Biography Chronology Home Search Speeches/Statements

1995 - Mr Major’s Joint Doorstep Interview with Warren Christopher

Below is the transcript of Mr Major’s joint doorstep interview with Warren Christopher in Washington on Monday 3rd April 1995.


PRIME MINISTER:

Can I just say I am delighted to have had the opportunity of talking to the Secretary this morning. We have been able to touch on a wide range of issues where there is very substantial agreement between the British and the United States Administrations. We have looked at the present situation in Bosnia and how that may turn out in the future, we have looked at Russia, Iraq, a number of NATO questions and some bilateral issues as well. We will take a couple of questions in a few moments. I will not traipse through all the detail of what we have discussed except to say I think it was an extremely worthwhile discussion and I am delighted that the Secretary was able to join me this morning.

MR CHRISTOPHER:

Thank you very much, Mr Prime Minister. I am honoured and pleased to be here this morning for breakfast on this gorgeous spring morning, and the presence of those wonderful trees. We did have a good discussion over about an hour. I think it shows the high degree of congruence on our policy on some of the most difficult issues we are facing. We are very good colleagues and friends on these issues and I think the Prime Minister and I were able to exhibit that, but also to wrestle with some of the difficult on-going questions we have over the next several weeks and months relating to NATO and Bosnia and so forth.

QUESTION:

Prime Minister, the special relationship - defunct, could be better, better than ever - which one of these best describes it?

PRIME MINISTER:

I have never referred to it as a special relationship. There is a relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States of shared interests, we have had that relationship of shared interests for very many years. We tend to look at the same problems in the same way. Occasionally there are spats, as there are in the best of families, but they are very rare.

QUESTION:

[Indistinct] no longer being a relationship, is it justified in your view?

MR CHRISTOPHER:

There will always be a relationship, as the Prime Minister said, based upon so many things - a common history, common language, common interests, issues such as NATO - and I see that relationship being a very strong one in which we look to our British colleagues, and they look to us, on so many issues for advice and counsel. So I think it is very strong relationship and it is in very excellent shape.

QUESTION:

What does the Administration think about a lifting of the arms embargo?

MR CHRISTOPHER:

We certainly are strongly opposed to a unilateral lifting of the arms embargo. That issue may arise again. I sense that there is a better understanding now in the Congress of the dangers of unilaterally lifting the arms embargo, both for the effect it would have on other UN resolutions but also on the effect if might have for involving the United States more deeply in that conflict.

QUESTION:

[Inaudible]

PRIME MINISTER:

There was a time a year or so ago, maybe 18 months ago, when there was some difference in Bosnian policy between the United States Administration and the British administration, that has substantially come together and I agree entirely with what the Secretary has just said.

QUESTION:

Mr Secretary, would you say that the US Administration was closer to Gerry Adams or John Major on Northern Ireland?

MR CHRISTOPHER:

John Major is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and a long-standing relationship. We have certainly had the relationship with him on a great range of issues where we have so much in common. As the Prime Minister has said about that particular issue, the issue that arose a few weeks ago is now ancient history and we are pulling together, as I say, on the broad range of issues we have here this morning. So we are really delighted and honoured to have the Prime Minister in our country as the leader of one of our most important allies, and that is a much different relationship than any other.

QUESTION:

[Inaudible]

PRIME MINISTER:

I am less concerned about Mr Adams's opinion than I am about Sinn Fein deciding they will come and talk about decommissioning. The important thing now is that Sinn Fein honour what they have been implying for some time, that they decide that they mean what they say, that they come along, that they engage in constructive discussion that leads to the decommissioning of arms and taking them out of Northern Ireland politics. That is what concerns me and that is what I wish to hear from Mr Adams.