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1993 - Mr Major’s Pool Interview with the Media

Below is the text of Mr Major’s pool interview with the media, en route to Washington on Tuesday 23rd February 1993.


QUESTION:

Prime Minister, I get the sense that on this trip you have got more to talk about and you are going to have a more crowded agenda than for very many meetings between President and Prime Minister for some time past?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think that is probably right, it is certainly going to be a very crowded agenda. It falls, I think, into two quite clear cut parts, firstly economic/trade matters, the need to get the GATT Round settled, and political matters, the problems in Russia, Yugoslavia, Iraq. There will certainly be plenty to talk about.

QUESTION:

But I also sense that there are real differences between you which could cause trouble. Just take two: the whole business over Airbus, Ireland for example, little things which may be a real irritant between the two of you?

PRIME MINISTER:

I do not think there are going to be matters that we cannot solve readily. There are certainly a whole range of things that we will want to discuss but the predominant matters are of course the trade matters, I think that will be in the centre of our minds.

QUESTION:

But have you not got more work to do with an incoming President like this, some of whose views do not seem to be quite what yours are?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, I think you make a misjudgement when you say that. There is one thing that is absolutely clear, both the United States and the United Kingdom have a common outlook on a vast range of international problems. Most centrally of course we are both anxious to get the world economies moving again, we both know that that needs a satisfactory GATT agreement. We are both determined in international affairs, for example, to do what we can to contribute to helping Russia deal with its enormous problems, vital for the whole of Europe and the rest of the world that we do so. We are both keen to see a solution to the problems in Yugoslavia. We are both absolutely determined to make sure that Iraq obeys the Security Council resolutions. So the points that we have to discuss that you say are points of difference are tiny compared to the points where we wish to move the agenda forward from a mutual area of agreement.

QUESTION:

I know it is a hackneyed phrase - the special relationship - but I do get the sense that there needs to be a bit of rebuilding of that special relationship at the moment?

PRIME MINISTER:

The special relationship is not a term, frankly, that I use. There are huge areas of common interest between the United States and the United Kingdom, that has been so for many years and will continue to be so in the future. It is partly the instinct of a long-standing blood relationship but more important it is the fact that we have the common outlook on how to deal with many of the problems that exist, that has been so with administrations over many years, it is so now, and in my judgement it will remain so in the future.

QUESTION:

Do you think it is important that you are the first European leader to go to see him?

PRIME MINISTER:

We have spoken on the telephone on a number of occasions already so we have a pretty clear idea of what our views are on a whole range of subjects. I am looking forward to seeing him, I very much hope that the other European leaders will see him very shortly.