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1991 - Mr Major’s Address to the Divisional Artillery in Kuwait

Below is the text of Mr Major’s address to the Divisional Artillery in Kuwait on Wednesday 6th March 1991.


PRIME MINISTER:

I wanted to come out here today, having seen what things were like at the beginning of January, to say just two or three things to you. Firstly, it was a fabulous job, I do not believe it could have been done better and the general view at home is that this was a copy book war from start to finish, the planning, the logistics, the execution of it, all of it went as well as we could possibly have hoped and there are 50 odd million people at home who have been watching every tiny movement in this over the last few months, there are more experts on the Gulf out there back home than there are out here. You may be surprised to know that but I can promise you it is the case, it has been almost the sole topic of conversation for weeks past, what is happening, what is going to happen, how are the boys doing, when are they going to come home? Those are the questions, of course some of those of no interest whatsoever to you, that have dominated conversation back home.

But would like to say to you that the support back home for what you have been doing has been absolutely unbelievable and when you get home you will feel that and you will know it without a shadow of doubt because people are pretty proud of what you did over here and I do not just mean the British, if you go to the United States at the moment as well you will find they are pretty proud of what you have done as well. So I am delighted to be here in order to say thank you to you all.

You may be interested to know about going home and one or two miscellaneous matters like that. I cannot give you an exact date for that, I can give you a promise that we will not keep you out here a day longer than is necessary and we are actually working now on the logistics of when differing people can go home. There is a certain amount to be done but as soon as we can send you home we will and as soon as you get home there will be some leave which I daresay you will find something to do with, I am sure that will be the case.

One other point you may be interest in, though it is not for public consumption yet and I know the press will honour that for the time being, a number of our prisoners of war are released today, quite a few, there is some rather good news there, perhaps more than we imagined were alive and we should have them back in our hands with a bit of luck later on today, so that is extremely good news.

I see looking round that you are souvenir hunters, I do not know quite what you are going to do with them all but I think one or two of those tanks will be of some use when we get them back home, we can either strip them down and see what they look like or perhaps they will make good target practice, whatever. But well done on the souvenirs, well done on the battle.

I guess many of you may wonder what it was all about, why were you here, was it necessary? I just want to say to you that it was necessary and you were here not just because of the invasion of Kuwait, important though that was, but if you had not been here with your allies, if this problem of Kuwait had not been sorted out now, then it might have been a much bigger and much more dangerous problem not very many years away. That would have been perhaps a much more difficult problem to deal with, it was necessary to deal with it now and I do not think it could have been better dealt with than the way you have done it. So thank you very much indeed.

There is no more to say except that a thank you from me is not just from me, it is from everybody back home who would be delighted to come here and say it themselves. Many thanks indeed, you did magnificently, thank you.