Biography Chronology Home Search Speeches/Statements

1991 - Mr Major’s Comments on the Commonwealth

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on the Commonwealth, made in an interview at Victoria Falls on Sunday 20th October 1991.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if he was satisfied with his first Commonwealth Declaration as Prime Minister].

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, I am very pleased with the declaration, it is very forward looking, it picks up all the themes we were most concerned about - good government, human rights - but above all it is a forward looking document, it is the Commonwealth of the 1990s, not harking back to the problems of earlier years.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if he felt all countries could support the Declaration, even those with less developed democracies].

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, I am confident they will carry it out, there was a very remarkable atmosphere at this Commonwealth conference. No it was not especially difficult to agree the communique, frankly, there were many points that needed discussions upon which different views were expressed, but by the time those had been expressed a common view right across the Commonwealth emerged and you will see it in the communique.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked why there were no sanctions].

PRIME MINISTER:

The Commonwealth is not really that sort of organisation. The way it does operate is through peer pressure and by example and I think it is perfectly clear that the peer pressure of the Commonwealth and the example both within the Commonwealth and beyond the Commonwealth will have a very salutary effect. So I think we will see some practical results.