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1991 - Mr Major’s Comments on the Soviet Situation

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on the Soviet situation, made in an interview held en route from Moscow to Beijing on Sunday 1st September 1991.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked whether Mr Gorbachev and Mr Yeltsin could work together].

PRIME MINISTER:

I think there is a requirement for them to work together. There is clearly a great advantage for the whole of the Soviet Union and the republics if they can. They will have to work out a new relationship; they are in the business of doing that; but I believe on the basis of the discussions I have had today that they will both attempt to work together in the future.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked what he thought of Boris Yeltsin, who had come across as powerful].

PRIME MINISTER:

As you say, a very powerful personality; a man of clear ideas, clear views and he expresses them very trenchantly.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked for an example].

PRIME MINISTER:

He was perfectly clear about the need for a reform programme, that it had to be a reform programme that was much more radical than anything that had been seen before; he didn’t equivocate about that, he said it. On nuclear arms, he was perfectly clear there had to be central control, he said it. There are a whole series of matters like that upon which some people might have equivocated, but he didn’t.