Bill Clinton and Tony Blair
Then British prime minister Tony Blair welcomes then US president Bill Clinton (left) to 10 Downing Street in 1998JOHNNY EGGITT/AFP/Getty Images

Records of telephone calls and meetings between Tony Blair and Bill Clinton reveal the special bond the two leaders shared. Transcripts of their conversations between the year 1997 and 2000 were obtained through a Freedom of Information request to the Clinton Presidential Library.

At the time, both men were in power and the redacted records expose a number of issues the two discussed, from climate change and the late Princess Diana to fatherhood fears and films.

Princess Diana

One of the most interesting records is of a call from Clinton to Blair following the announcement of the death of the Princess of Wales in 1997. Offering his condolences Clinton said, "I just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you".

The transcripts, released to the BBC, show their anxiety for the late princess's children. "She was such a rock of stability in the sense she connected them with the outside world," Blair said. "The eldest boy, William, is quite like her in a way, he is very 'feet on the ground', he does things kids his age do. She was not the royal family but she was liked by ordinary people, it gave her problems with the royal establishment."

Views on Putin

In 2000, Vladimir Putin was voted in as president of Russia and the US and UK heads discussed him at length. Clinton believed that Putin had "enormous potential" and was "smart and thoughtful". Blair, meanwhile, showed his reservations stating, "It was fine... He feels that he is not understood about the problems he faces there. He was very anxious to impress me."

Fatherhood fears

The then Labour prime minister and US president joked about various things including Blair's fears about become a father for the fourth time.

"You know, after January I'm available for babysitting duties," Clinton told Blair, referring to the fact that he would be stepping down in 2001. The former prime minister expresses his concerns about becoming a father again, saying, "I could do with a bit of help."

Stay over at the White House

Referring to one of Blair's visits to the US, Clinton was recorded as inviting him to stay at the White House and even take up the room in which Winston Churchill stayed. "Do you want to spend the night at the White House? I won't get in until 1am and you may want to be in bed by then, but it's your option. You can sleep in the same bed Churchill did."

When Blair asked if it was appropriate, Clinton joked, "As long as you don't parade around naked before the bath. You're too young and too trim."

IRA peace process

Discussing the Northern Ireland peace talks and the Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams the two leaders voiced their concerns for the Irish Republican Army's delays in decommissioning its weapons. In one transcript, Clinton reportedly asked Blair, "What's the date that Gerry does the actual decommissioning? When does the IRA actually have to turn some guns over?" At another time he asked, "Do you think the IRA has decided they are never going to decommission?"

Whether talking about global politics or discussing wedding anniversary plans, most of the transcripts and correspondence between Blair and Clinton have a relaxed friendly tone indicating a personal friendship between the two.

As part of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War, records of conversations between Blair and Clinton's successor, George W Bush are expected to be released soon.