The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1991Prime Minister (1990-1997)

PMQT Written Answers – 9 December 1991

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 9th December 1991.




Mr. Janner : To ask the Prime Minister (1) whether he has now held discussions with the United States of America on how best to achieve the repeal of United Nations resolution 3379;

(2) what discussions have been held with Britain’s European partners on how best to achieve the repeal of United Nations resolution 3379 on Zionism, to which he referred in his letter of 14 October 1991; at what level they were conducted; and what was the outcome;

(3) with which countries he intends to discuss the issue of repealing United Nations resolution 3379 in his forthcoming bilateral contacts.

The Prime Minister : As I told the hon. and learned Member in my letter to him of 14 October, we support the United States proposal to secure the repeal of this resolution. We have discussed how to achieve repeal with the Unites States administration and have said we shall co-sponsor a draft resolution which revokes it. Our discussions with our European partners, primarily through our missions in New York, continue. We expect to raise the matter with other countries before a repealing resolution is put to the vote.


United Nations

Sir Gerard Vaughan : To ask the Prime Minister if he will raise at the next meeting of the United Nations the question of late payment of subscriptions by (a) the United States of America and (b) other member countries.

The Prime Minister : We repeatedly make clear our concern at the failure on the part of a large number of member states to pay their assessed contributions in full and on time.


Non-proliferation Policies

Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Prime Minister what extra resources he proposes to commit in support of the agreement at the G7 summit to combat the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and to foster non-proliferation policies among additional nations; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : Together with our G7 and other partners we are addressing the question of how we can best strengthen the various regimes designed to combat nuclear, biological and chemical proliferation.


Arms Sales

Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Prime Minister what are the implications to the United Kingdom of the principle of transparency in international transfers of conventional weapons and associated military technology as agreed at the G7 summit in London; and if he will press the United Nations to publish a register of arms sales.

The Prime Minister : As an important step towards openness in conventional arms transfers, the declaration at the London economic summit called for the early adoption of a United Nations register of arms transfers. This followed our initiative to establish such a register. The Twelve and Japan tabled a resolution at this year’s United Nations General Assembly with this aim in mind. The resolution was approved by a large majority in the First Committee of the General Assembly on 15 November and will shortly be adopted at the plenary stage of the General Assembly. It will allow the international community to monitor the scale of arms build- up by any one country. Information will be provided on an annual basis and the register will be established and maintained at the United Nations headquarters in New York by the Secretary General.


United Nations

Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Prime Minister whether he intends to commit additional resources to the proposed extension of the capacity of the United Nations to respond to emergencies and appeals for aid; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : The proposals to which the hon. Member refers are the result of an initiative by this Government together with the German Government which was subsequently taken up by the G7 summit and the European Council. They are currently under consideration by the United Nations. We are pressing for their early adoption. We fully intend to contribute our share of the required funds.


Non-proliferation Treaty

Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Prime Minister what response he has made to the proposal of the Secretary General of the International Atomic Energy Agency at its 35th conference concerning (a) the need to strengthen International Atomic Energy Agency nuclear safeguards by increasing the number of special inspections under the provisions of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and (b) the need for the International Atomic Energy Agency to be given additional information on nuclear programmes by the security services of non-proliferation treaty and International Atomic Energy Agency member states.

The Prime Minister : The director-general in his statement to the International Atomic Energy Agency called for a strengthening of the safeguards system to provide, through special inspections, confidence that no undeclared nuclear installations or material exist in states which have accepted full-scope safeguards. The United Kingdom fully endorses this policy and has made this support clear.

To enable the agency to exercise its right to make special inspections of undeclared activities, it requires access to information pointing to their existence. It is the intention of the Government to assist the agency in this context as far as possible by providing relevant information as appropriate.


Disabled People

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 11 November, Official Report, column 355, if he will list the proposals relating to disabled people which are under consideration.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 6 December 1991] : The proposals relating to disabled people, published by the European Commission and presently under consideration are :

Proposals for a Council directive on minimum requirements to improve the mobility and safe transport to work of workers with reduced mobility (published February 1991).

Proposals for a Council decision establishing a third Community action programme to assist disabled people–HELIOS II (published October 1991).

In addition we are participating in two recent Community initiatives specifically for disabled people : TIDE–Technology for the socio-economic integration of disabled and elderly people; and HORIZON–a programme within the European social fund which aims at improving the conditions of access to the employment market for disabled and disadvantaged people.



Mr. Bernie Grant : To ask the Prime Minister whether he will submit a resolution to the EC summit at Maastricht condemning the growth of racist sentiment and attacks in Europe.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 6 December 1991] : The Government view with concern the recent manifestations of racism across Europe. I understand that the EC presidency has it in mind to propose a resolution on these matters at the forthcoming meeting of the European Council.



Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has had on the similarity of design between the £5 note and the £20 note; if he will withdraw the £20 note; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 6 December 1991] : I have received a number of letters on the new £5 and £20 notes. However, the design of banknotes is the responsibility of the Bank of England and not the Government. The bank believes that its new notes achieve an appropriate blend of security features and distinguishing characteristics. It will, however, take account of the reactions to the notes already issued in designing future issues.


Faith in the Countryside

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister what response he intends to make to the archbishop’s commission on rural areas report “Faith in the Countryside”.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 6 December 1991] : The report “Faith in the Countryside” was debated in the House of Lords on 15 November 1990.