Foreign Office staff thought Margaret Thatcher was smarter than Ronald Reagan – FCO files

Newly-released Foreign Office papers show "laid back" US President was seen as "not on an intellectual par" with the UK prime minister

By Jonathan Owen

25 Aug 2016

US President Ronald Reagan was not as intelligent as British prime minister Margaret Thatcher but his strengths included “abundant common sense” and being in tune with ordinary Americans, according to Foreign Office officials.

In a confidential memo, released by the FCO to the National Archives today, summarising a meeting between the two leaders in June 1984, an official from the FCO’s North America Department commented: “Even if he made little contribution to the discussion and was not on an intellectual par with the prime minister, he had two important strengths.”

They added: “First he had a sound political instinct which responded to the majority of what ordinary Americans felt. Secondly he had abundant common sense. He was very definitely in charge, albeit in a very laid back Californian way.”

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