Peter Westmacott

  • Aired:  07/26/12
  •  | Views: 5,075

Senior British diplomat Peter Westmacott talks about London's Olympic planning, royal etiquette and England's shared values with America. (7:19)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

FOLKS, WELCOME BACK TO THE SHOW.

IN THE WORDS OF PAUL REVERE-- THE BRITISH ARE COMING.

OH, WAIT.

THE BRITISH ARE HERE.

PLEASE WELCOME AMBASSADOR SIR PETER WESTMACOTT.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ) AMBASSADOR, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

PLEASE HAVE A SEAT, SIR.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING HERE.

NOW, IT IS SIR PETER, CORRECT?

>> WELL, IF YOU WISH, YES.

>> Stephen: I-- I DO WISH BECAUSE I'M A SIR MYSELF.

I AM THE REVEREND SIR T., MOST DEFT COLBERT, HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD.

>> THEY DIDN'T TELL ME THAT.

>> Stephen: THEY DIDN'T TELL YOU THAT?

IT'S NOT A CONTEST BUT I'M WINNING.

YOUR LORDSHIP, YOUR EXCELLENCY,

YOUR FANCY PANTS.

AND NOW, THERE'S A LOT OF TALK GOING ON THESE DAYS, WHAT WITH MITT ROMNEY OVER THERE, JUST

CHARMING YOU PEOPLE TO PIECES ABOUT WHAT'S CALLED THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE UNITED

STATES AND BRITAIN.

WHAT IS THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP.

IS THAT ANYTHING LIKE CONFIRMED BACHELORS?

>> NOT QUITE THAT.

IT'S BRITS AND AMERICANS GOING BACK A VERY LONG WAY, AND HAVING

BEEN VERY GOOD FRIENDS SINCE WE HAD A LITTLE WAR.

WHEN WE --

>> Stephen: WELL, WELL.

WE DON'T LIKE TO THINK ABOUT THE WAR OF 1812 BECAUSE YOU GUYS ACTUALLY CAME DOWN AND BURNED WASHINGTON.

WE LIKE TO FOCUS ON KICKING YOUR BUTT AT CONCORD.

>> OKAY.

>> Stephen: ALL RIGHT.

IS IT PAINFUL--

>> SINCE THEN IT'S BEEN GREAT.

>> Stephen: IS IT PAINFUL FOR THE BRITISHAM TO BE HERE IN THE UNITED STATES?

IF YOU GUYS HAD JUST BEEN NICE TO US 230YEARS AGO, ALL THIS COULD HAVE BEEN YOURS.

YOU COULD BE THE AMBASSADOR TO YOURSELF.

WHAT WOULD THAT BE LIKE?

>> THAT WOULD BE A BIT WEIRD, A BIT KINKY.

I THINK WE DIDN'T GIVE YOU MUCH CHOICE.

WE DIDN'T MAKE IT EASY FOR YOU TO STAY PART OF THE EMPIRE.

SO WE UNDERSTAND-- YOU DID WHAT YOU DO, AND SINCE THEM, TO BE HONEST, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE BEEN

PRETTY GOOD FRIENDS, AND WE HAVE STOOD SHOULDER TO SHOULDER IN MANY, MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD IN

MANY DIFFICULT CONFLICTS.

>> Stephen: ABSOLUTELY.

AND NOW YOU'RE UNDER ONE OF YOUR MOST DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES OF ALL TIME.

YOU'RE HOSTING THE OLYMPIC GAMES.

IS IT ENGLAND READY TO HOST THESE GAMES?

BECAUSE MITT ROMNEY HAS HIS DOUBTS.

ARE YOU GUYS READY TO ROCK THIS ONE?

>> WE'RE AS READY AS WE CAN BE.

CAN WE GIVEUE.

>> Stephen: THAT IS A GREAT SALES JOB.

( LAUGHTER )

>> WE DO UNDERSTATEMENT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.

>> Stephen: YES, YOU DO.

>> IF YOU GET OVER-CONFIDENT, IF YOU SAY IT'S GOING TO BE ABSOLUTELY PURPOSE AND IT GOES

WRONG, YOU HAVE A THUNDERSTORM OR SOMETHING, IT'S A PROBLEM.

WE HAVE DONE ALL WE CAN TO BE READY.

WE'VE DONE LOTS AND LOTS OF SECURITY.

WE'VE REHURSED EVERYTHING.

WE BUILT EVERYTHING ON TIME.

WE BUILT IS A YEAR AGO IN ADVANCE AND WE ARE UNDER BUDGET,

AND WE BELIEVE WE HAVE DONE AS GOOD A JOB AS WE CAN.

>> Stephen: WHAT ABOUT ENGLAND YOURSELF?

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING TO TAKE MEDALS IN?

>> WE'RE QUITE GOOD AT DOING STUFF YOU DO SITTING TOWN, LIKE,

ROWING AND CYCLING, AND HORSEBACK RIDING AND SAILING.

>> Stephen: AMERICANS ARE ALL VERY GOOD AT SITTING DOWN.

ANY OF THE EVENTS THAT INVOLVE REMOTE CONTROLS, WE'VE GOT WRAPPED UP.

NOW, NEW YORK, NEW YORK CITY,

THE CITY WE'RE IN RIGHT NOW, WE VIED FOR THE 2012 GAMES AND YOU GUYS BEAT US OUT FOR THE 2012 GAMES.

ARE YOU HERE TO GLOAT RIGHT NOW?

>> WE DON'T LIKE TO GLOAT BUT YOU DID HAVE THE OLYMPIC GAMES

THREE TIMES IN THE LAST 30 YEARS AND TO HAVE IT FOUR TIMES IN 30 YEARS WOULD BE A BIT GREEDY.

WE HAVEN'T HAD IT IN 70 YEARS.

>> Stephen: 70 YEARS?

>> 64, I THINK, WHEN WE LAST HAD THEM.

>> Stephen: THAT WAS BACK WHEN MOST OF THE COMPETITION WAS POETRY.

>> WE INVENTED THE PARAOLYMPICS.

WE'RE PROUD OF THAT.

>> Stephen: GOOD FOR YOU.

ABSOLUTELY.

THE 51st PAROLYMPIAN TO MOVE OVER INTO THE OLYMPIC GAMES.

I THINK IT'S BLADE RUNNER.

>> I THINK THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: I SAID IT, SO IT MUST BE TRUE.

CAN I ASK SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR JOB?

ARE YOU AMBASSADOR OF THE QUEEN OR ARE YOU THE AMBASSADOR OF THE PRIME MINISTER'S GOVERNMENT?

>> BEING BRITISH, IT'S A LITTLE BIT MIXED.

I AM HER MAJESTY'S AMBASSADOR.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

>> BUT I AM CHOSEN BY THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT, BUT I AM NOT A POLITICAL APPOINTEE.

I'M A CAREER FOREIGN OFFICER AND BRITISH AMBASSADORS AROUND THE WORLD ALWAYS ARE.

THE PROCESS IS THE GOVERNMENT SELECTS ME, HER MAJESTY SIGNS OFF.

I'M HER AMBASSADOR BUT THE GOVERNMENT'S CHOICE.

>> Stephen: DO YOU HAVE TO REPORT TO HER?

>> NOT VERY OFTEN.

>> BUT SOMETIMES.

>> Stephen: IS IT TRUE YOU DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON HER?

>> THAT IS TRUE.

>> Stephen: YOU JUST BACK OUT OF THE ROOM.

DO YOU HAVE, LIKE, MIRRORS ON YOUR PALMS?

DOES IT GO DEEP, DEEP, DEEP,

WHEN YOU'RE GOING AWAY FROM HER?

>> IT'S NOT QUITE LIKE THAT.

WHAT YOU DO IS YOU DO A LITTLE NECK BOW TO TAKE YOUR LEAVE, AND THEN YOU CAN ACTUALLY TURN AND

WALK OUT FORWARD SO THAT YOU DON'T WALK INTO THE FURNITURE BACKWARDS.

>> Stephen: ARE THE UNITED STATES AND ENGLAND GOING TO KEEP THE CLOSE TIES THEY ALWAYS HAVE?

WHAT MOST-- WHAT MOST JOINS US AND WHAT MOST DIVIDE US SIR?

>> MY JOB IS TO TRY TO ENSURE THAT THOSE TIES REMAIN VERY,

VERY CLOSE.

A LOT OF THINGS TIE US.

WE ARE ALMOST ALWAYS, SHOULDER TO SHOULDER-- EVER SINCE 1812,

ANYWAY, WHEN THERE IS A CONFLICT AROUND THE WORLD THE BRITS AND AMERICA STAND SIDE BY SIDE AND

WE HAVE FORCES IN DIFFERENT COMPANIES.

BUT WE HAVE LANGUAGE.

WE HAVE GOT VALUES.

WE HAVE DEMOCRACY AND WE HAVE BUSINESS.

THE UNITED KINGDOM IS THE BIGGEST FOREIGN INVESTOR IN AMERICA.

ONE MILLION PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY OWE THEIR JOBS TO BRITISH COMPANIES.

1 MILLION BRITS OWE THEIR JOBS TO WORKING WITH AMERICAN COMPANIES.

WE HAVE VALUE, WITH THE THEATER AND THE DRAMA AND THE MOVIES YOU MAKE IN OUR BRILLIANT STUDIOS

AND THE SHAKESPEARE YOU SHARE WITH US, AND SO ON.

>> Stephen: DO WE OWE YOU GUYS MONEY?

BECAUSE THE CHINESE WE OWE A TON OF MONEY TO.

>> WE ONLY STOPPED PAYING YOU MONEY FOR THE MONEY YOU LENT US

IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN ABOUT 2002.

>> Stephen: THAT TOOK A LONG TIME TO PAY YOUR CHIT.

WE LET THE GERMANS OFF THE HOOK?

>> YOU GAVE THEM MARTIAL AID.

YOU WERE EXTREMELY FARSIGHTED.

>> Stephen: NEXT TIME YOU GUYS SHOULDN'T GIVE YOUR BLOOD,

YOUR SWEAT, AND YOUR TEARS.

YOU SHOULD SAY WE'LL TAKE THE MARSHAL PLAN.

>> YOU DID HELP US WIN THE WAR.

>> Stephen: THAT'S TRUE.

GOOD LUCK WITH THE OLYMPICS.

ARE YOU GOING BACK THERE RIGHT NOW?

>> NO, I'M STAYING HERE BECAUSE TOMORROW WHEN YOU BROADCAST

ALMOST LIVE THE GREAT OPENING CEREMONY, I SHALL BE HAVING A FEW HUNDRED OF MY NEAREST AND

DEAREST FRIEND IN MY HOUSE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND WE'LL CELEBRATE THE OLYMPICS AT THE

EMBASSY, SO I SHALL BE THERE.

>> Stephen: WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?

>> COME AS YOU ARE.

YOU LOOK GREAT.

>> Stephen: AMBASSADOR PETER WESTMACOTT.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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