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.
[Mr Major was asked whether Mr Gorbachev and Mr Yeltsin could work together].
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.
[Mr Major was asked what he thought of Boris Yeltsin, who had come across as powerful].
As you say, a very powerful personality; a man of clear ideas, clear views and he expresses them very trenchantly.
[Mr Major was asked for an example].
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.