Biography Chronology Home Search Speeches/Statements

1995 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in Washington

Below is the transcript of Mr Major’s doorstep interview following his meeting with Senator Dole in Washington on Monday 3rd April 1995.


QUESTION:

Prime Minister, did you gather from the Republicans whether they intend to lift the arms embargo now against the Bosnian Muslims?

PRIME MINISTER:

Let me just say I think that debate will come in May, probably not before May, and heaven alone knows what the outcome of that will be. I took the opportunity this morning when seeing the Majority and Minority leader of running through a whole range of topics. I was particularly pleased to thank Senator Dole for his activities over the Uruguay Round where we were very pleased to get a settlement and he played a very material part in that. We looked at Bosnia, Russia, NATO expansion and a number of related problems like that. I don't know what the outcome will be on lifting the arms embargo, I think the British government's position on that is very clear.

QUESTION:

But you have not been able to persuade Senator Dole to hold off on that one?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think that is a matter for Senator Dole at a later stage. I understand the very strong emotions that exist about that matter. We have a lot of troops on the ground in Bosnia and we don't ourselves believe that that is the right way to proceed. But no doubt the House will debate that later in the year.

QUESTION:

Can I ask you why you feel you cannot help Mrs Ingram to save her son from the electric chair?

PRIME MINISTER:

I set out the position. I replied to Mrs Ingram's letter. I gave it very long and careful thought before replying to it. Clearly I understand fully the very deep distress that she must feel. She has written to me again, I have replied today and I think my reply will be given to her very shortly.

QUESTION:

Are there no grounds for you to intervene?

PRIME MINISTER:

I don't think there is anything further that we are in a position to do.

QUESTION:

What sort of practical help are you expecting from the US Administration on pressuring Sinn Fein into decommissioning of arms?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think there is no doubt that the American Administration are keen to see these talks continue and keen to see the decommissioning of arms, but I don't wish to go further than that.

QUESTION:

Once this row over Ireland is finished, Prime Minister ...

PRIME MINISTER:

I think that matter is behind us. We had a disagreement about that, I think it is well known we had a disagreement about that. In the best [indistinct] circles that sort of thing happens from time to time, but I think that is now behind us.