited Pinochet with bringing about a thriving, free-enterprise economy, while at the same time downplaying the junta's human rights record, condemning an "organised international Left who are bent on revenge." Henceforth, all former heads of government are potentially at risk; those still in government will be inhibited from taking the right action in a crisis, because they may later appear before a foreign court to answer for it and--this is where I was when I was interrupted--in a final ironic twist, those who do wield absolute power in their countries are highly unlikely now to relinquish it for fear of ending their days in a Spanish prison. Secondly, Chile has seen the establishment of a thriving, free-enterprise economy which has transformed living standards and made Chile into a model for Latin America. The people of Britain, too, should reflect on what has been revealed about the priorities of this Labour Government. successor. We must pay heed to the implications of an international lynch-law which, under the guise of defending human rights, now threatens to subvert British justice and the rights of sovereign nations. Thatcher was a steadfast defender of Augusto Pinochet, whose unspeakably brutal dictatorship of torture and repression terrorized Chile from 1973 to 1990. There are implications for Britain, whose interests will be jeopardised, not just in the Falklands and South America, but in isolated enclaves round the world, where friends will see how we reward past deeds of friendship. I cannot reveal all the details. I don’t want to argue, by the way, that any association with a dictatorial regime necessarily implies support for dictatorship. She visited Pinochet in 1999 during his house arrest in England, saying that her country "owed" him "a great debt" of gratitude for his help during the 1982 Falklands War. Defence (Falklands War, 1982), Foreign policy (general discussions), Foreign policy (Americas excluding USA). Same Participants Assange in … They are right to do so. Pinochet himself escaped justice and ‘suffered’ a mere 16 months’ house arrest in a London mansion, whilst receiving moral support from his friend Margaret Thatcher, before returning to Chile where he lived out his remaining years in comfort and died without being convicted of any crimes. For our Home Secretary, who visited Chile as a young left-wing activist, that must have been very distressing. Assessment of Thatcher's tenure. Human rights violations 3 of 6 4 of 6 Opponents of former Gen. Augusto Pinochet celebrate after hearing the news of Pinochet's death in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2006. “I don’t know when or how this tragedy will end,” Thatcher said in 1999, “but we will fight on for as long as it takes to see Senator Pinochet returned safely to his own country. Saved Chile '' justice for the return to democracy here any evidence of guilt despite cooperation... 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