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1992 - Mr Major’s Joint Doorstep Interview with Brian Mulroney

Below is the text of Mr Major’s joint doorstep interview with the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr Brian Mulroney, held in London on Saturday 4th July 1992.


PRIME MINISTER:

Perhaps I might just say a few words, I will then invite the Prime Minister to add a few words and we will take three or four questions before going in.

Can I say firstly what a pleasure it is to have the Prime Minister back in the United Kingdom. Canada are very close allies, very important allies, and although we frequently have the possibility of consultation by telephone, it is always a pleasure to see Brian back in the United Kingdom.

We have taken the opportunity in the last few minutes of looking at a whole range of different issues: the preparation for the G7 summit in Munich, a large number of matters there that we wish to discuss before we arrive there in a day or so; we have looked also at the continuing preparation and desirability for the earliest possible conclusion of the Uruguay Round, we both see that as not only desirable in itself but desirable in the impact it will have upon world trade; I was able to express my admiration of the Canadian troops in their activities in UNPRIFOR at the moment; and we have also been able to look at a whole range of bilateral matters.

We will continue our discussions over dinner later on, but I may say already it has been an extremely useful exchange of views.

MR MULRONEY:

Thank you John. I was grateful for the expression of support by the Prime Minister about Canadian troops in Yugoslavia under the UN auspices, they are doing a very courageous and impressive job there and we are grateful for the support that we have been getting from G7 leaders and from UN leaders elsewhere.

The bilateral relationship between our countries is excellent, this is an opportunity to deal with some of the smaller matters that can irritate our relationship, and High Commissioner Fred Eton does an excellent job of representing our interests with Her Majesty's Government here.

I raised some bilateral matters. The Prime Minister was interested in constitutional development, as he always is in Canada. The Newfoundland fishery problem, about the dramatic effect that this has had, we are trying to protect the northern cod stocks within 200 mile limits and the damaging effect that it has when Europeans fish outside of the 200 mile limit and how incompatible that is with the resolution to the problem. So I spoke to the Prime Minister in his capacity as President of Europe, but indicated I will be talking to him later on tonight and in the next few days about it in more specifics. I wanted to acquaint him with the domestic impact that this has had on Canadians and Newfoundlanders so far.

So all in all so far an excellent meeting and I thank the Prime Minister for his courtesy and I will be happy to answer a few questions.

QUESTION:

[In French, not translated].

MR MULRONEY:

I have just been asked, Prime Minister, about whether the G7 should be extended to a G8 and my answer is no, not because of any hostility but simply because Russia certainly does not meet, in our judgment anyway, the economic standards and the institutional standards required of participating nations whose GDP represents some 65% of the world output but whose characteristics are that they are the most powerful industrialised modernised economies in the entire world. That would be the view today of Canada.

QUESTION:

Mr Major, do you conclude the same about the Soviets and the G8?

PRIME MINISTER:

I share that view entirely, yes, and for precisely the same reason. I think one could add further reasons to it but I think the G7 is working very well indeed. From time to time it may be desirable for the G7 to meet as G7 plus 1 and have discussions with the Republic of Russia, but I do not see the G7 becoming a G8, no.

QUESTION:

Mr Mulroney, you talked to the Prime Minister about the latest constitutional developments, could you share those thoughts with us about what the Premus [phon] talked about on Friday, what came out of that Premus meeting?

MR MULRONEY:

My information, Joe, is limited to what has been published and what I have told about the Premus meeting. They seem to have been in a mood to effect a compromise situation, from what I understand has evolved it seems to have a lot to commend it, but serious questions still exist, they are going to want to examine it in various quarters and they will meet again on Tuesday to see if they have satisfied their concerns. So I guess my opinion to the Prime Minister was that the Canadians want a solution to this matter and the politicians appear to be responding.

QUESTION:

Do you think relief aid to Sarajevo will continue to get through seeing as the fighting is carrying on?

PRIME MINISTER:

I very much hope they will, a second British plane got through satisfactorily today and no doubt there will be more, we certainly hope there will be more. What we cannot of course control and what we cannot be certain of is what precisely will be the position in and around the airport for planes actually to get in. As you know, the airport is sunk into a bowl surrounded by hills, it is extremely difficult for the aircraft to get in safely while there is any conflict going on. I hope that we will be able to get more planes in, it is patently necessary and if we can possibly get more planes in we will, but I cannot offer you a cast iron guarantee, no-one can be certain precisely what will happen.