"Margaret Thatcher has blazed into national prominence almost literally from out of nowhere," announced a 1975 US State Department cable on the former British prime minister, who died Monday, according to a Monday release from the renegade pro-transparency group WikLleaks.
The cable paints a fascinating early portrait of a woman who would go on to become one of Britain's most controversial leaders.
Here are some of the Americans' juicer observations on the Iron Lady, as told by the cables released by WikiLeaks:
- "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. Her immaculate grooming, her imperious manner, her conventional and somewhat forced charm, and above all her plummy voice stamp her as the quintessential suburban matron, and frightfully English to boot."
- "SHE ESPOUSES THE MIDDLE CLASS VALUES OF THRIFT, HARD WORK, AND LAW AND ORDER, THAT SHE BELIEVES IN INDIVIDUAL CHOICE, MAXIMUM FREEDOM FOR MARKET FORCES, AND MINIMAL POWER FOR THE STATE. HERS IS THE GENUINE VOICE OF A BELEAGUERED BOURGEOISE, ANXIOUS ABOUT ITS ERODING ECONOMIC POWER AND DETERMINED TO ARREST SOCIETY'S SEEMINGLY INEXORABLE TREND TOWARDS COLLECTIVISM. SOMEWHAT UNCHIVALROUSLY, DENIS HEALEY HAS DUBBED HER "LA PASIONARIA OF MIDDLE CLASS PRIVILEGE."
- "IN DEALING WITH THE MEDIA OR WITH SUBORDINATES, SHE TENDS TO BE CRISP AND A TRIFLE PATRONIZING. WITH COLLEAGUES, SHE IS HONEST AND STRAIGHT-FORWARD, IF NOT EXCESSIVELY CONSIDERATE OF THEIR VANITIES. CIVIL SERVANTS AT THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION FOUND HER AUTOCRATIC."
- A footnote: "MRS. THATCHER HAS HAD NO REAL EXPERIENCE IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND HAS GIVEN NO EVIDENCE OF ANY INTEREST IN THE FIELD. NOW THAT SHE IS PARTY LEADER, THIS WILL OF COURSE HAVE TO CHANGE."