Margaret Thatcher's prospects looked dim to US leaders in the 70s

Declassified documents reveal US diplomats doubted Margaret Thatcher's political worth when she became Tory leader. A briefing paper sent to Henry Kissinger in 1975 read: “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 documents, part of a batch on European foreign relations recently made available by the National Archives in Washington, also comment on “her conventional and somewhat forced charm and above all her plummy voice”. In contrast, Jacques Chirac was “a brilliant young technocrat . . . fascinated by the United States.”

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