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1994 - Mr Major’s Joint Press Conference with President Clinton

Below is the text of Mr Major’s joint press conference with President Clinton, held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 28th February 1994.


QUESTION:

Mr. President, do you think granting a visa to Gerry Adams paid off in terms of progress toward peace in Northern Ireland?

PRESIDENT CLINTON:

It's too soon to say. I'm supporting, very strongly supporting the initiative that Prime Minister Major and Prime Minister Reynolds have undertaken in the joint declaration. I hope it will. It's too soon to say. I'm pulling for them.

QUESTION:

Mr. Prime Minister, you obviously saw it differently, or your government did, as far as Adams. -- this weekend, Sinn Fein has not indicated any willingness to call for an end to the arms struggle. What is your reaction to that and what is the President's reaction?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, we both want the violence to cease. That's what the joint declaration is about. It provides an opportunity for the violence to cease and for Sinn Fein to legitimately enter the constitutional talks. Now, I think that is a sensible way ahead. It's a highway ahead that wasn't there before. It is there now. And I think when you look at the opinion expressed by Irishmen right across the whole island of Ireland, by an overwhelming majority, they believe that that option should be taken. You have to wait and see whether it is.

Thank you.

QUESTION:

Do you like that, Mr. President? [referring to the microphone]

PRESIDENT CLINTON:

I wish there were a hunting season on these. [Laughter].

PRIME MINISTER:

I'm going to wake up one morning and there will be one of those things on the pillow. [Laughter].

QUESTION:

And what will you say? [Laughter].

PRESIDENT CLINTON:

Whatever it is, it will be known to all of England. [Laughter]. That's what I -- I told the press once that there had been this raging debate for 12 years in America over the constitutional right to privacy and what it meant, whether we should keep it and what it should extend to, and all while, the boom mike had been abolishing it with no one noticing. [Laughter].