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1991 - Mr Major’s Comments on the G7

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on the G7, made in an interview held in London on Friday 19th July 1991.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked about whether the third world countries had been ignored at the G7 conference].

PRIME MINISTER:

It is certainly not true, the countries in the world that will most gain from an increase in world trade, the opening access to markets and stability of inflation and growth are Third World countries and then of course, in terms of the very poorest Third World countries there was perhaps the biggest advance we have seen at any G7 meeting ever and that is the agreement to go a long way beyond Toronto terms in writing off the debt of the very poorest countries.

So I do not agree with that analysis at all and the point about opening market access is absolutely critical to the Third World, there is no point in the industrialised world providing aid to the Third World and then closing their markets to the products of the Third World, that is more damaging than anything else. So I think it was a very good summit for the Third World.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if the Soviets had left the G7 conference empty-handed].

PRIME MINISTER:

Only those who wanted to say that said that, only those who were pre-programmed to think that, that is not the view of Mr Gorbachev, it is not the view of the Soviet Union and they of course have the principal interest in this. What the Soviet Union wanted was to establish a continuing dialogue with the Group of Seven, that is what we have established. It was literally an historic meeting with President Gorbachev the other day and for the first time there is to be a direct dialogue between the G7, the seven most powerful industrial nations in the world, and the Soviet Union. Now I think that is good for the Soviet Union, I think it is good for the G7 and I actually think for wider political reasons it is very good for everybody else as well. It is the sort of dialogue between the major powers in the world that the rest of the world has asked to see for a long time.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if that would improve the short-term situation in the Soviet Union].

PRIME MINISTER:

The short-term crisis in the Soviet Union is a crisis that will be solved within the Soviet Union. What we have said is that we can enhance technical co-operation, we are going to enhance technical co-operation. I announced a very considerable enhancement, a doubling in fact, of our own Know-How Fund just yesterday, the day after President Gorbachev came here. And on wider matters it is prudent, most people think, to discuss these matters and to determine what needs to be done and that is what we are doing.