The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1994Prime Minister (1990-1997)

Mr Major’s Arrival Statement with President Clinton – 28 February 1994

Below is Mr Major’s arrival statement in Pittsburgh, with the US President Bill Clinton, on Monday 28th February 1994.


Thank you very much, Senator Wofford, Congressman Coyne, Mayor Murphy, Commissioners Foster and Flaherty and my friends, I am glad to be back in Pittsburgh and I want to thank the band for their wonderful music and the scouts for your fine salute and your fine work, thank you, and I want you to join me in welcoming Prime Minister John Major back to the United States of America. [Applause].

You know, it is funny how this trip came about. Last July, in Tokyo of all places, John Major and I were sitting around at night talking and he said: “You know, my grandfather worked in the steel mills at Pittsburgh and my father lived and worked there a while in the late 1800s before moving back to England!” so I thought the next time John Major came to the United States he ought to see America and come to Pittsburgh. [Applause].

I want to emphasise to all of you here in the heartland of America how important the relationship between the United States and Great Britain is. We work together to support reform in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, in Russia and in all those other former communist states to try to give democracy a chance. We work together for a new world trade agreement, to bring down trade barriers and open world markets to the products that American workers make. We work together to make NATO stronger and more adaptable, to reach out to all those nations in the former communist world and give them a chance to work with us to unify Europe in peace and democracy in ways that will make America a safer and more prosperous place for decades to come. We are working together today to respond to the terrible tragedy in Bosnia, to try to bring an end to the killing and to bring peace and to keep that conflict from spreading in ways that could threaten the interests of the United States and Great Britain as well as the conscience of the civilised world. [Applause].

We do have a great partnership as Senator Wofford noted right here in Pittsburgh between British Air and US Air [Applause]; it has been a good thing for the people of this town. Tomorrow, we will have a chance to talk about that and talk about some of the other tough issues that we face: the state of reform in Russia; the Prime Minister and I have both been in Moscow in the last couple of months. A struggle over the future of reform in Russia is under way, we have a vital stake in the outcome. We have to continue to encourage democracy, respect for neighbours and real economic reform in that country, it is in your interests and mine.

We also hope we can continue to press for peace in Bosnia. Britain is the second-largest contributor to the United Nations troop effort in Bosnia and over the last years I want to say to all of you that the British have saved thousands of innocent civilians’ lives there by their presence. [Applause]. We intend to continue working with them until we get a just and fair peace in Bosnia.

We are going to discuss what we want to do with NATO, we are going to discuss the political courage and the vision shown by Prime Minister Major and Prime Minister Reynolds of Ireland in working for peace in Northern Ireland together. [Applause]. Their historic Joint Declaration offers new hope for that goal of peace and as the President of this country, a country full of Americans of British descent and full of Americans of Irish descent, I again urge an end to the use of violence as a means of solving political problems and achieving political aims – it has no place in that effort. [Applause].

The next time I see John Major after this trip I will be visiting Britain in June to commemorate the 50th anniversary of D-Day and to affirm for a new generation of Britons and Americans the importance of our enduring partnership. We must continue to build on it economically, politically, strategically. We have benefited immensely from our ties to Britain and they have benefited from their ties to us. we are working together in ways that I think will benefit children in this audience. The agreement on world trade concluded at the end of last year is perhaps the most concrete recent example of what we are trying to do for future generations.

In the months and years ahead, we will have to continue to work on our issues of common concern. Not very long from now, we are going to have a jobs conference with Great Britain and other European powers in Detroit to discuss the difficulties that the United States and all the powers of Europe and Japan are all having in creating new jobs in this difficult global environment and what things we can learn from each other to create more opportunities for all of our people.

Now I am going to introduce the Prime Minister and say after he speaks we are going to look around Pittsburgh. [Applause]. When John Major’s father and grandfather were here, this city was the heart of America’s industrial might. Today, it is the centre of its high technology and economic innovation; it is a city of the future as well as a city of the past [Applause] and so in the spirit of renewal that is the story of Pittsburgh today, I ask you to join me in reaffirming the bonds between the American and the British people in welcoming to the microphone the Prime Minister of Great Britain, John Major. [Applause].


Mr. President, Mr. Senator, Mr. Mayor, Ladies and Gentlemen:

The President told you most of the story of how I came to be here this evening. It is perfectly true that we were discussing the matter at the G7 summit in Tokyo late at night, we were relaxed. The conversation went pretty much as the President said but think the critical factor he didn’t mention was that it was the second whisky that did it [Laughter] and I am jolly glad we had it because I am delighted to be here. [Applause].

“Come and have a look at a bit of Pittsburgh!” said the President, “Come and see a bit of real America!” and here I am. [Applause]. It may be my first time here but Pittsburgh way back from its inception has had some pretty close connections with the British, Indeed, its very name after one of our greatest prime ministers is the clearest possible illustration of the longstanding relationship between my nation and your nation. And then of course, as the President said, as the Senator said, there is this remarkable airport, a pioneering retail operation managed by the British Airports Authority and a relationship that has worked extremely well.

The President mentioned some personal connections. I know those only by family repute, the stories that have come down from my grandfather through my father to my brother and my sister and myself as small children many years ago, stories of how my father remembers my grandfather being here working in the Carnegie steel plant way back in the 1860s and 1870s and how my father spent a period of his youth here. Heaven alone knows where. He spoke of the place with great affection but he didn’t indicate precisely where it was.
More recently in those connections between Pittsburgh and the United Kingdom I would like to express my thanks to the remarkable surgeons, doctors and nurses of the Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital. [Applause]. Not all that long ago, they treated a sick young English child in a way that no other hospital around the world could have done and I have to say to you when they did that they caught the heart of my nation and they haven’t let go of it since. [Applause].

So this seems to me a pretty fitting place for our discussions this evening and then on our way back to the White House later on this evening. There is a lot to discuss. I won’t reiterate the agenda that the President set out. There is a great deal of common interest that exists between our two countries and a great deal that we will wish to talk about that will affect our future, your future and the future of people in other countries around the world; a huge array of business and personal contacts that bind the British and the American people together.

The President spoke of Bosnia. We are agreed on Bosnia that firm action is right and we will be looking to see how we can increase the pressure for the peace that every sensible person wishes to see in that war-torn and troubled land [Applause] and we will be looking to see what we can do to try and play our part in ensuring that Russia is able to carry its reform programme forward. A Russia that is a good neighbour to the United States and the West would be one of the finest things that this generation could hand down to the next and something that we all care passionately about achieving.

Earlier today, we sent a joint message to South Africa, to Nelson Mandela and Chief Buthelezi who are holding a crucial meeting tomorrow that may have great importance as the South Africans move towards their first multi-racial elections [Applause] and I think we might spend a bit of time talking as well about how to open up world trade even further and even faster because that is what is going to improve your living standards, the living standards of my people back home and other people all around the world. [Applause].

So although I am looking forward first to seeing just a bit of your great city, we have got a lot to discuss tonight and a lot to discuss tomorrow and when we finish it, I will be able to look forward to my next meeting with the President at Chequers and perhaps at Oxford and certainly in the United Kingdom for the D-Day celebration in the middle of the year. I can tell you that when he comes over to the United Kingdom the President of the United States will be very welcome indeed. I look forward to returning the hospitality that you are giving me this evening. [Applause].