SPIELBERG TO BIBI: NAME-DROPPING WITH BILL AND TONY
IN A call on July 27, 1997, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair discussed Jewish filmmaker Steven Spielberg ( Bill Clinton: Tony? Tony Blair: Hi, Bill. How are you? Clinton: Very well, indeed. Blair: I am sitting here outside Chequers having a cup of tea with a friend of yours, Steven Spielberg. Clinton: Steven Spielberg? You are? You tell Mr Spielberg that you may be drinking tea with him, but I am here on the beach in Santa Monica having coffee with [billionaire philanthropist] Ron Burkle, which shows California has more influence than either the British or the US government. Blair: You are? Clinton: Yes. I am looking at people skate-boarding at the beautiful beaches of Santa Monica. Blair: You lucky man. This is your vacation, then? The conversation continues with the leaders discussing Scottish devolution and Northern Ireland. At the end of the call President Clinton says: “Tell Steven Spielberg I hate coming all the way out here and not get to see him because he is hanging out in Chequers.” Blair: I will certainly. Clinton: I always suspected that beneath that ruffled, intellectual demeanor was a real Tory aristocrat working. Blair: He is out here making a movie. Clinton: I know. I told you before that he really wants to help rebuild the movie industry in Great Britain because he is so grateful for its influence. He got a lot of input from early British film makers. Blair: Lots of possibilities here, but also important to them that the US and the British work closely, especially because some of the other countries and some of the stuff from the EU is not very sensible. The French and the Italians have weird rules and prescriptions on film making. It would help if we can get some decent British movies. Clinton: You can do it. Tell him I said hello. Blair: All the best. We’ll be in touch.
A phone conversation in November 1997, as Mr Clinton flew on Air Force One, centred on Benjamin Netanyahu. Mr Clinton asked Mr Blair whether he had met Mr Netanyahu in London.
“Yes I did,” replied Mr Blair. But his thoughts on the Israeli prime minister Steven Spielberg remain a mystery as the rest of his answer is heavily redacted. All we have is Mr Clinton’s cryptic response: “I know what you mean.”
On hand: the hundreds of transcripts of calls between Bill Clinton and Tony Blair reveal the pair’s level of political co-operation — and friendship