Kissinger: Thatcher a ‘Warm Person’ With Strong Convictions

Monday, 08 Apr 2013 11:58 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had warm words Monday when speaking of the late Margaret Thatcher, who died at 87 following a stroke.

While Thatcher, who was Britain’s first female prime minister, was often called “The Iron Lady,” Kissinger had different memories of her.

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“She was a great lady,” Kissinger told NBC News. “She had very strong opinions and for those of us who knew her over the decades, she was a very warm person, which is not the public image that is often given.”

Kissinger also told the BBC that Thatcher was a “great leader” and a “good friend of the United States.”

In a separate interview with CNN, Kissinger described Thatcher as “a leader of strong convictions, great leadership abilities, and extraordinary personality.”

“She was a woman who [knew that] a leader needed to have strong convictions because the public had no way of orienting itself unless its leadership, its leaders, gave it the real push,” he said. “She didn’t think it was her job to find the middle ground.”

Kissinger said that for Britain, Thatcher’s greatest success was defeating the Argentines in the war over the Falkland Islands, but in the United States she would be remembered for her “staunch loyalty and commitment to the Atlantic Alliance.”

“She was a reliable and steady ally and she was also ... maybe the first allied leader who understood the possibilities of ending the Cold War by her recognition of the flexibility that Gorbachev was bringing to Soviet policy.”

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